Unrestrained by Demons

It’s been quite a year. Can you relate? I’m not speaking of 2016 (although…my heavens, 2016 has been filled with revelations and reckoning), but rather the last 12, 13, 14 months themselves. The last…long while. So much self-reflection and quite painful investigation into the what’s and why’s of this life.

It can get heavy. Being an emotional being can at times be draining, can leave us feeling depleted and weepy. The lows can get as low as they get high. It can become incredibly daunting to process the ups and downs of life, to navigate one’s own emotional liberation, while still going out everyday and operating as a functioning member of society. That sounds dramatic, but do you ever feel as though the sheer weight of processing your own grievances feels like a full-time endeavor? One you want to just commit yourself to for a week (or five), in solitude, surrounded by healing, supportive space and silence? It’s so challenging to sort through our thoughts when we’re burdened by the need to simultaneously work, maintain relationships, construct the outward appearance of having it all together (not that we’re meant to pretend that our suffering doesn’t exist, but most days no matter how lost in our heads we want to get, we still have to be adults and live our lives). This is reality, despite the suffocating moments of fear and anxiety that visit us all, from time to time.

It can be really tempting to live a life shut off from that emotional processing. Because it’s just hard. The idea of avoiding all that mess can seem easier. Sometimes denial can look, from afar, like such a cozy alternative; not having to feel our feelings, not being blindsided and ambushed by the underbelly of what it means to be an emotional creature in this huge, undulating universe.

But I would never again choose that alternative. I’ve lived in it before; the stuffy, damp, darkly shrouded realm of denial. It’s isolated. It’s claustrophobic. It actually doesn’t feel safe at all. If you’ve ever been there, you probably know that it feels like laying in a dark room with a heavy box on your chest. Even though the box may be like Pandora’s, filled with a whole mess of stuff, it can be far more productive, albeit terrifying, to throw open the windows and start sorting through the aching feelings and thoughts that lay locked up and waiting for our attention.

This stuff – the wading through the suffering, I mean – is, as I view it, the price we pay for being alive.

I’m currently reading (slowly, savoring) my favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert’s, newest book Big Magic. Liz’s prose slay me. She is, as I say, one of those authors that “makes you feel so much more comfortable with being alive.” Because, let’s be honest, the human condition can feel really intense, lonely, daunting, and uncomfortable at times. Liz reminds us that fear (insert: trepidation, personal demons, struggles – all manifestations of fear) is always with us. She suggests that we be inclined to accept and embrace our fear. Invite it along on the journey we are taking with creativity (insert: love, joy, adventure, abundance – all manifestations of creative living). Her brilliant concept is that, on this road trip of life, we are driving, creativity gets the front seat, and fear gets the backseat. Fear is welcome to come along (because we don’t actually have any choice in the matter, do we?), and it is allowed to speak up, but it does not get to decide where we’re going. It does not get to lay its hands on the map, or even fiddle with the radio station (Liz, seriously, is my greatest inspiration as a writer – this stuff comes from the creative depths of her imagination – what a vision! – get thee to a bookstore and buy yourself Big Magic).

What a notion, right? I feel, and I’m speaking for myself here, that the overwhelming urge is to banish fear, and all its expressions, from my life. I have been standing outside the car, arms crossed, brow furrowed, tapping my toe impatiently waiting for fear to unbuckle, get out of my backseat, and let me get on with my journey.

I might as well turn my distressed gaze upward and start looking for pigs flying.

I’m not proposing, nor is my great hero Elizabeth Gilbert, that we should be super comfortable with the idea of carrying fear around in our back pockets. It’s uncomfortable; it’s supposed to be. But this is the non-negotioable byproduct of having been gifted the most exquisite opportunity of creative living (which we all have been gifted, by being born as human beings with opposable thumbs and incredible cognitive function and hearts so gloriously capable of being wrecked by love that they could just swallow up the whole world with their power for adoration).

We all have our “things” that hold us back. We all have our demons. But we are worthy of living lives unrestrained by demons. If we can, collectively, stop waiting for the demons to release us, for fear to get out of the car, and just realize this uncooperative passenger is going to endlessly serve as a beacon of where we don’t wish to go (because, at its root, fear is a mechanism of self-preservation, sounding off when danger might be present), we can see its purpose. We are high-functioning human beings with the discerning power to notice when we are being chased by a lion and fear should get to use its lung power with all its might, for good rather than evil…and when faith, love, intuition, and creativity are being drowned by the drunken, garbled hollering of our backseat fear (who somehow seems to have climbed onto the dashboard and got its sticky hands on a microphone).

We have the capacity to take a step back, look at our lives, and see where we’re being pinned (or, sometimes, glued) to a spot we no longer wish to be. We have the power to investigate why we’re immobilized. We have the capability to change that.

I have a tendency of getting stuck in a rut. I am fearful of change, and the unknown brings me great anxiety. A life of ritual and routine has brought me great comfort. My chest grows a bit tight at the image of jet-setting wanderlusts, living out of suitcases and going where the wind blows. No, no, I’ll wait patiently for my niiiiiiice, detailed itinerary please.  But that’s just me. And a huge part of this presses is in getting to know ourselves, and embracing our quirks and tendencies. Learning, through trial and error, where to push our boundaries and where to respect our needs. I went heaving and hyperventilating into a 3-month study abroad venture overseas back in 2009. I literally fought for breath and sucked on tears as I wrestled with the militant French operator and a dinky little calling card in a Parisian phone booth, begging my mom to come and visit because WHO DECIDED IT WAS OKAY TO PUT AN OCEAN BETWEEN US FOR A QUARTER OF A YEAR and I hadn’t slept in 36 hours and HOW DID I GET TO FRANCE?

By the end of my trip I was seriously devoted to finding a way (ANY way) to stay in Italy, cash in my plane ticket, and preserve the little world I had created with my friends in this foreign land where everything exotic had become familiar and reality was suspended in favor of 20 year old, wide-eyed, first-time independence.

…didn’t see that coming.

What made it so wonderful and tolerable was that, after the initial shock and severe discomfort of having no familiarity, no routine, and no way of predicting what was ahead…I reestablished all of those things that kept my needs met. I made routines. I settled into my Florentine flat, put my belongings in their new places, found a local market, carved new neural pathways in my brain, got to know my surroundings, created nourishing relationships, and set up a daily routine. All while testing my boundaries.

I did return home as planned, fortunately, but I do think back regularly and fondly on my time living Europe as an experience I’m so deeply grateful I had. It showed me I am capable of wrestling fear to the ground and making a run for it.

Letting go of control and powering through the impending horror such an act produces makes for a sweet, intoxicating exhale; like a flood of dopamine, or (on some much smaller level) the ecstatic amnesia a new mother experiences, forgetting the pain and agony of birth upon beholding their precious infant.

It is so tempting to stay on the shore where everything is safe and protected. But, the reality is that we only perceive this space to be safe and protected. It’s a deeply seductive act, for many of us, to try and preserve a sense of stability and safety by putting on our control freak panties and hyper-managing every aspect of our lives. This doesn’t make us safe. This sacrifices sanity for perceived safety. Not even real safety. Just our carefully constructed belief patter of “if I do this, and this, and this, everything will stay okay. I will be safe.” That is a very sad and disappointing way to live each day, I think.

I’m not saying we all need to turn our lives upside down, or go jump on a plane and live in Europe for 3 months in order to experience life from a place of love and creativity rather than fear (though maybe the thought makes your heart skip a beat and, actually, is just the type of experience you do need). For many of us, though, the healing medicine can be found on a much smaller scale. It can be accessed in our day-to-day lives. It might just mean doing things differently today than you did yesterday (that is often a big enough shake up for me, honestly, as a diligent creature of habit). It also doesn’t mean things have to be different every single day, because ritual and routine are beautiful and holy, just so long as they don’t come from a place of fear and seal every crack in the structure where love and creativity might try to seep in and stir things up.

Maybe it means starting a creative project or finishing a degree. Maybe it’s finding the courage to use some of that built up PTO and taking a trip. Maybe it’s climbing out of the unemployment shame and getting excited about a new career. Maybe it means going to a yoga class for the first time or revisiting a forgotten passion for hiking. Maybe it means going out to eat, or maybe it means staying in and preparing a favorite recipe. It could mean asking for help. It could be breaking a pattern of isolation and going out with friends, for an introvert. It could be a day or night of self-care and indulgent alone time at home, for an extrovert. Perhaps it’s looking at your body in the mirror and not breaking your gaze until you are able to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you unconditionally. Maybe it’s a commitment to a new routine, or maybe it’s the courage to break out of a rut. Maybe it’s the act of daring greatly enough to build an avenue between the two.

Whatever it is, whatever your sweet, pulsing heart knows in its very depths is an act of great courage…that is the first step in your journey. We all have demons (not a one of us is immune, no matter how “perfect” someone else’s existence and “put together” life may seem…they too struggle, I promise).

We all experience loss, fatigue, sadness, anxiety, depression, negative self-talk, FEAR. We are all united in this human condition, no matter what ways our fear and creativity display themselves. We may look different, but we are not. We are all the same. We are all paddling our little boats furiously towards freedom and love. But perhaps, in a joint effort of all the eyes reading this, we together can start to see our fear as something new. Rather than a block of darkness, threatening to sink our boat, we can view our fear as something useful. As a necessary component on our journey, an irreplaceable cog in our wheel of healing. A threatening shadow of heaviness to keep the brilliant light from blinding our eyes; a little hunk of pressure providing just enough weight to slow our speed, so that we don’t race feverishly past all the opportunities to pause, and be shattered by the staggering beauty of how very far we’ve already come.

 

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From a Sweet, Juicy Place of Love

So much has transpired since my last entry here. I turned 27. There was a Full Moon. We nearly lost our patriarch, my Grandfather. His circumstances improved. I thought I had to move. I house-hunted like mad for a week. My cousin got married. There was a New Moon. I found out I didn’t have to move. I went on a couple dates. The earth did who knows how many pirouettes on her axis.

Life went, beautifully, on.

Despite the epic changes I have imparted on my life in the past three months, despite the uncertainty – a thing I bend over backwards, quite literally sometimes (on the yoga mat), to avoid – I have been brought to my knees in sheer gratitude for all the love and abundance that IS my life, lately. More so than ever before. I have been brought TO LIFE.

I find it so interesting, the concept of uncertainty and “the unknown.” I mean, it’s hilarious to me that I even look at it as an option. As if my perceived structures of control have any effect whatsoever on the chaos that is time and space! Things are going to happen, the earth keeps spinning, life goes on.

I recently joked with my parents, “Is this just how life gets, as an adult? One thing after another? You think you have everything all settled and then BOOM, car trouble. BOOM, something at home breaks. BOOM, something else pops up.” They smiled sideways and wrinkled their brows as if to say, “………Well, DUH.” The problem is not that life hurls “one thing after another”, I am now realizing. The issue is that I expect it not to do that! The story that I have is one of a child, where others take care of business for me, others help me through every decision and oftentimes make them for me. It’s kind of my autopilot, to be honest. I’m used to calling up my mom when I get a confrontational text message or email, when something happens at work, when someone wants to have a serious discussion – I need to carefully detail her advice before reacting. I do this. I don’t trust my own judgement, even though my life is lived by way of intuition. It doesn’t make sense, right?

I think a lot of us are like this. I am so endlessly blessed to have the support system I have, but I see now that I have taken advantage of their wisdom and advice so frequently, that when it’s up to me to make decisions…I balk. I worry that someone will say, “WHY did you say/do that???” I worry that someone is not going to like that I acted like a doormat or didn’t stand up for myself, or that I didn’t say the appropriate things during the conversation and now the moment has passed.

But you know what? WHO CARES! SO WHAT!?

If I’m in the driver seat and it’s up to me to make the decisions that only have to live with, then why wouldn’t I be most concerned with my reaction to my own life?

It makes so much sense, when I lay it out like this. But, at 27, I am just now learning how to carefully remove my training wheels and balance on my own. I am just now respecting and giving weight to my own thoughts, opinions and motives. It, is, SO, liberating.

I am also working more towards being more grounded and authentic (read: less of a people pleaser), and more trusting and content in the day-to-day (read: less of an “uncertainty avoider”). I am fiercely working on coming from a place of love rather than fear (have you ever taken a day to do inventory on how many times you move from a place of fear rather than a place of love? It’s astonishing, really).

No matter how much we plan, life has its own agenda. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way demonizing planning. It’s awesome. It’s kind of my middle name. I always have a plan. But sometimes, just letting the fluidity of life take its course, can be so much more delightful than you ever could’ve planned. I’ve begun planning for today, instead of all week. Yes, there’s a rough outlined sketch of the week in my head, but by not calendar planning every detail of the week (in pen, no less), I suddenly can breathe so much more deeply. I have the freedom (as if I didn’t have it before…) to change my mind. To do things differently. To make my Tuesday plan my Thursday plan instead, and do something else on Tuesday. To NOT do things I don’t want to do, and to add in as I see fit. Why wouldn’t I live this way all the time?

In the well-intentioned act of planning so as to cultivate a structure of perceived security, we can often sink unconsciously into a fear-based way of living. Preventive. Frightened. Walking forward, tentatively, with our hands outstretched trying to ward off any potential chaos. 

BUT THAT ISN’T LIVING. That isn’t LIFE.

So now, I am taking another vow (y’all know how much I love those…). I am taking a vow to live life as it comes. I’m always going to scribble lists on post-it notes and write on my calendar. I’m always going to roughly sketch out my plan for the week, mentally. It’s who I am. There’s nothing wrong with being this way. But there’s something very wrong with going on autopilot and boxing out the potential for unexpected beauty. Unexpected chaos will enter our safe little emotional villas whether we invite them in or not. But unexpected beauty? It has a much harder time sliding through the cracks. We actually have to step outside, we actually have to look up, to see it.

And it is there, always.

I am committed to stepping outside, as often as possible. I am committed to looking up. I am committed to letting the beauty wash over me, shatter me, day after day. I am committed, in every single moment, to approaching my life from a sweet, juicy place of love.

Won’t you join me?

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Snakes and Saving Grace

I have dreamt of snakes three times in the past couple of weeks. Twice last night. Once I woke up with a gasp, lurching to the other side of the bed, my hands curling in fear towards my face. An orange snake was definitely slithering up the side of the bed towards me. Not threateningly, but slitheringly, enough to jolt my sleeping body sideways and “gasp” me awake. Snakes, in the Dream World, can actually serve as Spirit Animals, totems, indicating healing and intuition. They can signify transformation.

I’ve always been super keen on dream analysis. It’s been a large part of my intuitive processes, for as long as I can remember. So it comes as no surprise that dreaming of snakes or serpents shed light on the working through of difficult situations in one’s waking life, specifically in regards to emotional experiences. Hi. Are you, like, spying on my life?

My thrice snake dreamt subconscious is wailing, “I GET IT, WE HAVE SHIT TO WORK OUT, I’M TRYING!” But the snakes are hissing, trying? Clearly not. Pick up the pace, babe, I’ll slither faster to make you jump.

And jump I have. Jolt I have. Shaken awake, I have been.

I read this  a m a z i n g  piece last night from Pure Green Magazine, 6 questions with one of my teachers and greatest sources of inspiration, Elena Brower. Everything in our lives, everything in our bodies and minds, are a balance of the feminine and masculine. Two energies. They are not separate; they are one, one spectrum. One undulating, but often vacillating, span.

I have been struggling with this spectrum, or perhaps upon this spectrum, rather intensely of late. I listened to an e p i c  podcast yesterday as I strolled through nature, a discussion between two powerful women. A 20 minute conversation in which Ashley Turner, one of my other greatest teachers, soul sisters and sources of inspiration, dove deep into the very subject of balancing masculine and feminine energies within each of us. The importance. The threat we face when we don’t allow these energies to balance. The fear surrounding this allowance.

As a female entrepreneur, an experience which Ashley and Jackie Dumaine touched heavily on in their dialogue, there seems to require quantum leap for success. An illusion that we must abandon our soft feminine sides in order to succeed professionally, financially and stand alone in our power.

This has played a small part in my energetic tug-o-war lately. Part of it has also been rooted in the subtleties of yin and yang. Yin being the soft, slow, more sumptuous feminine energy; yang being the active, more vigorous, masculine energy. We need both. We need Rajas (get up ‘n go!) in balance with Tamas (inertia) to find Sattva (luminous “balance”), in the yogic teachings of the Gunas. There is no one elemental requirement, it is a recipe, a concoction, a desperate need for what I like to call operational balance. 

By “operational balance” I mean mobility. We are never truly in a state of stillness. Even when planted in deep meditation, our cells are changing, our hearts pumping, the molecules of air floating around us. Our atoms are vibrating. Our breath streaming. Part of my intention, as a yogi and as a human being, is to find a steady place of “operational balance.” Stillness within motion. A secure sense of serenity whilst the world moves around me, whilst my physical being tinkers away at maintaining life, homeostasis, within me. Sounds blissful, yeah?

I’ll be really honest here.

I’ve failed miserably at this intention for the past few months.

Yes, you heard me right, I said for the past few months.

It’s no wonder I’m jolting awake from dreams of reptiles invading my bed. No wonder I’m popping awake first thing in the morning, eyes blinking wildly, mind grasping at what day it is, where I’m headed, what I’m to do once my feet hit the floor.

I’ve been constantly mobile, even when still. Even laying in bed, in between dreams, planning, scheming, mentally penciling out all that I want to accomplish, all that I perceive to have fallen short of, all that I can do better.

I’m not ashamed to write it here because I believe, fervently, that to call ourselves on our own shit is to stand in truth. It is to seek redemption, healing, a soothing over of our own foundations. Even if it’s a quivering, knock-kneed, sulking and lackluster stance, it is one anchored in truth.

My feminine energy has felt siphoned and weak, lately. I’ve been bulldozing it with my masculine energy. Physically, professionally, mentally. This has left me depleted and super emotional (my femininity screaming at me to please nurture Her by making me weep at country songs on the radio, fall to my knees at my altar, adorn myself with protective crystals and keep flowers in my room to brighten the dimming flame of my inner Light).

So, what does one do, in a predicament like mine?

Turn to teachers. Read. Journal. Podcast. Seek inspiration. Draw from the well of creativity. Bask in the glow of the muse. What my life is made up of are all elemental necessities; all things, activities, beliefs, practices that I need, that I rely upon, for productivity, growth, wellness, health, balance and nourishment. I don’t want to rid my life of anything I’m doing. But I need to add to my repertoire more healing, balancing, loving practices. I need to call upon some of the balancing and replenishing coping mechanisms I so adoringly practice, but have let fall by the wayside. More yin to stand equally with my yang. What I’m saying is,

I don’t want to do anything differently; I want to do DIFFERENTLY what I’m already doing. 

Does that make sense?

It’s not about what we do, it’s about how we do it. It’s not so much what we say, it’s the attitude with which we say it. It’s the conviction with which we believe what we believe. It’s the energy with which we love, not the words “I love you.” It’s not the physical form, but the ethereal matter within that brings a person alive.

So bring on the snakes. I’m ready for the emotional healing. I’m ready to take on the swelling challenge that floats before me. It’s frankly easier to stop doing one thing and replace it with another. It is. It doesn’t sound like it, but it is. That’s easier that doing the same thing differently. It takes a cunning, articulate focus, an unparalleled depth of desire and commitment, to cultivate the very subtle finesse needed to recalibrate one’s approach to one’s own life. THAT is transformation.

Our human minds often resort to black and white thinking, I am no exception. It is the crux of my struggles in this life. While it’s difficult to change behaviors and patterns of any kind, it’s simply easier to go from black to white. Rather than white to ivory, black to ebony, shades of grey, varying degrees of sameness.

But this is my challenge for us all, dear serpent-powered Tribe: to fertilize the soil in which we have already planted. The earth from which we already grow. I believe in us, collectively and individually, I believe in our capacity to approach our lives, to inch towards everything we already do, think, believe and practice with refined tact. Reborn strategy. I believe we can renew the way already are, so as to better serve our highest purpose. I believe in us. I believe in our transformation.

Sometimes, what we perceive to be the scariest things, like snakes and spiritual elevation, are actually saving Grace we’ve been awaiting. Sometimes, it’s just the call of our own, sacred transformation.

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On the Other Side of Fear

I have news : we’re human. This means we are not, will never be, and have never been (nor were we INTENDED to be) p e r f e c t.
We fuck up.
We make mistakes.
We’re here to LEARN.
We trip and slip and curse and break. Things, ourselves, each other.
Anyone claiming to be perfect or holier than thou is full of it. They mean well, surely, but it’s bull.
I am flawed. Deeply. But you know what? I have learned that what I love MOST about others is often what they consider to be their own flaws. Crazy, right? That what I adore, someone actually feels insecure about.
So let’s stop chasing our tails expecting to wake up one day able to do it perfectly. Everything. We’re not INTENDED to, it’s not what we’re here to accomplish. Perfection. It’s an illusion.
We’re here to LOVE.
Bigger, harder; relentlessly.
We’re here to fuck up and then go, “Oh, that sucked, I’m not gonna do that again.”
We’re here to be messy, to be disciplined about some things and an utter wreck with other things.
We’re here to do what feels good, to injure as little as possible, to bond in our humanity.
We’re here to be REAL. Authentic. It’s kind of a rare trait these days. Especially in this little Narnia land of social media.
I am drawn to my brothers and sisters who share their vulnerability, who aren’t afraid to admit they’re HUMAN and real, who shake the world and do incredible work, but who also share their shitty days and biggest fears and most nauseating insecurities.
Does it make us any less mystical or spiritual or successful or capable to admit we’re flawed? To curse? To get heated? To love persistently? To gush adoration for every sentient being? To get pissed in traffic?
N.O.
We’re human. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. We can admire and adore and idolize and worship others all we want, but in the end, we all have a heartbeat. We are all temporally here, together, to do the best we can.
The moment we stop taking ourselves so seriously, the moment we start accepting and embracing ourselves FIRST, regardless of the “likes” or agreement – is the moment we step into our authenticity.
It’s a sweet space. Let’s meet there.

XO
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CLICK

As human beings we crave CONNECTION. We just want to CLICK. With people, places, ideas, experiences. We just want to relate. And we want it as often as possible.

When I realized this, it was a bit of a “well, duh” moment blended with “okay NOW everything makes sense.” I felt compelled to share. I felt compelled to tell you, yes you, to please not be so hard on yourself when you feel threatened by incompatibility (I’m talking to myself here, too). Don’t judge yourself when you’re triggered. It’s an organic response stemming from a place of Love. It’s not our differences, our perceived weaknesses or flaws, but our reaction to them that causes suffering.

The decision, often quite unconscious, to feel “less than,” is the chief causal factor associated to our suffering.

I’m always so intrigued by how these essays go for me, I must say. Sometimes I sit down and bang one out, soaring through the overhead sky of inspiration hanging on threads of notions and kicking my feet in the starry abyss. Other times, like in this case, I start an essay on April 3rd and return to it on April 18th. So much – and I mean so much – has transpired since I first sat down with this concept. This concept that I chewed on for an entire day before downloading it, here, on this blank canvas with a blinking cursor.

Since first resting my bottom on my electric blue exercise ball (because it turns out this is infinitely more fun than a desk chair – just ask my friends, they’ve seen the videos of me bouncing on it when the blinking cursor is giving me the fish eye and my inspiration well is parched and cracked as the bed of a drought), I have decided to pick up my life and place it on a parallel path. Moving. Jobs, house, counties. I made the decision and boom: the Universe conspired. Everything aligned. But that’s a different essay entirely…although it’s totally embedded the webbing of this theme: CONNECTION. Because that’s what’s making this farewell so bittersweet. The realization of how deeply I’ve connected to this community, these past 5 years. Sometimes it takes leaving something to see how profoundly affected one has been by it in the first place…

Which leads me back to my initial point. We just want connection. It’s what we seek naturally, inherently, like beacons radiating into the night. Warm, ultrasonic waves of searching. Magnetically seeking a likeminded fit. A click.

I have always felt threatened by other people’s differences. I have always craved sameness. The “click,” if you will. It has taken me 26 years to understand this about myself and I suspect I’ll spend the next 26 or more, if I’m so blessed, investigating why I’m like this. But I think my realization earlier this month really illuminated the foundation of this circumstance.

I just want to connect. WE JUST WANT TO CONNECT.

It’s not about jealousy, it’s not about envy, it’s not about disagreement or judgement or competition or comparison. These are all the weaker (and I’m talking ice cubes in your decaf drip, watered down whiskey weak) forms of something much greater. They appear in these feeble configurations to distract us from what’s really going on. The root of everything is love. The source of everything is LOVE. Whether we recognize it on a daily basis or not, that is truth. That is gospel.

But when our delicate human psyches get swept up in the tidal wave of sickly exterior shapes like jealousy and comparison and judgement of self and others, we lose all contact with that source. The sweet nectar from which ugliness can spring. Because, remember, there is no duality. Everything is a spectrum. Love rests easily on one end, rage burns furiously in the middle and hate hangs haphazardly from the far end (I’m reminded of a favorite song, The Ballad of Love and Hate, by the Avett Brothers…I’ll link it at the end of this essay if you care to give it a listen, heart poetry).

The transparency of the matter is that we can be so damn hard on ourselves for something that is simply in our nature (at least I know I can be, so I assume you can be, too). I have spent so many years unconsciously berating myself – which manifests usually as a deep ache in my belly, a nervousness in my limbs, a scattering of my thoughts – for not being able to just accept the differences of others. The extraordinary flood of satisfaction I have experienced when I’ve met people whose checklists line up with mine (yes, yes…it all matches up, check, check, check!) and then the fretful free fall of disappointment when one of us changes, or some difference is exposed, and I feel a gap wedged between us. My brow furrows, is the gap traversable? How do we CONNECT now that we’re not the same?

It’s so funny to write this out, to really begin to dissect the concept. I know most people don’t think like me (because, well, most people are not highly sensitive, Type-A, overanalyzing, introverted intuitives). So if you’re reading this thinking, “What’s wrong with this chick? We’re different, duh, what’s the problem?” then GOOD ON YA! That makes me bounce happily on my ball for you. Because you get it. You see through the veils of weaker interpretation. You see that the differences are all perceived. They’re masks. What’s underneath is love. What lies below is the universal pulse that inevitably connects every one of our sorry hearts: the quest.

The quest for love, connection, that “CLICK,” the energy of feeling totally understood and held and supported. If we could put on horse blinders and dull our senses and just SEE one another straight up, no fancy dressings, we would see the “soul and not the story,” as my teacher Seane Corn says. We would see that our preferences, practices, opinions, beliefs, mother tongue, skin color, stature, orientation and political party are nothing more than obligatory check marks in boxes on a list made by society. BARRIERS AND BORDERS ERECTED IN AN ATTEMPT TO BLOCK THE FLOW OF LOVE.

Once we see this, once we realize that being triggered by differences and perceived incompatibilities are just organic responses stemming from a source rooted in LOVE, we can begin to rewire the innate reaction we have to resistance.

Kathryn Budig just offered this nugget of wisdom as I bounced on my ball distractedly and mindlessly opened a Facebook tab (because, well, that’s also how these essays sometimes go…like a cat following a shoe string): “Walk your beautiful path and wish the others well. No one has the same gifts to offer. The ones who value yours will find you. So, in a nutshell—competition and comparison are moot. How refreshing is that reminder? Cue big exhale.”

We will find the threads of connection. They are there, enduringly, below the surface. We mustn’t harden against ourselves when we feel these physical responses in our bodies, when we have these swarming thoughts and the panic waters begin to rise. May we intervene, kindly, gently. May we realize that this organic response is stemming from a place of Love. Simply and sweetly. Our craving connection is a most basic and pure necessity; akin to our need for oxygen, food and water.

May we awaken to the fact that feeling “less than” or “greater than” is a choice. It is the spring from which our suffering flows. May we choose to plug that leak with pretty flowers and mossy twigs. May we admire our handiwork and turn back towards one another. May we smile softly, letting the corners of our mouths turn up. May we listen, devotedly, for the CLICK…

And now, without further ado, I give you The A Bros: The Ballad of Love and Hate.

sunflower flower field blue sky vintage retro

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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