Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Phoenix Festival 2017: Week of Beautiful Trauma and Revenge

One of my favorite things about P!nks  'Revenge' is that it's a bit tongue in cheek, and light hearted and fun. That's unusual in a revenge song.

I just finished having coffee with an Twitter friend about an hour ago. We had never met in person before, and it was fun to talk about things that she had never heard of before. One of the things I mentioned was Tyler Glenn of Neon trees being a gay ex mormon, and imagine dragons Love Loud festival in Provo utah.

We mostly just talked about women's soccer, but talking about the push and pull in prodomenently conservative communities by queer communities and allies added to our conversation.

Realizing that Provo pride is growing and expanding and all the amazing positive changes that have come about in Utah post policy doesn't take away from the pain, and negative consequences for thousands of lives that that caused, but upon reflection, it's not just me that experienced this as a 'Beautiful Trauma'

Perhaps the best revenge of such inflicted pain is the number of people, like myself that are happier, free-er, and healthier in life inspite of the Trauma and pain of Nov 5th 2015.

And I guess that's my thoughts for this week.  I'm glad for the changes that happened in my life, even though it was a painful process, and sometimes still can be, to have gone through. And I don't regret any part of my life's journey.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Phoenix Festival 2017: A Lesson From Laura Harvey

It was only Sunday that this year's Phoenix Festival season kicked off. This year's Burining of the 5th started with incense in a fire pit rather than last year's angry, roaring pain filled bon fire. This year was more like a moment of  sending love into the universe, to those still suffering, and for all the pain of 2017.

Then yesterday, I got news that Laura Harvey was leaving my beloved Seattle Reign, and day 2 became surprisingly a day of mourning  again, though this time not for people hurt by a church policy, but because someone important, a stabilising factor in a soccer team, was taking a chance and moving forward in life. And it left me feeling destabilized by change.

Then someone on Twitter wrote some beautiful words about a beautiful bird not being trapped in a cage, and the importance of being free, even if we didn't get to see the bird as much any more. I have totally messed it up here, but this metaphor struck me deeply, because it was day 2 of Phoenix festival, and that person was right.

Today is New Ash Wednesday. I wasn't going to keep all the feasts and structures the same as last year, because Phoenix Festival is a holiday season that is about change, and adapting to your needs, but as I awoke this morning, I realized I needed it to be called New Ash Wednesday again.

Everything is ashes again. Yesterday's news  for my soccer team created a chaos in my mind, where I'm just not sure what the Reign are going to look like next season now. Things have changed. We are at a place where we start again. Not from scratch, the Phoenix ashes are a place of rebirth and creation that will always become a Phoenix again. The point is, that from big scary changes comes opportunities for growth that wouldn't be there if we didn't leave our comfort zone.

From all the words and statements I read from Laura Harvey yesterday, I gained one insight. If we wait to make big changes in our life until we are completely comfortable, and ready to make them, we have waited too long, and missed great opportunities. Changes that are meaningful, that move us forward, require a bit of discomfort and risk.

As we sit in the Ashes stage of Phoenix Festival, let us envision the future we desire, and embrace the changes, risk and hard work it will take to get there.

Happy Phoenix Fistival. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Phoenix Festival 2017

Today is the 5th of November,  Guy Fawkes Day, and The Burning of the Fifth, which is the first day of the Phoenix Festival,  remember the day the LDS church policy was leaked in 2015, forever changing many lives.  It is a day where for many of us LGBTQ+ Mormons,  the foundations we had built our lives on burnt to the ground, and some of us died, and some of us are still dying, and some of us are finally OK. 

The Phoenix Festival kicks off my annual collection of socks for the homeless.  Feel free to send your donation of new socks my way and I will pass them on to my connections in the Puget Sound area. I have been informed that this early November time, people are coming into the homeless camps with soaking wet socks,  and no coats or jackets, because they haven't been donated yet.  Its already snowing here now, so this makes my heart sad.  If you don't live near me in the Seattle Area, please consider donating socks  and beginning to donate coats and warm clothes to homeless shelters and encampments in your area.

The Phoenix Festival is a time for anyone who needs a new home during the Holiday seasons to have something they can make their own. When old traditions have become painful or irrelevant, we have the Phoenix festival, and each year we can make it what we need it to be. There are two things that will always happen with Phoenix Festival,  The Burning of the Fifth,  on November 5th, and The Day of the Phoenix Rising on January 6th.  Why? because this time is symbolic of a Phoenix, and a Phoenix can't rise and be reborn unless it burns it all down to the ground and becomes ashes first.

This year,  I am a different person with different needs than last year. I have become my own person, and I feel less pain than last year, less attached to the things that happened in 2015. So this year will have different themes than last years Phoenix Festival. Within each of the weeks,  everyone can interpret the themes according to their own needs and desires.

I have chosen my weekly themes from P!inks new album Beautiful Trauma, because I feel like it really fits with where I am at this year, as well as remembering the past in a way that feels relevant and moves me forward.

Week 1 (Nov 5-11):  'The Week of Beautiful Trauma and Revenge'   from those two songs on P!nks new album.  This is a week of recognizing the beauty gained from going through our lives journeys, even the painful parts, and  also recognizing that sometimes its OK to be angry and rage a bit when things are wrong and painful.

Special Feast Day, Nov 5th "The Burning of the Fifth"   Have a meaningful and cathartic bonfire.

Week 2 (Nov 12-18): 'The Week of What You Want, For Now'  This week will be about being present in the moment, and living your life with awareness in the present. 

Special Feast Day, Nov. 18th: The Day to Choose to Reign.  This is a day where you own your life, your decisions, and the journey you are on, and take mindful action to own  and pursue the journey and course that you wish for your life to take.

Week 3 (Nov 19-25): 'The Week of What About Us'    This song of P!inks is perhaps one of the most beautiful and powerful songs on the album.  I will lead us in reflecting on her words and what they mean to me in this week.  Its a week that first and foremost is about recognizing your worth as a human, and  not letting anyone destroy your worth, and your beauty.

Special Feast Day Nov. 23: 'Chained to The Rhythm'   This day is about recognizing that along with all the beautiful things that distract us, There are also ugly things in history connected to those moments, and that we can only begin to fix the damage those beautiful things hide, when we pause from our warmth and comfort and  recognize and come to terms with those ugly pieces as well.

Week 4 (Nov. 26- Dec 2): 'The Week of But We Lost It'    Forever is as long as there is. and sometimes forever is less long than we think, but treasuring things while we have them is a part of this weeks theme. Sometimes we loose thing, sometimes we loose people,  and sometimes things get broken "but the bone grows back stronger"  This week is a time of treasuring  the pieces of our lives that we have lost,  and being connected to the pieces and people we have while we have them.

Special Feast Day, Dec 1: A Toast   Today toast the memory of someone or something important you have lost and treasured in life.

Week 5: (Dec 3- 9): 'The Week of Secrets and A Better Life"   This week is about Brene Brown style Vulnerability. Its about confronting shame, owning your story and connecting to other humans in an appropriate and meaningful way.

Special Feast Day,  Dec 6:  Day of  Try-Umph    Take a risk, Share with a close friend something that you have felt alone in feeling, or try something new. "Triumph is just Umph added to try", according to a skating medal I once received.  If something is keeping you down, keeping you from opening up, keeping you from trying something new today is the day to face it.

Week 6 (Dec 10-16): 'The Week of the Barbies'  This song on P!nks Album has really connected with me, its called 'Barbies' and its about a longing to go back to your childhood, a feeling that we grew up to fast. This week will be about connecting to your inner child, and taking time for simple joys and pleasures.

Special Feast Day, December  16: 'Day of the Light of The Inner Child"  Today is a day to not be afraid to dream, to play, to imagine. 

Week 7 (Dec 17-23): 'The Week of  Where We Go'   "There's a Road that takes me home, take me fast or take me slow, throw my head out the window, feel the wind, make me whole, write my name up in the sky, as we contemplate goodbye. I don't know, we don know, where we go"
Where is home to you? is it your family? is it with your friends? Does it change over the years?  This week is about connecting to your "home" whatever or whoever home is to you.   Home is where the heart is, home is where my stuff is, home is where I feel the most safe to be me.

Special Feast Day, December 23: 'Kucios Eve'  The Lithuanians have a special Christmas Eve dinner every year, Family will come together from all over on this day. As an American with deep love for Lithuania, I have had an appreciation for this special feast, and  a complete inability to participate and join in it.  But I have always admired the traditions associated with it, and the idea of gathering. Since Kucios is not mine, and never will be  I am designating Kucios Eve as a feast day, to gather with your chosen family and create some meaningful and fun traditions among yourselves. include food and symbols that are meaningful to you all personally.

Week 8 (Dec 24-30): 'I Am Here, And You Get My Love'  "I open up my heart, you can love me or not. There's no such thing as sin, Lit it all come right in. I wanna make some mistakes, I wanna sleep in the mud, I wanna swim in the flood, I wanna **** till I'm done... I am here, I am here, I've already seen the bottom so there's nothing to fear."  "But you get my love baby, you get my love if there's one thing about me that you can trust, you get my love."     This week is about loving, living, making mistakes, but trying. This week is about being open and  doing things that scare you, but that you have wanted to take a chance and do.

Special Feast Day, Dec 25th: 'Day of the Hymn for the Hymn-less"   This is based on Ke$a's Song 'Hymn' and is just for the Agnostic, Atheist, and other non religious people on Christmas day. It is a day to celebrate what you do believe and find hope in, in whatever way you find suits your beliefs, but make it fun and meaningful. :)

Week 9 (Dec 31- Jan 6) : 'The Week of Wild Hearts and The Phoenix Rising' 
Lyrics of Wild Hearts
 vs 1:
I will have to die for this I fear. There's Rage and terror and there's a Sickness here. I fight because I have to. I fight for us to know the truth. 

There's not enough rope to tie me down, There's not enough tape to shut this mouth. The stones you throw can make me bleed, but I wont stop until we're free. Wild heats can't be broken, no wild heats can't be broken.

vs 2: 
This is my rally cry. I know its hard, we have to try. This is a battle I must win. To want my share is not a sin. 

repeat chorus.

vs 3: 
You beat me, betray me. you're losing, we're wining.  My Spirit above me, you cannot deny me. My freedom is burning, This broken world keeps turning. I'll never surrender, there's nothing but a victory. 

repeat chorus. 

This week is about finding  your new sense of spirit in life for the year, about battling for things that matter, for those that need your voice, and standing up for yourself.  it is about rising from your ashes, better and stronger than before. Reborn.

And that is a summary and guide to this years Phoenix Festival.  As you wish, feel free to join me in celebrating.