Take a Walk Through the Wild Side

As I walked my dogs today through the cemetery in Bury St. Edmunds, I noticed numerous other dog walkers there.  People were using it as a short cut to walk from one side of town to the other.  Family members were sitting on a bench and kids zipped by on their razor scooters.  Few people were visiting the graves, as some seem so old that they are almost illegible. This vibrant activity in the graveyard is the norm in this British town, but this was also the case when I lived in Cambridge.  In fact, in numerous European cities it seems that the locals use the cemeteries as parks. They are a place where people do not just visit dead ancestors, but also a community ground to relax and stroll in.


In America, this does not seem to be our reality.  Perhaps it is only true in places like Los Angeles where they revitalized the Hollywood Cemetery to host concerts and film screenings.  People frequent the graves of celebrities in Los Angeles from Westwood’s forever home to Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood or Forest Lawn, home to Clark Gable and Walt Disney.  But what about the rest of the graveyards in America?  It appears the only times they are visited are lined up with the quintessential remembrance days: Memorial Day, Christmas, Mothers Day, and Father’s Day.  The rest of the year they are appear empty.


But why is it this way? Why do we not embrace graveyards in America?  Is it due to the fact that they are not in centralized locations where it is convenient to walk to? Are we not a walking culture and therefore have no need to stroll down places that house bones beneath our feet? Or is it something deeper?  Do we simply want to continue to immortalize youth, health, and life while not embracing the inevitable?  Our mortality.


In the Buddhist tradition, there’s acknowledgement that we as humans suffer due to old age, illness, and death.  Buddhists do not look away from this, but accept and turn towards it.  There’s a rehearsal to prepare for our own death. Traditionally five times a day, Buddhists may remind themselves that death is in their cards.   In fact, there is an app called “We Croak” that can do this for us.  If you purchase it, you will be notified five times a day with the statement “Remember you are going to die.”  As you click on the app when this message appears, a quote about death or inspiration will appear.  By continuing to keep death in the forefront of our brains, it serves as a tool to know we cannot escape this destiny.  Therefore, we have the opportunity of living an optimal life today.


I challenge you, wherever you live, to walk through a cemetery this week. Observe what you notice.   Read some of the tombstones.  How do you feel here?  Is anyone else there?  What is it like to linger here amongst those who have passed on and where we will inevitably be?  How does it put things in perspective?  Perhaps, you may notice that the problems you are facing today are minor to the values you are striving to live towards.  What shifts do you want to make in your life? Take action today.

Easter Egg Hunt

In the UK, Easter time generally equates with a full on four day weekend. In America, it appears that simply we send children on a hunt to find hidden eggs filled with either money, candy, or a combo for both.  Some people can finally indulge in whatever was given up for lent.  This may be meat, chocolate, alcohol, cursing, or whatever vice was in your life in March.  The forty days are over.  Rejoice! Perhaps some people go to church or have a nice brunch, but is our personal spirituality explored at all?

I wanted to offer you an Easter Egg Hunt. The search is for you to take the opportunity to allow the divine to unfold within you.  For you to discover the divine exists within.  This is the real treat, that is more satisfying than chocolate.


For your Easter Egg Treats, I am offering you the gift of two forms of media that can assist with the hunt.  The first is a youtube clip with Tosha Silver, entitled Dying to Love.  Tosha is an astrologer, author, and spiritual teacher, and although was raised Jewish, she describes being polyamorous when it comes to her spirituality.  She takes knowledge and stories from various religions, and interweaves them in her own life.  In this piece, she shares the story of Jesus and the metaphor of how we can utilize this in our own lives.  It is our egos that must die to be resurrected to the higher self that exists within.  When we offer our deepest desires to the Divine, we are letting go of our attachments to results to allow the higher order to prevail.  I have listened to this youtube clip repeatedly the past couple of weeks. Going through difficult times, when we give it all up to a larger power, we can let go and know that what is for our highest good will prevail.

The other egg I am sharing is a podcast I listened to yesterday.  And then I listened to automatically again. It is from Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith.  He explores the spiritual journey in four steps.  It’s completing amazing and transformative.  I couldn’t not help but share this. Below is a quote from this piece.

So as you have your Easter roast and eat that chocolate Cadbury egg, take time out to deepen your hunt for something richer.  Happy Easter.

“The spirit trusted you so much that it placed all of it’s power, all of it’s intelligence, all of it’s love, all of it’s beauty.  It placed everything within you.  The presence is everywhere.  It is fullness and it is places within you.  That in this presence may come into it as you own life. You will wake up with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving for the existence itself and your existence. Asking what can I share today, what can I give, how can I be more of myself?  How can I be a magnificent change agent, bringing heaven to earth every single day?  You ask that question to the universe and it will be answered.”  -Michael Bernard Beckwith



Finding a Fairy Drag-Mother

“Walking with your chest out and your head held high says you have earned the right to stomp and pummel this particular piece of real estate.”

― RuPaul

 Growing up and watching Disney’s Cinderella, I longed to have a fairy godmother to transform me. With the assistance of fairy godmothers, young lead females can morph from everyday frumps to gorgeous socialites. These women not only find their Prince Charming, but eventually find that their beauty, strength, or magic exists within and not from without.

In the annual British holiday pantomimes, one of the lead roles is generally played by a drag queen character. It doesn’t matter if the play is Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Beauty and The Beast. A lead is in drag. These are performances meant to entertain the entire family. It’s not looked at as peculiar, or even trendy. It’s actually simply the norm. People rejoice and sing along to the beloved plays that are splashed with familiar pop songs.

Drag Queens are fascinating and engaging. They carry this sense power in their over the top personalities. There are no apologies for having out of this world alter egos. All is embraced. We have so much to learn from exploring this world. And so I slowly dipped into it.

This year, I have caved in and began watching RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix. Although, the show is currently in it’s 11thseason, I haven’t watched it until now. What lured me in is one of the top contestants was a friend from high school. He was actually a date to one of my high school dances. I saw her once in our 20s perform in Nina’s adopted hometown of Columbus Ohio, and ever since then I’ve been watching Nina West from my social media updates, and I can’t help but burst with pride in seeing an old classmate glam it up with Lady Gaga, Adele, or to be given a shout out by Sia. And now she’s on RuPaul.

As I watch Nina and her colleagues compete it out each week, I can’t help but be fascinated by their confidence. They strut their stuff down the runways, blurt out how fabulous they are, and are completely theatrical in their clothes, makeup, and facial expressions. I had taken burlesque classes this past year, and what we are trying to exemplify are basically drag queens…alter egos, confident walks, free style dance moves, intoxicating gazes, creative and unique costumes. There’s one more similarity between these types of shows. The most beautiful part about going to both drag and burlesque shows is the supportive audience.

It takes vulnerability and courage to express yourself (even if it is your alter ego) on stage. All forms of beauty are appreciated. We want those onstage to succeed. Live it up for us. The bigger your confidence, the more intoxicating the performance. Watching a powerful queen on stage, acts as fairy dust for the audience. The show reminds us that we too have this fierce power and unencumbered beauty within. If they can access it, so can we.

I know I’m not the only one to make this claim. This year’s film Dumplin featured the lead character, Willowdean, as a slightly overweight, self-deflating high schooler whose mother was beauty pageant queen Jennifer Anniston. Willowdean learned to find power and strength from two particular aspects: Dolly Parton and Dolly Parton drag queens. They physically showed her to exude femininity, presence, and power through mentoring her during the film.

As I continue to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race season and root for Nina West, I am realizing perhaps the fairy drag-mother is not a fictional concept. She may actually exist. Through watching her perform, I know that the magic bottle of confidence, beauty, sass, and strength is available from within.

“If You Can’t Love Yourself How In The Hell Are You Gonna Love Somebody Else?”-RuPaul





The Frida Archetype

“I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.”-Frida Kahlo


Throughout the past several years the world has seen an increase of Frida Kahlo paraphernalia. This has been more than the Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, or Marilyn Monroe images that you see in the stores or on people’s walls.  Why is this?

Frida has shifted from being an ordinary person to becoming an archetype.  Her image stands for individuality, strength in diversity and color, beauty in authenticity, acceptance, power, and all encompassing woman-hood.  In addition to the touring exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s clothing, artwork, photography and belongings that has travelled from Mexico City to London and New York, there are works of art being created about her.  While in South Florida last week, an opera entitled Frida was being shown at the Broward Center of the Performing Arts.  In London, the English National Ballet is offering a piece entitled She Persisted, based on Frida.

Frida is famous for saying that she is her own muse, but over time she has become muses for numerous others.  Clothing, pillow cases, canvas bags, ballet pieces, opera, and in our own homes and offices.  I recently went into a medical staff member’s office on a military base.  This active duty member’s wall was lined with a Frida Kahlo fabric over her window.  Kahlo is contagious and is everywhere.

The image of Frida means something to us.  We find we can harness our own power by observing how she conquered adversity in her life.  Throughout the tragedies that befell upon her such as miscarriages, infidelity, and numerous physical horrendous medical ailments, she prevailed.  She did not overcome one struggle after another quietly, she immersed herself by telling her story through her art work.  Her art was fueled by her strife.  Some of her work sends pain to our wombs solely by looking at it, without knowing the whole story.  Despite this, she did not wallow in misery.

When many of us are feeling down and self-loathing, we may opt to decrease care for ourselves. We wear frumpy clothes, no make-up, dark and muted colors to portray our moods.  In times of joy or strife, Frida turned up the diva dial, and beautified herself.  She graced her body with beautiful jewelry, her hair with bold bright flowers, flowing petticoats and traditional Mexican attire.  Even during the later years, when she was confined to staying home due to her medical illness, she still got dressed up. The medical corsets she was prescribed to wear by her doctors, were exemplified with artwork.  The shoes that she wore were beautiful and fabulous, even if it covered her one amputated leg.

The Victoria And Albert Museum labeled their recent exhibit of this artist as “Making Herself Up.”  And she did, and it was not for anyone else. The act of dolling up was for herself.   If I was going to use spiritual lingo for this, she cherished and honored herself by adorning the divine within.  She made herself up as a goddess to be revered, if only for her own pleasure and enjoyment.   Now in some ways she is worshipped as a goddess by others worldwide, decades after her death.

When we observe someone, who takes pride and solace in adorning themselves in the midst of pain, we know they are aligning with the highest part of themselves…the divine feminine. The divine within lifts us to emerge onto the other side stronger, wiser, and with more grace.  We turn to Frida, as she is a reminder that this is a possibility for us.  We too are capable of finding beauty, art, and dignity in the midst of whatever is arising in our everyday lives.

Therefore, the next time you see a Frida image, tell yourself that she is not just a symbol of an artist, feminist, or fashion icon.  She is an archetype of a strong female warrior.  Frida serves as a reminder of the divine feminine that exists within.  It’s available to you, all it takes is work to honor and adorn your own external temple in joy and sorrow.  Make yourself up.  You are worth it.

“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” – Frida Kahlo


Florida Grand Ballet



English National Ballet