SomaNews – March/April 2014

Honoring Angeles Arrien


Angeles ArrienWith a sad heart and great love, I dedicate this SomaNews to one of my beloved teachers, Angeles Arrien, who stepped into the world of Spirit on April 24.

I met Angeles several times, and who she was was like a permanent tattoo in my life. I loved her storytelling and the knowledge she carried so beautifully about indigenous cultures. She really didn’t know me, but when I would see her at workshops or book signings, I always felt she did know me — and I will miss her greatly. I will miss those words that would fall from her mouth directly into my heart:

“Am I full-hearted, open-hearted, clear-hearted, and strong-hearted?”

I wrote the following piece almost 10 years ago, and I would like to offer this to the memory and spirit of Angeles, as she was an amazing storyteller. In her beautiful words she would speak, “Now this is a story that should be told.”

The dusty wood box lay next to me in the small, cramped place I called home. It had been handed down from generation to generation through the lineage of the feminine. It smelled of amber and lavender, and the hinges creaked when it was opened. I turned my back to it, but it kept calling my name, beckoning me to open it again and again.

I sit up and turn to face this history that lay before me, seeing the old gnarled hands of many great women opening the box and slipping a parchment in before their last breath was taken. Sitting crossed-legged, I open my spirit to my ancestors and place my hands on top of the box – I feel the energy of Woman enter into my body. I brush the dust away and read the scripture burned into the wood: “Imagine what you will be and you will be it.” 

 I take a deep breath and open the box. A cool air wafts up from the inside and touches my lips and eyelids. I smile; it is like the soft hand of the feminine moving my hair out of my eyes so that I may see more clearly.

I breathe in the amber and lavender. The scrolls of stories stand straight up and one begins to push its way through the rest into my hand. It is very old, at least 200 years, in the making. The rawhide is like string now and the energy it holds is so powerful. I begin to unroll it slowly, carefully, and I hear the voices of the special feminine. She begins to speak of the day she knew she would no longer be on this planet – that she had walked the path fully and with gusto – that she would be there for all the women that come after her. Look for her, she said, I will come in the fall leaves, I will come in the spring rain, I will come in your dreams.

"The best teachers are those who show you where to look,
but don’t tell you what to see."
Alexandra K. Trenfor


As I reflect on what it means to have a teacher or to be a teacher, I come to a place at my age where I sit with the question — is it time for me to take my place by the fire? Is it time to tell my stories, the stories that have made me who I am today and that can help others know where to look?

Learning will always be in my life, and having a beginner’s mind is of utmost importance. I hope to never “think” I have grown all that I need to or blossomed to completion. As others are now beginning to call me their teacher, I will humbly accept this gift from the standpoint of having walked the path ahead of some and acknowledging that what I have to share can support them in their learning.

Our teachers show us what it is to be humble in their wisdom, to be authentic and nonjudgmental, to share with no expectation. They trust who they are and believe what they say. Angeles did all these things with grace and dignity. As she passes the baton, may we accept it with the greatest respect and honor for the amazing teacher that she is.

Somatic Creativity Workshop – September 20

Experience connecting to your creativity through living in your body. Join me in Petaluma for a one-day workshop – Somatic Creativity – September 20, 2014. Please get in touch for details!

Phone: (707) 480-3846