I love this time of year! Season of Metal in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Season of the Witch, Season of the Underground Songs and Letting Go and Lifting Veils…A time to…
Go back to your own primal ground of being. Go back to bone deep knowing. Conjure up the dregs of patterns you thought were dead, and let them give you a way to find radiance within you have never known before. Layer by layer, breath by blessed breath, destroying softly to reimagine fiercely. Opening to what is growing that you do not yet know, but will soon remember. We return to familiar places in new ways to reconfigure the blueprint. It can be enough to start with trimming the withered parts without uprooting entirely. But there is a time to uproot, unwind, unravel. What feels most real in this breath? Slowly now. Inhale grace, exhale force. What feels true now? A sacred process cannot be pushed past its present rhythm. Death brings life brings death, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re dying or being born. Just keep going.
Go back to the beginning, which will ask of you a descent into the many layered depths. Keep eyes open for the snake, whose shape from above looks like a dragon, like the one alchemists spoke of, who eats his own tail, whose wholeness is inherent in his existence. The end is the beginning is the end. We are the keepers of all that is and ever will be. It is the task of embodiment to shed what is outgrown from our cells, so we may create & be present for what is to come. The healing of the planet and humanity will always begin as an inside job, one that extends into ever widening circles. We were made for it. Just keep going.
Go back to the beginning, which may also be the end of another beginning. Go back to the vast field of listening, where you can hear the sound of unknowing, how grasping gives way to merging. May you know your unchanging light and shifting shadow as the gift, holding all that you are in reverance. May you grieve how you need to, and howl with laughter. May you feel the weight of the choice you made to be here, & the lightness of all that is possible now that you are.
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.“ Wendell Berry
There are ravines at points along the path that narrow our passage and ask us to be deliberate about each step. It may require a lightening of our load or perhaps a pause where we gaze into the steep drop below, dizzy before returning to our center. In these pauses we remember that reclaiming our power means giving up tightly bound ideas about what true power really means. Pushing ahead, past the sensations rising up to meet us, is not always the way. We can of course, if it means protection at any cost. But maybe here we place roots to sky, set the weight down and allow the field to empty. Nestling into the space between here and there, long held notions of identity & dreams of a direction no longer viable can dissolve like salt in water. A cleansing solution made from the dissolution of all ideas, patterns, and energies too heavy to carry beyond this point.
When the world has shifted on its axis, our own navigation system must recalibrate to what is happening now, not what we thought would happen, or what we want to be happening, but what stretches out before us and within us in present time. Disorientation can reorient us if we can regain a sense of our inner landscape again. Find our feet. Find our hands. Find our spine and sense what is there. Noticing what happens when we simply notice. Bones heavy, muscles soft. Settling into being and allowing the golden wave of our own energy to return back to us, warming what is ready to thaw in its own time. What would it feel like to sense your inner architecture in a new way? Vitality returning, clarity bubbling up from a hidden spring just on the other side of no-longer-so-certain certainty and habitual response that is changing shape right below the surface.
To shift perspective, we must change positions by noticing the one we find ourselves in. Perhaps a shoulder drops, a jaw unclenches, a belly softens, a root deepens. A breath comes, and goes. A thought or emotion acknowledged drifts to another, one that creates more space in the field, in the sinews, in the fluid between cells. We may adjust back and forth, expand, contract, tighten, loosen—it wouldn’t be art if it were only one or the other.
We don’t need to land somewhere and expect it to be our final resting place. But without somewhere secure to anchor, a sense of settling in, we wander without clear sight. Sometimes all we see is what is right in front of us, lit by the candle we hold close to the heart. How we nurture this flame, by attention to its inexhaustible existence, determines how well it illuminates on the path ahead. Vision focused inward first allows the unfolding landscape to paint itself as we move forward. What appears before us or within us may not be as it seems as first glance. With deliberate movement across the dangling bridge between danger and beauty, we become subtly attuned to the accuracy our perception, and just how changeable it is. Intentional exploration of what is possible becomes the interplay of sculpting what we desire, and reckoning with what is here for us now.
Sometimes we lasso a star that burns light years ahead of us, and slowly collect its radiance, a bright becoming into the one who patiently awaits our arrival. Each step becomes the next one, colors bloom and shift, swirl and muddle, leave and return. We let transformation take us, anchored to earth body, cosmic body, heart blooming center— rooting and dissipating simultaneously.
We sense what is to come, or what we will become, long before it lands. Follow sensation, play with story, and give enough room to let the story change. Mastery requires critical review of all facets of our experience—we don’t know something until its shape has changed at least a few times, until we have changed shape more than a few times.
I wonder how playful discernment could be? Like juggling two disparate ideas that spontaneously merge into one ball of light, the one we hold in our palms, beaming from our heart, something to embrace, to create with—might this be a way to see that one thing we’ve seen a thousand times, and start to feel, see, sense, and know it in a different way? How would it feel to bring the wandering ones within home? To let all their paradoxical perceptions linger, to hold them, listen to them, and send them off again into the world, sure of the only thing we can be sure of—that they have been loved.
Just here… practicing being human and dancing with what it feels like to be a multidimensional being in a body, like all of us, a force of nature wrapped in stories and sinew and stardust. The dance shimmies us into spaces yearning be explored, touched, held, and loved. Sometimes I go willingly and other times my wise animal body would rather curl up and wait for the storm to pass.
There is no judgement when I just witness the weathered pathways my nervous system is familiar with. Spiraling softly into crevices where it seems nothing could flourish, I notice what happens when courage unfurls its wings, where compassion brews its nourishing broth, where I become the one who soothes the uprising in my tissues, with the help of other bodies, whether tree or sea or human, opening channels of receptivity and release so the impulse to hide or explode gives way to open arms and curiosity.
From the quiet dark, burgeoning miracles. From the pulsing underground, eruptions of light. Ever present reminders of disintegration ride alongside the undulating forces of imagination and sensation. Beholding beauty is a full time occupation. A body might slowly, gently open an invitation for contraction to dance its way to the light, to be warmed, or grounded, to be seen more clearly and touched more kindly, where it can give itself new names, like grief, or shame, or fear, or uncontainable excitement, all dissolving like salt in the waves when we let it come & go without fighting what is here.
Maybe softening can feel more safe than it has before; maybe today, the body does not feel it can go there. It’s ok. Root in and just be witness to yourself. Our animal body is as wise as our spirit. It does not work to banish any protective response, to make it unwelcome; aliveness is a devotion to a practice of sensing, noticing, and being with. This is a practice of self trust, as our own guide, feeling held by all who are here now, all who have come before, and all who will be. The luminous field welcomes all of us home.
“The light returns, the light goes.” Little by little. As the heart spills over its edges to touch its own vastness, we find ourselves as the unchanging spark amidst all rising and crashing.
The heart can hold all of you, me, us. Call yourself, ourselves, beloved. May we let ourselves receive inside our deepest folds, and give from the depths we are able to offer from, allowing our capacity to shift and change shape. As the light returns, may our own clear-seeing reveal to us what we need to see or be seen by in this moment. May our own clear-sensing reveal to us all we need to feel or be felt by in this moment.
“May you be at peace. May your heart remain open. May you awaken to the light of your own true nature. May you be healed, may you be a source of healing to all beings.” Tibetan Buddhist Prayer
Your spine grows longer against the edge, replacing bone with river rock, eyes with constellations and feet with roots. When it becomes too wide to reach across the churning waters, and it is only you and your old tales wrapped in decaying leaves, find your anchor, your golden thread. Take with you every singing cell and every emptiness you gave a name to. Morning star catches a ride in your hair & all burning thought is ashes now, sinking under the wings of birds. Dance through the labyrinth of a beginning, or maybe it’s an ending, which is just another name for something new. Mysterious child of the divine, fire-breathing creature of the wind, dressed in the waters that were your original home, let yourself be altered at the altar of your own heart—allow the body to know itself as earth and stars, to move itself into whatever shape it desires to take—this stretching is you growing. Your wings are wide, even when the muscles’ memory of whiplash settles into constriction, holding their ground until your unbroken song comes through.
As you are uprooted by the unexpected, you are welcomed by the infinite. Keep moving through—transformation cleanses stagnancy in the mutable river, as you find yourself embraced by your own skin, prickling as the divine guides you to your edges so you can find your center. Lay battle worn swords down in the inexhaustible flame at your fingertips, forging the in-between way. Dullness has no place here—you are carried by the call into the unknown, sharpening your brilliance, treading softly as you deepen in the fertile darkness. Your hands will learn what it feels like to grip lightly to the thread that guides you to the room with windows thrown open, where the sun is always aglow.
In my dreams I am dancing with my fear, yes her, tight gripped sweet lipped protector, guardian and gateway to secret songs and the passage underground, or to the stars, depending on which road you meet her. I ask her questions and I question her answers. I watch the strange ways she moves, a few too many steps ahead, big-eyed deer disappearing between shadows, reappearing as bone-white light with a rabbit cloaked heart, racing, and wet new skin, a cold armor of certainty under which I see the softness she hides like treasure. She knows what is worth keeping safe until its ripening. The surface breaks on time, you can’t rush tidal creatures.
She changes shape as soon as I think I understand her, so what can I do but love her ingenuity. I send her twirling and watch the ribbons unravel from around her throat, stones in her stomach dissolving like salt in a lake, too fast to hold form. I love her until she loves me back, telling her, “forgive me for taking so long, someone told me once to ignore you, and I listened, but I never could.” She reminds me of everything I have been and done despite it all. I remember, and we laugh until nothing is left, but me and the glow and the path becoming clearer, even if just in glimmers and sensations. The brambles that tear at my skin are just doing what they do. I’m learning to love them too.
I am here for thousands of tiny miracles clearing the path in a minefield of chaos. For being able to choose where and how I walk, or dance, or pause through it. For the practice of being human. For space to remember my divinity. For outstretched arms of understanding. For the capacity to receive the blessings of birdsong, blossoms, and tiny sprouts that burst through soil towards the sun, as much as I receive the letting go of leaves, the crumbling rot, and the decay. For nourishment in all realms. For courage and fear walking hand in hand. For golden waves of peace that permeate the cells and expand into every crack.
For this moment being enough. For truth shining through layers of distortions. For trust restored after betrayal, inner and outer. For the creative impulse of aliveness that carries me through each moment. For knowing my life as my work and my art, and my gifts as the light creating shapes & meaning from the shadows. For finding wholeness after self abandonment. For knowing God through human kindness. For knowing God through beauty, heartbreak, and the potential to repair the fractures. For a vast heartscape that can hold it all, and remains a sanctuary of identity that shifts, an ocean of disintegration and imagination. For the physiology of the sacred, and the biology of a blessing.
For unwinding, unlearning, and surrendering into the richness of unknowing. For loosening my grip. For old things becoming new again. For new things that recall their ancient nature. For hidden messages coming through at the perfect time. For the ability to see, feel, and translate the soul’s language. For a sound, or a scent, or a feeling that helps me remember. For a color that washes over me and strengthens me. For the way the light enters the windows in the morning, kisses from behind and the joy of dreaming the paths we desire. For the wind that sings its song through the trees. For the warmth that swirls and rises in my belly, returning all of me to me, present here for us. For the chance to be a spirit in the shape of person in a broken world that still holds so much magic. Thank you for being here with me.
May we know the boundless love that runs through us as our true nature.
May we become adept at holding the tension of opposites, and build our resilience in stillness, reflection, energetic & physical movement.
May we break the cycles that keep us trapped in shame, blame, and betrayal.
May we outcreate any ploys of separation while also finely tuning our boundaries.
May clear seeing, clear knowing, clear feeling, & discernment walk hand in hand with deep compassion.
May we disagree with false movements, as seductive as their stories may be.
May we know ourselves as our ancestors and know this time as a powerful opportunity to choose new paths forward.
May we guide our fragments and shadows back to the heart, that they be integrated into a sanctuary of unconditional love.
May all that is not ours to hold return to Source.
May we take care not to become embroiled in the confusion darkness creates. May we discern what is ours to welcome home, and what was never ours to hold.
May we hold strong to our radiant center & know our strength means surrender as much as it means perseverance. Surrender does not mean leaking life force, it is dedication to wholeness and rebuilding trust in the body as a sacred vessel of the unified field. Perseverance does not mean force, it is an energy of devotion.
May all beings across time and space be freed from suffering and the lineage of war through our dedication to healing and persistent actions towards heart centered creation, collaboration, and connection.
May we know our untangling, unraveling, & reimagining as the engagement of potent creative forces that naturally obliterate all systems & energies that seek to take, disconnect, and harm. May we challenge ourselves to go within, question imposed & internalized falsity, and find our unwavering inner light.
May we be reborn into the light of the Divine, breathing true luminosity back into our cells and remembering it as who we are. May our lives be in service to love, truth, and generosity of spirit in their highest possible expressions. May our hearts bloom, opening as the mystical rose, love embodied, felt, known, shared.
Calling ourselves beloved, may we move the way love would have us move.
May we move the way the sacred heart, keeper of holy fire, would have us move. The indefatigable dance, dissolving and restructuring, untangling and re-weaving, connecting pin points of light across the vast darkness to create new constellations from the inside out.
May we move the way our soft, wild underbellies would have us move, heavy-laden, eyes glowing, slow, and low to the ground. The unbearable ache of unnameable feelings rushing through us, beautiful rumblings that seek to change us entirely while having us touch that which always remains.
May we move the way the threads of our divine would have us move, a playful wind through the highest leaves, offering the possibility of re-imagining, infinite variations, & adventures through freshly revealed passageways. The way we remember, the way love would have us remember.
May we know the relief of lightening the burden of silence, of spilling the heart across a morning-lit table or an evening-darkened doorway. How surrender becomes the realest thing. How we laugh at how tightly we held on, as if love would escape us.
May we know each day a steady-handed choosing, even in the quivering aliveness of connection and reflection, of letting go of all expectations, perfect pictures and preconceptions, so we can fully & completely have it…the way love would have us have it.
For me, soul is where spirit and body merge, the place where we can explore our multidimensionality, the many layers of our experience. Strength is the card in the Major Arcana where our animal bodies meet our spiritual selves. I want to share with you some simple methods for reconnecting to your body, your energy, and in turn, your soul, so you can feel safe and strong enough to journey into your deeper layers. While our spirits are whole and complete, our bodies take more time to catch up. “Catching up,” or merging spirit and body, is what we are here doing, and it takes time. When our bodies are grounded, more of our own energy can occupy our space, and we are available to listen and tend to our sensations and needs, instead of being bombarded with outside energy, or operating from a system that needs more soothing than stimulation. You know the feeling of being overwhelmed, when you just can’t get your space and you want to throw your hands up and say, “enough!” We have all been there, especially as sensitive beings. When our systems are overloaded with stress, we go out of body or we shut down; while helpful in the moment, over time it creates issues around having access to body awareness and cues that tell us we need to set a boundary, or leave an unsafe situation. It can also disconnect us from access to our feelings of pleasure, joy, desire, and love. Our deepest knowing lives inside of our bodies, and if we are disconnected, we remain apart from the magic of truly trusting ourselves. We also become more susceptible to outside energies that can knock us from our center, our place of inner strength. It becomes harder to access higher wisdom from a place of wholeness, where the facets of us that need healing have been met, loved, held, and integrated. Disconnect happens through cultural messaging, as well as through trauma. We have all the wisdom within you already, it is simply a matter of committing to uncovering it and honoring it. When we can acknowledge the pieces of ourselves calling out for our attention, we can begin a new relationship with those aspects of ourselves that are longing to be held and expressed, so we can live mindfully, rather than having our unconscious bits take over and cause a ruckus in order for us to be able to see what it is we need to be paying attention to and respecting within. We try to tame the wildness within us by turning away from these pieces of ourselves, because it can be scary to meet these raw and unruly pieces; until we realize these parts of us are the treasure, the ones who will require us to step out of expectations and into our true desires, intuitive nature, and personal power. From a grounded place, we can allow space for our creative nature, emotions, and untamable wildness without trying to control, suppress, or stamp out our shadow or our light. When we do so we encourage everyone around us to step into their truth courageously and compassionately as well. This is the practice of presence and dynamic aliveness. This is the practice of learning that strength does not mean force or control, but rather being with ourselves closely, and listening kindly to what is here for us to be with and love through. At its core, strength is about self trust, which will allow trust to exist in our relationships to all that is.
Practices for Reconnecting to Your Inner Strength
Boundaries mean saying “no” as much as they mean saying “yes.” It means being in complete ownership of your time, energy, and resources, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Creating boundaries entails having discernment around what is truly valuable to you, and that requires re-evaluation regularly as you grow and change. It means creating space for what you want to feel and experience, first by deciding what you need to let go of in order to do that. A willingness must exist to do the courageous work of living your life on your own terms, in a way that nourishes your ability to show up for yourself, and replenish your reserves so you can show up for others. Make more room for what fills you up, and release what drains you. Sometimes this means letting go of relationships, or simply stepping back. Communication makes boundaries more solid and clear, as well as compassionate. We don’t need to be overly protective or defensive of our space, when we are fully inside of it and owning it as ours; but a certain level of integration of past trauma and healing of the nervous system is important in order to feel like we are in charge of our experience. Grounding practices are vital for being able to own our space, heal, strengthen ourselves, and sense subtleties within our bodies that are vital to our well being. We are in charge of how we meet our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our souls, and each other. Find your space first in the quiet moments you make for only you. You will notice your impulses to quit, reject, and give up are much more calm, and drastic changes or abrupt shifts are less nourishing than finding how you can weave these changes slowly, creating a new way of seeing and being; your choices will follow the tone you set. The tone begins with what you allow in your space, and making clear what you are no longer available for, so what you are available for can find its way into your daily life. Boundaries can be as simple as saying, “This is what I am available for and desiring to engage in. This is what I am unavailable for and unwilling to engage in.”
Make a date with yourself in nature. Even if you live in a city, gravitate towards the plants growing there, keep an eye out for flowers and trees that entice you. You can find a quiet spot in a park, or if you live near wild places, take a hike on a trail or walk along the shore of the ocean. Maybe there is something that has been on your heart or mind, something calling for you to look at in a new way. Or maybe it just feels good to empty the mind and move the body. When you feel the urge, stop at a place that feels inviting. Get yourself still enough to just listen and notice. Ground yourself into the present moment with your breath, maybe some movement. Feel the earth as your body, and your body as the earth. You can bring a journal after some time spent grounding, and write what comes up for you. But you can also just notice. Be a witness to your immediate experience. See how what you notice (animals walking by, the feeling of fear, the feeling of bliss) is a reflection of your internal state. See how this quiet noticing, sitting still after moving your body, is a way of discovering deeper emotions and thoughts alive in you. Witness nature moving around you, watch how you move within nature, and notice how you feel taking up space as a tiny, vital piece of this vast world. Maybe something you see in nature has a message for you. Ask a tree or a plant what it has to say about it’s experience…you might hear just what you needed to hear (because after all, you are the one listening!)
If you don’t feel like getting outside, you can create a ritual for yourself indoors to tune in. Make it work for you, keep it simple. There is no wrong way to create a ritual, it is as simple as being with yourself, and you can get creative. You can light candle, burn some sage or palo santo, put on some music, or create an altar with some of your favorite stones and images that evoke a feeling you wish to honor. The purpose of ritual is to acknowledge something sacred and personal, to recognize a threshold has been crossed, or a journey that is beginning or ending. It is grounding and centering, and keeps the sacred alive in the “ordinary.” I love to create altars as a simple ritual of reverence to the sacred in the ordinary. Altars are a way to a sense of home wherever you are, a reminder of your power to create safe spaces for yourself. Any space can be transformed into an altar, and anything of meaning to you can become a part of this creative dedication. See the altar as a living prayer, a liminal space bridging seen and unseen worlds. I place little offerings of love to the mystery, to spirit, to the unfolding self, to the earth, to the cosmos, to those who have gone on before me, to icons of divinity or humanity– any piece of inspiration along the journey. I may write something to call in or release and place it on the altar with intention, or I may collaborate with another person or a group of people, a creation honoring the collective vision. The altar exists in the space between stillness and movement, between knowing and un-knowing, where I give deliberate attention to the moment.
Making time for creative expression is so valuable. It doesn’t have to be big or grand or even beautiful. It is just about making the space for something to be expressed through you. It is about being moved. You can gather together magazines, glue, paper, colored pencils, or paint, and make a collage. Collage is a wonderful way to explore the subconscious. It can be very interesting to see what images draw your attention, and then to start noticing a theme coming up as the images collect. Freely painting or drawing without an intentional outcome is also a way to move into the flow without the critical mind determined on “outcome” getting in the way. Dancing to your favorite music is another way to move beyond what “makes sense,” and into pure sensuality. Drumming is also a potent way for me to come into presence with the rhythm of my body and energy; letting myself be moved by the beat that comes through is grounding and enlivening. More sensuality, less sense will bring you more here, and less somewhere else. Getting out of the logical mind and into the body and emotions really helps move energy, emotions, releasing perfectionism, stagnation, and soothing the nervous system. Stagnant energy can result in bottled up emotions, which can result in aches, pains, inflammation, and general funkiness. On that note, maybe being creative, going on a walk, cleaning your space, or making time for a self-created ritual feels like too much right now. How about just getting some bodywork? Lying down, breathing, and receiving is an amazing way to reconnect to yourself. Or maybe being alone and quiet doesn’t sound helpful, and you just need to talk to someone and let it all out. None of this has to be complicated. Inner strengthening is all about listening to your deepest needs. Keep it simple. Keep it present. Keep it you.
Having a meditation practice focusing on grounding reconnects us to the earth to replenishes vital life force. Sinking into this stillness and being with what is, will naturally clear away energy that is draining you. I like to think of it as bringing me back to me; after all, we are made of the same components of the planet! Grounding through meditation will help keep you balanced, with greater grace and fluidity. In order to unwind and release, we first have to anchor.
Once you connect with your body, and the flow of energy between you and the earth, you really don’t need to worry about “doing” anything except being present. It is about connecting you to your body, your basic goodness and well being, and creating spaciousness in your experience. Allow what comes up to come up; focus on you in the present moment. Trust that with practice it will become easier and you will see changes happen externally when you can come back to yourself again and again. You can do this anywhere, at anytime. It is the simplest and most profound practice of energy management, and often overlooked as so much of what we are taught is about “getting somewhere else” to get what we need.
My favorite way to ground through meditation is in nature. Whether you live in a city or in the countryside, find a spot that feels inviting. Sit on the ground, perhaps with your back against a tree, or a rock that hugs the curves of your body. Take a few deep breaths from your belly; inhaling in through the nose for 4 seconds, out through the mouth for 8 seconds. Or gently breathe from the belly, letting it rise and fall with the inhale and exhale. Feel that all that you need is right here, right now.
Imagine opening your root chakra, at the base of your spine; feel a golden thread, dropping all the way to the center of the earth (or imagine it however feels right to you.) As you anchor in, receive the energy of the earth. Feel your body as the earth, the earth as your body; feel the interplay of energy. Feel how held and supported you are. If you want, you can imagine the cord, or thread, spreading out as wide as your hips. Feel the fullness radiating down your legs, through the bottoms of your feet. Open the energy centers at the bottom of your feet, connecting down down down to the center of the earth. You can also visualize your body as a tree, or a rock, or the ocean, and feel what that is like. Feel the earth energy running up through your entire body, through every cell, muscle, bone, organ. Feel yourself being nourished. Feel you coming back to you. Stay in touch with your breath, but don’t worry about how you’re breathing, just be with it.
You can also visualize the energy moving through your auric field, the space that belongs to you, all around you like a beautiful globe that protects you and nurtures you. I also call in colors that feel healing and nourishing. Gold, violet, and emerald are my go-to colors that fill me with unconditional love and strength.
Make grounding a daily practice, whether that is through time in nature, ritual, movement, body care, creativity, visualization, or breath, or whatever feels essential for you. You are in charge of your space, and your intentional practices will greatly strengthen your body and energetic field over time, making your boundaries clear, your vitality bright, and the way you move through the world graceful and connected.