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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Journey 5: Week 3 Richmond, VA/ and Week 1 NY

Merry meet friends!

Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

When Octavia, Julia and I left Greensboro last Sunday, we had gone about 40 miles when Octavia’s car said there was no gas miles left.  Octavia began to panic; she had never run out of gas before.  I, on the other hand, have.  I rolled into the station once and it cut off directly in front of the gas tank.  She has Triple A but was concerned about the length of time it might take.  Anyway, we were looking for signs at exits that said gas and we didn’t see any until we were pass the exit.  When we saw the airport sign, Octavia said she knew gas would be there.  We got off on the exit and the sign said Valero in 0.8 miles but not necessarily which way. 

We took the left and as we continued to ride, the car made that sound it makes when it’s running out of gas.  Octavia stepped on the gas and I told her to ease up a little and let it kind of coast.  Julia said she would get out and push if needed and I laid hands on the dash and prayed.  Octavia was sweating bullets and her stomach started churning.  We pulled into the station and she thought it was closed.  I told her that I didn’t think it was, because I’ve never known Valero to close on Sundays, but some stations let you pump with a credit card even if they’re closed.  She put the credit card in and voila it worked.  I walked to the door and it was open.  Octavia was so flustered that she pumped regular instead of the higher octane.  I told her to stop pumping and start again with what she wanted.  She finally calmed down and we resumed the trip.  It was funny afterwards. 

The night before I left for Earthaven, Octavia took me to dinner at a restaurant called Vanquish.  When we walked in, the hostess asked us to register our names for a gift certificate.  It was dinner for two with a value up to $100 and had to be used by the end of June.  I thought I would be in Earthaven for five months, so I decided not to register but Octavia said to do it and give it to her if I won.  Well, I won and gave it to her.  Since I was in Richmond, on Thursday we decided to use it.  Her daughter, Carmen was in town and friends of hers were sponsoring an event that night as well.  It was called Stix and Stilettos and we, along with another friend of Carmen’s were invited.  None of us smoke cigars or cigarettes but we do wear stilettos.  I love to see young people following their passions.

We decided to order hor d’oeuvres in order for all of us to eat.  Carmen ordered an Asian BBQ sandwich and crab dip, Octavia ordered prawns and lamb and I ordered oysters.  The oysters had a roumalade sauce on the bottom of the plate, a slice of watermelon, honey dew pieces and a sauce in a shot glass to dip.  It was pretty and delicious.  I should have taken a picture.  The total for all of that was $46.  I was already full but we wanted to use the full value.  You should have seen us trying to get to $100!  Octavia and I ordered salads and I couldn’t even eat mine.  We only totaled around $64 after that.  We decided to order entrees to go and finally we hit $99 and some change.  It was hilarious.

On Tuesday evening I picked up the car.  Yay, no more losing water, $600 later!  Even though I knew my son, Jason, would be coming to Richmond, I thought it would probably be mid-July.  I decided that I would take a short trip somewhere; maybe visit my friend Amanda’s farm and learn more about natural living.  Before that could happen I received a call from Jason asking me to drive the car to NY to help him pack.  He was feeling overwhelmed because he waited until that week to do anything. (I wonder from whom he gets that?, hmmm)  He also wanted to use the car to pack it with items coming to Richmond.   So yet another example of why Spirit had me in Richmond.  Had I visited Amanda, I would have had to come back to Richmond to unload my things and then travel to NY.

On Friday I began the process of unloading the car.  These are the items: laundry detergent, a box of scarves and shawls, a small box of containing scissors and household items, 2 small boxes of CD’s, a boxed mini CD and radio system, yoga mat, portable chair, winter coat, 2 jackets, 2 pairs of sneakers, riding boots, rain boots, a pair of flannel boots, a box of stationary, stamps and journal, a small suitcase containing jewelry, an electric digital hot plate with a frying pan, a mesh bag for laundry, and a duffel bag.  Did I mention that was just the trunk?  In the back seat, I had a large suitcase, a smaller one that I added for the immersion, a tote for the computer and books, another tote for extra personal items and my travel tote for personal items.  Whew, Lawd!  It’s exhausting just to write.  Surprisingly enough, it only took 45 minutes to unload.

While unloading I began to think of long ago Gypsies and their nomadic lifestyles.  Gypsies traveled with all of their worldly possessions in a horse drawn mini house; a precursor, if you will, to RV’s.  The speed of the horses allowed them time to appreciate the landscape; they were out in the air, slept in their wagons, cooked outside, used the woods for personal needs and washed in creeks, rivers or streams.  They used old clothes to remake them into something new.  I saw a lot of that creativity at Earthaven.  Everything they carried with them was essential to their wellbeing. 

I started thinking how maybe what I considered essential really wasn’t.  Then I thought a bit deeper.  Was I really so different from female Gypsies?  They traveled with scarves and shawls.  They wore jewelry: earrings and plenty of necklaces and bracelets.  They had tambourines, harmonicas, banjos and guitars for music.  Their cook ware was with them.  They had clothes and shoes, perhaps not as many as I, but they had them none the less.  Perhaps they had some sort of folding chair.  I felt as if some distant ancestor was a Gypsy and spoke to my spirit about what to take with me for my nomadic journey.  I wish I had a camper van to travel in.  It would eliminate the need for places to sleep and eat.  I could actually save money.

In 2009, I lived with my oldest son, Donnie, for a while.  When I knew in my spirit that it was time for me to leave, I asked Spirit for a place to live with little or no rent because of my income or lack thereof.  Within two months I was a Resident Manager in a home for homeless women with children.  I paid no rent and received a stipend.  Spirit reminded me that if I could ask and set an intention for shelter, I could do the same for a car; and so I did.  Let’s see what happens.  My journey isn’t over because Jason needs his car.  I actually feel as if it is just beginning.

I drove up to NY on Saturday to help my baby boy.  In the words of Jeffry Osborne (I think), “What we won’t do, do for love”.  Jason had done absolutely nothing!  He said he had it all in his head.  I didn’t fuss because he looked so pitiful and I understood because I plan things in my head first as well. And then I feel as if I’ve done it!  I have moved nine (9) times in the last ten years so he wanted my expertise.  Jason was overwhelmed because when he moved from Pittsburgh to NY he had professional movers.  I came in and gave him instructions on what to do.  We got a lot accomplished in a short time.  Well I have more packing to do.
PS.  My friend Michael Talbert, who made his transition in April of this year, and I used to talk until 2 or 3 in the morning.  In one of our conversations I said something about not liking confinement or schedules and that I liked being free.  Michael said, "You're a gypsy or you were one in a previous life".  I laughed and agreed with him.  How insightful and prophetic!

Until next Sunday…….

Merry part and merry meet again!

Gypsi Mama Michelle

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Journey 5 Week 2/RVA and Week 1/Greensboro/Winston Salem, NC

Merry meet Friends!

Michelle here bringing lots of light and love


Helen Reddy

I am woman, hear me roar

In numbers too big to ignore

And I know too much to go back an’ pretend

Cause I’ve heard it all before

And I’ve been down there on the floor

No one’s gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong (strong)

I am invincible (invincible)

I am woman

You can bend but never break me

‘Cause it only serves to make me

More determined to achieve my final goal

And I come back even stronger

Not a novice any longer

‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul


Oh yes, I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong (strong)

I am invincible (invincible)

I am woman

I am woman watch me grow

See me standing toe to toe

As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land

But I’m still an embryo

With a long, long way to go

Until I make my brother understand

Oh, yes I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can face anything

I am strong (strong)

I am invincible (invincible)

I am woman


I am woman

I am invincible

I am strong

I am woman

I am invincible

I am strong

I am woman

On Thursday, I sent a message to my friend, Rev. Sonya Brown thanking her once again for the amethyst pendulum and the thought she put into the purchase.  I had looked up different gems and their meanings and the amethyst was exactly what I needed for this journey.  Sonya said she was in tune with my vibe, which she is.  I went on to tell her that I was, (as the young people say), feeling some type of way and to send healing energy.  Sonya asked me to send her a power word and she would beam it back to me for 24 hours.  I thought to myself, power word, hmmm and immediately “invincible” came to mind.

Earlier that morning I read the One Spirit affirmation about water and it reminded me of one of the phrases Sam Christensen used to describe me when I took his workshop in 2009, in DC.  Sam is the creator of Sam Christensen Image Design Process.  “The Process” as created by Sam is the widely known and innovative system that defines personal identity.  Many actors have used his process to define their “lane” so to speak.  My daughter took his class in LA and felt it was worthwhile for me to take.  I did and it was.

The phrase that I am referring to is “the intelligence of water”.  When I first read that out of the many phrases he gave me, I was almost offended, almost.  My daughter Kiya had me to rethink it.  She said, “Water goes with the flow, Mom.  It goes over, under, around and through any obstacle in its way.  It’s a good thing.”  So when I read about water in the OS post, I was reminded of that class.  The word invincible took me to the song and the wording of the song brought me back to water.

I have been faced with many obstacles in the past two years, as I am sure many people have.  These past three weeks have brought car challenges; not just the losing water but no longer having access.  I know I heard Spirit say take this journey and I haven’t heard to end it.  Whatever the reason is for undertaking the journey still exists.  It is definitely an obstacle to not have the car at my disposal but if I truly do have “the intelligence of water” and I do, then it is an obstacle that I can and will overcome.  It is less expensive to drive as opposed to the bus or train plus I can stop anywhere I choose if I drive.  But, where there is a will, there is a way!

Before I spoke with Sonya, I sent my friend Iliana, a text asking if she was free to have a conversation.  Iliana is a coach and was mine for 12 weeks before I left on my journey.  She has a way of getting right to the heart of the matter.  I am honored to have so many friends that I can rely on for advice and strength when needed.  Spirit does speak through them.  We spoke after my conversation with Sonya and I was feeling, oh I don’t know: invincible, maybe?  We still had a coaching session and once again Iliana helped me to “see” what I was feeling.  I am now speaking about the alone feeling.  Iliana said that when we raise our consciousness, we vibrate at a different level than before.  Others may be vibrating where they are and where I was, hence the alone feeling.  It was a reminder that I needed and she vocalized it for me.  It’s not a better or worse vibration but a different one.

I have been so anxious to get going on the next leg of my journey.  I’ve been feeling trapped especially without the car.  I didn’t understand why I was still in Richmond.  Of course, I knew that the car is a reason but I felt that it was taking much too long.  The gypsy bug is biting and I am restless.  To be completely honest, one reason that I wanted to get out of VA is because I felt that those reading the blog would only want to hear about exciting physical places.  But I am on a journey no matter where I am and no matter how long.  It has always been an inward journey even if it manifested outwardly. 

My intent in writing the blog is for me to have a record of my inward and outward journey and to heal from the experiences that I have had, through writing.   I invite people to read because perhaps my healing will help someone else to heal as well.  I, too, want to continue and will continue to go to new, exciting places and to have the adventures I had at Earthaven, however I feel that the most exciting adventure is the one taking place inside me.

On Friday, my friend Octavia and I drove to Greensboro to her sister Laurie’s house.  We came to Greensboro to attend a wine festival on Friday and a Juneteenth festival on Saturday.  When we attended the Funk Soul 2014 wine festival, the singer, Doby told us about the Summer Solstice festival at the Arboretum on Saturday.  I celebrate all of the solstices and equinoxes so I was definitely feeling it.  The soul fest was an outdoor event.  The food and music were wonderful.  When it rained we sat under the tent and continued to enjoy the singing.  I asked Doby to take a picture with me and she did.  She said she noticed me when I came in, (it was the hair), and she thought I was beautiful.  I told her I felt the same when I saw her picture on the flyer.  Goddesses recognize each other.

On Saturday we attended the Sumner Solstice festival.  It was a huge event with folks dressed as fairies and elves.  There were singers and dancers, a parade, a fire bowl, the releasing of butterflies and many other activities.  I had my face painted as a butterfly.  I love butterflies because of the transformation they undergo.  They start out in a dark cocoon as a caterpillar and emerge as a beautiful winged creature that can soar.  Since we also wanted to attend the Juneteenth celebration, we left to go to Winston Salem.

The Juneteenth celebration was not as large as the Summer Solstice but it was a nice event.  Periodically the voice of Maya Angelou would come across the loud speaker as she recited her works.  There were pictures and replicas of the slave ships that our ancestors were brought in to America.  It’s not comfortable to watch but I feel it is necessary for our history.  There was a jazz band which was very good, a natural hair show and a gospel group.  When it looked as if it were going to rain, we left.  We went by the house of a friend of Laurie’s whose father’s funeral was yesterday to pay our respect.  The weekend was very full but tiring.  We were glad to come back to the house to shower and relax.

Let’s see where my travels will take me next.

Until next Sunday…

Merry part and merry meet again,

Gypsi Mama Michelle


Monday, June 16, 2014

Journey 5: RVA and NYC

Merry meet friends!

Michelle here bringing lots of love and light

 Each day I am learning even more that Spirit, Creator, The Universe, Source, God, Goddess and All That Is or whatever name you use is guiding us, directing our path and leading us into all good and the becoming of who we are.  We make our plans and set about bringing them to fruition; sometimes they happen and sometimes they don’t.

When I was staying at Earthaven I decided that when I left I would stay in Asheville for the month of June.  I didn’t check with Spirit on that decision.  I felt that until I heard which direction to travel that I was free to go where I wanted.  I felt that the Universe supported me in that decision because I was supposed to stay with Hannah’s mom rent free as a work exchanger for the month of June.  When that fell through, I still wanted to stay in Asheville because I love it.  It is so very progressive and I feel at home there.  Again, I didn’t check with Spirit as to where to go after The Herbal Immersion.  Asheville is 30 minutes away from Marshall, so I thought, why not? 

When I came to Richmond before the Immersion, I didn’t have time to do all that I needed to do for the car.  It needed to be registered by the end of June and inspected by the end of July.  Because of that, I felt there was no rush as long as I did it by that time.  So I went ahead with my plans to stay in Asheville.  Well the last post let you know how that turned out!  Apparently I am not supposed to be in Asheville at this time or I would be there. 

Everything happens in the time frame of Spirit.  Had I stayed in NC, I would not have been in Richmond to help my friend Octavia celebrate her birthday; she has always helped me celebrate mine.  I met with my friend Linda by chance who took me to a mechanic about the mirror.  Had I not received a price from him that I didn’t want to pay, I would not have had prices to compare.  I would not have been around another mechanic who knows why the car is losing water and is able to repair it. 

When I realized I wouldn’t be in NC, I decided well, I’ll go to New Mexico sooner than I’d planned.  I did check with Spirit to know NM was where I was headed but I didn’t check the when.  I’ve been driving my youngest son Jason’s, car for the last 5 years.  He lives in NY and parking is horrible and garaging it is costly.  I needed a car so he loaned me his.  I found out on Tuesday that Jason is in the process of moving to Richmond at the end of June for a couple of months while he is on leave from his job.  He will need his car.

 I wanted to leave for NM as soon as the water situation was handled which will be later this week.  Following my plan, had I not called Jason to see if he needed the car, I would have been on the way west when the car needs to be here.  So now I will be traveling by Greyhound since I have a destination.  The funny thing is that I had just been asked by my friend Millie on Monday, what I would do if I didn’t have the car.  We were discussing the water situation. This was before I knew the mechanic had a take on it.  I told her my journey would continue by bus.  I thought about the bus before I started the journey but not knowing where I would be going would make buying a ticket difficult.  In retrospect though, I could have looked at the destinations at the bus terminal and inquired of Spirit, “where to?”  

So now being in Richmond makes sense because I have to pare down my belongings to a suitcase and backpack.  I have discovered that we never need as much as we think we do.  My friend Cher travels a lot and told me once how she had learned to take the essentials and plenty of scarves.  Good advice, but I’d like to work in NM, so for me, that means jewelry and shoes.  What can I say, I love them both.  Help Cher, please!  Even in a car traveling from place to place one can accumulate MORE.  Gypsies traveled with all of their belongings though, in a covered wagon, no less.  I guess I’m really a gypsy, not only at heart but in all.

My cousin Debbie told me about a site called “Getaway Dealz”.  It has certain places like resorts, around the country where one can stay for 4 nights and 3 days or vice versa for as little as $59.  I looked it up and found three different places in TN.  All of them are about 3 hours from Nashville.  On the way west I want to stop in Lexington, KY to see my friend Whitney and go to TN from there.  I can’t beat the prices and would get to stay in a resort like place.  I’d have to listen to an hour and a half presentation on time sharing but who cares?  Now if you’re paying attention, you should have noticed that I said “I” want to visit KY and TN.  Had Spirit been consulted? Noooo, but it’s on the way to NM and so I felt it was ok.  Sigh.  Never fear Spirit has been consulted finally!

I have an oncologist appointment, a 6 month mammogram checkup and a physical all in the last week of June.  I was going to ignore them since I wouldn’t be here but now I don’t know.  I am however ignoring the mammogram.  I have no desire to have more radiation in my body.  If they wish, the doctor can give me a thermogram {?}, I believe it’s called.  At any rate no more mammograms for me!’

On Friday the 13th, I traveled to NY to see my stepson, his friend and my grandchildren, along with my son Jason, of course.  On Friday evening we had dinner and decided to walk to Fairway, a health food store.  We felt raindrops and Jason said we should head back to the apartment.  I felt that we could be done before the rain hit hard.  Jason was looking at the weather on the phone and said it was going to start at 6 and continue until morning.  I kept saying, oh it will be fine; it will lighten up by the time we are ready to leave.  So we continued on and I was in heaven with the store! I strolled along looking at everything.  When we got to the front door after checkout, there was a monsoon.  Jason said I told you so. 

We stood at the door with everyone else waiting.  Finally Jason said he would walk to get an umbrella from the man on the corner.  He felt he wouldn’t be able to get a taxi; it was Friday, after 6 and raining.  He took so long that I went to see what the problem was.  Jason was hailing a taxi!  He felt that by the time he walked to two corners he would be soaked, as if that wasn’t happening hailing the taxi!  He finally succeeded and we got there in one piece but extremely wet.  I told Jay to take a hot shower and change.  It’s what moms do.

Saturday I went to see my friend Iliana in Brooklyn.  It was a nice visit.  I have missed seeing my seminary friends.  Sad I didn’t get to see Rev. Sonya Brown and others.  That evening one of the grandchildren became ill and went to the emergency room.  We went to be with her for a while.  Afterwards we had dinner at a Peruvian Restaurant.  The chicken was delicious!  I sat up and watched a movie, then went to bed.

On Sunday I went to Jason’s church.  They speak so highly of him there, it makes a mom proud.  He led the prayer before the sermon and the boy can pray (not the first time I’ve heard him).  Later we went back to the hospital to see the grandchild.  She was much better.  I had planned to go to Zoe’s Restaurant in SoHo, my friend Cher’s daughter’s restaurant.  My granddaughter felt better and wanted to sight see since her sister and brother were out shopping.  We toured Manhattan, Fifth Avenue, museums, and Ground Zero.  It was a full day and after 8pm when we finished.  By this time we were all hungry and the game was on, so we went to eat and watch the game.  It was another full, exhausting day but a good day. 

Hopefully my car will be ready and I can hit the road once again.  Westward bound!

Until next Sunday, not Monday (lol)

Merry part and merry meet again…..

Gypsi Mama Michelle



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Journey 4: Aheville, NC/Richmond. VA/ Baltimore, MD

Merry meet friends….

Michelle here bringing lots of love and light!

When I attended the Herbal Immersion last week, there were two other women of color there.  Both of them have beautiful locks and started them themselves.  I have decided that I want to lock my hair because I will be traveling and don’t want to spend the time, energy or money on it.  Both of them suggested that I start with braids and not twists due to the soft texture of my hair.  I started braiding my hair in the back but didn’t finish.  So on Wednesday afternoon I told one of them that my braids weren’t staying together.  She got up and began to re braid my hair.  When the other saw that, she started new braids on the side of my head.  They didn’t get to finish because the afternoon session was starting.  I can’t explain it but I felt something ancient and ancestral as they braided.  I was being attended to as an elder Crone.

The word “crone” has had a negative connotation in our society:

“Crone is not the disregarded old hag that is defined by Webster but rather as the fulfillment of female life experiences and wisdom.”

” When we first hear the word “Crone” we cringe.  Dreadful images appear before us, some not so flattering but as we continue to explore the true meaning of this word we find ourselves captivated by the meaning it extends to us.   The word Crone is derived from the Tradition of the Triple Goddess depicting the 3 stages of a woman’s development…birth: innocent, virginal; maiden: wife, mother, and finally elder: wise-woman, crone.  The Crone is a being of age old wisdom and was widely recognized for her wisdom, knowledge and spirituality.  At the time of menopause, it is said that she herself can partake of its Wisdom.  In many older cultures she became known as crone or hag, words whose original meaning meant “wise one”, revered elder of the circle.” … From Crone, Wise Women, Elders

On Tuesday evening when we had our youngest to elder sharing, we sat in a circle as we always did, but in that order.  I was the next to the eldest there but the eldest woman of color.  When it was my turn to share I mentioned that in listening to them share, I knew that we were all on a journey; a journey of self-discovery, and no matter the age, we would always be on one. 

On Friday, the last day of the Immersion, as we formed a circle outside in nature, we were sage smudged by Jackie.  When she got to me, as she turned me around to sage the back, she uttered the words “wisdom keeper”.  It went through me like electricity.  I felt it all over and I accepted her proclamation over me.  I AM a Crone, a Wise Woman and an Elder.  I am honored to have gone through all of the stages of womanhood and the life experiences to have this title bestowed upon me.  After the smudging we called in the ancestors from the four directions, we sang a song acknowledging each other as Goddesses in a dance, individually we were sung to by the group calling us by name, then we closed the circle (closed but never broken). 

I went into Asheville with the women who braided my hair to look around and spend more time together before they left for Charlotte where one was catching the bus.  When the two sisters left me in Asheville, I sat in the car trying to hear Spirit to determine where to stay.  I felt that I was supposed to stay in Asheville for a couple of weeks.  I also felt that someone at the immersion might have known of someplace to stay so I didn’t inquire into anything.  There is a hostel called Sweet Pea in Asheville that is very inexpensive but I had been told by someone that it was more than I wanted to pay.  When I called I found out the rates, which were good, but they were booked and so was the other hostel.  I decided to get something to eat at the vegetarian restaurant.  When I finished the waiter said come back.  I told him I wasn’t from there and was actually looking for a place to stay.  He gave me a website called “airbnb”.  It lists people who have opened their homes to host people for a minimum of two nights.  So naturally I felt that Spirit had led me to the restaurant.

I downloaded the website.  I found several inexpensive places but all of them were booked for the two nights, Friday and Saturday.  Finally I found one available for two nights and lo and behold, it was an intentional community in West Asheville and the woman was also a member of Earthaven!  I immediately requested a booking at 7pm.  By 8pm I had not heard from her so I went to a store to use the bathroom.  I thought the store was open all night and decided I was going to sleep in the car.  The store closed at 9pm and it started to rain.  The woman sent a text around 9 and said she wouldn’t be in town but for me to enjoy.  I wasn’t sure if she was saying I could stay without her there or not because others were in the house.  I sent another text and waited.  In the meantime I decided to go to the community so that if she called, I would be there. This car has lights that come on automatically but I couldn’t see so I cut on the other lights.  I arrived in the community and waited.  By 10pm I had not heard anything and so I started checking motels in the area.  I finally found a Motel 6 with a vacancy.  The car would not start!  I had forgotten to turn off the lights and it drained the battery.

I called roadside assistance and could not get through.  A young man was walking his dog and I asked if he knew someone with jumper cables.  He said he had some and would return.  I called my friend Celeste to stay with me on the phone.  It is a safe neighborhood and he looked safe enough but so did Ted Bundy.  He returned and gave me a jump.  The car didn’t initially start but it did after a few moments.  I thanked him and Celeste and drove to the motel.  I decided to stay for two nights in order to hear Spirit.  When I went to the room, I didn’t like the location because it was on the end and I couldn’t park the car in front of it.  I called and requested another room and was told they were booked.  Mind you, I had been told earlier that I didn’t need a reservation because there were plenty of rooms.  I asked if I could switch the next day and was told yes.  I inserted the key in the lock and it didn’t work, not once, but three times.  On the third try a man shouted from the room, “What’s going on?”  I apologized and went back to the office.  I was told a room had just become available.  I said so if one had not, I’d be out of luck, I guess.  SMH.  The key worked this time and I was able to relax.

I sat and talked with Spirit about this entire situation.  I’m on a Spirit led journey and I’m to hear what to do and where to go.  My lesson in this is, yes listen to and for Spirit about where to go but once known, see what places are in the area to stay.  I was so convinced someone at the immersion would give me a lead in Asheville that I did not follow through on a place.  I am too much with my thinking.  What a way to  learn a lesson!  The next day in talking with my friend, Millie, I said I wasn’t sure where I was going but I needed to handle the car registration, inspection and why it was losing water.  On that call I decided clearly (duh) that I needed to come back to Richmond to handle business.  In talking to my sister, Net, it was suggested that I get a refund on the second night and leave that day. I took her suggestion.  I was going into downtown Asheville to “The Green Sage” restaurant which I like.  On the way from the motel, I got turned around and pulled over to check the GPS.  I looked up and I saw a restaurant.  I thought to myself, you’re on an adventure, do something different.  I ate there, enjoyed it and the quaint part of Asheville, which I hadn’t seen before. 

I drove 6 hours nonstop because I hate to stop unless I have to do so.  I’ve now taken care of the registration.  When I returned to Earthaven from Greensboro at Easter, it was dark, no pitch black, when I arrived.  Someone was in the parking space that I normally used.  It was too dark and I was without my flashlight, so I couldn’t park where most people do.  I decided to go into the driveway.  Whether it was my eyesight, the darkness or the gate not being fully opened or all three, I do not know but I tore the passenger side mirror off of the car!  The car couldn’t be inspected without it.  I found a mirror for $45 after being told by repair shop it would cost $90 and my estranged husband put it on saving a labor cost. I can get it inspected now but still don’t know why it’s losing water though.

My friend Octavia’s birthday was Friday, June 6 and she was celebrating by attending the Capital Area Jazz festival in Maryland and we both wanted me to go.  It worked out that I was able to go (thanks Laurie and others).  We had a great time and I’m happy I went because I’m westward bound next and I have no idea when I will see Richmond again.  I’m back in VA to get the car inspected.  If I don’t go to NY this weekend to see my step son and grandchildren, I’ll be heading out soon for New Mexico with stops along the way. I have heard New Mexico in my spirit since 2007.  I think it’s time for me to see why.

Until next Sunday……..Merry part and merry meet again.

Gypsi Mama Michelle


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Journey 3: Marshall, NC/Southeast Wise Woman Herbal Immersion

Merry Meet Friends!
Michelle here bringing lots of light and love!

Wow, what a fantastic week! The SE Wise Woman Herbal Immersion was the best gift I could have gifted myself.  The sign at the entrance to the room we met in said: The Red Tent; Wild Women of all ages and stages.  I knew that I was in the right place but that sealed the deal!  Corinna Wood is a gifted teacher and herbalist and her assistants, Jenna, Jackie, Laurie and Virginia made us feel as if we had known each other for years.  It is a pleasure to be in the company of like minded women always and this was immensely pleasurable.  The Immersion was held at Bend of Ivy Lodge which is absolutely gorgeous, rooms were comfortable and clean and the food was wholesome and delicious. 

We started our week on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 5pm.  First we individually stated our name and did a gesture that we felt described us.  Our name and the gesture was repeated back to us by the group.  Then we played, Anyone Else?, a game in which we stated a fact or facts about ourselves and asked, Anyone Else?.  Then the person or persons would step into the circle with us, acknowledging the commonality.  Each who wished took a turn.  It was a wonderful way to get to know each other.  Then we went outside to do our first plant walk.  Afterwards we formed a circle, sang a blessing and sat down to a delicious dinner.  In the evening we held our opening ceremony outside.  We formed a circle around the fire pit as the staff played drums and we sang songs to Gaia.

Every morning we started our sessions with a song, shaking ourselves loose and breathing deeply.  We took plant walks every day to identify wild plants for food and medicine.  On Monday afternoon we made herbal medicines with plants we collected.  Monday evening there was a circle of youngest to elder.  If we wished we could stand in the middle of the circle and share something with our sisters.  Each one of us did.  Tuesday we discussed women's health issues in the morning session.  In our afternoon plant walk, Corinna said to the women that when she awakened she had a thought to honor me as a breast cancer survivor and thriver and the eldest woman of color in the group.  She asked if they were willing to pick medicinal plants to make an infusion to gift to me.  They all agreed and each one after picking the plant came to me and paid their respect.  I was deeply moved and of course cried.  What a lovely way to be honored.

On Tuesday afternoon by the river, we did gentle yoga stretches.  On Tuesday night we watched The Burning Times, a documentary about women accused of being witches for meeting in circles.  If actual burnings were still happening in the US, we would all have been burned.  It was difficult to watch that film as it is any film of injustice, prejudice and inhumane treatment.  The only thing that made it somewhat bearable was the organic popcorn. Yummy!  On Wednesday morning we used a talking stick to discuss our feelings about the film.  Afterwards we discussed nourishing foods for our bodies.  Corinna said something that gave me the answer to why I had been snacking in Greensboro and not in Earthaven.  Our bodies are always or usually hungry for food because we don't get the vitamins and minerals from foods that are non organic and processed.  When we eat nourishing wholesome foods we don't feel the need to snack as often or at all.  That is so true.

Nettle soup was made with the nettles collected that morning and boy was it delicious!  Wednesday night we had free time.  Some of the group went into Asheville and the rest of us went to Hot Springs for the hot tubs near the French Broad River.  I started not to go but I'm glad I did.  We shared more and the water was very healing for the sore knees and legs some of us had from all the plant walks up and down hills.  When we returned to the lodge, the Asheville group hadn't returned yet.  We played the cupid shuffle song and I taught the women the line dance.  As we were dancing the other women came in and joined in the fun.  I said to them it would be nice to present the dance to Corinna and staff.  One of the women, Michelle, (I was called Mickie to cut down on confusion) suggested that we "flash mob" Corinna.  I never heard the term before but its when someone or a group comes up to a person or persons and starts to dance.  We practiced with one of the staff members, Virginia, which is who found the song.

On Thursday morning Corinna didn't attend the morning session for the plant ID quiz so we were upset about the line dance.  The plan was for me to ask if I could teach a body movement, cue the music, get on the floor and signal the other women.  I thought about it and felt Corinna would ask me to share it at that night's sharing.  I went to her assistant, Jenna and told her about the dance.  Jenna said I was correct about what would be said, so just to do it and Corinna would love it.  We changed it to everyone going out together when we heard the music. When Corinna came down she moved to the other end of the room which kind of threw me because we practiced from the other way.  That's from being in my head too much.  Corinna was ready to go outside for our plant walk so everyone looked to me as to what to do.  I was just as confused and finally said let's do it!  The music was loud and Corinna, thinking it was an audio mistake started dancing until she saw synchronized movement.  SHE absolutely loved it!  Later we did it for Deva, the cook and Corinna asked, "May I dance this time?"  We laughed and said of course.  AT the end of the dance she said, "I knew it would pay off having women of color." 

In Thursday's afternoon session we communicated with plants and learned about herbal first aid.. Later we made tinctures.  That night we dressed in red for our Red Tent sharing.  We could teach a dance, share thoughts or give whatever we wished to share.  It was wonderful.  On Friday, our last day, we made a healing salve and talked about where to go from here.  After a beautiful lunch, we had our closing ceremony out in the woods.  Of course, there were plenty of tears.  There is so much I'm not writing but it was overwhelming and I don't know if I could write it all.  I have been to many conferences, some mixed and some just for women, but never have I felt as moved, grateful and loved by people who didn't know each other six days before.  We formed a bond that I hope will not be broken. 

Until next Sunday.....
Merry part and merry meet again,
Gypsi Mama Michelle