Creating Spaciousness With Wonder

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My affirmation for wonder: I embrace my truth and respect myself as a tidal creature who knows that my dedication to feeling deeply, with wonder and curiosity, is a key to liberation. When I witness and experience myself as love, awakening beyond all shadows, I feel that love as boundless, and I am free. 

 

 

We hear a lot about hope, but is hoping helpful? What if there is nothing safe about being alive, at least in how we have come to understand “being safe.” In what ways do we keep ourselves entrained in patterns of belief and behavior that dim our light, out of alignment with our truth, because disappointing others or failing to “get it right” feels like too much of a risk? Like Terence Mckenna said, what if the real magic is “hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.” What if feeling safe is more about feeling held, a sensation we can nourish within ourselves, which then nurtures our receptivity to others, and to life. Those moments of constriction, where we feel stuck, where we wish it could be different, are opportunities to choose wonder and curiosity as ways to create (luscious!) spaciousness in our experience.

What would it feel like to become swept away in wonder, rather than pulled under by fear? How much more deeply could we explore the roots of our motivations, if we took a step back to slowly respond rather than quickly react? What if we courageously embraced all of ourselves, and each other, not just the lovely bits? What if we really listened to our bodies, to our hearts, when they communicated with us? What if we could be ok with finding balance and then losing it- returning again and again to that sweet, strange ebb and flow? What if we respected our pain as a teacher? What if we honored difficult relationships and situations as our teachers? What would happen if we could just be there for it. Breathe. Lean into it. Play around with it. Forget everything we think we know, feel into it, and connect with the inherent wisdom within. To be embodied is to be in awe, of the brokenness as much as the beauty, to nestle into the underbelly, a dynamic sort of surrendering—a dance—eye to eye with the movements of the unknowable, wholeheartedly present, creating a gorgeous openness that is unchained from mere hopefulness, anchored in truth.

Maybe our higher selves know something about the broader picture that isn’t initially clear to the monkey mind, but if we keep our fingers on the pulse long enough, we become it- the hawk’s eye view of life’s tidal surges and withdrawals, the frenzy and the stillness, the ever-flowing energy that moves through all. Slowing down to witness this current as it courses through us cultivates a deeper understanding of the rhythmic nature of the universe. We know that the muck will always come to the surface, and instead of frantically trying to pretend its not there, or despairing that things aren’t clear in the moment, we can just observe, without “hoping” that it could be any different than what it is. Ironically, that is where a shift can actually happen! We are fully capable of being with ourselves, feeling where the anger grips the stomach, or where the sadness consumes the chest. If we can understand just one thing, we must understand that it is ok to be exactly where we are; where we find ourselves is where we start from, and it is valuable because it is our experience. When these waves rise up, we can simply become curious about them. Curiosity with a dash of loving compassion quells judgment, both of self and others, opening us to the wonder and possibility in our sticky, sparkling humanness. Pema Chodron’s incredible work has taught me this, and reminded me of the wisdom we always carry within. Her books “The Places That Scare You” and “When Things Fall Apart” are essential reading, in my opinion, and have helped me through some very dark times. Tara Brach’s “Radical Acceptance” is also a goldmine for the tender soul.

If you forget everything else, remember this: You are your own source. It has always been enough. You deserve to know that love you long for, the one you’ve searched everywhere for, except maybe in the shadows of your furthest corners, where those fragments “that can’t possibly be loved” live under white sheets like abandoned ghosts gathering dust. Reveal to yourself what you have hidden. Hold every aching piece who believed staying in darkness could shield them from rejection. Offer yourself to the honey dripping, blossoming, luminous, true blue love, the kind that survives every season, moving through the mess of decay and the promise of tiny greens who push up earnestly through the dark, growing towards the myth of the sun whose warmth is now becoming real. It is safe to wake up from the dream that somebody’s coming to save you, to bust out of the illusion that there’s something to be saved from, or some elusive love, approval, or validation “out there” that’s going to fill the holes that can only be nurtured from the inside. Don’t trip on the untied shoelaces. Untangle yourself. Peel off the roles that have fit you like an old dirty sweater, hanging on by the thread of your agreement to remain attached to an identity that you now know is as mutable as water. Make the choice that is true for you now, not the choice you wish was true, or the one expected of you, but the one you have to make because damn that old sweater and tangled laces have really had their run, haven’t they? Your power thrives in your choice to release what’s been worn, and move forward, however slowly, in the direction of what feels true now. Its ok to be scared, but you can open the curtains and let the light in, it’s been waiting for you to believe in it.

I imagine that I’ve opened my palm to find a sweet yellow bird laying there, wet and worried and wondering.  I look down, unaware that it had been there the whole time, and through my resistance to feeling “what is,” my tight grip had cracked its protective barrier. With kindness and compassion, I open my hand, relaxing my muscles with my breath, giving room for blood to flow, for energy to circulate, allowing this tiny being to wiggle around and ruffle its feathers. When I release my hold, I allow space for flight, or rest, or just being- tension soothed by gentleness, love, presence, honesty and some good humor about it all. Maybe hope looks more like that—knowing our ability to shift how we respond to our experience, as an integral part of the tides, moving out and in, with a willingness to allow space, to accept the call into the unknown. Nothing will ever be what we expect it to be, and that just may be the relief we have hoped for. Lightness of being that comes from being fucking real. Yeah, that feels more like freedom. And freedom loves when we do what hasn’t been done. I trust myself the most when I surrender to now and fly heart first into the feeling, however uncomfortable, because that is real, real like a river who is always in flux, who just keeps moving, because it is compelled to, because knows it will somehow reach the sea.

Nurture The Spark: The Living Poem

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One way poems are born….the living poem: The day I wrote this, I woke up feeling compelled to write down the images that were flying around my mind, in that strange space between dreaming and waking, the landscape of symbols and sensations barely touched by words (but still, they ache to be written, or I ache to capture them inside in my little glass bottle heart, take ink and turn them into something, scribbling in my journal like a madwoman, so I can watch little wings flap, and see a tiny fragment of another world…always trying to capture the ethereal, preserve impermanence – those silly but urgent desires to convey essence that is beyond logical expression.) As the day unfolded I quietly noticed that a lot of what I had written earlier was manifesting on a little faerie walk I was taking with my friend & her daughter. We saw a beautiful snake move like water into the space between rocks…the temple of the serpent…and then a moon carved by the elements onto the face of a stone….a spider in her web  between tree roots that held rocks like something precious… bees like tiny faeries in their yucca and sage flower sanctuaries, flying too close to my face….I had written these elements down hours before, and there it all was, being born in front of me. Of course the poem, once it starts to be written, takes on a life of its own, relating the inner world through observation of the outer world…but it’s the sweetest & strangest feeling to move through the day as if I am dreaming my life into being, connecting into the vitality of the present moment & relishing the interplay of the subconscious undercurrents and the conscious experience. I am always inspired by the magic created by openness, and the willingness to notice.

 

Medicine

I took only one step over the threshold
into my honeycomb caves
before I wanted to turn back,
to slink away quietly
beneath moonstone ceilings
close enough to touch,
bees on my lips,
whispering that all it will take is
three breaths past the web weavers’ doors
and seven stars beyond the sea urchins’ spines,
the path to all the places I protect
without knowing-
that this is an entry point,
a spiral path
into the temple of the snake,
meeting of the essential self
learning to move like water
where no space is too small to pass through,
where from the stone sprouts a shoot of green,
faith- raw, naive,
and every flower who opens here
calls my name-
urgent voices
riding cobweb carriages
and howling to the night,
laughing about how we can’t feel ourselves bleed
but we know it by the salt-kissed sting,
porcelain white colored by crimson blooms,
comets made of ironstone hearts
breaking across the sky,
the way cuts harden to heal-
the wisdom of skin,
merging and falling
as we walk the circle
to the center.

Through layers of lust,
blinding-
the salve and his sword,
the rose and her thorn
their urge to attach,
and then one stronger:
detach,
re-arrange,
pray to the present,
to the breath,
the silence,
the arrival
at each gate,
where only one thing is asked:
remove your jewels
and make your descent,
strip yourself of each coveted garment
and rise,
naked and trembling,
not with fear
but with lightness:
ritual incineration,
electric bodies melting
into a vein of pyrite,
fool’s gold mine by the river.
We are untouched by greed
and kissed by the one
who leaves specks of ruby
on our tongues-
unmetamorphosed desire,
unpolished still.

I watch for all the things you don’t say.
I am a bricklayer who befriends earthquakes,
building her home amidst
the crashing
with the red-breasted bird
who eats the butterfly,
grabbing her from the spider’s trap,
savior. saint. sinner
devouring
in silence.
Another transformation
in this theory of mirrors,
the reflection and the shattering,
energy provoking energy
and deliberate movement
across the ice bridge-
its frozen song melting
into the soft opening
between danger and beauty.
Channeling Ms. Lonelyheart’s fire,
this little sacrificial love lamb
chooses to carry herself into the flames.
This time, this time I will get it right,
burning my own fortress to the ground,
the foundation becoming my altar
where I dance in prayer,
destroying every flag we have ever waved
in the name of anything false and fickle,
all that has stood for anything
but love and liberation.

Inspired by the enchanting Matilija Canyon in Southern California, a gem of my beloved home.

Fling Open

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“Emotion is the chief source of all becoming-conscious. There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.” Carl G. Jung

 

 

You can trust that life will reveal itself. Your task is to allow yourself to expand into the revelation. When you come to the altar that sits at the edge of the wild wood,  settle into your soft center and take the medicine that gestates inside mystery, merging the seen and unseen with your creative urges. Conjure magic, own your throne, and allow yourself to breathe more freely and deeply inside the truth of who you are. Align with the wisdom, depth, light and dark of your instinctual self. Trust in what is being born through you, and in all the crumbling that makes space for you to arrive to the feast in your fullness. Allow yourself to be touched by the destabilizing destruction that dances alongside immeasurable beauty. To touch the world you must let yourself be touched. Hold every facet of yourself in the glow of the sacred hearth, with gentle kindness and searing honesty, honoring the fear, the grief, the peace, and the pleasure that comes in awakening to your power. Even if you turn them away, you will see them again, mirrored in another shining face, stormy circumstance, or in the stillness of your own reflection. Denial of your radiant wholeness was never meant to work long term, as much as you may have hoped it would, suppressing truth until grace capsized your little boat on a moonless night. Remember how you learned to swim?

Use it all as fuel for expansion, and respect too, the need to contract, integrate, and gather your strength when that is asked of you. Celebrate that there is no turning back, only turning into. This is your vow to be an embodied, emboldened guide through darkness, a bearer of light born from pain, a guardian of soul, a vessel for spirit, a glowing cauldron of all-that-is, heart speaking clearly: “Every piece of you is free to exist here.” A courageous traveler into the realms-we-dare-not-speak-of, and a bringer of truth from the depths. A connector. A questioner. A mystery walker. A forest dweller. A shadow loving moonbeam lighting up a path that leads to some kind of liberation, through every twist and tangle. Follow a heart willing to be unbound by the need for validation, showing up more completely because you witness and hold yourself close first, nestled near the fire in the quiet dark, knowing that beauty lives not only in that heavenly moment of wings-widespread, but in the messiness of loss, the reluctance to let go, and the giving of yourself to the call. Inside this dance you find yourself a part of. Inside this offering.

Let love lead. Stay lit. Stay the course. Stay with what is real. Stay with the changes. Stay with the knowing. Stay with the not knowing. Stay with your courageous heart. Choose it. Trust it. Share from there. Serve from there. Move from there. Your life is your work. Keep Shining. Fling open the door that was never closed to begin with, and notice how the light filtering in through the cracks still pulses, asking you to be present, igniting the spark over and over again, singing you through the dark to the other side. All of you. Together.

 

 

I started this in January ’16, first inspired by a magical trip to the Pacific Northwest. But I came back to it in December ’16, deeply moved by a tarot and oracle reading I gave myself, where The Moon, Queen of Wands, The Sphinx and Medusa came to show my some deep layers of my being. The ever-growing complexity of the threads we weave. What will they become?

 

 

Meeting The Self

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Releasing our winged things from their cages

 

The path of self love means learning what it feels like to hold hands with black holes, so we can know the difference between spaces that can be filled with music, and those that will swallow us alive. It is taking off the blindfold and setting fire to the manuscripts of old beliefs we have locked in our marrow, igniting ancient stories with a single flame. Self love is smiling as we watch each stained page curl the way our hands do when we grieve, morphing into grey petals that set sail like paper ships into the nighttime sea, living waters bearing witness to the first exhale after years of holding our breath—and then the way it feels to become the tides, filling our lungs again, salty and deep.

Self love is finally understanding there’s no need to catch every ember in our palms just to feel our skin, we will remember–it’s enough to let the burning light in every touch of sweetness & taste of terror fall around us, disappearing into our hair, illumination against the vast and wild darkness. Self love is slowly collecting the threads piled on the floor of the stoic fortress we constructed, just before it collapses, so we can sit at our loom in the ruins and weave a new prayer, leaving one side open, always open. Self love is giving it up and becoming bosom buddies with uncertainty. It is making love to the mystery, taking off the clothes we’ve worn threadbare, and letting the remnants take their course down the river at dawn. Self love is stepping past the shallows and singing our bodies into deepest part of the river, untying the chords that bind stones to our feet, learning to swim unhindered, naked, and loving it.

Self love is unearthing the bones we were sure we had buried so far down, we would never have to see them again. It’s cradling those bones in our arms and loving them because they belong to us, and then softly putting them to rest beneath the moon, full & aching. The web-weavers’ cabaret begins, and we light up the stage, glowing bright like a birthday cake baked for billions, tiny lights dancing in the smoldering summer sky. We release our winged things from their cages, untamable treasures calling for a reflection, so they may learn to see what lies within, until the inevitable shattering clears it all away– the way energy provokes energy in this deliberate movement across the ice bridge, our frozen songs melting into the dark opening between danger and beauty.

Self love is watering the earth with our blood, setting our arms down to clean the heart of tired longings and spastic wiring, freeing our hands to touch the seedlings as they push their way up towards the sun, through layers of history, alive with innocence, weary with knowing. The path of self love means walking alone with our heads down, sure that we’ve learned what it means to rely on nothing but ourselves, then looking up to see the faces of a thousand beloveds walking beside us, loving us into this foreign land. And then we know that self love means forgetting everything we thought we knew, as we rise into a vision of existence where every step forward is the right one, because we chose it, until finally we can fall on our knees at some entryway, bruised & blooming, in reverence to the sacred heart, home.

 

Inspired by one of my adventures in the mystical landscape of Joshua Tree, California.

Brilliance In Being

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What is possible in the spaces in between?

 

Humans have holes. We try to fill them. When our compulsion to control outer circumstances to quell inner doubt doesn’t quite work, we wonder why nothing we planted took root and bloomed the way we dreamed it would, was it the sallow soil, our own failings, or something like divine intervention? We are reminded that there is no easy answer or quick fix that will soothe us deeply enough to make us forget the fundamental insecurity of our existence. But inside the Mystery we can tend to our hearts like a fertile garden, rooting into the dark questions, becoming fortified in the action of growing toward the light. Otherwise, we are lost in a fiery battlefield of misplaced power. We can break free of the story that someone else will swoop in like a faerie tale hero to do the work for us. We can break free of the need to know how our voice can possibly matter, and trusting that it does. We can break free of being complicit in our own oppression by staying silent and hoarding our gold. As the ground beneath us shakes and shivers, our willingness to stay open to our curious creative nature will expand possibilities unseen by those who believe they have the luxury of control and certainty. Sure, tides are predictable, but this storm is wild and if nothing else, it will reveal to us that which can never be taken away. We can harmonize with the depth and strength of our collective spirit, or drown denying the power of the ocean. We must settle into the land of un-knowing and let there be space for unraveling…reveling, even, at the gifts ripening below the surface, electric heartbeats quickening for the openings we can’t see, yet. We must leave a space for waves to crash against hollowness, softening sharp edges…filling, emptying, filling, emptying…breathing through the storm dance, the rhythmic seizing and sighing, then stillness. We must stay gentle with ourselves through the darkness, even when we want nothing more than to run, hide, consume, deny, or turn away. This is a courageous act of self love, and self love is true freedom. Our brilliance is in being. That is all we have to do. Remember.

 

I started this in January ’16, and came back to it in December ’16, inspired by a tarot reading I gave myself, which is part of a month long series of daily card pulls and journaling that has been opening me in some very rich ways. Here The Devil Reversed, The Queen of Wands Reversed, and the Four of Pentacles came to reveal some insight.