Posts tagged #Annie Derek

The Story of a Vow



This is the story of my vow to you and to all.

How I loved you last year under that huge full moon in July at the Rainbow Gathering in Tennessee. How passionately, how tenderly and fully.

It was cold at night in the Smoky Mountains, but you were there, my heart’s husband, with your giant kind eyes and your nimble hands. With silken blond hair and luminous soul and deep voice that soothed me like no other voice ever had.

How vastly I loved you.


I loved you to the furthest extent of romantic love, at a height and at a vibration that many only imagine.  And you loved me the same way.

Heaven is like that week in the Smoky Mountains.  You and I are together and we want for nothing.  You can play music for hours and see the old visions. I can give gems to the sweet travellers who pass by our blanket, and talk to them and listen to them.

At night we hold each other to sleep in the blue grass under the pulsing moon.  In the morning you find coffee for me.  In the dusk we sit at fires where beautiful friends sing haunting songs and tell stories.

You are everything, everything.


I look at you and feel safe and protected and known and cherished.  You hear my kind thoughts and they elevate you.

We go to swim in the jade green lake, naked and laughing with the others.



(me and one of my sisters, Annie Derek, at the Rainbow Gathering)

We understand one another. We are happy as children and everyone can see how dearly we love each other and delight in it. It radiates; it radiates.

It melts into our friendship towards everyone. We are the friends of everyone.

Later that month, back home in Pittsburgh, on the bright morning of the evening you proposed marriage – I knew psychically that you would do it.



(me, in psychedelic love with the addressee)

I readied myself; my whole being sung in glad agreement.  I walked five miles to the meeting of the three rivers in our dream city to meet you.  As I walked I was drunk with delight.

It was July 25th, the day out of time.  We planned our honeymoon to happen at the Global Rainbow Gathering at the Mayan ruins in Mexico, on the week of December 21st, when the world would end.

Then how it stung to lose you.


To lose you as our big wedding came close in the fall.  It hurt like nothing I had ever anticipated.  It felt like being burned alive.  It excoriated me. It drove me mad.

And the week before we were married in mid October, the date you insisted upon, Saturn vaulted into Scorpio again for the first time in the 28 years since I was born.

Saturn, the Great Teacher, brought hard reality to me.

Saturn in Scorpio brought the reality to me that this world is not yet the Rainbow Gathering.  That you and I can’t yet just be together under the moonlight and in the forest, with abundant food and drink and song and warmth.  That we have to work, to toil, and to stress.  And that when we stress we set each other off like evil volcanoes seething.

You drank and hid away in your drawing and music.

I woke you in the nights before the wedding with my anxieties about money and work and you hissed at me like one possessed, speaking in tongues.

I was dead I was dead I was dead I was dead I was dead.

All our friends and all our family celebrated our marriage to each other in the glorying Pennsylvania countryside on a clear, cool day.

But by then you were no longer you and I was no longer me.

Instead of angels kind and radiant, beaming love in all directions, we were both strangers, uptight and insane.

We were demons to each other, cold and cruel and hateful and frightening.


(the fire at our wedding)

I couldn’t even bear to spend our wedding night with you.  And I felt humiliated beyond every degree of shame I ever thought possible.


(confetti fallen at the wedding)

I was married in the eyes of all who knew me but my true love was nowhere I could find him. No matter how I scratched at you or wept or pounded or paced. You were a locked door with no key.


(the lovely cake)

Every morning for more than a month I woke up screaming in my bed at my parent’s house.

I howled bloody murder. I kicked and shouted each day until my mother and father begged me to stop.

All I could think of or speak of was bloody murder.


I wanted to go to our hill in the lush Allegheny cemetery, the hill where we first celebrated our love in May without anyone else’s eyes – with just a picnic and the words of Shelley and Rilke – and there murder myself, slice open my wrists with a kitchen knife and bleed out and die.

After I would stop howling in the morning, after my parents left for work, I would go to the kitchen and sharpen the knife.

And I would pray while I sharpened it, pleading Jesus and Gautama and Mary and any saint anywhere to help me live again.

And I have to tell you, brother.  Jesus and Gautama and Mary and the saints from all times and places – they kept their vows.  They spoke to me when I was shattered.

Seek and you will find. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.


Gradually in prayer I realized a truth.

I saw that you and I had lost each other due to our self-cherishing, due to our ego grasping, our self-centeredness.

And I saw that in my present form, as a mere limited human, I had no power to end your self-cherishing or to stop your self-destruction.

I could only end mine.


And I saw that if I murdered myself it would stop nothing.  It would end no one’s pain.  It would only make more pain, and I would go to hell.

And as I lay in hell all other beings on earth, all our brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers, would continue to suffer from their lost loves just as I suffered in those days, shouting in my bed about murdering myself as my parents cried.

I broke up with you by letter on December 21st while you traveled in Mexico on our honeymoon without me.  The world had ended.

It was unbearable, the thought of anyone else suffering as we suffered then.

I made a vow.  And I became happy again, this time with an unbreakable happiness.

I will realize Buddhahood.  I will awake utterly.


No matter what you decide to do with this life, I know who we are and I know what the purpose of our love is.

It is the same purpose possessed by all the loves of all lovers anywhere; it is total liberation for all.

I will fulfill that purpose, no matter if you don’t want to.  No matter if you are too afraid; no matter if you are too weak; no matter if you don’t understand.

I am not afraid. I am not too weak. I understand.


I have died, brother.  My will to protect my self-cherishing died in the posion flames of losing you.  The nigredo of our alchemy scorched it away.  I will never let it dominate me again.

I will leave all delusion.  I will free every being in existence, in this world and all worlds.

If you won’t free yourself, I will free you, eventually.

You can shirk your bodhisattva responsibility in this life if you want to.

You can hate, you can complain, and drink, and woo women, and amuse yourself with art and music until this round concludes.

If I determine I must no longer speak with you on earth in order to realize my goal, then I will do that without flinching.

If I should fail in this lifetime to reach Buddhahood, it doesn’t matter.  I will never never never never stop trying.  I will not forget my aspiration.

In this life or in another I will gain total virtue and siddhis of awesome power.  I will become stronger than diamond, more fleet than light.

I will find you in the bottom pit of hell with a billion others and drag you all out if I must.


I will not rest until every soul has been brought to perfect love, perfect freedom and perfect joy, including mine and yours.

I will take rebirth in samsara endlessly.

Like all my sisters, I am the Magadalene; I am Sophia; I am Prajnaparamita, the Mother of All Buddhas, born and unborn.

Gate, gate, paragate, parasangate, bodhi swaha!

Gone, gone, gone all together beyond, awake at last!

Nothing will stop me.  I will see samsara and nirvana become as one.  I will see you shine in your glory along with all my brothers, O Christ, O Maitreya.

This lifetime no longer exists for me except as a stepping stone to that oneness.  No semblance of love with you or anyone else will ever hold my attention again.

I have had enough of semblances, enough of illusions that can die.  I want only the deathless, and I will find it.

This letter is not an invitation to you to recreate the past with me.  Last summer was only a weak glimpse of the eternal.  It was shattered too easily by the hard facts of this existence and by our self-cherishing.

The romance of our self-cherishing cannot happen again, it’s over.

It’s only purpose was initiation.


The only love that is left, the only relationship there is, is the one of wisdom to compassion, of energy to emptiness, and I will realize it.

And one aeon I will be with you again under a full moon in heaven.  And this time we will be truly free.  There will be no world of theft and heartbreak to return to.  We will have dissolved it.

All our brothers and sister Buddhas will be there with us, singing near fires, telling sublime storie.

And there will be no end to this heaven, no end to anyone’s happiness.


Beings are numberless; I vow to save them.


Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to exhaust them.

Dharma-gates are boundless; I vow to pass through them.

The Buddha Way is supreme; I vow to embody it.

Happy anniversary, brother.  I love everyone, and you.




The Evolver Convergence: A Report

I was privileged to help organize (along with Sophie Batchelor, Annie Derek, Chad Mosesso, all the fab people at Evolver HQ and a ton of volunteers) the first Evolver Convergence which happened in Pittsburgh this past weekend.

Since I'd been sporeganizing for the past year I thought I knew all about the wonders that can come from bringing together gorgeous geniuses. I figured that the Convergence would be lovely and I'd have a great time and meet some grand people and business as usual, etc. etc.

What a vast, vast underestimation. By the end of the Convergence on Sunday, our outpouring of love and wisdom synchronously brought us an astounding quadruple rainbow which we all rushed out to see.

So how did we do that?

Energetically speaking - with so much deep heart opening and harmonizing. I felt not only that we were talking about evolution, but actively bringing it about just by being with one another in such an environment of intention and deep thought and beauty. I've been to a lot of spiritual retreats and festivals and parties in my lifetime, but I've never experienced so much optimism, joy and deeply personal connection at an event. From talking to others, I gather that this was a shared sense. I'm still so awe-struck.

Here's a loose summary:

On Friday at the Wherehouse (a freaky visionary art studio made extra-special with extraordinary and unique-to-the-Convergence art installations by Sophie Batchelor, Zev Rechter, Laurie Shapiro, Hannah Thompson and North Star), Jonathan Talat-Phillips activated our chakras and loosened us up with his own bold story of spiritual awakening and extra-terrestrial encounters. Then we heard the meltingly strange music of Ivory Weeds and Dean Cercone Jr.

First thing on Saturday, Charles Eisenstein led us to speak freely and deeply to one another of our most cherished dreams for the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible and also to name our own gifts and the gifts of the person next to us. And all of this occurred in the auspiciously super-golden and angel-crowned sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church in Shadyside (a very progressive church and community center that we in Pittsburgh are so blessed to have). With this help, we were vibrating and resonating and open at all levels, most especially at the heart level.

Throughout the day on Saturday we enjoyed workshops and panels from truly gifted leaders, teachers and healers that continued to ground us in our bodies and sense of connection to the cosmos and each other.

Daniel Pinchbeck anchored the day with a talk on enjoying the transformation of our world. What I got from Daniel's talk was a momentous sense of possibility and inspiration.

On Saturday night we returned to the Wherehouse Art Studio decked out in eye-popping costumes for the Inner Divinity Costume Party. I saw incarnations of Kwan Yin, Venus, Sai Baba, Adonis, Freya, Odr, and Artemis. Also present were Kabuki demons, wild wolf women, forest nymphs and glow-stick elves from the future. I was thrilled to hear a sumptuous spectrum of sounds throughout the night - everything from mind-bending electronica to progressive rock to conscious hip hop to psychedelic gypsy accordion brass!. I was most excited by Lungs Face Feet (the gypsy-ish brass band) who performed in red Mandarin suits and took us fully into another dimension.

The talks and panels resumed on Sunday at a leisurely pace as we were all recovering from the grandness of the party. For me the highlight of the day on Sunday was getting to participate in the Evolver Network Roundtable wherein sporeganizers from around the country spoke about what they've been doing in their city and what Evolver means to them. It was beautiful to realize that so many of us doing this deep work are brilliant and powerful women. Daniel and Jonathan-Talat both mentioned the need for us ladies to step up and do speaking engagements in more places and I could so feel the need for that.

On Sunday night we sporeganizers managed to get ourselves over to the lovely Verde Mexican Restaurant for a fantastic meal together (we totally took the place over and Evolver'd it up! I loved our raucous toasts!) and then, by a miraculous feat of spontaneous organization, got it together to have a bon fire over on the other side of town at the magnificently beautiful Bandi Shaum plateau. Bandi Shaum is a spot not many in Pittsburgh know about. It overlooks the city's downtown and it's also a quite glorious wilderness. Professional musicians from Chaibaba showed up and drummed for us.

Sitting on a blanket cuddled up with old friends and new ones I felt continually dazzled - between the beauty of the bright brilliant full moon, the fire itself, the vista of the city, and the faces of the incredible beloved evolvers all around.

On Monday we gathered together once more, now just the sporeganizers, to talk about our dreams and get help with our challenges. That conversation was so energizing - and so glorious for me as the lucky Pittsburgh sporeganizer deluged with new talented volunteers!

After the Sporeganizer's Summit I was treated to a dream massage by two pairs of loving and gifted hands. (Thank you Jeanine and David!!) Those of us still in town were treated to a beautiful dinner at Verity Grace's place in Highland Park.

Today I quite unexpectedly and synchronously ran into Verity again while getting lunch in my neighborhood (she's a Pittsburgher but I'd never met her before the Convergence) and she took me to a Venus Transit Viewing party.

I can tell the synchronicities are just beginning to super-speed up for me. I'm starting to feel that Terrence McKenna was really really really right on when he talked about how the interconnections just start racing together in 2012. I can feel the shift evolving into presence - how about you?

I hope that everyone will write about their experiences with the Convergence - I've just scratched the surface with this summary, I could go so much deeper into my own personal reflections and processing - and I know I'll need to soon.

In the meantime, here's a video of us prepping the Wherehouse for the festivities - gives a sense of the scope of the amazing art present:


Love is What Makes Life Awesome / "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone"

What is an awesomed life? It has more to do with love than coconut oil.


I'm aware that the title of this blog and of my book can sound a little ridiculously upbeat.  "Awesome Your Life" -- like, hmmmm? What's that supposed to mean?


Does it mean living on a beach, working 4 hours a week, being regularly massaged with coconut oil by sultry servants?


In my experience -- not so much.


To me, an awesomed life isn't a life that's brimming with luxury and prestige.  It isn't the inflated capitalist magazine-gloss dream that's only available to people who make massive amounts of money.


Instead, it's...


A life that's burgeoning with radically all-embracing love, community and creativity.


Somedays, I forget this.  I look at my tiny (but adequate) bank account, tiny apartment, and think "I must be doing this wrong."


But other days something happens that snaps me out of my negative trance and shows me-- no, I'm doing it pretty darn right and my life is indeed incredibly awesomed.


Just this kind of snapping happened on my birthday this year.  My friends gathered together and surprised me with their rendition of "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" -- in reference to the month I spent away from them in India when everyday in our hometown of Pittsburgh (so they tell me) was grey.


They met in secret to practice the song complete with accordion, guitar, voice and tambourine parts.


It sounded amazing. They gave me the best birthday present ever by performing it to me in the very same tiny, cramped apartment that the mean and incorrect part of me sometimes uses as evidence that I'm a loser. Check it out:




I mention this not to brag (I'm so adored! Look at ME!) but because my ability as a life coach is tied to my own personal experience and accomplishment. I can't guide you on how to set up a trouble-free existence with mad cash in a tropical paradise because I haven't done that.


I can, however, help you work through what holds you back from forming deep connections with others and enjoying a life filled with art and meaning. You might want to check out the stuff people say about me to see what that entails.