Tribe is Tribe

Foundations

M

iracles, tribe

I was in an import store shopping for my best friend’s birthday a few weeks ago. I had found a piece of jewelry that I knew she would love and as the store owner was ringing me up I was explaining to her that my bestie is originally from Iran and that while this piece is not from her home country she would still love and appreciate it.

The store owner interrupted me though and simply said, “She’ll love it because tribe is tribe.” Tribe is tribe. She said it with all of the confidence and clarity of a woman who has spent that majority of her life among and within tribes.

Tribe is tribe.

I know that in our never-resting news cycle the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio that occurred at the beginning of the month are old news for most of us. They have left, as all mass shootings have since 2011, their fingerprints all over me though and are still fresh.

As I fielded emails from people asking if I was alright and checked on my own set of family and friends with El Paso connections, I kept hearing that woman’s voice in my head – tribe is tribe.

And I wasn’t sure why but I knew it was important. Then I took a walk down one of my favorite streets where an Acequia was full of water and running at force and I remembered. What I remembered was a psych class I took about a hundred years ago.

We were studying mental health in indigenous populations and I learned that one of the indigenous populations found in New Mexico and Arizona – the Navajo People – have a very specific way of looking at mental illness (and many physical afflictions too). The understanding is that while one person in the tribe may show symptoms of illness, be it mental or physical, the entire tribe is actually afflicted and that any healing that is worth a damn will address not just the individual who is obviously ill but the entire tribe.

I have been marked by every mass shooting since 2011 because that is the year I had my first baby. And that is the year when I found myself worrying about everything: leaving out a tiny piece of something that the baby could choke on, losing him to SIDS, speeding cars, and falling shelves, and…going into a public place where my child could be shot and killed, or I could be shot and killed leaving my baby without a mother or my husband could be shot and killed leaving my baby without a father. 2011 is when I started taking it personally.

Every time I packed lunch for my little one to take to school I would lay down a prayer that my baby and every baby child would be protected from a bullet, that today would not be a day a mass shooter came to a school, a place of worship, a place of work, or a place of fun. Now that I no longer make his lunch I pray that prayer every morning.

And because my babies are beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed, boys, I also pray that they are never the ones holding a gun aimed at someone else’s baby – because the statistics indicate that my boys fall into the category of the ones most likely to commit a mass shooting as well as most likely to commit suicide with a gun.

I don’t go into politics in my work or my writing. I remember sitting in hard-backed pews at the Baptist church and resenting the hell out of a preacher who had the audacity to tell me who to vote for. Dressing up that unique kind of tyranny in the “New Age” trappings of incense and crystals don’t make me feel any better. I believe our founders knew what they were about when they separated church and state.

However, for better or for worse, I am a spiritual teacher and writer and as such, I have a community of people who look to me for moral guidance. When the bullets start to fly I am asked to give words of comfort, clarity, and wisdom. To be clear: this is a task that I in no way feel adequate to, but it is also one that has been laid on my shoulders by nature of my work. So this is what I say: Tribe is Tribe.

And the killings and the killers are part of our tribe. There are many people in our tribe who are ill, who are hurting, and who are sick, but at the end of the day, all that really means is that our whole tribe is hurting, is ill, and is sick. Any remedy that further separates us from each other is no remedy at all and any attempt to bring some of the tribe together while leaving others out in the cold has failed before it even begins.

In 2011 I joined a special club, a tribe within a tribe, of parents who send their children to school every day praying that today won’t be the day that their child’s classroom door bursts open and guns begin shooting. We pray that today won’t be the day our babies are shot, today won’t be the day our babies are killed.

But this is not just my club, my tribe, or my problem. Tribe is tribe. This is everyone’s problem. The fact that bulletproof backpack sales have gone up 300% before the 2019-2020 school year begins is not my problem or the problem of my other parent friends, it is also my Republican uncle’s problem, my Progressive mother-in-law’s problem, and it is your problem too. Because tribe is tribe.

Every baby that dies and every person who thinks they can solve their problems with a gun pointed at someone else is everyone’s problem, the only way to address it is together, most especially together with the very ones you don’t want to deal with. You know, the difficult members of the tribe who look different and talk different, the ones that make you uncomfortable, the ones you’d rather not talk to.

You know Miracles, the inverse is also true. If one person commits to healing, to betterment, to living a life of integrity and justice and kindness then the tribe as a whole is blessed by that too. One of my favorite stories to illustrate this comes from the Jewish tradition.

It is the tale of the Tzadikim-Nistarim – the hidden righteous ones. They are 13 people who, through consistent right action, uphold the entire world and make life possible for all. My favorite part of this story is that these righteous ones are hidden even from themselves.

Meaning that it could be you, it could be me, it could be any of us. Because what one of us does touches all of us. Because tribe is tribe. And because there is nowhere else to go, nowhere else to be, but right here, with everyone else.

Here is a version of the prayer that I pray over my babies on a daily basis, feel free to work with it in your own life if it speaks to you.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Protected: Star Stories: August 2019

Ceremony and Ritual

To enter this space, please provide your password.


magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 15 From Walking to Dancing

Foundations

M

iracles, phase

The biggest news without a doubt this Hearth and Home is that Heath – our just-turned one year old – has started to walk! He has been a super fast crawler for a while, but the second week of July saw that crawl turn into a full-fledged walk.

Not a few tentative few steps either, oh no. He went for a full-on saunter clear across the room, making his way over the electrical socket much to the chagrin of his parents. The walk was accompanied by as much arm waving and giggling as you would expect.

Walking is, of course, a huge milestone in the life of a baby (and his parents) and it is one way of marking the end of one phase and the beginning of another. I remember when Jasper started walking. All of a sudden all of the drawers were being opened all of the time, and all sharp implements had to go high up on the kitchen counters out of reach of tiny probing hands. I know what I’ll be doing when we return home after our New Mexico sojourn!

You could say “New Phases” has actually been the theme for our whole family over the last few weeks. Jasper has entered into a new artistic phase, not only reaching new heights in his piano, but also discovering a love of dance.

Whether he’s putting together a series of original compositions for an album, preparing four pieces for a Royal Conservatory of Music exam in the Fall, or dancing ballet, tap, hip-hop, jazz, theater or modern, or even learning how to draw Manga, this little boy is full of exciting new discoveries. He also loves getting ready for his flag football season and using his tennis racket both to hit actual tennis balls and to wage battle against a host of unseen but no doubt definitely threatening invisible forces.

David and I have entered into a new phase as well. Life has gotten incredibly busy (even more so) since the book came out. The letters I have received from readers who love Making Magic have touched me so deeply, and I am yet again so appreciative and in awe of our beautiful community.

You all are amazing. As we turn our attention now to the launch of Spinning Gold, we find ourselves inundated with new possibilities and projects including new travel, teaching, and writing opportunities.

Though I am the “face” of our business, David is my partner in every aspect of it and we make our decisions together. Right now we are exercising keen-eyed discernment so that we can say Yes to the opportunities that we believe will truly nourish our community and our family while also saying a firm no to the ones that, at this point in time anyway, will not.

For myself, I have found that once you have even the tiniest bit of success in the public, it becomes infinitely more important to have a clear vision of your real telos, your purpose, the thing that you are aiming towards. I’ll end this section with a reminder: if you have read Making Magic please get thee to Amazon and leave a review for the book – the more reviews = the more people that find the work!

More new phases: Our family as a whole has entered a new phase in the realm of entertainment. We don’t watch a lot of television, as my long-time readers know. But in the summertime, we let that house rule slip a little. This summer we have immersed ourselves in the wonderful, zany, psychedelic, a world of musicals. They are, in our opinion, the perfect antidote and medicine for inoculating us against the horrors that we encounter daily in the 24/7 news cycle.

I never really realized until this summer how almost every musical is dealing with themes like love in times of war, prejudice, racism, and tyranny of all kinds. The fact that they do it while singing and dancing…well, I think we could take a page or two from that book!

We rounded out the month with a book signing in Santa Fe, the ordering of backpacks and lunch boxes for school (children have very definite opinions. This should be an easy project but it is NOT), and the creation of a couple of custom pairs of Chaco sandals – which are and have been for years my favorite shoes.

The next two weeks will see hiking, coyote-led sing-a-longs, walking, and of course, dancing. May all you find what brings joy in these deep summer days too!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 14 Summer and Celebrations

Foundations

M

iracles,

Happy New Moon in Cancer!

Summer has struck. I always know it is the season of sun and fun because our dinner schedule is jettisoned in favor of playdates, poolside meetups, and the occasional margarita!

I went back over my letters to see when the last Hearth and Home went out and it was right after Jasper’s 8th birthday at the beginning of March. So much has happened since then.

School let out for the summer and Jasper officially moved into 2nd grade. The book came out, then it hit #1 in several different Amazon categories and continues to be a best seller there (which is crazy and amazing and gives me all the feels). We went to the beach (the above pic is from our trip).

Then, on June 13th Heath turned one!!! We had an ocean-themed birthday party for him complete with a chocolate smash cake that he, quite appropriately, played with more than he ate.

I have always written prayers for Jasper’s birthdays and I am going to do AIM’s – Active Imagination Meditations for Heath’s. I know which one I want to do I just have to find the time to sit down and record it. In a stunning move

Heath actually allowed my mom and dad to watch him for a couple of hours and David and I got to go out on a date just by ourselves. We went to see a movie and basically acted liked giggly teenagers the entire time – it was so great!

Somehow in the middle of all of this, I was able to do the first of several interviews, got featured in one of my favorite magazines – Enchanted Living, and also had an article published in Yoga Journal and another in Spirituality and Health Magazine – crazy times y’all!

I created a series of AIM’s that pairs beautifully with each chapter of Making Magic and I also created a Pinterest board for folks who want to add some visuals to their making magic journey! In mid-June, I taught a class to a bunch of brilliant souls about the Astro drama that is the month of July and I received some more very exciting book-related news which I will be sharing with this list first.

It hasn’t all been good or easy. There has been sorrow. I had to cancel my CA book signings and then I had to cancel the one at BookPeople in Austin because the baby was sick.
True story: when Making Magic first came out I sent a letter to a best-selling author that I know and she responded with congratulations and also with the advice that I put being a mother before any book promotion. It was smart advice coming from someone who knows and it has already really helped me in making a few decisions.

I know that each person reading this has their own personal struggles and snares and I know too that so many of us look at the news every day, hear and see stories of violence and heartbreak, and feel that we are emptied out of something essential and good and true. The biggest piece of personal work I do around all the stories and events stepped in violence, cruelty, and hurt, is to remain tender when it would be so, so, easy to be hard and cynical.

It has been a whirlwind. A really good, really fast, whirlwind. What has kept me sane through it all? Early morning ritual practice out in the extremely humid South Texas air before the sun rises, snuggling up with my boys at night after a long day, curling up with my husband to watch the new season of Endeavor, and now, getting ready to head out to the Land of Enchantment for a few weeks.

I ended the week of June with a family celebration of my first book. It is the kind of thing that I would never think to do (my auntie threw the party for me) and also the kind of thing that is SO important to do – to make a celebration of the accomplishments, big and little, that we achieve. I know so many of you are busy at this time of year too and I hope you remember that – let yourself feel sorrow when it shows up, but also take the time to celebrate, to honor, to mark out what matters most.

Soulful Seekers Spotlight

Theresa AKA the Tarot Lady and Shaheen Miro have a new book out!

Ellie has started a new business venture. In her own words “I work with dynamic, fun people, like you, who want to transform their lives by starting a business infused with compassion and mindfulness. You’re looking for a group of like-minded individuals to practice with and are ready to create more freedom and more money in your life.” Email her directly to learn more at ellienihon@gmail.com

And kind words about one community member from another – this is from Jennifer K:

“The development of my Northstar Ritual deepens as I use products created with sacred energy.
I was lucky enough to meet Jen Rue in Santa Fe and was gifted with one of her products at your seminar. The use of her Love The Girls oil for lymph and breast greatly enhanced my abhyanga practice and actual physical flow of my lymph.

In the past two years, I incorporated Jen’s Conifer Oil and Florida Water into my practice and I deeply appreciate the creation of the limitless sacred space her products energy gives.

Products that include sacred awareness in the making are ever so powerful, the sweetness and soft comfort of Jen’s energy is a joy to experience.

Hip hip hooray for the work of Jen Rue and Three Cats and a Broom.”

Can I just say that I concur?! You can order Jen’s goodies here.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Protected: Star Stories: July 2019

Ceremony and Ritual

To enter this space, please provide your password.


magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Lipstick as a Magical Power – Special Interview

Foundations

M

iracles,

To continue the week of celebrating Making Magic (which is a number one seller in various categories on Amazon – CRAZY!!!) I wanted to share a really delightful interview that I was privileged to do with Tami Simon, the Founder of Sounds True.

Now those of you who do not know about Tami should take some time to check her work out and read her story. She has worked with and published some of the greatest spiritual teachers and leaders in our time. Her knowledge and wisdom in these subject areas are vast and I really like her direct, no-nonsense, asking the tough questions approach.

We talked about magic, why I won’t define the word, the power of lipstick and what happens when people say you are crazy – just to name a few things!

You can listen in here.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Turtle Patrols and Holy Helpers

Foundations

M

iracles,

As soon as school let out at the end of May, we hit the road and made for South Padre Island for a few days of sun and sea before the book came out and life took on the fast clip that is summer with two kids. I had never been to this particular stretch of Texas shoreline before. I knew that it is a hot (and crowded area) during Spring Break, but I really did not know what to expect during the off-season.

There were many different things to look at and wonder over during the trip. For starters, the smooth, mostly empty, highways studded with poisonous, beautiful, Oleander bushes. Then, the border patrol checkpoints. But once there at the beach, the little yellow bus. She trundles up and down the narrow stretch of beach, jiggling and swaying with dozens of oversized brightly colored inflatable flotation devices. There we so many floaties, in fact, I’d bet her tires didn’t even touch the sand. But she also offered packets of mayonnaise for your ears of elote: roasted corn dusted with mayo, chile, and cotija cheese – a combination that might sound strange but that I swear is the way corn is meant to be devoured. Through all of these wonderings, what I loved the most was the Turtle Patrol.

A little known fact about many Texas beaches is that you can drive your vehicle on the beach. With a few exceptions, most of the beach in South Padre is not open to vehicular traffic. This is partially because the shore there is quite narrow. But it is also because this strip of land and one other further South into Mexico are the only breeding and nesting grounds for the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle – a critically endangered species.

Enter the bright little phenomena called the Turtle Patrol. It is volunteer run and amounts to people, from 20-something college kids to septuagenarians, driving up and down the beach in little 4-wheel drive vehicles with ice coolers and padded boxes. They prowl the beach looking for sea turtle nests and eggs. They do this because female sea turtles go back into the ocean once they have made their nests and laid their eggs, leaving the newly hatched turtlets (and yes, that is actually a real word) to fend for themselves. In happier times, this process worked just fine. But the problem is that now the beaches are not what they used to be. They are far more peopled (and trafficked), which means that all kinds of new threats – from careless pedestrians to off-leash dogs – pose danger to the turtlets bringing their mortality rate up to almost one hundred percent. The Turtle Patrol find nests, collect the eggs and then takes them to a not-for-profit rescue organization where the eggs are incubated, hatched, and then the turtlets – now bigger and stronger, are released out to sea.

As I learned about the eggs, the turtlets, and the Turtle Patrol, I was reminded of how magic shows up in the everyday and how easy it is to miss it. When we think about Holy Helpers, Divine Guidance, or spiritual allies, what often comes to mind are traditional images: a winged angel, a burning bush, a mysterious and powerful Goddess. Sometimes those are the exact Holy Helpers we need to see and commune with.

But sometimes – and perhaps even more often – the Holy Helper is different: he’s a gray-haired, seventy-year-old guy in a faded pair of board shorts who is tenderly gathering turtle eggs so that the smallest and most vulnerable of us have an actual chance. You’d miss him if you weren’t paying attention. The Turtle Patrol is the reminder that we all need – that helping is a holy act and it is not something to wait for. It is something we do.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.