About a year ago – give or take I really have no idea when except that I was still drinking it did – I was thumbing through Austin Woman magazine and found a review for a book titled Madly In Love With Me by Christine Arylo.  The book was all about cultivating unconditional self-love, which sounded like exactly what I needed, plus the author was going to be in Austin to host workshop just a few weeks later.  I knew in my heart that the universe had led me to this review and that I HAD to attend the workshop.  You should have seen the look on my husband’s face when I told him I wanted to go to a self-love workshop!  (Oh, the irony…) Nevertheless, I bought the book and signed up.

The book is filled with lots of exercises and dares to in order to rev up your self-love.  One of the dares asks that you phone a friend and tell them that you have decided to commit to a loving relationship with yourself.  Well, I did no such thing.  But I did think to myself that, if I were to do it, there was pretty much only one friend of mine who – despite having not spoken to for months – I could call up out of the blue and tell her that I was in love with myself.  As the universe would have it, when I got to the workshop, guess who was there?  That one friend.  In fact, the workshop was being held at her church!

The workshop was amazing but all too short so I signed up to be member of Christine Arylo’s Love Club that would ensure that I would continue to receive frequent emails, videos, love dares and general self-love encouragement for the next year.  I think.  The trouble was that I was still drinking back there and, quite honestly, I never finished the book and have had minimal success at keeping up with the emails, videos, loves and general self-love encouragement.  But when I do manage to listen or watch, they are always amazing.

Fast forward to last week.  I got an email announcing a vision quest that Christine Arylo would be hosting with artist and author Shiloh Sophia McCloud.  I usually read such invitations longingly and then hit delete because, let’s face it, as a working mom of three, I don’t have the luxury of traveling to Calistoga, California so that I could “Take a Vision Quest through the Mystery to Find Deep Access to Your Sacred Path and Create Your Alchemical Feminine Icon through an Intuitive Painting process: The Phoenix Journey.”  But, then again, I knew I had to do it.  I went online and filled out the screening questions, which covered things like what was going on in my life that made me ready for such an event, how had I previously expressed my creativity in the world and was I crazy.  (Joking.)  Despite being in the middle of a Protocol Revision Subcommittee meeting, I dove into the questions right away and hit send – completely unsure as to whether I would ever hear anything back. I mean, this was an Invitation for Visionaries, Luminaries and Revolutionaries.  While I am really starting to believe in my badassery, I still feel like a fledgeling, fresh out of the shell and bumping around the nest.

The next day , however, they called. Twice.  And emailed.  They wanted me to come.  When I finally got on the phone with them, it was clear that they had actually read my answers to their questions and I was going to be one of only 35 women at this event.  This was not a conference.  This was a council of women who were ready to change the world. I told the lovely young woman that I really wanted to go but I had to talk to my husband first because, as luck would have it, this event fell on a the weekend after one that I was already going to be away for a Women Food and God Retreat (at KRIPALU!) with my little sister.  This meant that I would be away from home, my husband and kids for OVER A WEEK!  (Except for the Tuesday and Wednesday in between.)  I was not sure that I had the balls to ask for that! After all, I’m a mom and I’m not allowed such luxuries, right? My husband would surely object, right?

WRONG.  As I am often want to do, I short-changed myself, my husband and the universe.  That night, as we were driving out to dinner for date night, I was tossing and turning and wrestling in my mind with whether or not I should go.  Was it stupid?  Should I even bring it up?  Then my husband suddenly says, “Oh my god! Look at that!”  When I looked up in the sky, this is what I saw.



I’m not even kidding.  It was like mother nature was bitch slapping me across the face as to say DUH!  You totally deserve this and NEED to go!  They freaking called you twice and emailed you and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!  Stinging from the obviousness, I told my husband about the vision quest, my wrestling with going and the RAINBOW.  He, being the most badass husband alive, totally agreed with me and was super excited about the opportunity for me.  (Seriously, what is my problem?)  I immediately emailed the coordinator and told her that I was IN and to send the registration forms!  All of this happened while we in the car, driving between our house and the restaurant.

After we got to the restaurant, I was so excited that I was bouncing off the walls but still a little nervous about spending the money, taking the time and was I ready?  My husband dealt with hostess while I checked out the guitars hanging on the walls (one was Stevie Ray Vaughn’s, I think) – still trying to talk myself off the ledge.  The hostess escorted us to our tables and I really didn’t even look at her until after she had sat us and was handing me the menu.  That was when I FINALLY saw her necklace, which was this:


I shit you not.  Well, at that point, I had to concede all my self doubt and bow at the awesome feet of the universe.  I think a person could go lifetime without two such amazing and clear messages and I had been the incredibly blessed recipient of both within 15 minutes!  Needless to say, but I will anyway because I’m a writer and can’t help myself, CASE CLOSED.  God, goddess, the universe, mother nature and Stevie Ray Vaughn clearly ALL wanted me to go on this quest.  So I am.