As the founder of Spirit Weavers, I am quite private and mostly introverted. Many people don’t know me and it’s easy to be misunderstood with hundreds, thousands of eyes upon you for over a decade. Although it is projected onto me, I have never considered myself a “Spiritual leader.” I am a mother, a gatherer, a business owner, and a perfectly imperfect human being.
Over the last decade of this work, I have lost my voice as an individual under pressure. Today I am finally choosing and ready to speak my truth and share from my heart.
I believe our time and energy is a precious offering to the world and I would like to put my precious time into clarifying some recurring misinformation that has been circulating, so that we can all move forward in the best way and continue with our work both individually and in community.
The following words are shared in truth and full transparency, as an offering to anyone who wants to understand my perspective. I am not here to convince anyone of anything or in defense. I have nothing to hide and nothing to defend. This is my truth serum offering to the world.
I started a gathering for women with the hopes to bring people together to learn and share. I had no road map, no long-term business plan, or funded agendas. We’ve had to learn all of what creating a gathering actually entails as each day carries forward. I never claimed to be a spiritual leader or even a leader at all. At the event, you can find me at Opening Ceremony, morning announcements and in my booth. Besides that, I am behind the scenes throughout the year, focusing on my work and original intention.
This journey has been a long road and one that has left me without my voice and without my womb. It has tested my friendships, affected my family and even left me facing my own mortality with a pre-cancer diagnosis. From fibroids, to a hysterectomy and beyond, I have long felt the physical toll of balancing how to hold so much responsibility for so many people.
For those of you who have children, imagine your children watching you, their mother, navigating folks continually breathing down your neck for years on end with demands to do things, demands to do more, or else. Receiving feedback ranging from never doing enough, to being as extreme as running a “capitalist white-supremacist gathering.” It’s been excruciating, and I am choosing my family and my health moving forward.
Over the last ten years, our core production team and I have given 110% to Spirit Weavers. It is not an easy undertaking to hold space for hundreds of women to be heard, held, supported and seen, a nearly impossible task in fact. We continue forward with emergent learning because we see and feel the meaningful impact, the collective healing and ripples that the Gathering creates year after year.
In truth, I could have taken this gathering to a whole other level. I’ve been invited to attend conferences, speak at events, share on countless popular podcasts, give interviews with mainstream publications and have received offers to turn the gathering into a much bigger corporate festival. I intentionally chose to lay low and continue with an open heart, maintaining a slower and more humble road for myself and for this community. I have put my face on the SW social media platform only two times in eleven years. It’s just not in my personality to take the spotlight and while this event is my vision, it’s also not about me. Just having to write this statement about myself feels exhausting and very unnatural for me personally, and at the same time, I am so damn grateful to finally be ready to speak my truth as the founder of this event.
At this point in time, I am learning to return back to that space of truth and I am shifting away from the people-pleasing that has been so detrimental to my wellbeing and to the work that life is asking me to bring into this world. I will share more on that below as it relates to what we’re navigating in these moments.
I see this most recent Social Media dialogue as a direct result of me putting myself and my health first, and in turn, that choice not feeling supportive enough for others at the time. I also take full accountability for my passive personality traits. I am learning how this behavior has prevented me from honoring my own integrity and true heart.
As someone who only ever wanted to bring women together to gather and share, the toll of holding so much for so many has shed light on my need to stop constantly defaulting to people pleasing at all costs. The commitment I made to weave a social justice net into the fabric of the gathering in a way that felt supportive and true for everyone while navigating the simultaneous expectations of often hundreds of conflicting opinions has been the number one impact on my health.
The truth is, the commitment to social justice work is a difficult road.
The reality of this difficulty can be diffused and minimized through screens and keyboards, but actually creating legitimate change and impact is incredibly arduous, and doing so within a diverse and small community container over many years is quite an undertaking. It’s work that is emergent. I see the impactful shifts that have come from all we have done so far, and also recognize that this road has no end and many twists, turns and challenges. There have been many moments filled with unity, harmony, and empowerment, and this is why I continuously said YES alongside the hundreds of women out there of all races, backgrounds and orientations, who have joined in to work towards change.
We have been gathering together as Spirit Weavers for ten years with thousands of women attending from all over the globe. There inevitably has been, and will be people who will part ways because they no longer align with some aspect of the gathering. This is an entirely natural evolution. The vast majority of people who have moved on have left in peace and it’s true that opportunities for growth and learning have often existed within these partings.
This week’s experience was an exception and yes, was a long time coming, due to a rift that evolved rapidly. As people are now choosing to publicly divest, and chime in with public statements and opinions, we remain here to find the opportunities for growth and learning within this.
We are not here to apologize to individual people, or to put anyone down but instead to say ‘Thank you’. Thank you for stating your needs and concerns so that you can free yourself of what no longer serves you. Thank you for using your voice so that I in turn feel the necessity to use my own voice as well.
My sorrow is reserved for the human beings losing their lives and suffering at the hands of war and empire across the globe. My apologies are reserved for the hundreds of women who may have now lost the opportunity to get to experience the magic of Spirit Weavers Gathering because of Instagram optics and social media dialogue lacking facts and critical nuance.
I hope in sharing my truth here that each individual can tune into their own hearts to find their way, trusting their decision in how to engage with me, with Spirit Weavers Gathering, and with all of life from that place of self-knowing, guided by their North Star and their open hearts.
SWG and Social Media
As the founder of this gathering, I am quite private and mostly introverted when it comes to social media. While it does not align with my moral compass to engage in the blurred reality of Instagram, I recognize that my perceived silence has caused confusion and disappointment.
In this, I do not feel qualified to act as a spokeswoman for the horrors in the Middle East. I believe that adding my voice into the mix is not always the most responsible use of my voice. I post when it is authentic and I find the words, not as a reflexive act, under coercion or force, from anyone seeking to invalidate the way in which I am processing this tragedy. That in itself is just another form of control and domination.
With this, I unequivocally stand for a ceasefire in the name of all that is sane in this world and in the name of safety for the Palestinian people of Gaza; the West Bank and the diaspora; as well as the Israeli hostages the Palestinian prisoners, and all Jewish and Muslim peoples across the seas; all humans experiencing war and genocide across the world at large; and for the peace within our own communities and hearts.
The first two weeks of these atrocities, beginning with the October 7th attack in Israel, were spent with my Jewish best friend and her extended family who was visiting from Israel, holding space and listening to the history of her family in Palestine/Israel. We shared time, meals, tears and stories, diving into the heartbreak and complexities. The few weeks that followed were spent listening to podcasts, talking with friends, reading articles to dive into the history of Palestine and learning as much as I could. I was not on social media during this time and when I finally did tune back in, I was met with shame for being silent all while I also felt silenced. I do not mean that I was remaining silent, but that I lost my ability to speak after what I had just experienced with my in-person real-life community. To then feel forced to speak on something that I was just starting to comprehend felt wrong. The more I experienced pressure to speak up, the less authentic my voice felt. Any chance of authentically sharing was being squashed and diminished. This is not the way my heart feels called to share.
As if social media posts define all of who we are or all of who I am. Yes, our work is with women and children, and I’ve worked endlessly for the last decade to continue that work, as if that is not enough. Sacrificed my own womb for this work, as if that’s not enough. People say “Actions speak louder than words” and simultaneously I am hearing “All of your work and actions doesn’t matter if you don’t speak right now in this way on this platform.”
With all of this in order to show up for the work that life is calling on us to tend to, we must get very clear and refined in listening to our own hearts, distilling and fine tuning our own inner compass so we can best direct our energy towards collective good. For me, I am in monthly conversations and healings with the man who murdered my best friend, which has been a significant journey towards healing, forgiveness, and perspective. To be embarking on that path while simultaneously being called immoral and shamed for not posting enough on the echo chamber we call social media, it’s hard to comprehend. This dissonance leaves me feeling weary when I feel I am being asked to disregard my own heart’s voice and urgings.
My work is on the ground and in person during the gathering for two weeks in June. It is not to offer what feel like obligatory comments publicly (even though I have) on foreign conflict when I can barely comprehend the horrors we are seeing. It is not a moral obligation to perform my emotional experience for a judgemental group online. This is social media bullying and forced virtue signaling. The time and energy that has gone into all of this when we could have been focusing our efforts on the larger picture at hand, as opposed to creating division within our own family, truly saddens me.
Yes, we have a large following on Instagram, and recognize that Spirit Weavers originally grew in part due to this platform, the audience for which all originated as a result of the personal blog I started over 15 years ago. There, I shared from a genuine place and wrote from the heart of my authentic self, which is what resonated for people. For me, my business or this event, what social media currently represents no longer feels like a place I can authentically share.
I vividly and comprehensively see/hear/share the grief being experienced worldwide, in the face of the atrocities playing out in Palestine and across the world. Often I struggle to find adequate words. I think many can relate. Since the beginning of this particular iteration of war and genocide, I, along with members of our staff have been weighing in around the best actions to take.
We sought counsel from Elders, members of the ComeUnity Village and other pillars of the Community. We have channeled the bulk of our resources/energy into taking measurable steps OFFline, which we felt to be the most effective use of our time, along with posting our emphatic support for a ceasefire on IG on Nov 13th, Nov 14th and Nov 28th to be exact.
I’d like to point to the layers of Spirit Weavers as an entity.
- SWG is a wide network of a diverse group of people with diverse needs, backgrounds, opinions and stances
- SWG is an in-person event that happens for 2 weeks out of the year in a specific place and time
- SWG is a LLC business created by one person with two year-round employees, and not a democratic non-profit run by a board of directors
With this multi-layered reality, I find myself asking a few questions-
- What is our responsibility when it comes to engaging on social media?
- Are we as event producers personally also responsible for holding the needs of each of our event attendees throughout the rest of the year?
- Are we personally responsible for checking in on every individual within the community when something in the outside world affects them?
Responsibility is different from desire, willingness, or personal choice in these matters.
The truth is, there will never be one answer to these questions that everyone agrees with.
Every year there is a new event, conflict, or crisis and we are continually asked to take a stand. This will likely never not be the case. In no way is it possible for us to show up within the social media world and please everyone within our community. In no way can ANY presence on social media make everyone within our community feel safe, seen, supported or heard. So we ask again, what is our responsibility when it comes to engaging on social media?
In maintaining this event and keeping this community going, we choose to focus on what we CAN provide, which is a place in space and time to come together in person and explore these questions and more. To stay true to myself and prioritize my health, and my family, I am choosing to continue the work of running this event and also choosing to disengage from social media and the demands and requests of that online space.
We encourage seeing this time as an opportunity for us all to reflect on our own participation in empowering spaces and movements, focusing on our communities and shared spaces.
In this reflection,I find myself inquiring:
How are we all showing up in this world and in our communities OFFline in-person, heart to heart? Where can we each direct our energy to amplifying and building these spaces? Can the worth of a whole organization be defined by just one action, one moment, one choice, or one social media post? Does creating boundaries and taking care of ourselves erase a decade of hard work?
There are no wrong answers to these questions, they refine and develop with experience and time and it’s up to each of us to navigate our own path that resonates and supports our way.
Within the optics and current narratives of social media, we are often unable to see and feel the depth of work and care that goes on behind the screens. We are not perfect, but there has been a decade of work invested into creating a space to support our community, and if our entire worth is defined by our presence on social media, we do not choose to invest our energy into that space. Our energy will be directed towards the emergent work with those who choose to continue to stand beside us and do it together as a community, with the same goals in mind. What is unique about this work is that we are not meeting online, but doing this work heart to heart, eye to eye.
The last few weeks for me have felt like a carefully crafted cancel campaign the week before ticket sales, with poison arrows pointed directly at me and the gathering. If you participated in this, and we meet again, I hope you will be able to look me in the eyes for a compassionate conversation. This mob mentality is not the way of the weave. This is not what myself, and thousands of women have woven together over the past decade.
There are other ways to respond to a request that is not met. When we are not morally aligned, equipped, or logistically capable to meet the request or demands of the community – peers, friends, family, and general public – we still honor the voices.
We choose the path of quiet dignity, drawing inwards to tune into our hearts, and practice emergent learning through continued listening and witnessing each other in community.
SWG and Finances
SW is not a non-profit. There has always been transparency around this. My team and I work from Sept-July each year and then my summers are spent running our camp at Cedar Bloom. I never stop going, ever. I work my ass off and have every right to earn a living, while employing two workers year round as well. I started both of my businesses from the ground up. I have shared the financial breakdown of the gathering so people can understand that as a “for profit business” this does not mean I am directly profiting in a personal way as it appears.
I have worked tirelessly for the last ten years. I put the money we were using to pay rent at Camp Navarro into a down payment to purchase Cedar Bloom for Spirit Weavers. The land is owned by Spirit Weavers LLC and the money from the gathering goes straight back to the mortgage on the property. The only reason I was recently able to buy us a personal home on the Islands (after living here 15 years) was because Cedar Bloom became a second unexpected business. After being here that first summer with just myself and my family, I realized the land needed to be shared. There was an opportunity here to have others experience and benefit from the magic of this land while also helping pay the mortgage, since the gathering alone wouldn’t sustain it. My dear friend Ayana shared with me about Hipcamp which had just started and we dove in from there. We worked hard tending the land, and learning to host weddings and retreats. Before we knew it, we had been voted the # 1 Hipcamp in all of Oregon. This was my vision and my sweat and tears and life force that I poured into it all. It’s taken hard work and dedication, stress and lots of community support and collaboration.
If I want to purchase a home for my family after a decade of hard work, I deserve to do that.
Cedar Bloom is my business and home to many throughout the year who come through, 1500 women during June, many plants, animals, and unseen Beings. I also share both of these spaces with all of our community that comes through. The SW community is always welcome to Cedar Bloom as their home. Some women make reservations to give back and many just text me and show up.
It takes a lot to run and manage a 100 acre property and the expenses that go into sustaining Cedar Bloom to welcome the Gathering and so many throughout the year. The expenses and energy that it takes to put on SW also take a LOT. We saved this land from being turned into a cannabis grow, which we know often ends up being a trash site. Or from being turned into a 45 parcel tract-housing lot which was the other offer! We are working on putting the land into a conservation easement, implementing efficient watering practices, growing our own food and flowers, planting natives, culinary and medicinal herbs, maintaining regenerative forest stewarding and land tending.
At the end of the day, it’s nobody’s business how I organize my own life and finances. It’s also no one’s business how my partner of fifteen years and I share income. My Beloved helps hold the space that makes these events possible and co-manages Cedar Bloom, all the while maintaining a music career of his own. You’re welcome to judge me and come to your own conclusions about how you engage with me and the gathering, but to publicly shame me about my choices and personal finances is not acceptable.
If anyone were to go around collecting statements from people not satisfied with other’s decisions then you will get just that. It’s impossible to please everyone and we have continuously come face to face with that at Spirit Weavers. We will never force anyone to stay based on our beliefs or opinions, but trust them to make an informed decision for themselves if the Gathering continues to serve them. This is a giant collective web and we invite women to flow in and out as they need.
When it comes to social justice and advocacy, I have learned so much from being steeped in this work the last 8 years. I have listened to stories and experience, and understand not all BIPOC voices feel the same. If you’re just focused on one specific group and one specific voice, then that’s what you’re going to hear. Many BIPOC women within the Gathering have come to me to voice their opinions around this work and segregated spaces within the Gathering. Many women share that other BIPOC stories are not their own. That they will not participate in spaces that continue to separate. We have to remember that this work can exist through many different lenses. In fact, when speaking with a beloved BIPOC mentor about this, she directly encouraged us to not give these poisonous arrows our time and energy any longer. She encouraged me to not respond back and to continue focusing on myself, my family and the Gathering. I continuously strive to lead from a nuanced and widened perspective.
What we are capable of is doing this work in person and on the ground for two weeks in June. We are capable of organizing a skillshare where many can share their gifts with others in hopes to inspire someone new. We are capable of having these difficult conversations in person, face to face, heart to heart every June. We are capable of providing a home for hundreds of beings to lay their heads upon the earth in reverence. We are capable of creating a space that allows us to tap back into source calling in the wisdom of our Grandmothers. We are capable of creating spaces where connections can be made, lives can be changed and forever friendships forged.
The gathering has been so much for so many: it has been a place where women have gathered to learn skills and crafts, and many have planted seeds for businesses and offerings that sprouted from our time together. Many women have met their love and life partners, met their now best friends, business partners, and formed communities and life-long connections at and through Spirit Weavers.
Women have also come to me with concerns, feedback and guidance every year since the beginning. I have always listened. We have consistently pivoted, changed, learned and shifted together. I will say this again and again: this work is emergent and we are ALWAYS learning and growing through it all.
Spirit Weavers is not a place where we welcome policing one another. Over the last few years, this energy has made its way into the gathering and this is not in the “spirit” of this gathering. We come together to show up as our highest version of ourselves, or in full commitment to working towards that. To see each other as the divine reflections that we are. To pray and dance, sing and swim, to commune with the plants and the waters and the forest kin that dwell here. Meeting each other in our hearts, not our heads. This is what the foundation of Spirit Weavers was based on, and we are committed to bringing things back to balance and back to the original roots and vision that we held so sweetly those first five years. These intentions are for ALL women, and we work every year to make it so.
Through the fissures of conflict, we have found our community fractured, but the stories of healing already coming through give us hope for what is possible. This is an opportunity for continued learning, sharing and growth.
I’ve been holding back my truth for far too long. I can finally exhale and not hold this in any longer. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being willing to better understand all of the layers this has held.
From the heart, Mea