The Safety Pin Cafe started as story medicine once upon a time in the Pacific Northwest. With the words "It was a day a duck could love" a mythic tale was born about a place run by a fairy and a silver-haired Raven that welcomed ducks, under-cover witches and beings going through all manner of transformation.
I am a Native Hawaiian storyteller, freelance researcher, writer, blogger and a woman learning to live and thrive with the many challenges of MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities). The short version of a long old story is my husband Pete and I left O'ahu in the Hawaiian Islands in May, 2008 after a chain of events left us chemically injured by pesticides. We were unable to live inside a 'normal' house without getting weaker and sicker. Our Subaru become our home; parking lots, driveways and my cousins' front yard become our temporary roosts. For seven months we tried to understand how to manage the effects of brain fog, breathing difficulty, and worst of all how to be with people -- including our old friends and family. Learning to adjust to the changes we were going through would require more time.
"People can have strong emotional attachments to their favorite shampoo, cologne or laundry product, and don’t understand how seriously ill these products can make someone like me."
The decision to leave Hawaii was heart-breaking, but was the beginning of a new version of life beginning with a dream to the build a movable nest we call 'Vardo for Two'.
I began blogging and writing memoirs to record the journey to reinvent life.
The safety pin became a metaphor and a literal linchpin to hold the wheels to the axle of our developing life.If our definition of a 'normal house' was changing, we had to look for new guides and teachers. Surrounded as we have been for more than seven years by the groves of Cedar, Doug Fir, White Pine, Hemlock, Madrona, Huckleberry, Salal, Wild Blueberry, and Salmon Berries; they have become teachers about home.
We learn from the Birds, the Squirrels, Chipmunks and the other wild ones Spider, Mouse and Rat who move, migrate, build nests and constantly seek food from the world around them foraging in and beneath the Tree Clans. Every day and each night the context of our lives as humans changes a little, or in chunks. More akin to the Romani who have wandered or been persecuted because of their values, Pete and I are becoming wild old people mentored by Nature, by 'Aina.
The Safety Pin Cafe became a story to build upon. A mythic story with truth at its core, we venture out into the Mundane and the Wild to live a story that is both solid and flexible; we know our backbone is supported by the legacy of Ancestors; we learn to live like birds with hallow, flexible bones for flying; remember to use our funny bones often; and keep a wish bone for dreams close-by.
Each year since the first Safety Pin Cafe Storytelling event in 2013, Pete and I have found reasons to hoist our simple hand-stitched signwork to tell a few stories; share the mic with friends and encourage tales of solidarity and common magic. We ask our neighbors and the community that gathers to come fragrance and chemical free. Changing habits is not easy, but, our goal for the coming new year is to be more specific in our needs; if it means being Nasty Fierce & Powerful ... well maybe that's what we need to be.
COMING SOON: learn what we have planned for 2017 and beyond.