After 2007, a year I called "waiting in dim light," 2008 was a year of incredible exploration and growth! Like the phoenix dying, I suffered through the beginning of the year, and like the phoenix reborn, in a short time my life just EXPLODED into a firework display of astoundingly intense experiences. Looking over this year in order to write it up, I realized that just the bare summaries of everything make for a intense read. In fact, I can hardly believe that all this happened in the same year.
I intended to make this year the year of risk-taking, the year in which I sought to build my physical fearlessness. Instead, it was the year of faith-building, and I built my spiritual fearlessness, which I hadn't even realized was something I could grow in. Through my relationship/connection with Aurilion, my oh-so-brief triads with Aurilion & Hannah and then Hannah & Nick (both of which lasted a day), reading The Secret Life of Plants, A Door Into Ocean, Talks With Trees, and several Michael Roads books, experiencing connection with myself, with trees, and with people in a way far deeper than ever before, learning to believe in myself... there is far too much to sum up, even.
in 2007's summary I said "I want to come out of  feeling like I have a handful of jewels, not just three or four." haha! Now I laugh at how puny a handful is compared to the arms-full-and-running-over that it turned out to be.
3rd -- I go to a burning bowl ceremony and burn the negative of 2007, write a thank you for blessings in 2008
8th -- I discover my physical limits and determine to get fit
24th -- get our first loan (ew, debt) and buy my partner's car, Rook (ze won't tell me zir name so my partner named zir).
26th -- go with SabR to meet the Tree That Owns Itself
31st -- I write about my fear of the physical world and how I intend to make overcoming that fear the focus of 2008
... dreams about Allison
... continue making LJ idol entries
... continue making art-sharing entries
... begin making music-sharing entries
5th -- I vote in primaries for the first time (for Ron Paul)
6th -- open letter from myself at age 15
8th -- Hannah and I start communicating again
16th -- I meet fionavere and zir children in person.
... -- my partner and I meet darkpool, thesaj, and Aranatha (but I don't post about it until April)
19th -- I write goals for 2008, Aurilion comments saying I love you, and we begin talking again
25th -- I leave LJ Idol
... added phoenixdreaming, whom I feel a strong connection with.
... talking a lot with Ava
11th -- I post my first set of public nudes (on LJ)
13th -- I discover laughter yoga
22nd -- Aurilion and I begin a romantic relationship
25th -- Hannah confesses that ze is romantically interested in me
29th -- Aurilion & Hannah & I form a triad for a day, before realizing that the timing just wasn't right
... talking a lot with Ava, falling in love with zir.
2nd -- I post on polyamory & how I choose my lovers/partners
8th -- have an intense emotional experience while talking with Ava
9th -- I post my beliefs on the parts of a person -- spirit, heart, soul, mind, and body
13th -- I meet a stranger who gives me a message from God/dess, visit zir church which has awesome worship
13th -- I decide to train myself to use genderfree language in person and online
15th -- I post about Aurilion & Hannah & I
17th -- Kanika gets spayed
21st -- I update the Characters in the Story of my Life post
28th -- frustration at not knowing how to pray after beliefs-shifting
... becoming suspicious about Ava, feeling lied to since ze keeps making promises and breaking them (among other things)
2nd -- experiencing a profound shift as a result of my relationships/connections with Aurilion and Hannah
6th -- Aurilion arrives for a visit!
7th -- Aurilion & I pick up my Nut ring, have dinner at coffeehouse, visit trees at D. park, & watch Playing By Heart
8th -- my partner, Aurilion and I visit the Etowah Mounds; my beloved tree has been cut and in my sorrow and heart-openness I hear zir voice -- my first time hearing a tree's spirit.
9th -- Aurilion & I go to Longhorn & then to D. park where Aurilion weaves magic
10th -- Aurilion leaves
13th -- I begin to process the visit, realize that during the visit I was the most heart-open that I have been ever, and that I need rest.
16th -- lethargy-frustration finally lets up as I have integrated the experience.
... added musicandmisery, who relates to my kinship with trees ♥ which encourages me.
21st -- I post about my partner telling Sam of my genderfree speech, and what I learned so far from using genderfree speech.
27th -- I take a trans-atlantic flight to visit Hannah in Scotland!
29th -- Hannah & Nick & I go to the nearby park, where a squirrel poses for Hannah with the most obvious curiosity, and I begin to realize/feel my spirit connection with Nick, through the conversations all of us share. Then we stop in to Offshore coffeehouse where I realize the ONE inexpensive thing overseas is coffee, and tax is included in all prices :-O
30th -- Nick makes us delicious soup for dinner & we watch an episode of Moonlight (which I haven't posted about but is a show that means a LOT to me), then go to Tchai Ovna for tea and live music.
31st -- The three of us go to an awesome pub whose name I forget, sit in a wonderful little nook under the stairs, drink really not that much and scandalize a group of people who kept glancing at us once they noticed Hannah kiss me and Nick (one at a time, of course). many tipsy in-love giggles and much complaining by me about the ridiculously small portions that made the food about 3 times as expensive as it should be.
1st -- have an adventure of getting lost on buses that don't know where they are going (with one cranky passenger who yells "get a fookin' move on!" which would NEVER happen in Georgia, heh). Finally arrive at Pancho Villa, a Mexican restaurant which actually turned out quite nice (I'd been decidedly underwhemed by Glasgow's food until then)
2nd -- went to see "Made of Honor" which was blah and made not-so-nice by Hannah's camera being confiscated (ze worried about it, sitting in the lockers at the train station).
3rd -- travel to Belgium by train and plane and car... meet Nick's dad (who gives us a ride to Hannah's mum's house) and Hannah's mum, Pat (yes, same as my mom's name!). Pat told us much of zir life story, really opened up ♥
4th -- meet Pat's friends, an American named Andrew and another friend named Marie. I found it funny how Pat seemed to think we'd have something in common by being from the same country -- if I remember correctly Andrew and I spent the night arguing about education and government. (Ze was a socialist-democrat and I a capitalist-libertarian). Hannah and I had an insane amount of hilarity in unsuccessfully attempting to open a bottle of wine -- eventually Nick took over and succeeded. Seamus (one of Hannah's cats) and I make fast friends, despite zir being a grumpus who doesn't like most people. Later that night I talked with Aurilion and Ben online and then H & N & me stayed up laaaaate trading poo and pee stories because we're just that classy *giggles*
5th -- picked Meliae up from the station, talked for a while, and then took naps because Meliae was tired from travel and we were tired from our ridiculous conversation that prevented sleep. I was feeling very uncomfortable with Meliae for some reason I couldn't quite understand, so I talked about it with zir and felt somewhat better. That night we had philosophical conversation over salad and beer. I explained my view of so-called 'objective' reality as the average of each person's individual reality, not something that existed outside of people, and no one agreed with me, haha. ;-)
6th -- the four of us took a bus into Brussels and wandered around in the rain. We saw an amazing parade in full period-dress (from what time I have no idea) including horse-drawn carriage, all soaked and steaming in the drizzle, then stopped at an Egyptian-themed restaurant and had some interesting and tasty food. Out we went again and came across a stall where they were selling scarves like this, which I had been looking for ever since my partner's mom got me one for Christmas!!! I got upset and embarrassed because Hannah wanted to get one like mine and that bothered me so ze didn't get it... it was a weird little thing, but I felt like that scarf was really important to me. Eventually we talked about it (I was so embarrassed I couldn't talk about it in front of Nick or Meliae) and Hannah assured me that ze was okay with it. Then we went to Poechenellekelder, which was an AMAZING pub with the most wonderful waiter ever (seriously, if we had lived close I would have attempted to become friends with zir -- I've rarely met a stranger I resonated so much with). We all flirted shamelessly with zir, haha! I got very tipsy and everyone else got rather drunk (I had fruity beers and coffee with Bailey's, while everyone else had 'real' beer. I did have one 'real' beer, and discovered that I do like SOME beer!) and we all made crazy promises. We missed the last bus by five minutes and had to take a taxi home -- bus unluckiness was kinda a theme for the trip.
7th -- had dinner with Nick's parents, which was enlightening (to see where Nick comes from) and kinda fun, but kinda awkward. I felt a connection with Nick's mom, which really threw me, as we seem so different in temperament, but it was definitely there. I wanted to find out what ze would be like with a more nourishing environment. Nick's mom shared zir homemade ice cream! oh it was SO good. Later that night we were trying our hardest to go to sleep, and I had a sleeping pill and a rescue remedy pastille which combined to make me loopy to the point of being high! I remember seeing swirling colors and getting quite crazy about Hannah's extra eyes (I couldn't focus!). Then Hannah had to try it too and Nick videoed us being insane.
8th -- Hannah wasn't feeling well so ze and Nick stayed in while Pat and Meliae and I went to the street market. I'd never seen anything like it and I thought it was awesome! Then Pat headed home to make a meal and Meliae and I took the long way home, which was amazingly beautiful. Belgium in summer reminds me of Georgia in spring ♥ When we got back home, we had lunch/dinner in Pat's amazing garden (which was lush and overgrown and wild and absolutely THRILLING). There was a lot of tension during that meal because of things that are not my story to tell, but it was still fascinating, talking with Pat about sexism and gender and the nature of prejudice. I really, REALLY, like Pat a lot ;-)
9th -- beautiful, beautiful morning when Nick and Hannah and I made a triad of violet spirits... ending in the most awful, terrible pain. How someone can survive that much bliss followed by that much agony I have no idea...
10th -- traveling back to Scotland, crying on the bus and the plane and at the train station... I just could not stop. Not out-loud crying, but a near-continuous flow of silent tears. When we finally got home I curled up on the floor (which feels safest for me when I'm hurting) and slept for like 15 hours.
11th -- had a ten-hour conversation that twisted like a knife in my heart, but ended feeling a little closer to okay.
12th -- Crow came (Hannah got some photos) and spoke to me, telling me that it was okay. I looked up the crow totem and felt it was telling me that what I had felt was real, and it wasn't a mistake, and I hadn't been a 'fucking idiot' (which is how I felt) by following my heart. It might not have worked, but it was the right choice at the time for me. To have done otherwise wouldn't have been true to myself; I had a hard time seeing that because it wasn't the right choice for Hannah and Nick (at least, not right to continue) and I was used to perfect unity with them. I desperately needed that message and am SO grateful to Crow for that. After that the heaviness of near-mortal depression began to lift, and that night we acted crazy like we do.
13-14th -- we read, distracted ourselves, and let our hearts rest. I think one of these nights was when we pulled out various instruments -- bodhran for me, electric bass for Nick, and some kind of lute for Hannah -- and just made music! I realized that percussion is exactly my music style, and I was thrilled to my bones to feel that. (I want a frame drum! Irish or Egyptian)
15th -- went to the park where they were having a festival, and I met KATE aka clown_frog! :D who was a little overwhelmed at having cameras fired at zir from all sides ;-) We walked to the university (beautiful awe-inspiring campus) and took crazy pictures with a supposedly abstract sculpture that looked exactly like a vulva, and more sedate photos in the gorgeous cloister. Finally we got supplies and went to Kate's flat to make chili -- omfg it was soooooooo gooooooooood. We had FASCINATING conversation about plant consciousness and spirit and afterlife and every rabbit trail that can come from that. I love love love talks with Kate! I got very animated and maybe dominated the conversation a little bit I'm afraid, being the only noisy person at the table and talking about my favorite topics. But I think we all enjoyed it? It was SO wonderful to meet Kate ♥ one of my oldest friends and definitely one of my favorite people. (I want to go back sometime just to visit zir!)
16th -- bus ride to Anstruther, sleepy afternoon with stupid TV and take-out.
17th -- gorgeous day of dancing in the back yard in the morning (interrupted by finding a small dead bird) and then exploring in the afternoon... wandering by the canal, visiting a graveyard where I connected deeply with the trees ♥ I found small smooth rocks in a circle at one spot, leading me to think that someone had created a ritual there, and Hannah found the corpse of a crow after I'd found a feather standing up like a flag in the grass. I was going to keep the feather but after that I decided to give the feather to the tree who connected with me so. We walked along the beach for a short while and I found a piece of colored sea glass, which I have NEVER found before... and this was in a much-trafficked place, it felt so meant-for-me and was yet another reminder that there is beauty still to come and I must remain connected to life. We went to Anstruther's Fish Bar which was yum and a half, and then to a sweet little pub where I had a coffee with Bailey's while they had their beers. ;-) After some dancing (and posing) under the full moon we finally went back to the coach house... only to be met with eerie feelings and sounds and a presence. Throughout the visit it would come to us whenever we were acting in crazy childlike ways, and the meercat tickle game we made up that night drew it in a REALLY strong way and freaked us all out, and we scampered upstairs and into the tiny bed where we lay awake for a long time before falling asleep.
18th -- back to Anstruther's Fish Bar and then to a little coffeehouse/pub where I had yet another coffee (or three) with Bailey's and my habit of eating the whipped cream with my fingers made Hannah turn bright red. That night we did the most AMAZING black & white nude candlelight shoot. (I might post some of the ones that are just me, come to think of it)
19th -- long and tediously erroneous trip back to Glasgow, including missing a train by five minutes and then having to pay for a $200 hour-long cab ride. But the trip through the countryside in the car under a clear starry sky was beautiful.
20th -- went to another park where I met amazing trees before it began to POUR RAIN. We didn't have an umbrella and didn't want to get soaked, so we held hands in a circle, linking our energies, and prayed (each in our own way), and less than three minutes later, the rain let up!!! not only that but there was a BRILLIANT rainbow streaked across the sky. (also? I was wearing rainbow makeup, my rainbow jacket, rainbow hair clips, and my rainbow skirt!) Filled with amazement, we hurried to the bookstore/coffeehouse to meet Kate. We had more fun conversation and delicious spiced coffee, but they were closing shortly so we moved on to Tchai Ovna, sitting out in the freezing cold and wet but managing to have quite a good time anyway. If I have one regret from that visit, it is not spending time with Kate BEFORE going to Belgium. But there's still a lot of life to go, so we'll get more time. ;-)
21st -- I go home. On the way, I see someone whom I feel a connection with, and I realize that I am so much more open and able to sense people. Now to just get the courage to speak to those who I connect etherically with.
...while I was gone, my partner experienced a lot of growth, and when I get back we connect in a way we never have before.
... Hannah breaks up with me because ze feels that polyamory is not right for zir and Nick's connection (at least at this time)
1st -- I finally run out of faith in Ava and express that, nothing happens and ze vanishes from LJ. I'm still hurt and confused...
7th -- I finally post about Hannah and Nick.
12th -- I reflect on and post about reading The Secret Life of Plants, my spiritual growth, and the connection with trees that I experienced in Scotland.
15th -- Aurilion comes to visit
16th -- Aurilion, my partner & I go to ORM park and explore, share a wonderful green-hearted experience that is very healing for me.
17th -- We get up early and go to get Aurilion's hair cut. Afterward, Aurilion meets Bast in a glorious golden experience that I feel the ripples of ♥ I feel that it is the right time, so I give zir the magic vial I made for zir.
18th -- we take a day of rest.
19th -- Aurilion and I go to Phoenix and Dragon, a metaphysical bookstore, and explore delightedly. On our way down, we pass a sign that says "Big Trees Forest Preserve" and we both notice it despite it being very small, so on our way back we stop in even though it is late and dark is beginning to fall. It is the most beautiful place on earth! We both have intense, profound experiences with trees and the energy of the place...
20th -- Despite the sweltering heat, we walk to a nearby eclectica shop and Aurilion finds a moonstone ring that speaks deeply to zir of our relationship. On our way back, we walk up the poisonleaf trail (named by me!) and I discover that there is a place of loveliness right in my own neighborhood! I find a blue jay feather than I feel is meant for Aurilion.
21st -- Aurilion has been feeling more and more desire to wear skirts so we go to a nearby secondhand shop and find quite a few PERFECT outfits, both skirts and tops to go with them. When we get home I set up a 'studio' in my kitchen and take mock-fashion photos of Aurilion in the outfits.
22nd -- Aurilion leaves.
23rd -- I post about friendship hiatus with Hannah
25th -- my partner and I go to the Big Trees Forest Preserve, zir first time. We don't stay long but I'm so happy to share that with zir.
26th -- I write a letter to my bioparent M, explaining why I don't want to be in contact.
29th -- I give the letter to M.
1st -- I have a fascinating conversation with Sam about bias in science and sexism/prejudice in general, and am excited about the possibility of friendship.
3rd -- One of my longest-lasting LJ friends, Vee, unfriends me. :-( I think it was a misunderstanding but I didn't have any idea how to untangle it.
4th -- I post about the magic vials and take requests, knowing that it will take me a long time but not having ANY IDEA just how long :-/
7th -- I reflect on new understanding of sex.
10th -- Ashley shows up at my door and we have an enlightening conversation about that horrible night two years ago that broke our friendship.
24th -- I make my first post on spirituality relating to animals (spirit-shapes)
25th -- have a major clash with my partner over someone else's misunderstanding of me (because I felt my partner was misunderstanding me too) Finally we come to a conclusion on it and our relationship is stronger.
28th -- my partner & I go to Big Trees Forest Preserve and my partner is very heart-open with me; I have an amazing spiritual experience and share it with zir and feel that ze understands.
29th -- my partner confesses a lie to me, which shakes our relationship to its core but we talk it out completely and it leads to more openness.
13th -- I finally post about the lie-confession, after we've mostly healed from the fall-out.
16th -- I post about my lack of community due to my rare worldview
18th -- I explain my worldview as spiritual, genderfree, a radical feminist/equalist, queer, & polyamorous
... my bioparent Pat finally moves back to GA & away from M.
... got back in contact with Anika and began rebuilding a friendship, slowly.
1st -- A person of my parents' generation who I knew long ago finds my LJ, reads the post on lack of community, and sends me the sweetest message on myspace.
4th -- I post about my spirit-shapes: snow leopard, Egyptian cobra, north American river otter, & unicorn.
9th -- I post about how reading A Door Into Ocean has changed my life, consider my Selfnames, and ask about my flist's.
... added mahayana, whom I feel a strong connection with.
12th -- I come out to Pat as bisexual and polyamorous, and ze responds as if I told zir I was going to get my hair cut.
14th -- I post about coming out and visiting churches with Pat.
16th -- I fly to NC to visit Aurilion
17th -- I watch Aurilion rehearse The Little Prince (ze's starring)
18th -- We spend some time in Aurilion's backyard, talking, and Aurilion climbs a tree adeptly. We got to Aurilion's first dress rehearsal, and I take AMAZING photos of zir in costume.
19th -- We go to visit the first tree who spoke to Aurilion, an amazing gingko ♥ (I do intend to post about that)
20th -- Aurilion has zir first performance, and I meet Eric (phydeau)!!! and we have some interesting conversation before the play starts. I rather dopily forget to take any photos :-p
21st -- Aurilion has another performance, after which we have dinner with zir bioparent A.
22nd -- We go for a delicious breakfast/lunch at Whole Foods (omg, fantasy salads, no joke), stop at a lovely indie coffeehouse, and go to meet a magnolia that's very special to Aurilion. We take the most AMAZING photos there ♥ (I intend to post those too!!!) Then we go back to Aurilion's neighborhood and I meet the stump that ze loves. We take a billion more photos and then finally I fly home.
25th -- I post about Pat having cut down trees in the front yard.
29th -- I talk to Pat about the trees, and ze explains in a way I can empathize with. We go to Liberty and I get roaring pissed at the guest speaker, and confront zir afterward. BUT during the worship I have the most amazingly beautiful experience of hearing Jesus ♥ Pat gets a message too, through the guest speaker's partner. I look up Quakers and am THRILLED TO MY BONES to find something that resonates with me SO MUCH.
3rd -- I write about my desire to be confronted, not tolerated, if someone feels I am causing harm.
4th -- I vote for Obama and America gets zir first minority-race president, woohoo!
11th-13th -- I take a communication fast for my 10th spiritual birthday, where I make prayer runes, feel/see the heartbeat of the forest, dream-meet Geb and discover ze is one of my Deities (after praying for a guide!)
... my camera Spydra starts to fail, and I hear a buzzing when ze is on and lose parts when I tilt zir gently from side to side :-( :-( :-(
26th -- I post about making prayer runes during the fast.
2nd -- I write about using 'facts' to build faith
4th -- I write more on faith, how I value believing without 'proof' but find 'proof' helpful in strengthening faith
6th -- reflecting on seeing D & K over thanksgiving, I write about how I have spirit-connections with them and the difference between first meeting someone online or in person & the difference between mind and spirit connections.
8th -- feeling misunderstood, I write yet more on having faith, explaining how I have faith and how I view 'reality'
11th -- I post photos of my sanctuary & altar for the first time ♥
17th -- I finally post about my communication fast in-depth; visiting the big trees forest preserve, my fear of spiritual experiences, and dream-meeting Geb (with some of the most beautiful photos I have ever had the pleasure of taking). and Aurilion arrives! late that night.
18th-19th -- Aurilion and I fall into each others arms and spend two days reconnecting.
20th -- Aurilion and I go to Pat's house and I make fantastic marshmallow-roaster-thingys, and we build a wood fire and treat ourselves to properly-scorched marshmallows.
21st -- Pat and Aurilion play piano together, improvising! I take videos :D In the middle of the night before, one of Pat's Amaryllis plants had fallen over and a stem had cracked open, so I asked Pat for some tape, and I wrapped it up and prayed over it.
22nd -- The three of us use polymer clay to make various things -- despite the dreadful hardness of the cheap stuff that I got, I make quite a bit of rainbow beauties and a goddess shape which astonishes me with how well it turns out! (I cannot WAIT to post photos of that! I was too preoccupied with sculpting to take photos at the time, so I'll have to take some soon) Aurilion makes a labyrinthine rainbow pendant and Pat makes lavender, pale yellow, and spring green beads, some swirled. I want to make lots more sculptures now...
23rd -- we go home and OMFGGGGGGGGG MY CAMERA (THAT AURILION GOT ME FOR CHRISTMAS) ARRIVESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!! I am THRIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEED
DDDDDDD :D :D :D I name zir ialu (lowercase so you don't think the first letter is an L), meaning "Field of Dreams." Later that night I discovered something about the time when Ashley and Aurilion (who then went by 'Lily') were together, something that hurt me and made me feel really betrayed, and the resulting painful conversation built our relationship in such a magnificent way!
24th -- I post about the conversation and the recent amazing dreams I had. Pat picks us up, and we go food shopping quickly before they close, then to Pat's house where Aurilion meets my lil sis! Lil sis makes pizza for us and we make a fire and roast marshmallows again :D
25th -- M. shows up in the early morning and invites zirself in -- after opening presents I go out to have a conversation with zir, and ze leaves. Lil sis gives Aurilion and I amazing presents, and my partner & Aurilion & I exchange presents ♥ Pat gets very angry over something I said to M, and we have a two hour argument about it. (longer post coming about this day...)
26th -- I realize that the Amaryllis that is still here is the one we taped and prayed over!!! The other had fallen over and Pat had thrown it out, and I had assumed that ze threw it out because it was the one that had broken before, but it wasn't! And the once-broken one was blooming with wild abandon, utterly glorious! Oh, miracle! That night, lil sis draws an amazing portrait of Aurilion -- ze is so talented.
27th-28th -- much-needed resting time at home.
29th -- we meet Pat and lil sis for lunch at my favorite restaurant, I give Pat zir Christmas present, a chickadee pendant which ze loves :D Aurilion and I go to my coffeehouse, where I discover that Ialu can even take good photos in terrible lighting!!! We head over to Hobby Lobby for some supplies, and Pat drops lil sis off with us. When they finally kick us out, we grab a coffee for lil sis and go to Subway, where we have fascinating conversation about spiritual things -- specifically, finding one's own path. Lil sis shares zir dragon spirit friend with us, and I sense/hear it speak to me ♥
30th -- Aurilion and I drop off the setting and stone I got for zir at the jeweler's, and we stop by the local eclectica store where I find exactly the perfect tarot deck for me (I plan to post about it...) and Aurilion finds a deck which had called to zir just the night before. Then with my partner we go out to my fav restaurant :D That night I 'refresh' Aurilion's magic vial, taking out some of what is in, and adding new scrolls and tiny bits... afterward I cannot tear my eyes away from it, I can feel it radiating so strongly! I've learned a lot since the first time I created one. (btw I have four which are finished and 'charging' on my altar at the moment, I will ship them soon!)
31st -- Aurilion and I go to pick up zir ring! I make the mistake of videoing zir receiving it, which disrupts zir experience. Ze explains this to me and I apologize and we work through it, and ze is able to reclaim that experience ♥ Forged with pain and baptized in forgiveness? It's so gloriously Aurilion, it practically sings with joy to be on zir finger (it has the finger next to the one that holds the moonstone Aurilion got in July). After spending the first moments of 2009 together, Aurilion goes back to NC.