Ear Candy

Photo on 2013-04-22 at 11.57 #2

I would absolutely love it if you would check out my new streaming radio show, “Ear Candy (a sweet piece of sound for your mind to suck on)”. It’s a lively mix of music, poetry, and prose with themes like “Winter’s Cocktail”, “Lost and Found”, “Hearty Stew”, “Liminal Leap”, and “Canticle of the Wind”. Check out “Winter’s Cocktail” now at this link: http://kwparadio.org/ear-candy-podcasts/  to hear the podcast.

And now . . . back to my (mostly) regularly scheduled blog!

Warmly, Gina

Stepping into the Bowl of the Day


As I look down at the jammy smile of my incision scar from my fall operation, (it is indeed in the curvaceous shape of the Amazon’s smug grin), I know I am not completely healed up as the smirk turns into a smarting pain during a long walk or just rambling through the course of my day.

But today is Fat Tuesday, and I know I’m on the brink of something. That scarry smile holds within itself a teeming matrix of healing, and bowls and bowls of those mysterious interior liquids that wash over your wounds during recovery.

I wrote this poem a few years ago on the brink of lent (on a day, much like today). And I wonder, once again,

How do I step into the bowl of this day?

The tear soup that sits salty

in dark brown pottery-

how do I lap up the poverty

of raggedness

from the day’s remnants of ripped

bread and confused wine?

Salt is soothing and healing-

the bleeding wounds suck the

white crystals unknowingly

and dry out their little souls,

but it will eventually create

a smooth ruby of a scab-

protection from infection,

a canopy of metamorphosis.

And for me, on this mardi gras bridge toward passion and contemplation, it is indeed the ongoing, stedfast hope of metamorphosis that sustains within the daily soup of life.

First rite of passage reflection: collecting rite words


a place for inspiration: afternoon light in a chapel in Plain, WA

On my search for the “rite” words to inspire me and others on this creative journey toward a meaningful mentored celebration for my daughter, I wish I would have come across this quote by Clarissa Pinkola Estes:

“I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.”

But I didn’t. There were pale samplings of written fare that spoke about painful rites practiced on girls over the centuries. There were interesting menstruation rituals I looked at quite shyly. And there were more luscious ceremonies like those in India where girls are given a new sari, sprinkled with fragrant water, and donned with a crown of flowers. But none of these were traditions embedded in our own experiences, our own culture (and at times, I admit I was grateful). I was looking for something not beautiful and borrowed, but something that resonated in the caverns of our own sense of places and spaces, here, where we are living.

Our culture, or at least my culture, didn’t have a precedent for rites of passage, so creating my own seemed like a good place idea. Perhaps my daughter would pass our new traditions on to her own daughter someday, and on and on until new traditions became established, familiar, even cherished ones. When you start from scratch on most anything, you have to  brush the top layers away until you get to rockbed. And rockbed for me was touched upon by asking these types of questions: what kind of gathering would allow for the sharing of stories to ease the pain of being alone in the adolescent years? what gifts of wisdom would be most worthwhile to Ginny? how can I craft an experience that allows her to walk away feeling loved, affirmed, and more clear-eyed in gazing at who she truly is? how can I provide a fun and exuberant release so our time together is not excessively heavy?

These questions and thoughts were the touchstones to ponder. They would help form the new words I’d be sculpting from. I would eventually collect and add others on: symbol, feasting, keepsake, music, blessing. I would look to these key thoughts to be my inspiration to hold closely in the desire to share extravagantly with my daughter the riches of being a woman at the nascency of this rare and precious journey.


hand painted peace flags dancing in the wind

First rite of passage: unwrapping the gifts of mentorship


Sharon and Ginny amused with a question in the “room of blessing”.

I wholeheartedly believe that in the world of those who live and those who learn, every person has something to offer. There are value-laden opportunities in almost every conversation and around nearly every corner. Mentoring isn’t just about sitting under the bodhi tree of wisdom, it’s also about sharing vulnerable stories about adolescent crushes, demonstrating how to replace a chain on a bicycle, or teaching a kid to cook broccoli. According to dictionary.com, a mentor is really just a “wise and trusted counselor or teacher.” Someone who has something to contribute. Someone worthy of trust in a given area, whether it’s quilting or quantum physics.

So in the spirit of mentorship, in preparation for this first rite of passage, I had an assignment for each participant: fill a 4 x 2 inch wooden thrift store Chinese herb drawer with as much wisdom as you can. You can do it with objects, pictures, symbols, words, trinkets, whatever you want, but just make sure each item represents to you something of value to teach Ginny about womanhood.

Simple. Anyone could fill a 4 inch box. Simple, but ultimately, extremely profound. Only each individual could fill a 4 inch box with themselves- the wisdom, insight, enlightenment, and creativity that comes from that singly unique soul. Every stone explained, every word expanded upon, every trinket from today or time past would open up Ginny’s world into the wisdom and inspiration of one soul’s walk on the edges and main thoroughfares of womanhood and humanity. And in doing that, I knew that mentorship could be contained within the perimeter of the palm of a hand, but also leave indelible lifelines.


the simple, but incredible magical, Chinese herb chest

First rite of passage: fashioning the invitation


hand-crafted love

How do you fashion love and admiration into a 4 x 6 piece of cardstock? That was my dilemma. I wanted the invitees to know via a well-crafted invitation the importance and thoughtfulness I was carefully ladling into this delectable event, as well as their treasured contribution. An invitation, as most of you probably already know, is more than the words cradled on the inside. Just like a tasty morsel before the celebratory feast, it is the well-placed appetizer. An intentioned, beautiful invitation will be savored. I know, I have a number of them still mingled with keepsakes floating around my house that I randomly pull out to gaze on and re-roll around in my mouth in happy memory.

When crafting a good appetizer, or a good invitation, it’s always important to think about what you want it to embody. In the case of this first rite of passage, I wanted it to taste like beauty, home, the rich textures of womanhood, with a hint of mystery. I know that sounds like a lot of ingredients for a little invitation, but the presentation, or the first blush of a project, often paves the way for the love and intentionality that goes into the rest. Each card was hand crafted (there were only 9; the last a keepsake for a possible memory book from the event). The expense was time, not materials. Paper scraps, juicy vintage photos (actually copies of them), and inexpensive trinkets were the main contributions. And though they took some time to complete, the joy in knowing that each one would fly off to a glad recipient was more than worth it.

As you can see, I took photos of each of these little art pieces to remember the look of them as well as their significance in the entre of this new path of creating threshold experiences for my daughter and others. With a little glue, a meaningful quote or phrase, and a warmth imbued in a hand-scrawled signature, they were off, as was my imagination to what their journey could eventually bring back to my door . . .


vintage mentorship

A welcome and a warm hello

a cup of tea in the room of stories

a cup of tea in the room of stories

My girl was turning 14. I looked up “rite of passage for women” online and got various stories of female circumcision and menstruation rites. With my nose crinkled, and the bottom falling out of my parental heart cavity, I knew I wanted something different than these options- something beautiful, something meaningful, something indelible. Shouldn’t every child have the chance to go through puberty with a bridge intact and shining adults holding hands on either side of it singing them into adulthood? Yes, my heart pumped, every child should.

Shining adults. I knew so many. My mom was one, kneeling at the side of my bed since childhood, ushering me into the world of spirit, praying in the darkness, while my eyes swirled in my head searching for connection to the otherworld. My good friend, Tricia was another. A pillar in my daughter’s life since birth. The one woman who took a stand to fight for dignity and freedom in my life when dignity and freedom were not a part of our family structure. My friend, Sharon would be another. Solid soul of commitment and questions. A beauty forging through the dusty paths of difficulty with at times, murky direction.  Nancy could be a third. Artist extraordinaire.  A sculptor from scraps. Her craft boasting both a method and a life lesson.

The list was filling out. But so many could have fit the bill: Karmyn, Maril, Valerie . . . . Each possible person could have filled it with a contribution, a purpose, a message, a gift they bring to this life. If it weren’t sculpting or praying or rescuing, it would be letter-writing or storytelling, or quilt-making. Each person has a part to play on the shining bridge . . .

which is why I’m choosing to write this blog.

I hope to::

  • explore the rich possibilities of rites of passage for girls
  • share life affirming examples from close at home and far way
  • provide a meeting place for ideas and encouragement in creating your own original celebrations

Thanks for joining me on this journey. I’m glad you’re here! I treasure every comment and look forward to responding to each one. See you on the shining bridge!