This edition of Firelight is curated by Kali Higgins who shares music, poetry, and reflections as we settle into Fall!
This month’s curator
Kali Higgins co-creates experiences where people can slow down and tap into their intuition by moving with the rhythms and spirituality of the natural world. In these moments, we (re)find and remember our soul’s purpose and restore our sense of well-being and oneness with the world. Kali is fascinated by life’s big questions and makes it a point to see the beauty in the ordinary.
by Kali Higgins
October 10, 2017
I write to you from a hotel room in Madison, Wisconsin. The sounds of sirens and snoring mix in with the sports highlights flashing in the corner of my eye—my partner is watching TV on mute while the two daughters nap, and I put this Firelight together on a fine fall afternoon.
We are here because in November I open up a small “yoga” studio in Stillwater, MN. While we were looking in IKEA for a shelving unit to buy for the space, I thought of a new friend I met back in August at the Sisters Seekers Gathering who does wood work. Instead of purchasing from IKEA, I wanted to support a local, small business. Jenn, who agreed to build a shelf for our yoga props and a small altar for the teachers, lives in Madison, so we hitched up the trailer and decided to make it a short weekend getaway (while we pick up the goods).
It never ceases to amaze me how moving one’s body in space can help one shift energy. Whether it’s stepping out of a room full of tension at work and walking to a park, hitting up a dance class or hopping into a car and driving miles in a different direction, physical movement can do wonders for the soul.
Last week, like many weeks, was filled with both wonder and joy but also moments of deep anguish and pain. We were shook up enough as it was when the news came in about Vegas, but when we got the phone call that a family friend was among the injured and missing, we felt like we took a bullet directly to the heart.
A blanket of quiet and reflection and numbness covered our household as we waited and later found out that he did not make it. We are still holding space in our hearts, being gentle with ourselves and others as we process and send prayers for our friend while he makes his way to the other side.
In the meantime, we sit on this side of the veil wondering again if how we spend our time is really how we want to live in the world. Are we showing up how we want to in our daily interactions and in our work? Are we doing enough?
It’s been quite a transition into the fall season to say the least. Since I last wrote in July, it feels like so much has happened . I am grateful to be back with you today and share in the present moment with the gifts of music, poetry and reflection.
Before I do, a few special announcements, because why not? One: I would like to invite you all to join me at One Dance Company’s upcoming show, Enough this weekend. I will be there enjoying the performance, supporting lovely humans and selling out my inventory of self-care goodies. Come and say hi! I’ve decided for a time to part with my retail store to make room for a healing tea/herb room/apothecary at my current office space. I am not sure exactly how it will look but it will be a place people can come have a cup of tea or get a flower essence or infused oil made on the spot—a sort of community farmacy. Two: There are still some spots open in our Ayurvedic Self-Care Rituals evening with guest teacher, Anna Wiens from Herban Ayurveda. I am so excited for this healing appointment!
Together we will learn and experience time-tested self-care practices—including guided breath work, meditation AND a 45-60 minute self-massage with organic, infused herbal oils. I will be attending and I can’t wait! Three: I would be honored if you joined me at our New Studio Open House in November, kicking off the expansion of our wellness center in Stillwater. We are so excited for our weekly offerings, creative collaborations and what else is to come! If you can’t make it, please pass on this information to anyone you think may be interested. It takes a village and we appreciate your support!
For those wanting some slow flow and a more serious tune – one that I often have on play over and over lately is called “Gentle with Myself ” by Karen Drucker.
This song is a great reminder for people feeling a little critical of themselves and the world. In mindfulness, when we are being harsh to ourselves and one another, that is the ego mind at work. On the flip side, being gentle is a quality that is Buddha Nature. Who doesn’t want to be a little more like Buddha? When you catch yourself caught up in being critical and judgmental, ask yourself, how can I soften a little? Or listen to this song and see if it changes how you feel.
For people feeling more like dancing and needing something more upbeat, check out “Member of the World Community” by Sweet Honey in the Rock. This song lifts me up when I am feeling hopeless. It brings lightness to a heavy heart. It also incorporates the alphabet which is a bonus for parents of toddlers and small children as it can draw kids in a little more, too.
WORDS + POETRY of the Season
Here are some words and poetry that inspire me at this time of year. Which poem if any are you drawn to? Or do you have a poem of your own that you like or that you need to write that fits with this season?
“Jump into experience while you are alive! Think…and think…while you are alive. What you call ‘salvation’ belongs to the time Before death.”
“Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye
The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.
The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.
The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.
The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.
The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.
I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.
“The Fall” by Kali Higgins
Once a warm breeze,
to the skin
A thick smog
Leaving a salty,
Now moves angular
In its place
A harsher, cooler wind.
Sweeping us to great heights,
Then dropping us
READING & REFLECTION
“Our stuff can be divided into three categories: useful stuff, beautiful stuff and emotional stuff.” “You may initially think that Limits are stifling; but you’ll soon discover they’re absolutely liberating!”
“Clear surfaces are not only pleasing to the eye, they are beneficial to the mind.”
These quotes are excerpts from Francine Jay’s book, The Joy of Less — a book I checked out from the library that I like to dip into every now and again as I remind myself we need to change our mindset around stuff. And by we, I mean me and my daughter mostly. She and I are the collectors… collectors of the useful, beautiful and emotional stuff. And boy, is it ever hard to let go of things, especially those emotional things we have not processed yet. It’s like the “stuff” sits there, waiting for us to pick it up and be transported to another time to remember or to relive a time.
We still have a ways to go, but we—my daughter and me are learning. Discipline is everything—setting limits and boundaries, not easy, but it is definitely helping. One thing working for us is, when she wants to take out a toy to play with, she has to put one away. Similarly for me, when I buy a new item, I have to let go of an old item, be it a book or a scarf, etc.
I am finding that being creative, sometimes living in a place where everything is out can be inspiring, but many times the weight of all the stuff, just really brings me down. I look forward to continuing this journey in our home to move through both the physical and the psyche as it’s connected to “stuff.” And I look forward to more clearer spaces as I definitely believe our spaces reflect our minds, our bodies, our ways of processing our experiences.
A story & reflection
I was one among 3 lucky women invited to a weekly Earth Ceremony Study Group, held at my friend’s home. We started the first week of October and are meeting weekly for 1.5-2 hours at a time. My friend—who is also my elder was going through her “stuff” recently, and she found 5 folders that each had a different ceremony in it, holding notes and related items in it. These ceremonies were co-created to bring healing to the Earth. One of the ceremonies took place at the Twin Towers after 9-11, another took place on the grounds where a sacred grove of trees were torn down to make room for a highway, for example.
She decided when she picked these folders up that her way of releasing them or letting them go would be by bringing together a small group of young people to teach the process of ceremony. In that way she felt she would be able to plant her seeds and release this work in a bigger way. This work is all about intention, and this woman lives and breathes in that way.
As she was running through the first folder, I thought to myself wow, how many folders do I have in my life literally and figuratively? How many are open? How many are closed? And I also wondered how I would feel about them 30 years from now. Would they be collecting dust? What would they look like? I wondered, what would be in my 5 folders that I would want to leave with the next generation. It surely got me thinking and I don’t have firm answers yet to share, but I thought I would pose that question with you all in case it’s useful to you. Fall is the perfect time to reflect on what we value most and what kind of legacy we want to leave behind.
With that said, what would be your five folders? What precious items/wisdom would be in there for you to share with future generations?