Reflections on September and a Seasonal Mandala
September was a whirlwind. First, I dove into the explorations of darkness and shadow that the Fall Equinox brings up for me, paying particular notice to rich purple colors and moon and star motifs. In fact, I’ve made enough purple moon/star recipes for an entire meal! First, start with this hearty and creamy Purple Carrot and Nettle Soup (complete with cheese stars and a radish moon!). It would pair wonderfully with this star-studded Wila Witch bread with roasted grapes and blooming onions. A rich pairing of black cocoa sorbet and black walnut moon cookies would be the perfect dessert. For after dinner drinks, add a few drops of moon-bedecked Shadow Walker Bitters to your favorite cocktail recipe.
The inspiration of dualities carried me even further than that - to chiaroscuro facial treatments that I shared with my patrons as a Secret Recipe.
This month I also dove a bit deeper into the components of my heart-felt project about ash-glazed cups. “Fireweed” the event was in August, but its purple inspirations and purpose of compassion have trickled well into September. I wasn’t the only one emotionally invested in this project; KRCA News out of Sacramento worked with one of my recipients, Annie, to put together a news segment that brought me to tears. Along with gifting the chalices that I created for survivors of the devastating Camp Fire last year (glazed with ashes from each of their lost homes), I also sent a few herbal treats designed for relaxation. From an evening cordial bursting with the flavors of fresh huckleberries and the soothing properties of passionflower, to a ritual for connecting to your body through the elements (paired with soothing passionflower bath salts), I loved exploring nurturing and relaxing brews to share with those who needed them most. Another Secret Recipe for my family’s famous huckleberry muffins is comfort food at its finest.
Perhaps I somehow sensed that I, soon, would be needing my own comfort. In the midst of all of these projects and recipes, I was struck down hard with a flare-up like no other. I have several chronic health conditions that keep me in bed a good deal of the time, but for the most part I have found ways to work with them - meds that allow me to move around and eat on my good days, pain management options for the bad days, etc. These health issues are nothing new; in fact, I’ve had them for years and I owe my second chance at life to my fighting spirit. But this month is different. Something is wrong. The meds that usually help me aren’t working on this new pain. Some days, it’s hardly bearable. As I’m writing this, I haven’t eaten solid food in 4 weeks and am barely tolerating water. (Good thing I did so many of my recipes ahead of time, right?) I’m really scared. I knew pretty quickly that I was going need abdominal surgery, and I was going to need it soon. There’s only so long you can survive on a starvation diet. My insurance has been giving me the run-around, and I don’t have time to wait to jump through all of their hoops to get gap coverage for a out-of-network specialist. When I confided in a friend that I was afraid I might not make it if I didn’t get surgical help right away, she helped me start a GoFundMe. This opened the doors of so much support, kindness, and generosity that I have been in a pretty perpetual state of tearful gratitude for the last 3 days. I had no idea so many people were willing to start weaving a safety net for me. (By the way, we’re just over halfway to my goal and any amount helps!) I am hopeful that this surgery will give me back some of the life I’ve lost, and that I can get back to creating marvelous things to share with all of you! I don’t have my surgery scheduled yet, but I should have a date within the next few days. Regardless, I’m preparing myself for a slow fall and know that I’ll need all of the rest and gentleness I can afford as I move into my own season of healing.
It is not all bleak and stagnant, though; some other amazing women and I have put together a really special online course called “Wondermaking” that will start on Oct. 12th! It’s been so fun to work with my co-host and dear friend Victoria Smith to offer a class that is as much about connection and self care as it is about creating gifts. Here’s our description:
Once upon a time, four wonder-making women met in an enchanted forest and decided to brew up some magic together. They wove together their shared love of nature, nourishing self-care, and making beautiful things by hand. And something luminous emerged…an enchanting way of crafting beautiful gifts for the holidays while cultivating wondrous self-care and relaxation through the process of creation.
And just in case you are worried, no, my surgery will not have any affect on this class, since I have prepared all of my materials well ahead of time and they are ready to be shared with you! Plus, hanging out in our virtual Wonder Studio is sure to be a wonderful distraction while I’m healing. :)
Whew, this month has been crazy! I’ve learned so much about myself, my family, my friends, and my followers through times of deep vulnerability and intense pain. My family has become my arms, helping me with new recipes as I “direct” them from my bed in an ultimate act of support (they know how important my work is to me!) My sweet pup Grimm has been by my side the whole time. And my loving partner has been working on his own surprise to offer to my GoFundMe campaign.. more on that soon. Whether you’ve resonated most with stars and moons or soothing potions, it has been an honor to share all of this with you this month.
I deeply appreciate all of the support I get each month, whether you are one of my patrons or not. Every like, follow, comment, or contribution truly does mean so much to me, and reminds me why I spend all of my best days creating more wonder to share with all of you. How wonderful it is to be part of such an awesome community. And how amazing to know that this same community so willingly came to my need in a moment of crisis. I am so humbled by these oceans of kindness.
If you’d like to download a high-res version of this photo to use for a variety of projects while also supporting my mission to share wonder, you can support me on Patreon for rewards like this one!
And if you’d like to get this design printed on everything from greeting cards to throw pillows, take a look at my Society6 Shop!
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