We Belong Deeply to Ourselves

Why, I wonder, do we so desperately crave having and being had? Owning and being possessed? We do. We seek mates, we find partners, and we give ourselves over to them. We let love consume us. Look to the romantic exchanges of literature throughout history. You are mine, and I am yours. Could there be any dialogue more idyllic? Not in the sense of our conditioned, hopelessly romantic minds.

Let me be clear, I by no means intend to imply that such a profession is not romantic. It is. But what’s romantic can be a slippery slope. Because is romance always the foundation of what one would consider a “true love”? Does it promise to keep, to persist through darkness and light? Or does it lack the structure, the foundation, the steadiness required by a true love? Is it whimsical, but not fortified enough to provide a skeleton for something as timeless as true love?

I think such a phrase as “true love” is nowadays clichéd and utterly lost in translation for most. Swept up in fairytales and the idealized notion of a prince charming or perfect partner. The bitterly exquisite truth endures; we are not perfect. We are human. We mustn’t expect any one person to carry our happiness, to own or be owned by us, to ever take a vow so wispy and utopian that suffering and jealousy, by nature, linger in the space between breaths.

Well what is true love, then? My personal perception of true love is rather esoteric.

There was a time in my life when I gave myself over to my partner, mind, body and soul. There was a time in my life when I believed that two halves made a whole, and that I was completed by my mate. I believed, to my core, that existing any other way would leave our union open to assault; the threat of another, of change, growth, infidelity, what-have-you. We claimed to trust each other fully, but how could we if we suffocated the very essence of a trustworthy relationship? Claiming ownership over one’s partner is, in my opinion, the epitome of distrust. 

I remember going into cold sweats at the very thought of there being another girl out there in the world who my boyfriend might like to be with. It was enough to threaten my consciousness even imagining someone in the world suiting him better than I. There was a time when each breath and each thud of my heart clung to the sweet vibration of knowing I was his. That I belonged to him.

Therein lies my whole problem with this concept of true love.

True love is not the surrender of one’s own authority over oneself. True love, by natural law, cannot be co-dependent. It is not the consumption of another for fear of loss, loneliness or heartbreak. It is not concession of oneself for fear of loss, loneliness or heartbreak. Knowing that of course there are the people out there who could make you happy, who could compliment you in their own respective way…but still choosing your one. Choosing your one out of free will, rather than obligation.

True love is standing beside another by choice. True love is coming together with another human being, whole and complete, a compliment to their own wholeness and compassion. True love is not when two halves make a whole, but rather when two wholes make a figure eight. Less romantic sounding, right? But strong. Sturdy. Steady.

A figure eight meets in the middle. Two wholes, two separate entities, with a powerful center point. An axis of unbreakable unity. This shape also happens to symbolize infinity. Two individual life forms, meeting at will; creating a shape signifying boundlessness because they so choose…not because they are too weak to stand separately and trust the love they have built. That’s what I feel co-dependant love is, having come from it myself. The fear that, if you let your partner be free, they will not choose you. The fear that, if you release your lover to the powers of their own intuition without your manipulation, they will not stay with you forever. But what is better, a suffocated, dysfunctional love that lasts forever, laced in strife and distrust – or a union of two wholes, a matrimony of two light warriors, standing never in one another’s shadow but always in their luminescence. A merging that creates ripples in the cosmic consciousness, that fans the flames of romance, that laughs at fear and floats above the ground. An alliance; a coupling that is anchored by heaven, too powerful to be held by earth.

I don’t believe we should ever belong to one another, in the romantic sense. I think acting as such, at least in my own experience, is strictly dangerous. The truth is that we belong to ourselves. We belong to the Goddess. We belong to the Universe. We belong to the stars, the cosmos, the precious mystical realm in which we were created.

I understand why so many of us seek out, and then remain in, unions of ownership. Co-dependant romances. I understand, because I myself lived it. Leaving it was one of the single hardest endeavors of my life. It’s foreign and confusing to leave a relationship where there’s still love, where there are memories, where so much is shared…just because it isn’t healthy. It’s so easy to overlook the dysfunction for the sake of the beauty. We are earth angels, we seek the beauty in our fellow beings, we always see the light in one another. Bless our hearts for it. But this very blessing can also be a curse. It can keep us from seeing the truth. It can keep us from best serving both ourselves and the one we love. It can keep us aboard a sinking ship. Hell bent to go down with the vessel.

But we deserve more. To walk away, and get through the heaving breathlessness…to stand in the shadow of our own suffering and feel the fibers of our solidity slowly shred…to feel the agonizing shards of broken heart in our tissues, wincing with every inhale…is to become whole. It is to become to strong. It is, I dare say, a rebirth.

We are so powerful. We have everything you need. We deserve love, light, happiness and freedom. We deserve the kind of life we dream of; we deserve LOVE. We deserve to belong to ourselves, and ourselves alone. We deserve to find the courage inside ourselves to cultivate this liberation. We deserve to recognize that the very freedom we so intensely crave is more powerful than the need to be someone else’s, the need for someone to be “ours.” Because only when we belong deeply to ourselves, only then, can we truly hold space for the love of another. Only when we recollect the unconditional love and support we have for ourselves, fully alone, can we then really love another with trust, compassion and space to breathe. Only then can we stand beside a lifelong love. And that is what I wish for you, to belong to yourself…and to stand in love, without fear, giving yourself over to the one who will always be there. You.

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Birth of the End

Lessons have been climbing their way up and out of the woodwork these past few weeks. Some in a matter of days, like a bundle of letters lost in the mail that arrived all at once. A few lessons have, simultaneously, completed their gestation in the womb of my psyche. A few lessons have been born, slippery and raw, pulsing in my palms and begging to be released.

I have, for my entire life, wrestled with the notion that there will be people who do not like me. There will be. No ifs, ands or buts. There need to be! It’s cosmic law. But does that make it any easier to stomach? Nope. I’ve tried slipping into the guise of someone who (bless their hearts) just doesn’t care. I imagined flipping my ponytail at those who disliked me, respectfully not giving any shits what they think and rocking on with my bad self. But alas, it didn’t work. The ponytail flip whipped me in the eye as I flung back around flashing feral (now watering) eyes, desperately seeking a means by which to connect. A way to win over my hater. A way by which to, still, end up being liked.

Last week, in asana, my teacher offered up an intention so chillingly in line with what my own practice has reflected of late (but she and I have a way, like that, so it wasn’t really a surprise but an ah yes, of course). She provided some ideas of what we, her students, could “put down” as our offering for practice. For this space, right now, in our lives. A sacrificial intention, of sorts, focusing on laying something down mindfully rather than tossing it away or forcefully releasing it – there is such a difference. My choice came quickly, organically. Her own words followed, echoing my own lightning thoughts. My intuitive offering was twofold. The need to be liked and the need for attention. 

Ouch.

Not easy to admit. Not easy to release. Not easy to face!

But that’s part of the evolution of one of my recent lessons. Something hit me the other day. Like a bug on the windshield it hit me. People WILL disapprove of us for various reasons. People WILL judge us. All we can do is stand in the Grace that we are and know only WE can project OURSELVES. We have the power to cultivate the subtle space between personalizing and condemning criticism. When others criticize us, it is merely a projection of their own minds, their own thoughts, their own karma. May we be neutral enough to hear without owning. May we be humble enough to take what’s constructive and leave the rest. Some offer a concealed gift. Others are looking at us through a cloudy lens. May we be centered enough to trust our own vision, ever endeavoring towards greater clarity, knowing in our heart of hearts that only we can represent our truest Selves.

The mind is a beautiful servant, but a dangerous master (can’t take credit for that wisdom, it’s all Osho). So true, though, right? When harnessed properly, our own psyche can be a place of exquisite imagination, extraordinary discovery, mind-blowing contemplation. When let to run the show, things can get ugly…fast. But that’s a whole other essay…

More and more each day I find my practice gravitating towards the cultivation of the subtle thread that is the balance between caring for others’ opinions and allowing them to serve as a reflection of me. I believe that not caring what others think of us is liberating. I believe in holding space for the visions and perspectives of others, I believe in finding a way to value what others think, always, even if I don’t agree. I understand I will be judged, I understand I will be misunderstood. I understand I will judge and misunderstand. Releasing attachment to what others think of us is not egoistic, but an act of self-preservation. It’s a call to independence. A free pass to LIVE. Everything we think is a projection of our own mind. Everything anyone else thinks is a projection of theirs. Allow them that. It has nothing to do with you. Don’t weigh down your ship with someone else’s anchor.

There has been lot of despair in the world lately. A lot of angst in our society. Injustice, wrongdoing, heartbreak. It is now that we must really go inward. Because if we can’t cultivate a steady sense of Self, how can we strongly band together as one and unite? It’s the whole “put you air mask on first” concept. If we’ve not secured our own oxygen, if we’re not operating at full capacity, we simply cannot serve others from a place of our highest Selves. It’s science. We must be standing on a solid foundation before we can pull others aboard our raft.

I don’t know that I’d call this next one a “lesson” so much as an intuitive sensation. A call to action. I’ve felt, amidst said worldly suffering, a call for unity unlike any before. A call for us earth angels to unite. There will always be pain, there will always be suffering, there will always be unrest. But we can promote healing, renewal, restoration from right here where we sit. We have the power to transmit beneficial energy…from our hearts, our minds, our spirits, our palms, every cell of our physical being and every fiber of our true being. Don’t underestimate your power. Sadness and grief are not destinations, they are catalysts; vessels through which to channel hope, conviction, faith, trust, LOVE. Earth angels unite. We have work to do.

But it’s not all light sending. We mustn’t forget the receiving. Artfully manipulating the ebb and flow of this sacred energy pulse. The symphony of healing for which we all serve as conductors. The ability to see that we are constantly dying and constantly being reborn. That is why we end asana practice with savasana (corpse pose). It’s a metaphorical death. A death of the intentions we laid out at the start. A death of the Self we once were, even at the start of our practice. The death of the physical cells that are constantly obliterating and being made new. The death of old thought patterns, habits, addictions and beliefs. The death of the attachment to permanence. The birth of everything.

We are living in mortal bodies. We don’t have forever in this particular life. So just say how you feel. Speak up. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. No possible external effect could ever eclipse the great travesty of repressing your own truth. We are perishable items. We must (I repeat must) live accordingly. We must embrace this cyclical journey that we call life. We have work to do.

Let us celebrate the birth of the end. Let us make a ceremony out of this ending. Let us give it as much weight as we give to beginnings. May the end be an event in and of itself. It has worth, it has value. Only when we give birth to the end, and hold space for it entirely, may we step with empty, open palms and clear eyes into the raw newness of the beginning that awaits.

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Honey in the Heart ~ Gemini Full Moon

Full moon in Gemini tomorrow morning at 4:27am (for us in California…7:27am Eastern, 11:27am for my Aussies and 1:27pm in Europe). The sun is still in Sagittarius, which interestingly, the moon also was when we set intentions at the start of this cycle. This celestial positioning is really supportive of seeing visions to fruition. Finishing what we started (perfect timing for the end of a lap around the sun, yeah?). As the year closes, let’s harness this full moon potential more than any of the 11 before it. There’s mercurial energy abounding, beckoning clarity and truth, full disclosure with Self and other. I’ve been sensing a strong urge in the cosmos to incite the SEEKER within. Do you feel it? We are all seekers, by nature, but our external attachments and identifications can distract us and potentially even knock us off this path. It’s mean to be that way. That’s part of the seeking. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. It is VERY easy to leak all of our energy into the abyss, focusing on “action” and losing sight of VISION. The Gemini full moon begs both logic and intuition, a sultry yoking of yin and yang. Making sh*t happen whilst staying rooted in Grace and Divine Femininity. The energy building is like the trembling felt before a quake. You know? Pebbles rattling forth and back, cracks in the pavement bracing themselves to split wide open and let the mirth of Divinity erupt. This is a precipice. Not one of destruction; yes this quake will do some demolishing, it will leave a gaping hole, but it is just the surgically reconstructive measure you’ve been calling forth into your life this entire year. Think about it…this little calm before the storm, fully illuminated by Chandra Herself, is a sacred space in which to have a little dance, take a good look at what’s about to unfurl, and invite some lighthearted play into your realm. Make space for all that is to burst forth organically. There’s no work to be done but to be present and to foster the needle-fine thread of balance between inward devotion and outward expression. Don’t bottle up a thing; express everything you’re feeling, COMMUNICATE, whether it’s to the pages of your journal, your partner, your own spirit or the Goddess Herself. Remember how POTENT the full moon energy is. It amplifies everything. So be wise and meticulous about said communication. Be playful and easy but also rooted in vision. Let the magnified energy of abundance assist you in weaving a sturdy equilibrium between action and vision. Let the high energy FEEL GOOD. Let Chandra illuminate within you what is already organically there. Let the seeds you’ve planted be fertilized. Sit in the moonlight, lick the raindrops from your chin, set out your crystals to charge and your moonfusion elixir to steep. It’s time to let go. It’s time to release. Fortify yourself for the coming solstice and the return of the sun by gently laying fear down, a sweet and grateful release, as it’s led us to where we are right now. Lay fear down gently, my loves, and plunge honey heart first into the sweet, warm, pulsing energy of all you’ve manifested…into the sacred nectar of life that awaits. Happy full moon, earth angels. ❤

DarkMoon

The Art of Loving

Loving is an art – not act, but art – of Grace. The art of loving. It cultivates, improves, grows, shifts, expands and illuminates. It requires practice. The art of loving is one without stop or start. Bleeding from one sitting to the next, one embrace to the next, one lock of eyes to the next, it is every element. Permeating solid structures, infusing liquid, clinging to air.

The more I love, and I mean in every way, shape and form love, the more natural it becomes. As an act, without intention or thought, it flows from my very being. Home with my mom, the human counterpoint to my own soul, I am quite phenomenally cocooned in a metaphysical envelope of love from arrival to departure. I feel my energy field expanding, my capacity to love getting stretch marks and threatening to burst at the seems. Beneath a star-speckled canopy of inky night sky, held in the gurgling warmth of the backyard spa tub, quite conversations of depth, merit, spirituality, consciousness ensue in the rising steam. Side by side, pedaling bikes up and down wine country backroads, single filing at the sound of a car approaching, we continue these soul-to-soul discussions. Winding the soft, well-trodden avenues of the vineyards we call home, the dog’s tongue trailing behind her, her ears flapping in her eyes, feet thromping without abandon, we add brushstrokes to the ongoing dialogue that is the love between us. I marvel at the exquisiteness that it is to share this life with someone who knows me so completely, who made me, whose unconditional adoration and support float me above the earth like an angel.

I leave home, and I fill in the aching physical emptiness with the warmth of that love, cover it with the threads of our cocoon. I carry on. I plug into my phone and listen, as I drive, to a video message from my soul mate sister across the ocean in Australia. My eyes burn with tears as the love pours from every orifice of my astral body. I marvel at the mind-blowing gift it is to have someone in my life, another someone, who understands my every fiber with such clarity. I marvel at the insignificance of the ocean between us. My soul balloons and shrinks, just before bursting, in time to the pulse of my beating heart, the expansion of my breathing lungs. My spirit rests on the brink of rupturing from sheer love.

I take a hike with my dear friend. Some divine intervention gently slips the idea into the crown of my being that perhaps she is free. I send her a message. We meet at our favorite trail. Mist clings to the trees. A reprieve before the ensuing thunderstorm. The lake sits placid, the birds rejoice. We fill our lungs to the brim with mountain air. We spill our souls into the atmosphere and let our words drip down the parallel lines of energy connecting us, nestling in the soil and sprouting upon contact.

The more that I love, the more love is me. The more that I act, the more I cultivate the art that it is to love as me, the more I embody love. The more love becomes me. The more love exchange becomes as vital and as unconscious as breathing.

There is no separation. The love that I have for the woman who lent me her womb, who has wiped my tears and held my hand and fought battles seen and unseen for the wellbeing of my innocent spirit…the love that I have for the powerful force of divine femininity who I have spent so many lifetimes with, and somehow discovered in this life despite living a complete world apart…the love that I have for the beautiful and gentle spirit with whom I ascended mountains today, and am blessed to celebrate milestones with in the suspended perfection of Mother Nature…Mother Nature herself, and the symphony of bliss she weaves by simply being, the gift to live in a place where I am constantly astounded by her Grace and glory…there is no separation. These loves are one. They are living me as I am living them, and they further become part of my sacred web, my cellular network, my spiritual matrix the more that I shine my light upon them.

As the brilliant Danielle LaPorte says, putting words to a vibration I have powerfully felt in my being for as long as I’ve been sentient,

“Things are sacred because we say they are, it’s that simple, that clear, that dear. There is an eternal standing offer from the universe for you to exercise your divinity. Giving blessings is an elegant solution to apathy and disconnectedness. Blessing heats that flame in your heart and helps us all rise up the evolutionary scale. SANCTION THINGS WITH YOUR LOVE. Give the great offering of wishing the best outcome for someone. Take their problems to your God. Petition for karmic clemency.”

Things are sacred because we say they are. It’s that simple.

Love is our existence because we say it is. 

If you wake up one day and decide to stop drinking coffee, or to start blessing every doorway you pass through, or deciding to say a prayer of gratitude at every red light you hit during your commute…it will take an adjustment period. You will forget. It will challenge you. But, in time, the act will become an art. The wonky, new habit awkwardness will steady into skillful execution. There will be a grace and fluidity about it, because you will have become it. No longer will the act of not drinking coffee be a big event because you simply won’t be drinking it. No longer will you have to think before blessing each doorway, no longer will there be an “oh yeah,” before giving thanks at a stoplight. The power of the mind is profound. The power of the heart blows that out of the water. The power of Spirit, when we tap into it, is other-worldly.

The best part? We have the opportunity to exercise this magic every, single, day. Right now. A minute ago. Half an hour from now. It is ongoing. We are in a grand classroom, a never-ending practice space! We are in it, right now. There’s nothing to wait for, nothing that needs creating. The opportunity to love, to be love, to cultivate the art of loving is in your every tissue as you sit there existing, right this moment. Pause…listen. Notice that silence when you stop, for just a millisecond, the steady throne of quite between breaths. The acute fullness of what it is to be alive, to be you…right now, in this body, in this moment. The overwhelming privilege that it is to hold in your palms, your cells, your consciousness the key to such sacred practice.

Light us up with your art. Light us up with your love. Recognize and step into the power that you are…a walking exhibit, the art of loving in motion.

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