primordial being

primordial being

Primordial Being
Rich, fertile chaos
Foundation of all life
Mobility of all movement
Deep chasm of all depth
Ground of aliveness
Ancient, eternal, luminous darkness
Volatile, guttural, primal, surging
Awe-full, wonder-full
Claim me
shake me, break me, take me
Dissolve the structures within
that try to hold you down
that try to pretty you up
that try to shape and control you
Move me
in your natural rhythms and cycles
in your spontaneous and perfect unfolding
in the natural order of all things

life practices: spring equinox

My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

Kuan Yin and Spring SnowSpring Equinox occurs midway between the longest night of the year, at Winter Solstice, and the longest day of the year, at Summer Solstice. It is called an Equinox from the Latin “equal” and “night,” but in reality, the equality of day and night is only approximate and depends on your geographic location! In 2013, the Spring Equinox occurs at 6:02 am Central Time on March 20th.

Following on Winter’s long, cold, inward time, it is natural for us to be ready for the new life and new beginnings which Spring Equinox promises. Many cultures celebrate the Spring Equinox, which often has a connotation of beginning a new year or cycle, with celebrations such as Nowruz (Zoroastrians, Ba’hai and Persians) and Ostara (Celtic, Wiccan, and NeoPaganism). Here in Minnesota, we usually have to wait a little longer to see much physical evidence, but around this time, Winter’s grasp does begin to noticeably lessen as breezes begin to warm, snow melts more quickly, migrating birds begin to return, and early bulbs may even start poking up through the slowly warming earth.

Spring invites us to remember the natural rhythm of the seasons—it’s time, once again, to surge forth into fresh, new life, to open to a new cycle of growth, opportunity, and fortune. And yet, we can also keep in mind what the Equinox represents—just enough balance of day and night, dark and light. We can take a lesson from the plants that will soon emerge—even as the light beckons them to green again, their roots reach down into the dark, fertile earth for its support. Can we keep our feet firmly planted in the dark, ground of inner support that Wintertime has taught us while we reach into the excitement and possibility of Spring?

One common Springtime practice for opening to the newness and freshness is Spring cleaning. This can take many forms—cleaning and decluttering your home, your garden, your relationships, your soul…However you do it, I suggest it not be about banishing anything from your life, but instead about mindfully choosing life-affirming practices that could help you to live your life more fully. What could you choose to cleanse or enter into this Spring that will help you to open to new possibilities and growth? What will support your soul so that more of you can awaken to the possibility of new life? You may want to write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends that could include the following:
•    Light a candle, yellow or light green in color;
•    Place a living plant near the candle and meditate on the balance of root support and outer growth needed for this plant to thrive, sensing your own internal rootedness.
•    When you are ready, breathe in one life-affirming quality or practice you might like to take on this Spring, and breathe out its opposite (don’t overthink this, whatever arises is fine). Do this for awhile until nothing new arises.
•    Sit quietly, breathing at your own pace, with the living flame of the candle and the living essence of the plant, breathing into your own living, growing soul.
•    When you are ready, say thank you and blow out the candle.

After the Spring Equinox, the days continue to grow longer, until at Summer Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest day. Please plan to join us for our Spring Equinox Celebration at Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul this year on March 20th! May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

2013 natural presenceCollage as a Practice. I have a collage waiting for me to write about, but it hasn’t been the right time, so that one will have to wait…This collage represents my New Year’s Intention of living more in Natural Presence. It is good to revisit now as I write this Spring Equinox blogpost—just seeing the image again reminds me of why I continue to do my practices. I practice out of devotion to my essence, my soul’s unfolding. I want to be more whole, more natural, more simply present and awake and alive. Collage is one of the practices that helps me to get in touch with this, along with many others I write about in this blog!

What practices do you take on from a place of inviting your soul’s individual unfolding? When do you feel simply present and alive?

instinctual body2.1 Connected, Grounded, & Alive! A 4-week Women’s Practice Circle. Do you feel stressed by life and out of touch with your natural, feminine state of being? Join a group of women to practice connecting with our feminine essence more deeply. We’ll explore with movement and inquiry how to nourish and cultivate our connected, grounded, and alive life-force energy in order to feel happy, authentic, and whole!

No prior knowledge or experience is necessary. Starting this Sunday, March 17th! For more information, see our calendar.

How do you stay in touch with your body? How do you nourish your instinctual life?

katy laughingLaughter as a Happiness Practice! Come explore the art of laughter to invite more joy, play, and wellbeing into your life! Because of the deep pranayamic breathing exercises, this form of practice is also called Laughter Yoga, but it does not include any physical asanas and can be practiced by people of all ages who are willing to be a little bit silly. It was started in 1995 by a family physician in India and is now widely practiced in over 65 countries around the world. Medical research supports its physical and emotional health-giving effects.

I am a Certified Laughter Yoga leader, and I offer a few different opportunities for laughing with a group. The Summit Hill Laughter Club meets two Wednesdays/month, April-June 2013 at St. Paul Yoga Center: 4/10, 4/24, 5/1, 5/15, 6/5, 6/19 from 7:30-8:30 pm. No registration required, donations for use of the space accepted. I also offer a for-fee Noontime Laughter Class two Mondays/month at Tula Yoga & Wellness: 3/25, 4/8, 4/29, 5/6, 5/20, $10-$15 suggested donation, drop-in, 12:00-12:50 pm. Please contact me if you have any questions—I would love to laugh with you!

How do you consciously bring more happiness and joy into your life?

Reverending/Ceremony. I absolutely love performing ceremonies that bring more honoring of our intentions and love into the world! This above laughing picture was from a wedding I performed, and I facilitate the Seasonal Celebrations like Spring Equinox at my Unitarian Church. Let me know if I can assist you in honoring any transitions or special moments in your life—Weddings, Baby Blessings, Seasonal and Transitional Rituals, Memorial Services… You can read more about my practice of ministry.

What have you celebrated recently? How did you create sacred space to welcome or honor a life passage?

looking loving2The Enneagram. Dave and I just finished facilitating a couple’s retreat using the Enneagram at our favorite B&B, Journey Inn, in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. It was a beautiful, sweet, and intimacy-building experience for everyone. Our next offering will be our Deepening Practice Study Group focused on The Enneagram & Childhood Development: Healing the Past & Attaining Wholeness. In this highly experiential workshop, we will use Margaret Mahler’s model of sequential stages of psychological growth to explore how the different phases in our early childhood development (from birth into our fourth year) leave distinctive imprints on each of the nine types. For more information, see our calendar. We hope you can join us!

How do you gain insight on the unfolding and inner workings of your soul? What maps or tools work for you to access your innermost self?

Awakening Spring Blessings, Katy

practice loving kindness

2013 New Year’s Intentioning

2013 natural presence Phrase for the New Year: Natural Presence
What would a natural and open Khyva do?

(Khyva is the new middle name I took to honor and own my matrilineal lineage. My ancestors post talks about this.)

1) Natural Self-Care for my Diamond Peri/Menopausal Years. I am very aware, having celebrated my 50th birthday last year and starting to experience hormonal shifts, that my body is changing. I want to do my best to support this transition with clarity, openness, and love. This includes:

  • Herbs to support the transition
  • Listening to feelings that arise in the hormonal swings for the truth they are communicating
  • Educating myself and getting support as needed

2) Nourishing Wholeness
. This is the DBA I filed this month in honor of it being time for me to move more into the world with what I have been learning and practicing. I just started a Meetup! More to support this process:

  • Work on my book
  • Work on creating this new business
  • Practice: self-allowing, trusting cycles, owning, pleasure

3) Conscious, Intentional Living: How do I want to live?
I realize that most of my life I have not planned my life intentionally. I have mostly tried to control and manage life as it came at me. I’m scared and excited to see what my life might be like if I get clear about how I actually want to live and go about intentionally creating it! Practices to support me:

  • Lunar intentions
  • Daily and weekly and in-the-moment intentions
  • Including pleasure, sensuality, rest, heart

The Cards I drew to support me:

Durga: Boundaries that will assist me in nurturing wholeness
Awaken: “Keep your eyes open. When we decide to live a more conscious life, we see signs of grace everywhere.”
Arianrhod: Virgin and Mother, care for all life, universality and cyclicity of our lives, nurtures us through dark night of soul changes

Now that we’re just about at the end of the first month of this new year, how are your intentions going? Is there a guiding word or phrase that can be your touchstone? How do you create the life you want to live?

Changing Woman

for this past Moon Cycle, i chose the Goddess Card, Changing Woman. i then also chose Changing Woman for my middle name change on September 19th, and i drew her again on my 50th birthday for this personal new year! i’m guessing i have something to learn about flexibility, flow, and shape-shifting…

she is the self-renewing one
honoring each unique path
she nurtures wholeness
honoring our cycles
she flows freely with life
honoring all expressions
she is Changing Woman

i’m excited about living more deeply into what i have been learning,
to gathering the many beautiful experiences and gifts into a bouquet,
to moving more freely and with more grace and wholeness
into the next part of my life.

how does Changing Woman speak to you? what does she call forth?

life practices: autumn equinox

My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

Autumn Equinox, or Mabon, occurs midway between the longest day of the year, at Summer Solstice, and the longest night of the year, at Winter Solstice. It is called an Equinox from the Latin “equal” and “night” because (as on the Spring Equinox) the night and day are the same length. In 2012, the Autumn Equinox occurs at 9:49 am on September 22nd.

Autumn Equinox reminds us not only to be grateful for the fruits of the long Summer—from actual garden harvest to the completion of projects, wishes, and dreams—but also to prepare for the growing darkness. Just as in our daily life, the daytime of work and play is followed by a slowing down in the evening and then restorative sleep, Autumn is a part of the natural seasonal cycle. After a time of intense growth and passion comes a time of slowing down and then in Winter, a time of rest. This slowing down gives our bodies and souls a chance to integrate all that has been accomplished, so that we have the space to recognize and allow what is most needed next in our growth. It is a time of balance, of honoring both the light and the dark, of witnessing the gifts of the earth and the onset of crops dying as the earth enters dormancy. This seasonal cycle is part of our nature, too, and aligning with it helps us to lead balanced lives.

In what ways are you harvesting the fruits of your labor this year? What are you grateful for? For balance, take some time to reflect on the darker aspects of your soul as well. What has not come to fruition as you had hoped? Are there unfulfilled dreams and regrets? Can you include and be grateful for all it? You may want to write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends. A ritual could include:
• Decorating with yellow, gold, or autumn colors;
• Lighting two candles representing the balance of day and night, of light and dark, of harvest and fallowness—they could be black and white or whatever two colors represent this to you.
• Sitting in silence and reflecting on your harvest from the Summer, both the things you are grateful for and the regrets or unfulfilled dreams.
• Nourishing yourself with bread, apple cider, nuts, squash, corn, or any local, freshly harvested food;
• Naming or making a list of the things you are grateful for (your harvest);
• Naming or making a list of your regrets and unfulfilled dreams;
• Sitting quietly and breathing into both, knowing that both are needed for you to become whole: “Breathing in, I am breathing in [specific gratefulness or regret], Breathing out, I am breathing out [the same gratefulness or regret].”
• Saying thank you and blowing out the candle.

After the Autumn Equinox, the days slowly become shorter and shorter, until at Winter Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest night. May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

Collage as a Practice. I’ve been learning about the Dark Feminine recently. Marion Woodman say she is “dark” because she is unconscious, that is, not yet brought into our consciousness. When things aren’t brought into consciousness, we are still affected by them—that unconscious energy influences the decisions we make, the ways we think…even what we magnetize to ourselves. And it’s usually the unconscious stuff that causes us to react in ways that are less than skillful.

The Feminne principle in both women and men has many expressions. I’m working with allowing Her unpredictability, Her ability to surrender and receive, Her capacity to be in the moment and receive pleasure, Her instinctive creatureliness, Her utter disregard for being “good” in favor of being real. Read more about this journey.

How do you experience the Dark Feminine in your life? What part of Her (You) are yearning to have come into consciousness?

Play. Every time I visit my sister and her family, I am reminded again about playing! Kids know how to do it—it’s part of how they learn about how to participate in the world. And it’s more than that. It’s also a practice of being.

This is me with Ruby, my 5-month old niece. Ruby Roo and Zander Salamander (3-year-old nephew) both played in as many of their waking moments as they could. Of course, play looks very different at those ages, but there are things in common. They were completely absorbed in what they were doing—be it exploring feet or building with legos—there is an entering into the moment with deep attention and focus. There’s curiosity and delight in exploration—each new discovery leading to the next, leading to the next, in a beautiful sense of flow. And there is such a sense of beingness—they are simply in themselves in the activity—no self-judging, no second-guessing, no anticipating, no daydreaming…in the moment.

I always dive in as deeply as I can when I visit, and often leave a bit exhausted from the nonstop kid-time. It’s not as easy for me to be present as they are naturally, so even though I was consciously practicing surrendering to their flow, I had to keep managing my sense of overwhelm, which takes a lot of energy!

How do you play? Do you make time for it regularly? Do you become completely absorbed in activities you love? (See below for one of the ways I practice playing when I’m back home…)

Summit Hill Laughter Club! Come explore the art of laughter to invite more joy, play, and wellbeing into your life! Because of the deep pranayamic breathing exercises, this form of practice is also called Laughter Yoga, but it does not include any physical asanas and can be practiced by people of all ages who are willing to be a little bit silly. It was started in 1995 by a family physician in India and is now widely practiced in over 65 countries around the world. Medical research supports its physical and emotional health-giving effects. Children who come with their parents are welcome.

I am a Certified Laughter Yoga leader, offering a club every 2 weeks this Fall at the Corner Studio of St. Paul Yoga Center at 1162 Selby Avenue. Please join us on Wednesdays September 26, October 10 & 24, November 7 & 21, and December 5 & 19 from 7:30-8:30 pm. No registration required and no fixed cost, by donation! Please contact me if you have any questions–I would love to laugh with you!

Reverending/Ceremony. I absolutely love performing ceremonies that bring more honoring of our intentions and love into the world! I just celebrated two weddngs in July and two in September. This above laughing picture was from a wedding I also performed. Let me know if I can assist you in honoring any transitions or special moments in your life. You can read more about my practice of ministry.

The Enneagram. I’d like to give a deep bow to my boss, friend, and Enneagram teacher, Don Riso, who passed from this world on August 30th, 2012. Read more.

Without the discoveries and insight he received and published about the Enneagram, I doubt I would have this beautiful, comprehensive, and transformational system in my life. I also wouldn’t have had the great good fortune of working for Don and The Enneagram Institute or of meeting Dave through a Riso-Hudson Workshop.

I can hardly believe that he is no longer here in this physical world, I am grieving his loss, and I am extremely grateful for his devotion to the Enneagram, his teaching, and his friendship over the 10 years I knew him.

Dave and I will be carrying forth the Riso-Hudson work this Fall by offering a new Study Group series. We are excited to explore how we hold and perpetuate our type in our bodies, something Don, too, was working on. For more information, see our calendar

Autumn Blessings, Katy

practice loving kindness

the dark feminine

 This collage is a re-imagining of the original, which I was asked to take down after contacting the copyright holder to obtain accurate information so I could give attribution of a few of the images. I see now what happened is a perfect example of the Dark Feminine, whose energy is the subject of this exploration. She is the one whose actions include destruction, forcing us to cleanse and strip away, to release that which we no longer need or which no longer serves us. And in so doing, She invites us to more fertile, fresh, and abundant life.

In this case, not being allowed to use images that were direct representations of Goddesses made me look deeper into Her expression. I collaged over the originals, leaving their energy to infuse the whole with a wider range of images, which seem to me to actually represent Her many forms and energies with a greater and broader articulation. It’s funny how, in the end, my attempt to be a “goodgirl” actually called her forth–She destroyed “goodgirl’s” creation as it was, forcing me to surrender, to release, to take my exploration deeper, to live it in my own life.

She knows deep in her bones
She feels, welcoming what arises
She senses all life

She has been hidden inside me,
tucked away, pushed down, turned from
as I have listened to Lily’s voice instead:
“be careful. be nice. be good. be pure. be innocent. be light.”

She calls to me
through my tears and pain and longing
through my body’s desire for pleasure and wholeness
through my untamed, grounded bare feet, my dirty gardening fingernails, my love of animals and earth

And Mimi, Lily’s “too-good mother,” says:
“just feel better, no need to dwell on the pain”
“don’t be hedonistic—you’ll overdo and regret it”
“better clean up, look presentable, and get back to work”

She calls us into her sacred rhythms of life, death, and rebirth
through the body’s connection to the waxing and waning of the moon
through the daily and seasonal turning of light and darkness
through the letting go into the creaturely, wild, instinctive animal self

In this place, there is no polarity of right and wrong—
sense, feel, listen to the body’s natural wisdom and creaturely knowing
dive into the dark to welcome all parts of the self

Creatures move, swoon, slither, and kill.
Creatures scream, dance, trance, weep, and surrender.
Creatures move, rest, play, bond, and mate.
Creatures live and die.

Here, Diana, Lady of the Beasts, hunts and lives her life on her own instinctual terms.
Here, Lilith imparts the powerful wisdom of her sexual energy and calls us to pleasure.
Here, the Valkyrie, leads us into and through the dark places, where we, like seeds, become fertile.
Here, the wild Medusa’s beauty might turn the ignorant and unprepared into stone.
Here, Tlazolteotl teaches of love and desire, and forgives us our fear and missteps.
Here, Persephone helps souls to form in the dark, uncomfortable mysterious depths.
Here, the Madonna shows us the path to untamable compassion and strength.
Here, the Lady of the Lake guides us in mysterious realms of emotion and renewal.
Here, Hathor, Lady of the Night, moves with instinctive ferocity, willing to destroy that which no longer serves us.

Lily and Mimi, heed the call.
The Dark Feminine calls you to depth, to passion, to desire, to surrender to sensuous, instinctive, intuitive life.


How does She call you? How do you heed the call? And what are the gifts of that practice?


my ancestors surround me
like walls of a canyon
stone hard
their ideas drift over me
like breezes at sunset

we gather sticks
and make settlements
what we do is only partly
our own
and partly continuation
down through the chromosomes

my daughter
my baby sleeps behind me
stirring in the night
for the touch
that lets her continue

she is arranging
in her small form the furniture
and windows of her home

it will be a lot like mine
it will be a lot like theirs

– “Ancestors” poem by Harvey Ellis (edited to be a female baby)

I’ve been working with a book called The Path of Practice by Bri. Maya Tiwari to help myself align more to the natural rhythms of myself as a woman, connected to the earth and moon, to the seasons, and to the cosmos. One of the practices Tiwari recommends is to explore your ancestral heritage and learn about yourself and your relationship to those who went before. Since I feel most connected to my matrilineal line, I thought I would start there, with my mom’s mom, “Gammy.”

There are some interesting synchronicities that lead to a deeper exploration of this material now. My husband’s mom just passed away, and as an Interfaith Minister, I offered to help them put a Memorial Service together. I started with my Minister’s Manual and the Memorial Service I wrote as part of my seminary training, and found the service I had written for Gammy! It brought back many memories just as I was reading Tiwari’s book. As I was reading and making notes for myself, I remembered that not only did I have this collage, but also a beautiful photo album filled with stories about Gammy’s life that mom had given me for a recent birthday, almost as if I had been being prepared for this exploration.

* * *

I grew up hearing that I resembled my mom’s side of the family, and my sister resembled my dad’s. I never minded resembling the Tuck side in looks, as I always thought mom was pretty, but I wasn’t so sure I wanted to carry forth the opinionated and intense—some would say fanatic—energy that Gammy embodied. Turns out mom later found out that she was the wild, extreme one in her family, a role that then passed down to me in the matrilineal lineage…

As the collage portrays, Gammy’s bloodline included some percentage Native American (Cherokee or maybe Sioux), so I may have as much as 1/16 Native American blood in me, or much less…no-one seems to know for sure how far back that union took place. I like the idea of having some heritage that is much more deeply connected to the earth and her rhythms than the culture I grew up in. I like to think that connection is guiding me on this exploration as I deepen my awareness of my place within the natural rhythms of the earth.

As I reflect on the relationship between Gammy, mom and me, I see the many similarities as well as the ways my individual soul may be trying to bring my matrilineal line back into balance.

* * *

I come from a line of women who love to eat sweet things—Gammy ate so many that she ended up with diabetes in her old age, I had a binge eating disorder for many years, and mom has always tried to be careful not to overeat sweets. I remember how surprised I was to find out that mom and I both had the same taboo sweet treat: Oreos! Nowadays, sweet food isn’t calling me as much, but it makes me wonder what ancestral pattern was carried through to me that made us need to try to find the sweetness of life through treats instead of in our daily living?

What occurs immediately is the legacy I carry of being overly busy—until recently, too busy to savor and enjoy my life, which is where I am now finding that sweetness in abundance. This is a problem mom has complained about for years, commenting that I follow in her footsteps. Having learned more about Gammy’s life with nine children on a farm during the Great Depression, with very few amenities, I realize that she, too, must have been very busy.

However, Gammy was also known for indulging in pleasure, something I am still learning to embrace! Mom says she belonged to five book clubs, spending their sparse money on that instead of a flush toilet! She was also always willing to stop what she was doing and have fun. She never passed up a chance to turn a jump rope for any one of her nine kids, and she enjoyed jokes, and laughed, and really enjoyed her life. The best story I remember was when a bunch of the kids were home for Thanksgiving dinner with their friends. One of the boys asked Gammy to pass the butter and she picked it up and tossed it down the table!! The kids were pretty shocked, but all went on as normal, catching the butter, and not saying anything!

Gammy was also ahead of her time in her thinking about sex. She felt women had the right to be pleasured and in the mood before having sex with their husbands, and I imagine she practiced this, too! I also remember mom telling me that sex between two people who love each other is a beautiful and loving connection. I’m afraid my personality type combined with my teenage years of born-again Christianity got in the way of inheriting such an easy-going, forthright approach!

Gammy also felt the pull for deeper meaning through spirituality as I do. She spoke of past-lives and had an interesting theory about the soul that is actually very similar to the Diamond Approach path I follow. She felt the soul was like a many-faceted lantern, and each facet was a window into another person. She felt this explained why we feel connected to some people as soon as we meet them, as we are sharing the same soul. In the Diamond Approach each individual soul is the part of True Nature / God / Truth / the Divine embodied in a human being. And the diamond metaphor also feels related, as the diamond represents the many different facets of True Nature (Love, Joy, Will, etc.), some of which we have easier access to than others. Gammy believed that when she died, she was going to a good place and would be reincarnated—she even viewed death as another exciting part of life to learn about and enjoy!

Like mom and me, Gammy also loved beauty. She’d cry seeing a beautiful sunset and loved the fog lying low in the valleys. She also sketched, painted, and wrote whimsical poetry that celebrated her love and enjoyment of life. Beauty is imperative in my life—from the gardens, to collage and poetry, to music and singing, to color, texture, and the way a room is laid out—beauty soothes, delights, guides, and nourishes me.

We also share a love of dogs. Gammy had many—chihuahuas, dachshunds, st. bernards, and all manner of terriers! My life, thankfully, has been blessed by the sweet companionship of dogs, too—from Heidi the dachshund when I was a baby to Moppet the cocker-poo, to Bart the airedale terrier to Jake, Gammy’s toy poodle/terrier mix, to my own dogs Finnegan, a lab mix, and Teddybear, a lhasa apso, and many other dog friends in between!

Poverty has also influenced my life through Gammy, even though I have been lucky enough not to have to live through it myself. Having nine children, whose births overlapped the Great Depression, Gammy knew how to make ends meet through such practices as scraping out the last of the eggwhite from the shell and carefully using all left-overs. Mom was careful, too, passing this along to me. I can’t stand to waste food, always using a rubber spatula to get the last bit out, trying to get the most out of any meal, avoiding expensive items, and not wasting left-overs…

I wonder about my jaw—I have Gammy’s jaw, as does mom—the wide, square look of Native American ancestry. And this is also a key place that I hold tension. Is this related to unprocessed ancestral linkages? I wonder if I incarnated as an Enneagram type One to balance out mom and Gammy as Sevens. In Gammy, the Seven energy expressed as imbalanced pleasure-seeking, playing and joking around, as well as being outspoken, uninhibited, and crass at times. In mom, while there’s always a willingness to play and experiment and follow her curiosity, it’s more a matter of having her fingers in too many pots, not wanting to miss out on anything, being overly busy, and not able to rest.

Being a rigid, constricted, nothing-is-ever-right type One, has not been a very fun or relaxing way to live! So now my task is to learn to balance this One-Seven energy. Can I be responsible, conscientious and orderly, playful and happy, and enjoy my life all at the same time? It’s about sacred balance—perhaps my role is to find this, not just for myself, but for the ancestral lineage. To learn not to reject pleasure and the desire to take in and experience life, but to balance it with discernment, devotion, and right action. As Br. Stendl Rast says: to be “playfully serious and seriously playful,” enjoying a life-affirming life.

I see how my involvement in Laughter Yoga is related to this attempt to find balance! After experiencing a period of openness to Joy last year, I felt drawn to try Laughter Yoga. I’ve never been much of a laugher as an adult, being a rather serious and disciplined person. I did laugh socially, but not so much pure laughter just for the enjoyment of it, so Laughter Yoga was a stretch. I found I had so much fun being silly and playing and inviting a younger, less-inhibited, less self-conscious part of me to show up, that I decided to become a Laughter Yoga leader and create a club in St. Paul! This practice is about opening up to play, pleasure, and lightness, and breaking up my Oneish patterns of being serious, disciplined, and rigid, and I see now how it’s also about allowing access to my ancestral heritage through Gammy!

And this last few months of learning to rest, savor, and relax are also related to breaking up this pattern. More and more, I find pleasure in not doing anything, in simply being with myself, in seeing the beauty around me, in appreciating life. I feel so much gratefulness for this shift in my orientation—again, imbibing the lessons of my ancestry and my line of growth in the healthier side of type Seven.

I have decided to take a new middle name to represent this heritage. Mom originally wanted to name me after Gammy’s younger sister, Khyva, but my more conventional dad nixed naming me Kimberly Khyva Taylor (Katy is my nickname). It’s too bad as it would have been very appropriate! Khyva was a performing violin player, and I have been the only one in the extended Tuck clan to actively pursue music through singing professionally. Another interesting connection is that during my seminary training, when we did a meditation on taking a spiritual name, I received the name [kiva]. Researching the meaning of the word, I found that a kiva is an underground room used for spiritual ceremonies by certain Native American tribes. I was unwittingly connecting not only to my matrilineal, but also to my Native American, heritage, in this name! It is also amazingly synchronous to be connected with this now when we are learning about the Citadel in our Diamond Approach Work. The Citadel is experienced as a solid, stone-like structure that supports and provides shelter on the Path as we learn to live in alignment with our current realization of the Truth. I never felt connected to or liked my middle name, Kay—now I know why!

This exploration helps me to understand more deeply that I am not just Kimberly, aka Katy, Taylor, an individual doing her spiritual work. I am also part of this genetic and psycho-spiritual lineage. Who I am now continues to be informed and guided by those who have gone before me. I can learn from this heritage that lives on through me. I can embrace the gifts of my ancestors and find balance in the way I embody this lineage in the world. By incorporating Khyva’s name into my own, I more formally link myself to my matrilineal line. In so doing, I feel more connected to the earth-boundedness of being a human, born of a mother who was born of a mother…as part of this earth. I, too, am part of this rhythm of birth and life and death, intimately intertwined with those who have gone before and will come after me.

When I finished this collage on Thanksgiving Day 2009, it inspired me to also finish the collage in which I was exploring my pain around not having my own child. I saw the relationship very clearly—in not having my own child, I don’t get to continue my bloodline. What came before and created me will not get passed down by me through my physical flesh and blood. It will have to be in some other form. I hope that I can be a psycho-spiritual ancestor for some other woman as she discovers her connection to herself and the earth.


How do you see yourself connected to your ancestors? Are you aware of the heritage your life is carrying forward and / or trying to heal?


I’ve been going through some stress-related health issues lately that have prompted me to slow down, to take on less, to listen, to ask for support, in short, to re-prioritize my life and look carefully at how I really want to be living “this one wild and precious life.” (from Mary Oliver’s Summer Day).

One aspect of this is related to the noface collage I did last Fall, an aspect of which I am exploring again here. I realize as I walk this healing path, that I don’t know, really, who I will be on the other side. I have ideas that I will be happier or freer or more able to listen to my body…but really, I don’t know who will emerge.

Like the many different faces of woman Susan Seddon Boulet’s paintings portray in this collage, I want to be open to whoever I am becoming. Maybe my sense of self doesn’t need to be static. Maybe, at any moment, I could embody any of these different faces—and others that I could never dream of.

Maybe my true face is like the yellow circle—full and empty, containing all things and nothing, radiant with potential and connected to all of life.

I want to dance this path with integrity and openness to who is emerging, not needing to know all the facets of who I am becoming.

How are you living your “one wild and precious life?” What parts of you are emerging? Do you feel open to not knowing exactly who you are becoming?

benevolence surrounding

we are
surrounded by

she continually
holds us,
welcomes us
invites us,
re-members us.


mary, queen of heaven,
pray for us

tara, savior of all,
dissolve our rigidity

kuan yin, goddess of compassion,
hold us in loving kindness

brigid of the hearth,
gather us

mary, the magdalene,
teach us sensual devotion

mother of the universe,
encompass us

intuitive self

she is.
she knows.
she feels, senses, is moved.
she touches inside. deep inside.
yearnings, longings, knowings.
here inside, here underneath.
trust in what is. here.
mystery. unknown.
stirring, moving, calling.
she follows, flowing after the call.
fully human, fully here, fully alive.
she touches inside. deep inside.
she feels, senses, is moved.
she knows.
she is.