Thursday, August 1, 2019

On Being BAMF & The Magic of Soul Fire

Camping at Soul Fire, soaked from the rain
  during an intense solo hike through the forest
 the night I found Hound Dog Hill
Two weeks post-op from a partial mastectomy, I took to the woods of North Carolina. It was a pre-meditated aspect of my recovery. It was also an act I'd been longing to take since first encountering Sera Beak's writing over a decade before--back when we each contributed to cancer goddess Kris Carr's wellness site.

From those early days, Sera went on to become a celebrated author of increasingly controversial (as well as increasingly soulful) reflections on what it means to equally embrace both one's divinity and humanity. I went on to navigate the cloudy waters of parenting special needs children, managing the boundaries of my unconventional marriage and running a business in a field completely outside my existing wheelhouse. Eventually, a combination of physical and psychological trauma I'd been carrying, and compounding, for years manifested as grade 3 ductal carcinoma.

I re-connected with Kris Carr's opus Crazy Sexy Cancer because it had practical implications.

Then, I went to meet Sera because it was time.

View from the top of Hound Dog Hill
I felt that Sera and I shared an understanding and appreciation for the depth of what it means to be human. Meeting her at Soul Fire confirmed that we are far from alone in this. Rather, we were in the company of 20 + beautiful women, aged from 20 to well above 50, who share our dedication to soul-embodied living, and their presence assured me that our numbers beyond the confines of Soul Fire are strong. Individually and together, we are all actively engaged in the work of shifting paradigms, breaking barriers and setting boundaries through which we can heal ourselves and, perhaps, the wider world.

Having specific expectations can interfere with practices rooted in an individual's spontaneity. As a result, speaking in too much detail about Soul Fire is a touch forbidden. However, I can say that it provides a safe space for connecting more deeply with self, with sisterhood and with the natural world. It also introduces rituals, guided meditations and creative expressions as sacred doorways for connecting with Soul.

This forest path was a standing reminder
that the way out is through.
One of my favorite exercises involved me moving to Angelo Badalamenti's dark instrumental marvel
Dance of the Dream Man, composed for the cult TV classic Twin Peaks. While doing this, I wore a tank top bearing the letters B A M F--pronounced "BAM EFF."

One Soul Fire sister--herself clad that day in the trappings of a dominatrix, holding a paddle adorned with the word Love--knew exactly what BAMF meant. Another remembered hearing it used by a comedian. Many others were confused.

I first heard BAMF from a friend who explained that it means BadAss MotherFucker (when used as a noun) and BadAss MotherFucking Awesome when used as an adjective. He thought I was a BAMF bitch, and I totally agreed. I liked the term so much that I even incorporated it with the name of my imprint BAMF Books and my Etsy shop BAMF Boutique.

While that term may offend some, I personally think it's something to aspire to. I also think that all the women of Soul Fire are BAMFs. That is because, for me, being BAMF means claiming one's power and living from Soul--which, in turn, means knowing how to tap immediately into one's own truth and then voice it (or consciously hold it) without fear or shame.

Storytelling, through various different mediums, is my primary way of embodying my soul. I even developed my pen name, Kelli Lynn Grey, during this year's Soul Fire retreat. It is also no coincidence that most of my stories center on aspects of my personal healing journey--particularly as it relates to depression, co-dependency, cancer and my relationship with toxic systems intrinsic to modern life in the industrialized western world, as well as unique to rural life in north Georgia, USA.

I welcome you to explore my stories via this blog and its sidebar, where links will take you to my ongoing projects, past projects and clips.

I also invite you to step into Soul Fire with Sera if you feel called. Her red hot site is here.