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.
When I find stillness, everything moves. When I surrender to all I do not know, without needing to fix or solve or make absolute sense of it, peace seems to awaken in my cells. Something more than peace too, unnameable, between peace and unrest. A burgeoning.
May the dance move us into spaces yearning to be explored, touched, held, and loved. This feels like the space from which courage unfurls its wings. It also feels like the place compassion brews its nourishing broth that soothes contraction.
From the quiet dark, luminous miracles.
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.
Our animal body is as wise as our spirit. It does not work to banish any protective response, to make it unwelcome; here’s to devotion to a practice of sensing, noticing, and being with. 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. This is a practice of self trust, as our own guide, feeling held by all who are here now, who have come before, who will be, to hold us.
“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 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 learning how to use decay for growth. For space to practice 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. 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 sanctuary of light and possibilities.
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.
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, squeeze by squeeze, 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 what is to come. The healing of the planet and humanity will always be an inside job. We were made for it. Just keep going.
Go back to the beginning, which may also be the end of another beginning, somewhere down the line. 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 the gift in every part of your path. May you know your unchanging light as the gift. May you know your shifting shadow as the gift. May you hold all that you are in love and reverance. May you grieve how you need to and may you howl with laughter. May you feel the weight of the choice you made to be here. May you feel the lightness of all that is possible now that you are.
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.
“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”
Strength is one of my favorite Major Arcana cards in the Tarot, because it calls for us to anchor in love and embody our truest selves. The Strength card is a reminder that when we know the our power, it cannot be bought, sold, given, or taken away from us. The healing of humanity and the planet is dependent on dismantling and recreating the systems that have taught us that our power lies everywhere but inside of us. True strength requires the risk of arriving at the door of our own heart and recognizing it as the heart of the world. We will see how our lives weave into every life, understanding the greater risk of ignoring the deepening pull of owning who we truly are. We are living in times of great upheaval, calling for us to be fully present in our bodies and connected to our souls, so we can move as gracefully as possible through the changes afoot. Strength reminds us that transformation is an inside job, and that we are courageous, resilient, and creative enough to do it. We cannot force change, but we can become it. We are seeing old structures fall within and around us, bearing witness to the unearthing of old beliefs, identities, and ways of being that thrive on the “power-over” dynamic that has wounded us all. When we are grounded in our strength, we move with more ease and confidence through our lives, no matter what outer circumstances are; we understand that there is enough, and that we are abundant beings with immense potential to create and share from the heart. There is a gentleness in this card that brings us back to love and connection. We live in a society that encourages a disconnection from nature, our bodies, our hearts, our needs, our desires, and from each other. In order to learn how to own our power and direct it in ways that are nourishing, uplifting, and life-affirming, we must first understand that we carry in our bones and our energy fields the imprints of a culture that is based on an imbalance of power. We are fully capable of clearing the old to make way for the new, beginning from within. In fact, we were made for these times.
We learn to outsource our power from an early age, grasping outside of ourselves for a sense of validation, safety, and belonging; of course as children this makes sense. We are made to exist in relationship, it is a primal pull and irreplaceable aspect of our experience and healing. Problems arise when we do not have the tools for healing as we develop, and continue searching for self worth and security anywhere but within. The depth of our capacity to truly connect is impacted by how true we are being to ourselves, how safe we feel, and by knowing our inherent worthiness. As feminine creatures, we are trained to find our value in how pleasing we can be—whether that means repressing our true expression, desires, and sexuality in order to “keep the peace” or not appear threatening, or using our power in unhealthy ways, because we have learned that we must do whatever it takes to gain ground and get our needs met. But we do not have to play that game. In fact, we can no longer afford to. We are healing millenia of patriarchal programming that creates an environment where competitive and conquering behavior is the way to finding power and “safety.” Paradoxically, we are taught to silence ourselves, stay small and quiet, and not step out of line. We can see the harmful effects of this paradigm in racism, sexism, rape culture, cult culture, destruction and pollution of the planet, and unequal distribution of wealth. We are also inundated with media that sells to us that impossible standards of beauty, the message that we have to “do it all” in order to be powerful; and in order to do that, we have to compete with each other. Masculine creatures too are deeply wounded in the cultural messaging to disconnect from their emotional selves, perpetuating the seeking of power outside of themselves while devaluing a vital part of their humanity. The Strength card reminds you that your heart and creative spirit are unrepeatable, there is enough for us all, there is room for us to be who we are, and once you have touched your light, it can only grow. The new paradigm, and one I have worked for in my own life, is one of service, compassion, listening, slowing down, healthy boundaries, reconnecting to the body, the earth, emotions, and creative energy. We all need each other to be doing the inner healing work of returning to ourselves, and choosing to heal and find strength in our vulnerability.
True power is understanding that we have a choice to be and express from a place of wholeness, where all facets of ourselves are loved and given space to exist, and where we support each other’s growth. Acting from strength means our yes’s are full on yes’s and our no’s are clear as day. We also must realize that we are a part of a greater whole whose health and well being depends on everyone’s well being, with everyone granted access to the tools and resources they need to thrive. We are not bound to any way of being that is harmful to us, and when we feel rooted and strong enough in ourselves, we realize we have a choice as to what we participate in, becoming more aware of the places where we have given our power away. When we can begin to unravel the ways we are complicit in oppressive systems, we disentangle the whole mess. This is the work of generations, but it will always begin within each one of us, and we can choose to access our strength in healthy ways right now. Setting fire to any and all remnants of self betrayal. Setting fire to the memories still alive in our bodies of what humans have done to themselves and each other in order to survive. Setting fire to self judgement. Setting fire to self abandonment. True power does not take. True power does not harm. True power does not manipulate to gain. True power burns for what is real. True power burns for the pieces of ourselves still in hiding, in service to healing and love and justice for every being and inner fragment who never had a chance to thrive. True power burns for our softness and our freezing, our confusion and our clarity, our anger and our joy. True power burns for exposing untruths and setting the course for freedom of expression, a right to exist however we are. True power burns for choice. True power burns for nourishment, feeding the flames for what must go, so what is to come alive has room to grow. Anything less than that dissolves here now. May the ashes make a gorgeous bed for new dreams to take root for humanity.
Because of the disconnect in our culture, reconnecting with our wildness is a courageous and rebellious act of tuning in to the deepest parts of our beings and loving ourselves through the process. When we reject the pieces of ourselves that are seen as unacceptable by the social norms, we inevitably see those pieces “out there” and point fingers, blame, or seek to control. Reclaiming the pieces of ourselves we have been taught to feel shame for and fear—sadness, grief, anger, needing help—are keys to knowing our wholeness. Mindfulness and embodiment practices (which can be as simple as walking, journaling, meditation, and movement) are essential for connecting with our primal states of being. Engaging in our imagination and creativity also causes a glorious ruckus in the status quo because it tunes us into the complexity of who we are. Old systems don’t function too well with soulful people expressing themselves fully and supporting each other in their unique magic.
Once we have access to our deeper layers, can move through the world in full responsibility and compassion for our feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and actions. This presence with our bodies and emotions fosters clear-seeing and clear-knowing. Being gentle, kind, and loving with ourselves is key to being loving with others; not judging things as good or bad, right or wrong, and instead just being honest, aware, and open to shifting. Our strength is inside of our softness. Our strength is inside our willingness to hold the entirety of who we are, and commit to knowing, accepting, and loving ourselves and each other completely.
Outsourcing light only makes it darker, and wings burn too close to the sun we keep outside ourselves. Turning to the heat of our own hearth and inner sanctuary, we will remember who we are. This is how we strengthen the web of connection to each other. To express the light of our true hearts, we must continually turn inward and offer love to those pieces of ourselves who may still be in hiding, waiting for a sensation of safety until they come into view. The crux of heart-work is to listen to these fears, this grief, these human stories we carry in our cells, and to let them exist, so they can change form. We may watch aspects of self die, and watch others blossom— allowing these facets to be however they need to be is the crucial alchemical ingredient for transmutation.
Often the most powerful transformation is a shift in perception; there is much we cannot change, and contending with this requires feeling deeply, and holding ourselves and each other through this process of often brutal surrender. Surrender can feel like softness too; it can feel like vast empty space, and it can feel like a portal of infinite possibility. The practice of compassion during uncertainty deepens self trust, and is vital as we come into stronger resonance with the magic of our life force; we are creator beings, and we are beings who must face letting go. Without devotion to the inner anchor, we remain complicit in the systems that do not honor individual power and expression, nor do they honor the mystery, or feeling, or connection. Without access to tools and practices to strengthen inner connection, so that we can become intimate with our true desires and needs as we grow and change, our relationships to self, earth, and each other suffer.
Strength does not seek domination but rather to be expressed with such fullness that it empowers all beings to be free to express the fullness of who they are. We can practice graceful engagement with the parts of us we are afraid to meet and walk with; these are the ones of us that need tenderness, who hold the light of our passions, and our capacity to create new ways forward. Creating new ways forward is what we are here to do.
Stay tuned for Strength, Part Two: Practices for Reconnecting with Your Inner Strength, where I will share grounding exercises, creative exercises, and other ways to connect with your body, intuition and imagination in nature.
Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
The Moon and The Virgin: Reflections on the Archetypal Feminine by Nor Hall
Sometimes we bury ancient feeling because it is too much to hold all at once. But if it isn’t nurtured like a seed, soaked with water from skyward eyes until it’s soft enough to unearth in layers, or trimmed, transplanted, and re-sprouted from snapped stems, ancient becomes present becomes future. When we own ourselves inside the emotional energy dancing through our systems, we can honor it before it becomes a ball of grief launched like anger or confusion in the wrong direction, away from the heart, before it becomes a story woven through every life down the line, until one day someone who has inherited our memories says, enough. It is time to set down the weight in our marrow, ask it what it needs us to know, and reimagine the ground we walk on. It’s time to know our own belonging here, to hold what has only ever longed for love. Changing isn’t the thing we’re after, it’s just what happens, when we’ve called our spirit home to its earthly form for long enough to know it’s rhythms, understanding there is only being with and loving through. Energy moves if we allow it. There are waves we haven’t tasted and winds we haven’t heard, keep noticing. We know when we know. If it’s not clear yet we keep listening. Muddiness settles without our hand in it. Clarity will come little by little or all at once and we will know, we will know, we will know. When we sit in stillness and let ourselves be moved, there is a sacred untangling in breath and belly. We can be there for the undoing. We can be there for the restructuring. We can be there for countless initiations, watching the space grow around us, making room to fill into, watching a new life materialize before our eyes, noticing the weathered hands of grace taking our own, and walking us slowly through another door. Surrender as a creative act of listening. Feeling as a creative act of aliveness. Changing as a creative act of embodiment. Stillness shows movement where to grow from. Movement helps stillness know its own ground.