Intentions for 2015

We sat down last week with our journals, colored pens and some margaritas, to discuss our goals and intentions for 2015.

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…and, since one day of eating and dreaming was apparently not enough, we decided to add another.

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We talked about some of our goals, desires and hopes for the year. We talked about what we wanted to leave behind in 2014 and what we wanted to cultivate in 2015.

We thought we would share some of our personal individual intentions and our shared ones. We will be expounding on these thoughts throughout the year and sharing how they are blossoming into realities. This space will hold us accountable and remind us of the fresh excitement we currently feel going into this new year.

Ang

One of my intentions this year is to let the universe know what I want. I am going to intend to be more confident about sharing my goals and desires and share them with others. Often, I feel embarrassed or afraid to talk about my goals, dreams and intentions. What if they sound stupid? What if they never ever happen? Although those fears are still a reality, I want to start addressing them by speaking up about them with those that I trust.

I would also like to intend to make sure that I am doing everything that I personally can to make those desires a reality. If I am going to ask the universe for something, am I putting my best effort into making it a reality or am I just waiting for it to fall on my lap?

I especially want to apply this in the realms of my career, my yoga and self-care. I feel changes and growth coming in all of those areas and I feel nervous even typing that, but I am putting it out there to let everyone know these are areas I need to improve upon.

Ed

My intentions for the coming year are to grow spiritually not only in my relationship with the Creator but allowing it to influence all areas of my life. As Angelina and I sat making our list, we talked about spirituality not only being about a deity but a way of life.  I’d like it to influence my eating habits, recreational time and work life.

One thing I was reminded of during my injury was that the body already knows how to take care of itself.  I don’t need to do anything except relax and allow it to take over; one thing I do need to do is respect it as its own entity and treat it with respect.  The best way I can start doing that is by slowly changing what I put into it.  Angelina has been very influential in the last couple of days as she has been doing a lot of reading about diet and how it influences some of our bodies reactions.

I’m not going to start the new year in a rush to start all these new ideas on day one; instead, all I’m going to do is speak the intention out loud and allow the universe to respond – as it always does.

Ang & Ed

While talking this all out, we discovered that our sister brains were connected and we have some shared intentions. We will exploring these ideas a little deeper in future posts, but some of them are:

  • Get over ourselves! Realize we are not the ones who need to fix everyone else’s problems all the time and sometimes offering the best type of help by letting them discover their path on their own.
  • Be realistic with what we can and cannot do.
  • Turn our guilt into gratitude.
  • Realizing we have not “arrived” yet and continue on our journey, not forcing a destination upon ourselves.

Spiritual Bahanas

And, finally our intention for our blog for this year is to cultivate a community. We have realized how incredibly important sisterhood is in our journey. We have been a great support system for one another and want to extend that love out to all of our readers. We hope to do that by sharing more about our own selves, feeling safe to be vulnerable about our journeys and invite you to do the same. We extend that invitation to you to connect through the comments section or by email.

We have a few plans in the works to interact more with our readers and will hopefully have a new site design to unveil soon and were also talking about some potential guest bloggers.

We truly hope you enjoyed reading about our intentions and goals for the year. Please share your hopes for this year with us in the comments!

In love & sisterhood,

~Ang & Ed

2015 Intentions

Field Trip: Wild the Movie

Ed & I saw Wild last week. I was skeptical about this movie. I read the book when it was first released, back in March 2012 and it is so close to my heart. I never know what to expect when a book is adapted to a film, but fortunately, this movie delivered and Reece Witherspoon did a wonderful job portraying one of my heroes, Cheryl Strayed.

In March 2012, my life was about to change forever. The universe was about to take one of my legs out from under me, but, little did I know, it was sending me small guides along the way to act as a crutch on the journey.  Looking back, I know realize how many things had been set into motion before this month, in preparation. An unplanned trip to the bookstore was one of them.

I was drawn to this book on a random Barnes & Noble trip, when it was first released. I saw it on the new release table and a quick read of the cover drew me right in. It was about a young woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail alone. I was sold. I have hiked small portions of this trail and I am determined one day to hike it in it’s entirety. Reading as much as I can about the trail can only help, right?

The book and movie did an accurate job of portraying the backpackers plight. I remember the first moments I put on my too heavy backpack, for my first trip into the wilderness and thinking “I can NOT do this.” I remember those first agonizing steps and thinking, “whose fucking idea was this?!” I also remember the freedom I found on that trail. I found freedom from fear and attachment. All I had to help me survive was on my back and that is a pretty cool feeling.

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my first backpacking trip, in the Rocky Mountains

This book was about SO much more than information about the trail (although she did provide that). Cheryl Strayed loses her mother when she is in her early 20s and this seems to be the triggering event that sets off her life into an uncontrollable, downward spiral.

Cheryl Strayed gave me an excellent road map for what it was going to be like to lose a parent as a young adult. I was reading this book on the evening of March 28th, 2012. In the section I was reading, Cheryl had just lost her mother and was describing the heart wrenching aftermath. I remember it shaking me up and offering silent gratitude that my parents were still living.

At that very moment, my dad was taking his last breaths.

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I found out a few hours later that my father had been the victim of a homicide, and I had lost him to an act of violence. Over the next week of shock, disbelief and chaos, Wild kept starring at me.

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I was absolutely terrified to open that book. I knew it was going to force me to face feelings I was not ready to face. I also knew, I needed to face them and ready or not, I did.

Cheryl Strayed helped me to start to grieve. She laid out the trail for me, showed me what it was going to be lost. The feelings of loss, of being lost, of anger, of gut-wrenching sadness. She showed me what was coming and I will always be grateful for that.

In love & sisterhood,

~Ang

“The father’s job is to teach his children how to be warriors, to give them the confidence to get on the horse to ride into battle when it’s necessary to do so. If you don’t get that from your father, you have to teach yourself.”

As a former conservative Catholic, I LOVED THIS STORY!  In the past, I would have compared, judged and dismissed Cheryl Strayed as a lost soul.  If I hadn’t evolved my spiritual beliefs, I would have missed a real good story.  What attracted me the most about this brave woman was the unconventional way she reached her truth.

Life can happen at any moment, and where ever we find ourselves along the journey is how we’ll respond to any given situation.  Cheryl’s mom died while she was still young and the way she responded was to throw caution to the wind: she slept with random strangers, divorced her husband and even tried heroin.  This definitely is not the best way of dealing with ones issues but I understand why she went to the extreme in trying to understand what was going on around her.

Life is not easy; it has many twists and turns that can either be positive or negative.  One of the things I’ve learned through spirituality is that God cannot take away the negative – no matter how much I want to pray it away.  Slowly, as I start to trust in the idea of free willI’m starting to see that the whole mentality behind the devil made me do it is really a lack of personal responsibility.  But there are many roads that lead to truth and Cheryl Strayed’s journey is just one of many.

Peace,
Ed

 

Music Monday: The Wild Woman Version

Last week, Ed & I went to see Wild, a movie based on the book of the same name, by Cheryl Strayed.

The book is the autobiographical story of when Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail.  This book resounded with me on so many personal levels. I initially bought it because hiking the Pacific Crest Trails is a dream of mine that I truly hope becomes an attainable goal.

However, the book is about so much more than a long hike. Cheryl Strayed gets hit by life hard and responds by letting her whole world fall apart. She makes bad decision after decision and hastily embarks on this hike.

Ed & I could relate to her plight in a number of different ways. We have each had our moments of being that wild woman and letting our lives spin out of control before us. We have each tackled our own trails, getting lost and found along the way.

This song by another wild woman about a wild woman truly captures the essence of being that woman who rings like a bell through the night.

Here’s to all of our sisters who take to the sky like a bird in flight.

Hair In A Bun Friday: Allowing Someone Else to Tie My Hair In A Bun

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. Mother Teresa

I took a nasty, nasty fall about two weeks ago. As I was rinsing myself off in the shower, I slipped backwards falling out of the shower door, slipped again on the wet tile and landed on my left arm. As I was falling, I heard two cracks near my shoulder as I came to a rest on the cold wet floor.

I had my whole Christmas vacation planned out: I wanted this time to be quiet, with lots of spiritual renewal that included reading, meditation and morning mass. All those plans were scrapped after I fractured my left shoulder in two places. I’ve been in bed ever since. I’ve attempted to go out but can only sustain about an hour before the pain starts to return.

One of the things I wanted to focus on during this time of renewal was to set the intention of becoming more present. I’ve learned how to be many things but haven’t taken the time to learn how to be human. I guess I was in line with what I needed to learn, but the way I had planned on learning it wasn’t in line with the Spirit.

Instead of praying about it in a dark chapel, with only myself and God, the Spirit had other methods instead.

While in bed, I thanked the Lord for all he had blessed me with during the first days of my injury; especially for the surprise blessings. My landlady drove me immediatly to the hospital and made sure to ask all the right questions I couldn’t think of due to the shock of the fall. I thanked the Spirit for Angelina as she was the first sister I text while I was on my way to the emergency room. Her first response was, “what can I do to help you out?” I thanked the Lord for my warm bed and a job that allowed me to take an extra week off without hesitation.

On one occasion, I was tired of being cooped up in the house and needed to get out for some air. I decided to get pancakes at my new favorite restaurant – The Pancake House. The manager who is very hands on, saw that I was injured and offered to butter my pancakes for me as well as pour the syrup. My usual response would have been, “no, that’s ok, I can do it.” This time, instead of thinking about what others would think, or the awkwardness of allowing someone to do something for me, I said “yes” without hesitation and welcomed the help.

Over the last several weeks, due to the injury, I’ve learned something about the human body. My arm needed to swell two times its normal size in order to hold the fractured parts of the bone in place so that it could heal. It was painful as hell, but at the same time, it was a reminder that the body already knows how to take care of itself.

Yesterday, when I went to service, all I could muster was a pair of jeans, a black t-shirt and my hair (imaginatively) tied up in a sloppy bun. As I sat in the pew with other worshippers who were dressed to the nines smelling of expensive perfumes and colognes, I clutched my broken arm tight as I felt the pangs of vulnerability take over my body. As much as I’ve been blessed, the human experience of being vulnerable can sometimes be a little too much.

As I type this blog, it’s becoming a lot more clearer that I have learned something of what it means to be human. It may not have been the way I wanted to learn it, but I’m thankful for the experience.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Ed

The Grinch And The Island of Misfit Toys

I have not celebrated Christmas (or Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.) for the past four years.

Many years before I finally decided to officially stop celebrating, I only did so begrudgingly. I  have not liked holidays for years and when I met my husband, he confessed he also hated them and we decided together we would stop doing something we despised and we cancelled all holidays in our house. Except for halloween, because we love any excuse to dress up.

My hatred of holidays started many years ago, when I was a teenager. Like most children of divorce, I felt torn on the holidays, like I should be with both sides of my family and feeling guilty about wherever I was. My mom was supportive and understanding, but I still felt bad when I left her and was not celebrating the entire day with her. I remember thinking, “I really don’t want to do any of this.” I wished I could stay home with my mom and not have to be faced with guilt ridden decisions.

As an adult, I relish the independence and try to be mindful not to re-create painful childhood patterns. I felt I could put those guilt ridden feelings associated with holidays in my past, however they manifested themselves in other ways.

I started to feel there was so much obligation associated with holidays. I felt obliged to buy more and more for people. I begin to see how much of the holidays were driven by consumption, greed and waste. I felt overwhelmed by whatever the newest trends where and what I had to get people. I now realize how much of this is fueled by capitalistic greed driven by corporations and the push to buy more and more things that are not necessary and harmful to our planet in their creation.

I also begin to see how bad the holidays could make people feel about their situations. I work as a high school counselor, and I begin to hear from some of my students how difficult this time is for them. I think the expectation of the season can make others who are not able to meet those expectations feel bad about themselves and their families. I remember thinking after talking to some kids “why do we even do this?!” Many families do not have the means to buy extravagant presents or have a gathering, I feel awful that the expectation of what you are supposed to do has made them feel bad.

Being a vegan has also made the holidays less enjoyable. I will spare you all a rant, but will say amount of animals raised and killed to be served on a platter this season makes so incredibly sad. I hate that Thanksgiving, an alleged day of gratitude, is based around the slaughter of thousands of turkeys per year. There was a time when I would I would make all my own vegan food and bring it with me to each function, but it was still difficult to be celebrating a day that was based on the meaningless murder of animals.

With all my grinchiness laid in front of you, I will admit that I know the holidays are not defined this way for everyone. I know some people do an incredible job to frame those days in gratitude, giving and love. However, I have found it hard to do for myself and have found so much relief in not taking part in any of the madness.

I am fortunate enough to have time off for the holidays (one week at Thanksgiving, two weeks for Christmas) and I use it to the fullest advantage. I generally travel during this time. In the past four years, I have spent Christmas week in New York, hiking up and down The Grand Canyon, exploring Mexico and soaking in the beauty of Colorado.

I think the picture below sums it up well. My sister is the one on Santa’s lap crying and I am the one in the pink, mad about being forced to participate in the nonsense.

4242549134_8fb1f7b52a_o Happy Holidays to you, if you celebrate and cheers to you if you don’t!

In love and grinchiness,

~Ang

“I want to be a dentist!” Herbie the Elf

Since I can remember, I’ve always loved Christmas. As a young gay, it was everything my heart desired real life to be: tinsel, sparkling lights, ginger bread houses and Rudolf. As a child I never understood – and sometimes I still don’t get – real life. When I was in school it was always more of a burden rather than a delight; whether I was in elementary, junior high, or high school, I never really felt that I fit in.

When Christmas vacation came around, I fully lost myself in the holiday; relishing in the extra time off, the pretty decorations, relatives and toys.

One of my favorite Christmas cartoons of all time was and still is: Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. When I was younger, there was something about that show which spoke to my subconscious. I always related to Herbie and Rudolf’s journey into self discovery; a journey which ultimitly leads them to the Island of Misfit Toys.

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When they arrive on the island and we find out its inhabitants are a bunch of irregular toys, something inside of me wished I could go there, stay and never leave. On those cold January mornings, on the first day back to school after the Christmas holiday, I’d often dream about the island as I sat in back of the bus waiting for the inevitable to begin.

When I watch the cartoon today, I realize things really haven’t changed much. One of the main reasons for starting Spiritual Bahana was to exercise the creative spirit; when real life becomes too much and I’ve exhausted the Lord’s ear in prayer, I need another form of escape. That’s why I still relate to it some thirty years later. This time around, I find that my spiritual sister Angelina has joined me as well.

This is Angelina - hiiiiii!

This is Angelina – hiiiiii!

I dedicate this next song to all our sisters this Christmas who are struggling this holiday just to “fit in.”

Music Monday: The Vacation Edition

This Monday officially kicks of my two week vacation. This break is so ridiculously needed and I am so grateful to say I have little planned.

My husband and I are both school district employees and fortunate enough to have the same vacations. Generally, during our breaks, we have a plane ticket ready, a camping trip booked or our backpacks set to hike. I thrive on the adventure and the opportunity to explore.

However, we both agreed that this break, we truly needed to relax, renew and EXHALE.

I am reveling in the knowledge that I have very little planned. I am sure there will be a day or two of hiking, some camping, some day tripping….or not. The freedom of these next two weeks is deeeeeeelish.

I am looking forward to HOURS on my couch with my hello kitty blanket, a massive cup of tea and entertained by books, blogs or Netflix.

I absolutely LOVED this song when it came out and I can relate so well, even today. I am in need of having “Just One of Dem Days” multiple times in a row. I promise nothing is wrong, but I need to just be. I do not want to talk, solve problems, plan or be productive.

I think a lot of our sisters hour there can relate to this song. I want to hear from you! Tell me, what helps when you are having just one of dem days?

Hair in a Bun Friday: When that Bun is BARELY Hanging On

Hi all! This is Ang here with this week’s edition of Hair in a Bun Friday. Ed is still under the weather and any positive vibes, prayers and love sent out to him are appreciated!

On this Friday, even my bun is barely hanging in there. For most people who work in education or for our sisters who may still currently be pursuing their education, this time of year is exhausting (to say the least) and it has taken us so much energy to get to this point.

I know for my fellow educators at the secondary level, we are busy with finals, grades and students pleading their case at the last minute. For my friends at the primary love (God bless you, seriously. It takes a very special person to work in that capacity!), I know you are busy with holiday pageants, parties, crafts and other last minute details before the winter break.

For those who may still be on the hustle for their education, I remember those days leading up to finals, cramming for tests and frantically typing papers.

But, we made it here! This Friday is typically the last day for most, before we get a very well-deserved break.

I am heading off for my last day of work, before settling in to two blissful weeks off! I have two dishes prepared for different potlucks, I have last minute business to wrap up and kids to check in with before the break. I really hope my bun can hang in there for one more day and then, I am shaking my hair out and metaphorically letting it all go for the next two weeks.

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We want to hear from you! Please comment and let us know what is putting your hair in a bun this Friday?

In love & sisterhood,

~Ang