I’m a typical wanderer; destinations are great, but my heart is in the journey. I’m a mystic and a skeptic. I laugh easily and cry often. The theme song of my life could be Wonder by Natalie Merchant.
I have spent decades in devotion to various contemplative arts and am an experienced retreat and workshop facilitator as well as a retired counsellor. When my health allows, I collaborate with various community collectives and non-profits, and host creative sessions with the abiding focus of lovingkindness.
An HIV diagnosis in the spring of 1994 rocked my world and motivated me to strip down my life to the most meaningful elements. I dug deep into my core values and embraced a Third Order Rule of Life—in other words, a monastic way of life—which had me take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. For a time, I served in an Anglican community and was on my way to becoming an ordained priest. Ultimately, I renounced that path yet I continue to explore how to live monastically during the 21st century. It’s complex and endlessly fascinating.
From the mid-90s until 2017 I worked with a support agency for women living with HIV and it gutted me when we had to close our doors. That community of amazing women informed me in profound ways and I am deeply grateful for the many years we had together.
As well as HIV, I struggle with myalgic encephalomyelitis (also called chronic fatigue syndrome), live with persistent depression, and am a survivor of complex childhood trauma. In my youth, I was homeless on a few occasions and resorted to survival sex for shelter and food. I have been knocked down many times and have sought my own destruction. It is this awareness of suffering and injustice that stirs my compassion and cements my commitment to mutual community care.
I have spent the last few decades making sense of life through meditative movement, contemplative practices, and various fibre arts. These are all reliable ways of untangling painful knots. Perhaps you’ll find them supportive too?
However you go about making sense of life, remember you always have wisdom—it is fully woven into your very being.