meditation mondays: girl power

happy monday, meditators!

last week we went on a vision quest – pondering how we, and all of society, will benefit from learning to be true to our selves… that when we live authentically + do something that we love, then we contribute to the whole world.

this week we are moving a little further out from ourselves, but still staying close… one of the other important facets of native american life is community – those people closest to you + around you in your everyday life. now, there are two things about indigenous peoples’ family values that inspire me greatly. one, is the fact that their societies are mostly matriarcial (most, not all). the other is how open and flowing families are – they are not static, small families, but diverse, large, flowing, extended families – something that intrigues me, as someone who comes from a fairly small family.

today, though, i want to focus on the women in native societies. let me just share with you a few interesting tidbits of information about cherokee women (the cherokee tribe is native to western north carolina, and many cherokee still live here!). and, mind you, these are values from the mid-1800s!

  • the most important man in a child’s life? not the father. the mother’s brother!
  • women owned the houses where extended families lived + daughters inherited the houses from their mothers. boo-yah!
  • women were equal to men
  • women had sexual freedom
  • while men hunted and fought, women farmed and offered advice (and fought as well!)
  • women + men both were represented and had a voice in the cherokee government (council meetings). in fact, the cherokee woman, attakullakulla, who went to meet with the governor of south carolina in 1757 (!) said, “Since the white man as well as the red was born of woman, did not the white man admit women to their council?”

just take a look at these native american women – and imagine the influence and power and humility that they had. imagine who they were…

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i took this photo last june – a native cherokee living on the reservation today. she explained to me that the power and respect of women is still an important value in cherokee society today. amazing!

for me, i have been so blessed by a plethora of women in my life – women who have shown me the way, been my cheerleaders + confidantes. women who have been my mentors + spiritual guides. i’d say that the one trait that all of these women in my life, including my amazing love, have had in common is that they have all been seekers of living life exactly on their terms. they have survived tough times and become better, stronger, + more amazing than even before.

so, my question to you is this… who are some women who have been strong, peaceful, inspiring, amazing people in your life? as you go through this week, think about and honor the women that are in your life. and, if you get a hankering, leave me a comment + share some of your own stories about important women to you.

and, most definitely, if you are a women, dig deep into your soul + celebrate who you are. celebrate your feminine power, who you are, and the gifts that you have to offer. and you know what, if you find yourself in a place of inequality, then remember these cherokee women – and all of the other women all around the world – and fight for your right to be true to your humanity, just as you are!

light + love. xx

photos from pinterest

wedding bells weekend

i’m gonna try to write words, but i know that my words will not do the experience justice.

today, i had the pure joy, honor, + privilege to perform my first wedding ceremony. and as if that wasn’t enough, there were many other factors that made it even more amazing…

about 2 weeks ago, i got an email from someone who had seen my officiant/minister profile online. she introduced herself and told me that she + her partner of twenty-six years (!) wanted to be married. they were from alabama and wondered if i could meet them in murphy – a little mountain town in north carolina that borders georiga, tennessee, and alabama – and perform their ceremony.

well,  of course i said yes!

so, today, after emails back and forth for the past 2 weeks and preparing a ceremony that that approved of, i hopped in my car and drove through the mountains, on windy roads, through colorful woods, and by a rushing river to get to murphy. i was excited, nervous, and so humbled to be doing this.

mountain roads

i parked my car on the main street in murphy and saw the courthouse, big + beautiful, overlooking the downtown area. suddenly, i realized that we were in very conservative, rural country and people might not look too highly on two women getting married. the ladies would have to go into the courthouse and apply for their marriage license, and legally they have every right to do that, but i wondered how people would react in the office. i was now nervous about any negativity that we might encounter.

murphy, north carolina

cherokee county courthouse

i made my way to the register of deeds (where you get your marriage license) and waited for the ladies to arrive. the elevator dinged, and two women appeared – all of us instantly knowing who the others were. one of the ladies gave me a hug, the other shook my hand. lesbian vibes bouncing everywhere in that little hallway.

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after a few moments of just meeting face to face, we walked into the office. they were nervous. i was nervous. and the lady asked what she could help us with. the two women proudly said that they wanted a marriage license, and the woman behind the desk said, “certainly. can i have your id’s?”. that was it!

apparantly, same-sex couples from the surrounding states had been showing up in murphy all week in order to get married. remember, it is now legal in north carolina, but illegal in every other southern state. so, the past 2 weeks, since it became legal, people have crossed state lines in order to fulfill dreams.

for these two women, it had been a dream that they both thought would never happen in their lifetimes, they told me as we stood there while the paperwork was being processed. they fidgeted, one more than the other, and they just wanted to get it over with. but, they were so elated to have this opportunity.

i can’t even imagine… being together all of those years and not able to openly show their love. alabama is even more backwards than north carolina. they described to me how they hid their love for each other for a long time, how they snuck about, and how they just confronted their bullies. they have been through a lot, way more than i have, and here they were, about to make their family legal – able to truly take care of each other. in this moment, they were being treated just the same as other couples seeking to be married. it was a huge moment.

register of deeds

so, with the marriage license in hand, we headed back upstairs to find a place to do the simple ceremony i had planned for them. we saw a staircase with a large window behind it – the staircase was the main one in the center of the big, ornate courthouse. we decided that would be the spot.

i stood with my back to the window and they faced me, side by side. and then… the words just flowed. they answered and proclaimed their love and promises to each other. i began to choke up as i got to the pronouncement part. they were beaming. we were all gitty. and then, i said it:

“You have each chosen this common road of marriage, and from this moment forward your intentions and paths are united.  You have expressed your commitment to one another and taken to yourselves the relationship of Partners in life and solemnly promised to love, honor, comfort and cherish each other for all the days to be. So live vibrantly.  Hold fast to your ideals.  Challenge one another,  and give each other new experiences of joy.

Therefore, in accordance with the laws of North Carolina and by virtue of the authority vested in me it is my honor to declare you married,  partners in life, spouses for life.”

ahhhhh-mazing!!

me married

after the ceremony and filing the marriage license (my other job as minister), i walked around downtown and found myself having lunch in a cozy cafe. i just sat, beaming, feeling like i was going to explode. knowing that i was fulfilling some of the things that i am meant to do in this world.

i basked in the knowledge that i got to be part of something huge today. and i am completely humbled by the fact that i shared such a special moment in the lives of these two, inspiring women. what an incredible, incredible experience.


now,  i’ve still not come down from my high. and, i am ready to keep on celebrating. gonna have some dinner with my brother and my wife soon – both of whom are super stressed and not at all in the same place emotionally i am in tonight. hopefully i will make them feel better.

then, tomorrow, we are attending a greek orthodox wedding for our dear, sweet friends in asheville.

and, get this, i am performing another wedding ceremony on sunday – for a friend and former co-worker.

that’s right, that 3 weddings in three days. love is in the air!

light + peace xx

the day that love came to north carolina

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here we are. in 2010. at a rally for marriage equality in raleigh, north carolina. 

yesterday was day one in north carolina.

what does that mean? it means that it was the first day, ever, that same sex couples were finally treated as equals. the first day that same-sex couples received the right to file for marriage licenses and get married. and the first day that my love and i were legally, officially, recognized as a married couple in my home state.

it’s been a long time coming, and for a while, i wondered how long we would have to wait to be able to have the right to marry and build a life with the one that we love. but, tonight i saw same sex couples getting married in asheville, north carolina. like legally married. not a commitment ceremony, but a real live, legal marriage. with paperwork from the government and all. in north carolina!

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it’s a long legal story, that sped up in intensity this past monday after a ruling in virginia struck down the law that defined marriage as only between a man and a women. in other words, it was unconstitutional (illegal). that ruling opened the door for other states to also strike down their own bans on same-sex marriage. north carolina has had a ban on gay marriage for a while now, but i didn’t really believe that the law would be stuck down anytime soon.

so, after a lot of drama and a lot of waiting, and hoping, and wishing, and last ditch political and horrific stalling tactics by republican, and almost giving up, at the last minute on friday night, a judge in north carolina ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional (because of what happened in virginia on monday). and then, within minutes, same- sex marriages were allowed to begin. I couldn’t believe it when i saw it in my twitter feed.

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when i saw the news on twitter… i ran to lina. we stood in amazement. just looking at each other. suddenly, within a flash, our marriage was recognized in our state. suddenly we were a married couple in north carolina – with rights and privileges. not just two girls living together. but, legitimately married. it felt amazing. and i could hardly breathe.

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here we are, literally minutes after same sex marriage became legal in north carolina last night. we had to celebrate with a photo of a real, live, legally recognized married couple!

the government offices where you get marriage licenses stayed open late all across the state after the ruling in favor of same sex marriages. and couples poured in to get their licenses, and then immediately get married. there were ministers and clergy available everywhere to marry people right on the spot.

we decided to hop in the car and head down to the government building to be a part of this historic moment, and when we arrived, we saw that there were people milling about everywhere. couples were scattered in groups on the stairs in front of the building, getting married right there. other couples cheered them on. lina and i joined in. it is unbelievable how this truly affects the lives of so many people and so many families. it is so amazing that this has happened. that it is real.

to be clear, lina and i do not have to get married again. we were married in sweden almost 5 years ago, and as of last night, that marriage is now legal in north carolina! so, no ceremonies for us. only celebrations that our love and our marriage is something that is real and valid and recognized now. *deep breath* amazing.

here are photos of the wedding ceremonies and celebrations happening just after the ruling. it was so emotional and powerful and unbelievable…

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the rest of the photos are not mine. i pulled them off of different places on twitter. but, it shows you just some of the couples in asheville that got marriage licenses and got married. what a huge, mind-blowing, heart-exploding day! look at how cute these couples are – and they (along with lina and i) get to celebrate their love – and be recognized as full, legitimate spouses!

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yep. yesterday was day one. the day that love came to north carolina. the day that equality and justice won. i am so proud. so excited. and so overjoyed. and you know what else? it really did feel different walking around today, holding my love’s, my wife’s, hand – knowing that we are not just two women who live together. but, in the eyes of the law of north carolina and the united states, we are legally married. it is a binding contract, affording us the same rights and privileges as opposite gender couples. and i cannot adequately describe to you how incredible this feels.

yesterday, love won.

light + love