One of our fabulous teens won special recognition for her animated film about Relational Aggression. What an honor to support Lily on her personal and creative journey ~ you are such a powerful, visionary young woman! May your challenges reveal many gifts, and benefit young people everywhere. Lily is not only a devoted member of our girls group, she is also an incredible artist, champion of inclusivity and kindness, and founder of a non-profit that distribute essential supplies to the homeless. GO LILY! Watch the film...
We did it! My first girls group has become a sisterhood. By the light of the dark moon we crossed the mountain, night hiking up Tennessee Valley, sleeping at the peak. It was very very very wet, windy and cold. We woke at sunrise to greet the ocean and descended to Muir Beach for an epic ceremony with all their families.
I held space for 20 people to honor the gorgeously messy journey of family, the girls transformation into young women, the power of nature, and the humility of simply being human. It was incredible. The ceremony lasted 4 hours! This is what conscious rites of passage looks and feels like ~ what a gift to all. More than 7 years together! Beyond words grateful for the support and willingness of all the girls, their families, and all our guides and allies. It was also my first night away from my son. May this beautiful ending reveal a powerful new beginning for all of us. Oh how the many layers weave. Surrounded in beauty, giving thanks ✨🌙
Thank you Diana for your devotion to understanding and spreading awareness around adolescence as "a period of transformation, not mental illness." We love you!
More from Diana and her valuable work at developmentalscience.com
"The teens had worked together in advance to create a series of questions on a range of topics that they all addressed throughout the evening. I took a lot of notes. I was especially struck by how much these weaving spaces are needed—spaces for young people to be held in safety and non-judgment to do the vulnerable work of weaving themselves, authentic & caring relationships, and the world they will inhabit. I was grateful to attend such a rare event featuring teens’ voices. As one of the young women shared: Young people need “tender reverent space.” (Read full post 'Weaving the Social Fabric')
We especially love your words from another recent blog post... "Epic isn’t easy. I don’t think you get to epic without working hard for it…epic demands a leap out of the comfort zone. And there’s usually a lot of learning involved." (see full Epic post here) "Epic" pretty much sums up the panel for us and especially the girls - thank you for describing why.
An honor to walk the path with you,
Emily, Quetzal & the girls
We did it! Another beautiful Mother Daughter Retreat for a dozen amazing mamas and daughters (and grandmas!), with Quetzal François by my side. We shared #realtalk, time all together, mama:mama, teen:teen, and with the flowers and gentle rains. We took off the masks and explored the depths. We offered wishes and simple truths to the creek, witnessed each other soften through the day.
None of us have it all together, we mostly are feeling our way through, trying to figure out what we need every day, and it hurts when we disconnect. Moms and teen daughters have this wild way of knowing exactly how to squeeze lemon into each other's papercuts, so friggin' frustrating! And somehow that same deep knowing holds healing for the whole system. Whether we are the #angstyteen or #worrymom, there is always another side, needing tending, needing some space, needing some care.
I love this retreat because there is no hiding. Whether you're a teen or a mama, being "seen" together is vulnerable. It's one of those days where you know everyone is seeing whatever it is you're not saying. And by sticking in that discomfort etogether, we all, every age, emerge from our day a bit more willing to keep doing this life thing together.
The mama-daughter relationship is so rich, complex and important. What a privilege it is to be let in on the process. I’m once again deeply humbled and grateful for this work that in so many ways chose me. And thank you to my mama, who because of and despite all I think about "us" - I'm here because of you!!!! Special shout out to the first grandmother to join us for our potent #motherdaughterday! Your wisdom brought tears to more than just my eyes. Love you M!
Some of our favorite love notes:
"I'm a grandmother and I stumbled on these two powerful, warm, kind women, Quetzal and Emily, and the wonderful work and mentoring they provide for teenage girls. What a relief! I'm not as concerned about the world my granddaughter is growing up in now that she has their support. She will be ready!" - MD Retreat grandmother
"At first I didn't want to do this but it was one of the best days I've had in a while" - Real Talk Teen
"This stuff may seem scary or weird, but this is a very loving and accepting group, and I highly recommend giving it a shot." - Real Talk Teen
"The Mother Daughter Retreat has provided a safe and nurturing environment to address all the variables our teens sort through. Highly recommend!" - MD Mama
"Quetzal and Emily make it so easy to be authentic. They create a truly safe place to share." - MD Mama
Wishing everyone a happy Beltane, the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Ancients celebrated this day by fertility and the ancient life force of nature, the wildness within and all around us. We celebrated by taking our East Bay girls groups into a local regional park, admiring wildflowers, making magic with nature, and howling into the cloudy abyss. HOOOOOOOOWWWWWLLL }
All my life
I have loved best
how the flowers rise
and open, how
the pink lungs of their bodies
enter the fire of the world
and stand there shining
and willing - the one
thing they can do before
they shuffle forward
into the floor of darkness, they
become the trees.
- Mary Oliver
A teen made film about 8 years in a girls group with Emily and the power of our journey together.
One young man bravely attended our event. One. Were all the other teen boys too intimidated? Unwilling? Uninterested? Did their parents assume this wasn't for them, or that they wouldn't want the inside scoop on teen girls? What were all the other teen boys so busy doing with their Friday night, while we were having our hearts opened wide by the inherent wisdom of teen girls? I am so curious.
Our 1st annual Teen Wisdom Panel was a huge success! Our event included a panel of our teen girls who have spent the last 8 years in a girls group + about 100 guests. We designed this event to reveal the incredible wisdom within this age and stage of life, and how - with the right support - that wisdom is expressed.
Topics included authenticity, leadership & resilience, stress & anxiety, body image, sexism, advice to parents, our younger selves & future generations. We also debuted a teen-made film about our group, and started recording for our 2nd short film about empowering teen girls by raising their voices through events like these. We also hosted a fabulous raffle and received a significant matching grant! Holy Moly! We are feeling so proud of how it turned out!
Folks came up to all of us afterwards with tears in their eyes. When I debriefed with the girls, we remarked how "ordinary" the whole thing felt to us, and how much more there is to share. They all agreed, "That was barely the tip of the iceberg!" The girls are feeling grateful to be witnessed, inspired by your support, and EMPOWERED!
Thank you everyone ~ the girls, their families, our sponsors, and everyone who donated to our cause. Congrats to all the raffle winners too! We could not do this without you. AND... We reached our minimum fundraising goal! Combining donations from the event and our anonymous donor, we raised over $4,000 for scholarships. We are celebrating, but you can still contribute...
Please consider donating to our scholarship fund, and supporting girls who would otherwise not have access to this work.
We are so grateful for the many hands that make hard work!
Alliance for Girls
Anonymous matching donor
David Brower Center
Full Belly Farm
Frog Hollow Farm
Global Youth Peace Summit
Junebug and Darlin
Monkey Business & Girls On The Go Camps
Soul Flower Farm
Stepping Stones Project
The incredible teens & families that we are lucky to serve.
Thank you! We couldn’t have done this without your support and trust in our vision!
That epic moment before it all begins!
This is us at the end of the event, realizing we didn't even take any pictures!!! Flower-overload in the elevator, and a final pic as we left : )
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I am honored to be joined by a dear mentor and colleague Diana Divecha, on Tuesday April 16th in Berkeley, for a free discussion we are hosting on adolescent development. We'll cover all the common topics - stress, anxiety, depression, emotional regulation, "success" and an everyday understanding of the connection between developmental psychology and rites of passage. We will also leave time for parent-led Q+A.
Parents, educators, therapists, guides... all are welcome. Please join us!
Tuesday April 16th, 7-9pm @ Terra's Temple
~ ~ ~ RSVP HERE ~ ~ ~
EMILY FROST is an artist and mentor working with youth and families in the Bay Area. She is the founder of LOVE YOUR NATURE, a movement devoted to girls and women awakening to their inherent wisdom, power, and purpose.