Uplifting, sensual, rhythmic, rising ... Emma is all of the above and everything that is sweet and wonderful in the world. Her tender strength and capacity for presence is undeniable and continuously inspiring for me personally. I share these words with her today because I sense that she will be just as inspiring for you, too! I love this woman in all her vulnerability and for the ways she heartens us to wake each day with gratitude and intention. Enjoy every bite of her story below ⊹
What environment did you grow up in? How has that place impacted where you are today?
As I became a rebellious teenager, I loathed my parents for this lifestyle. I wanted a fast pace of life, away from the long hard winter and “boring” woods. I didn’t want to be stuck in a van with my family or a cabin that I wasn’t able to contact my friends in. This way of life has certainly become more mainstream now but as soon as I turned 13 I began planning my escape, always with a city in mind. Eventually, I made my way to Los Angeles. Pretty much the opposite of where I grew up! Now, I am ready to go full circle and leave the city to embrace my roots and living more in tune with the land, surrounded by nature and back to that simple way of life. I also couldn’t think of a better gift for my daughter than raising her in that way. However, I still plan to avoid winter!
What is your work?I’m taking a pause from “work” while focusing on new motherhood but I have been working with AY^AM for the last 3-4 years now. AY^AM is a ceremonial space in Los Angeles, Santa Fe and now within the virtual realms. There’s quite a bit that falls under the umbrella of AY^AM. There is a Tea Ceremony space, in residency sessions, workshops, intentional events, artisan and teashop and now virtual events. I work to make it all flow and get these offerings out into the community and world.
What ignites your spirit to soar?
So much!! And it’s always shifting, morphing and evolving. A few things that come to mind… sitting with Tea, being in community, watching my daughter grow, being in service, a moment of deep meditation, cracking open a fresh passion fruit, learning something new, being in the “Heart of the World”, a deep conversation. Recently, I just did an online Tea Course through Global Tea Hut. This reignited my spirit and inspired me deeply.
What creative endeavors do you feel drawn to at this time?
At this moment in time my biggest creative endeavor is motherhood. Being a new mama in the midst of a pandemic is pretty wild. At first, I took on way too much creatively and it triggered some postpartum anxiety. My daughter, Aluna, was only 6 weeks old when we went into quarantine (we had only made one or two trips outside of the house before then!). I found myself deep in survival mode without any outside support. I kept trying to take on new projects and creative endeavors and would find myself anxious and frustrated, wondering how I’d get them done at the end of a long day. Slowly I realized that I needed to create space for simplicity and acknowledge that in these moments, raising my daughter is not only enough but more than enough. In a society that’s measured by how much we do and dismisses motherhood, realizing that bringing new life into this world is as creative as it gets felt pretty liberating! I’m looking forward to the day when I’m able to create projects again but now, savoring those moments with Aluna.
How do you create space for intuition and ritual amidst new mamahood?As Ram Dass said, “Instead of saying, “I can’t do practices because I have children,” you say, “My children are my spiritual practice.”” I find this so relevant. Birthing and raising a child is the most profound and humbling spiritual practice I have ever experienced. For this is the ritual, mindful parenting! Practice helps this very much and I’ve found that incorporating practice into my daily life as a new mama is vital for my wellbeing. I practice Cha Dao, The Way of Tea, Some days, Aluna sits in front or on top of me while I drink a few bowls of tea in silence. Other days, I wait until she’s in bed for the night. The stillness and reflective time helps me be at ease with however the day may have gone. Creating this stillness also helps me deepen my ability to listen to my “Mama Intuition”. Mama intuition is so real and I’ve found that I can easily talk myself out of it by listening to my mind. Instead, I’ve been practicing listening to my guttural reaction. It’s a deep knowing that lies within and easy to ignore!
Another simple ritual that I begin the day with is looking at my daughter and saying, “Another day together!” excitedly. We may have had a long night or very early morning but something about saying these simple words changes everything. As I say them, I feel how precious our time together is and how blessed I am that she chose me.
What does Beauty mean to you?
Beauty for me is getting lost in the petals of a rose, staring into my daughters eyes, a steamy bowl of tea and incense dancing in the afternoon sunlight, listening to my beloved sing mantra, watching the majestic hawk soar above the wetland, the glow of confidence that’s found when one transcends the standards of society and feels deep comfort within their own skin. Beauty is becoming one with our divine nature and merging with our true essence.
All images are pulled from Emma's uplifting instagram @standingonthemoon ⚘ Follow and Connect with her there!
✺ Discover all the wonder of her beautiful project AY^AM here
✺ Learn more about Cha Dao, The Way of Tea, through Global Tea Hut here