Rising Tides

Welcome to now, to this moment, to the other side of that horrible election. We are mourning alongside you. Please accept our heartfelt condolences. And please accept the challenge that history has extended to you - to us - to rise and meet the occasion.

In this moment we truly don't know what will come next. But we do know that this is a time that will challenge us, where decisions between doing what is right and what is easy loom on the immediate horizon. We do know the winner of the election campaigned on overt racism, sexism and homophobia (instead of doing it covertly, like we're accustomed to our politicians [on both sides] doing). We do know hate crimes have risen in the wake of the results. There are those who figure there's no way he will do all those awful things he said on the campaign trail, but history teaches us that it's up to us to make sure he can't.

This is what that means for us at the Temple of the Waters...

Support for you:
We want to support you in your spiritual path in this time, whatever that looks like
Water for you:
We invite you to participate in a water-blessing, from wherever you may be
Water for the temple:
We ask your support in consecrating the work of the Temple of the Waters, with water from the land that holds you

  photo credit: Rebecca Tidewalker

photo credit: Rebecca Tidewalker

Support for you: Monastic witness

We (and these are the monks and the board that constitute that "we") want to extend ourselves as a support to you in your spiritual path, whatever it may be.  The time is too precious, and the hour is too late, to waste our energy in the diversions of the spiritually malnourished:

We need access to that silence which allows real wisdom to enter and offer divine illumination of our paths forward.  
We need the internal peace that allows us to extend compassion and kindness to each other in our organizing communities, so that together we can be stronger than this fear.  
We need that sacred dark, that fallow stillness, to spend time in so that our cup of life may ever be refilled.  
We need connection to the eternal spark of inspiration and passion, to nurture our fire truly and well, that we might never burn out and engulf those around us in our flames.

What does that mean practically?  Our thought is that you'd focus on something you want to be doing between now and next Samhain/Halloween.  And it can be pretty much anything.  Really.  Anything that would benefit from a monk or other member of our little water temple contacting you to follow up and be a cheerleader for your soul.

Maybe you want to commit to spending all the high holidays in the next year at the shore of the ocean, maybe you want to sit before your altar every day and you need help kickstarting that practice, maybe you want to hold vigils of resistance to creeping fascism in your town square once a month, or once a week, or every day.  Maybe you want help grounding before heading off to shut-down that INS office.  Maybe it's time to honor your old wounds by dialing up a therapist and working out some kinks, some patterns that turn friends into enemies, but you're having trouble picking up the phone.  Maybe it's hard to touch the ground of faith from where you are, and you could use a prayer-filled word every now and again to prime the pump at that forever spring.

Everyone's spiritual path is unique, but they all require discipline and they (nearly) all require community.  We thought you might could use a little help right now, in this time of gathering darkness, in this time of tending a fragile light.

Rebecca's Final Water Prayer

Last week, November 11th, marked three months since the death of our dear Rebecca Tidewalker.  A few months before she died, we talked about how to continue to birth this new temple.  We sat with her in spiritual practice, grounded, and listened to the land and the waters for guidance.  And this is what we heard:  The waters must swell.  The tides must rise.  Do ceremony and gather together people to pray with the waters, to bless the waters, to thank the waters.  Weave threads of connection through the waters of your bodies, the waters of your blood.  Weave threads through collective practice and community building.

And she, along with the rest of the Temple, gathered water from the ocean and prayed this intention into the water.

Water for you, Watering the temple:
Water Prayer and Consecration

If you'd like, we'd like to share that water with you.  Rebecca's vision was for us to send that water out to people, for them to pray with it, to make a commitment with the water as witness, to seal the commitment by offering the water back to the earth, and to collect water from their own place to send back to us here, to be part of our Temple consecration.  Like a house-warming, but with more prayer.  And more water...

The Invitation

Are you called to join us in this?  These pieces, the water prayers and the monastic support, can be separated if only part of it calls to you.

Let us know how you are called, send an email to monk@templeofthewaters.org and we'll go from there.  If you don't mind being public about your commitment, please also post in the comments section of this page -- shine that light of yours into the world!

Whatever your next step is, please know that we are here, we are with you, and we are praying that grace be on all of us in these times.

In love
In faith
In solidarity,

The Temple of the Waters

you

...an ode to the people who have carried the mustard seed this far...

you
who called and wrote just to say you didn't know what to say
because there is nothing to say
there is only love

you
singing in hastily-assembled circles
calling in the powers of the four directions
the seven directions
the One Creator
the whatever it takes
and it took whatever we had

you!
on your knees for the first time
or the twenty-one thousandth
kindling a faithfire
that glinted off of rebecca's eyes every time we looked at them
that lit the path for solas as he took his first steps along it
that led strangers to announce to me
over and over
"he's got his mother's eyes"
he's got his mother's people

you
looking beyond my rambles into my heart
and knowing that your prayer is just exactly right
and knowing that the little boy i always was when our families got together for christmas, for thanksgiving, for holy days
is the little boy i still am
and you held me
honoring bonds of blood
across time zones
and physical distance
bringing rebecca and i to your churches, your sanctuaries
keeping this family in the light

you

you who live with the city rats and potholes
with the mall rats and pot heads
where the springs run year-round
or where the seasonal rivers are never in season anymore
you tending goats, herding cats, smooshing numbers into compliance
you studenting, you parenting
you low-renting, fighting fires
you tending elders
you just barely treading water
and you lend your hand

you
part of something greater than yourself
because you were part of it
you made it greater than yourself
we could not have done it without you

you, child-tender
you gave your breast milk to my son
nourished him for 8 long months
with thousands of ounces of living current
you sweet mothers sharing the gift of life whose names i will never know
you sweet mothers sharing the gift of life with a child who you'll never meet
you sweet mothers

you watching solas grow, that tidewalker might rest and become strong
you playing with him for a day, an hour
sending a homemade quilt, a toy a book an outfit
you making rebecca smile with a baby hoodie with ears atop

you who donated
who gave us the gift of more time to be a family of three
you who couldn't donate, but knew someone who could
who gave us the gift of your time

you who wrote back to emails
and commented on posts
and "liked"
and emoticonned
i tell you, in all sincere absurdity, that every bit of it helped

you
organizing kid care and food pickups and healing circles
spreading the news at dinner tables and across continents
cooking and cleaning and loving and leaning into every thing
you remind me: such a huge perq of fighting for justice in this world
is ending up with warrior-organizers as friends...

you
you who dropped everything to come here
just at the right time
just when we needed you that night, that day, that week, that season
who shared that prayer in candlelit trembling hope and fear
who slept fitfully just to fit into this spirit-healer bootcamp
this crowd-sourced faith
who leapt into that moment
so that in this moment
we can say, "we did everything we could do."

we did everything we could do

there were times that the fear came bearing down on me
like a mountain
like an avalanche
that was an entire mountain
and i reached out
and you
you were there to grab me
from afar
and say, "yes, you are afraid"
and say, "no, you're not alone"

you who exist beyond my knowing
you who know people beloved of mine, of rebecca's
who could be the hand holding a hand that trembled because their friend had just gotten a profoundly unfair diagnosis and what awful timing
and i couldn't be there for my friends in this time
and you were
i thank you
it means so much to me

 

 

 

 

the logistics of memory

you guys i'm going to kinda keep this post all business because i just started thinking about rebecca really being gone and now my screen's all blurry.  know that solas is doing Really Well, and that i am incredibly well-held right now.  people have been incredibly emotionally and logistically supportive.  i've been able to sleep in and eat when i need to, and our dear dear friend amara and her partner fin have been staying at the temple and they make me do things like surf and dance and ride roller coasters.  so.  the breaths keep on breathing and the life keeps on living.  you cannot die of a broken heart, people!  we're queerly resilient that way as a species...

the logistics of this weekend are pasted below, and there's a rideshare board that i hope everyone will use.

but before we do that, there's a gift for solas that needs your support-slash-participation.  it's an audio quilt being woven by our dear lindsey q:

One of the beautiful gifts of this time is hearing all the stories of Rebecca, and songs that remind you of her. I want to collect these stories and songs to be able to share them with Solas when he is older. You are invited to record an audio story about Rebecca, no more than 2 minutes long, which I will archive and save. I imagine this as a beautiful tapestry of our voices, teaching that sweet kid everything that was wonderful and magic and mundane about his mother.
 

Instructions:

1. Borrow an iphone, or use your own.

2. Open the Voice Memo app.

3. Push the red button to record your story / song.

4. Push the red button again to stop recording.

5. Hit Done.

4. Save voice memo with YOUR NAME as the title.

5. Click on your name to open the file.

6. Click the upload button on the left.

7. Click mail.

5. Email to lindshives@gmail.com

I know 2 minutes is short but I need these to be brief to keep it manageable. Please do your best. If you cannot get access to an iPhone, there are other options that are a bit more labor intensive. Email lindshives@gmail.com and we will work it out.

WEEKEND LOGISTICS:

Rebecca Tidewalker Memorial: Celebration and Mourning
Saturday, August 27th
1pm - 530pm
at the Pacific Cultural Center, 1307 Seabright Ave in Santa Cruz
* All you need to bring is yourself
* If you're called to bring water that is sacred to you, items for an altar, and/or pictures of Tidewalker, those are welcomed
* If you can manage to bring a vessel there with which you can transport water from the event, that would be nice, whether or not you brought any water with you to the event
* We'll provide snacks, don't bring any food there
* Afterwards we're hosting a potluck on the beach, but you can also choose to stay at the venue and participate in the ecstatic dance event that follows us in the space
* Come and go as you're called, it's not a closed-door event
* Love yourself
* Even when it's hard

Post-Memorial Potluck: Standing and Eating
Saturday, August 27th
Something like 6 or 630
Twin Lakes State Beach in Santa Cruz
(off of East Cliff Drive and 7th Avenue, look for us at one of the easternmost burn barrels)
(east will be the direction that the sun isn't setting in)
* The parking here is kinda hard at the best of times, and I can't tell whether these are the best of times or not right now
* You can try parking near our house -- that's 370 10th Ave -- and there's no permit required to park
* And it's 3 blocks from the beach
* I originally posted a different beach, but Rebecca spent way more time at this one, and it's way easier to walk down to

Sunday Brunch: Eating and Sitting
Sunday, August 28th
11am or something.  You know, brunch...
* Venue here is TBD, and this is an utterly informal late-morning meet-up in case you want to be with a crew in the mourning
* A brunch seemed called for
* Cause I don't want you feeling rudderless in this town

Sunday PrayerSong: Sitting and Chanting
Sunday, August 28th
2:30pm - 4:30pm
45 Quail Crossing in Santa Cruz (this is our friend Jon's dwelling place)
* There's not a lot of parking, please carpool and watch for signs that say where-to-park
* There is a lot of outdoors there
* There is an outdoor stage within the outdoors there
* My friend Julie Dragonfly and I will be on the stage
* With you next to us, if it's a big one
* We had a folk-kirtan band duo in the 00's and Rebecca really loved it
* You just chant and chant and chant and it feels real prayerful
* And you surrender
* The root of the form is sacred Sanskrit chanting developed in India
* All gods are one god
* You cannot pray to your divine Source and somehow "miss"
* Most cultures have some form of call-and-response in their sacred music traditions
* So we blend in some stuff from closer to home

this is a crazy time.  i keep thinking that if i don't admit it, maybe rebecca won't be dead.  but we saw her cremated last friday. 

but we had all these plans.

when i fall apart there's enough support around that i don't fall far.  i hope that's true for you whenever you need it.

...and whenever the sorrow comes, there's a smile at the bottom of it.  it's a smile that i'll miss, but the smile's there nonetheless.  the sorrow points to the joy just like the shadow points to the candle.  and i hope that's true for you whenever you need it.
 

in faith,
iridaea

*************************
sweet Creator
with gratitude
we release rebecca tidewalker from this life
we who remain in this life
surrender our will to Yours
in faith

in celebration and mourning

there will be a memorial service for our beloved rebecca tidewalker on saturday, august 27th from 100pm-530pm at the pacific cultural center (1307 seabright avenue) in santa cruz.

all are welcome.

please feel invited but not required to bring items for the altar, pictures of rebecca or water that is sacred to you.

(and there's an event before and after this one, so in an effort to make clean-up quicker, please don't bring food.  some snacks will be provided.)

later that night will be a bonfire for those called to continue sharing story and song.  and the event that follows ours in the space is an ecstatic dance, if people are called to stay for that instead.  or you can just eat dinner and go to bed early, in honor of rebecca's favorite thing to do on a saturday night.


what a life she had, you guys!  what an extraordinary life...

this is a picture that her dear one seneca took when they were traveling in scotland on an ancestral reconnection journey.

with love,
iridaea

*******
sweet Creator
with gratitude
we surrender
in faith
 

eternal life

this morning at about a quarter to eight at dominican hospital in santa cruz, surrounded by friends and without pain, our beloved rebecca tidewalker's spirit left her body.

she spent these last days surrounded by dear friends, loved ones and her blood family.  our friend amara cuddled with her last night and said that rebecca kept waking up and just saying one word: "wow."  as if she could see where she was headed.

and we know very little in this life, but we do know where rebecca was headed - where she is now.

pray for her soul's safe journey into the next world
pray for yourself and the rest of her community, that we might find good grief
pray to the water that you drink, that you might taste her love of the waters in it
 

blessings, love and solidarity to you on this, rebecca's second birthday.

 

in faith,
iridaea

PS -- if you can help with death and living expenses in this time, we welcome that:
www.youcaring.com/rebecca-tidewalker-macai-bolger-476834

PPS - here are some people singing of rivers that never run dry.  it's a song that's helped me these last 24 hours.

*****

there will be a viewing/wake for her at a funeral home at 1050 cayuga ave in santa cruz from 3-9pm on friday, august 12th.

we will do a memorial service for her in a couple weeks that will involve scattering a portion of her ashes -- i'll keep you posted on that when i know what's what.

*****
sweet Creator
with gratitude
we surrender
in faith
 

labor

if things continue to head in the direction they're heading, we will be bidding farewell to rebecca in the semi-near future.

her every breath takes a lot of work, and her pain is very hard to manage.

every night before i go to bed, i pray for a miracle - every morning when i open the door to her hospital room i think, "maybe this is the moment.  maybe now she's perfectly healthy."

and so that prayer continues.

and also there's a mercy in her pain ending, of her entering a world and a life beyond suffering.  that's the most important miracle.  that's the only promise we're made at birth.

rebecca danced in and out of this threshold last winter, and she wrote out her thoughts on it.  here's the link to that if you'd like to revisit her words: www.templeofthewaters.org/mustard-seed/2015/11/30/a-letter-from-rebecca

and in this time, my request of folks is to think of a moment that you shared with rebecca that brought you joy or happiness, and put it in the comments below this post.  that way i can access them all in one place and read them aloud to her in her room.  i think she might like that.

also, if you have the ability to contribute financially, that is something that would be mightily helpful in this time: www.youcaring.com/rebecca-tidewalker-macai-bolger-476834

...the picture's not up to date, nor is the story.  just for the record, if you share with others.

and if you can't contribute financially, know that you're perfect, and that your support is already perfect.

but the *most* important thing anyone can do right now is offer prayers.  prayers for guidance on this path, prayers for rebecca to know how to be in this moment.  prayers for grace for her and her tenders and the people tending her tenders and the people tending solas.

our community here has been absolutely unbelievable in terms of offering support with watching solas and tending rebecca and just please know if you can't be here that you're well-represented.

i'm tired and spacey and not giving this the touch it may need.  i hope you're well, and well-held.

 

blessings to you,
iridaea

****************
sweet Creator
with gratitude
we surrender
in faith
 

back in the SC ER

blessings and so much love to you, faith-filled mustard seed tenders.  on wednesday night, after we got the latest undesired news from our oncologist, when both of us feared a long and sleepless night, we both slept like babies.  rebecca said she had a thought in her mind to be scared, but that she felt the prayers of everyone for her physically relaxing her.

so thank you for that, my dears!

since then rebecca's been having a pretty rough time.  she's been nauseous, not able to hold down simple foods or water, and with a lot of pain in her body.  she has said that she noticed her breathing improving, though, so there's a real hope that the tarceva is kicking in.

but beyond that, the pain and the nausea were too much for us to manage here at home, so she and our friend-slash-chaplain chuck just went to the santa cruz ER to see if they could manage her pain to the point where she's nice and stable and she can come back home and work on her healing path from here.

so.  that's the hope, that's the update.  wanted to keep you all in the loop and ask for and thank you for your continuing prayers.

here again i share something that's been good to me in this time, in case it ends up being useful for you too:

blessings and love to you,
iridaea

***************************************

sweet Creator
with gratitude
we surrender
in faith

test results and unwritten futures

we just got off the phone with our oncologist (and bless his heart for calling us after hours at 8pm and talking to us for like 30 minutes until we had no more questions).

he said that it looks like the latest immunotherapy drug did not work for rebecca, and that there's been aggressive growth in her lungs and liver, with additional spots on her lymph nodes, pancreas and kidneys.  he said that the double vision was in fact caused by a stroke, which means the condition could be lifelong for rebecca (although if she wears a patch over one eye she can see alright and it turns out she makes a cute pirate so that could be worse).

so. shit.

he - for the first time ever - told us that he's worried.  we've been through all the standard western treatments so we're off that chart.  what he recommended right now is trying the tarceva that worked so well back after solas was born.  although the cancer figured out a way to block the tarceva, he's seen the tarceva work again if a person takes a break from those kinds of drugs (which we just did with the chemo and the opdivo).  and there's an infusion that can accompany the tarceva that increases its efficacy.  so we'll start the tarceva tonight (already did, actually) and we'll know if it's helping within the next three or four days.  in the meantime, more small strokes or one big one is a concern.  apparently when you have cancer you're just more susceptible to strokes and blood clots.

so. we're busy crying and assuring each other of our love and wondering how-to-be in this moment, with this news - this totally impossible news.  how do i swallow it and where does it go? can i set it down? and what would that even mean...

(it's a lot of news i would prefer not to get or share.  and a goofy band called ok go made a goofy video called this too shall pass that helps me remember that this too, indeed, shall pass.  it helps me fill my cup of emotions with joy.  tonight i offer it as a toast, my cup to yours, not knowing if you'll like the brew or not...)

our dear dear friends seneca and amutabi are with us tonight, which is a gift from the universe to cushion this process.  kinda like you're a gift to us from the universe.  please continue in your prayers -- and know it's just as easy for the Divine to work a miracle right now as it ever was.

and also know in your prayers this will work out.  that rebecca's soul - that all our souls - are impervious to harm from this world.  that suffering, pain and even death come to us all, but everyone comes in first at the end of this race.  know that.  and know that we're also holding that to the extent we can, to the extent that letting a river sweep through your hands is holding a river.

blessings and love and faith to you from this world where things fall apart
from this world of secret joy
from this, the gateway drug to eternal life

blessings and love and faith
-- iridaea

************************
sweet Creator
with gratitude for all life for all Your cycles

we pray for restoration of rebecca's eyesight
we pray for her body to be clear of all tumors
we pray to be instruments of Your will on this earth

we give thanks for the ongoing health of baby solas
we give thanks for the communities and networks that hold us

in the name of jesus, healer
in the name of mary, mother
in the name of mary, partner
in the name of brigid, flame

in Your name, nameless One
we offer these prayers
we offer our surrender
in faith
 

new moan? yeah...

the news in brief...

* about a week and a half ago, on fri the 22nd, tides was having trouble breathing and we went to the local ER and they said she has a new moan, that she has pneumonia.

* we were relieved because that's something at least that's obviously treatable and at least it wasn't a pulmonary embolism because what is that anyway and it's too many syllables to be good

* also, lung cancer

* and she's been breathing better but definitely has been Laid Flat

* so i'm kinda tending her and solas

* so i'm kinda longing to lay flat

* but be able to get up when i want

* it's been the first time i think that our spirits have really dipped -- she's frustrated and i am just a mess

* but it's been on an uphill trajectory

* but this morning she woke up seeing double

* it's not going away

* so we're marching uphill again

* an MRI is scheduled for her brain today

(* how many times have we put you through this?)

* i'll let you know what we know when we know it

* here's a picture of rebecca with solas because everyday there's laughter and joy in this temple and you need to know about that too

 photo credit: brunem

photo credit: brunem

here's all of us.  this is the day before we found out about new-moan-yeah

 photo (and smiling family) credit: also brunem

photo (and smiling family) credit: also brunem

here's a little game called "is there something odd about this picture?"

 photo (and baby watching) credit: natasha

photo (and baby watching) credit: natasha

and here's this picture because solas wants to know more about what you're doing...

so listen.  it's a little scary right now -- it's a lot scary right now -- and the sun came up today just as sure as the dark'll fall tonight with its gentle blanket.

your prayers are the wind at our backs.  thank you for them, and thank you for you.

*********
sweet Creator
with gratitude
we surrender
in faith