Live your love

Today, like every day,
we wake up hollow and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Reach for a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Jalil al-Din Rumi (1207-73), Persia

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

Yes. Simply yes.

 

 

Posted in Mindful living, Mindful parenting, Mindfulness, Softness, Transformation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trust lost and found

Over the last two months, in two different workshops,** I have received the writing prompt “I was told.” Writing for these prompts has opened a floodgate for the myths and stories and, let’s call them what they are, pack of lies, that I internalized during my childhood and young adulthood. Some of these lies I was actually told, as in another person said the words to me, others I simply understood, because of actions or reactions of those around me. Those who had the most impact, who did the most damage with what they told me, were also, ironically perhaps, the ones who also did the most good for me, the ones who taught me about perseverance and resilience; the ones who showed me how hard it can be to love another when you hate yourself; the ones who showed me who I knew I didn’t want to be and gave me ways to heal generations old wounds and to make something better for my own children.

Many of the stories, I have learned, are universal for women, they are the threads that bind us together, and in the words of one of my favorite guides, it is up to us to weave those threads into a net, to catch us and support us all, each other, each of us supporting and witnessing our sisters in this journey to ourselves.

This is why I do this work, to weave those nets, to create space for women to finally share the stories they were told and to release them to the wind and fire. Calling women together in circle is powerful work, and yet the real work I can’t take credit for: I create a space, and the women who gather do the hard labor of digging into themselves, exploring and examining pieces here and there, throwing what doesn’t fit or work into the crucible and transforming themselves.

I have been witness to this time and again, both in circles I have lead and in circles I participate in. One of the stories I was told is that I can never trust women. I held this story as truth for a long time. This story ran deep, as not only could I not trust other women, but I also couldn’t trust myself, my intuition, my own embodied wisdom. I couldn’t trust the messages that my own body and heart would scream or whisper. Others, men generally, always knew better and best. I spent a long time living this way, attaching myself to men, both as friends and lovers, trying to let them lead the way to me.  I had very few women friends, and the ones I did have I held at arm’s length in many ways. I was lonely even though I was surrounded by people. I was lost even though I had so many people there to lead the way for me.

Eventually I realized that lie for what it was: a lie, a story, an untruth, a myth. Slowly I started to have friendships with women, real friendships, the kinds where I started to share parts of myself that I had kept hidden away for so long. I began to learn to admit my own imperfections and slowly, oh so fucking slowly, I learned to not judge others of theirs.

Through these friendships I learned to love myself. I learned to acknowledge and accept things about myself that I didn’t really like. I learned to break through the binds of the stories and myths that were holding me back and refashioned those ropes into a net. I learned that none of us are perfect, we all deserve empathy and what we may see on the surface of someone is not their whole being. I learned to listen to the truth of others and then slowly began to listen to the whispers and screams of my own truth; the ones that had been trying to make themselves known for years. I learned to listen to my body and her own wisdom and I learned to fight for her, with the same passion I would fight for my daughter.

I learned to trust. Myself. My body. Other women. It didn’t happen overnight, and it was slow and sometimes painful. And yet the beauty and fullness that is my life now, is amazing. I am going in new directions and following my own intuition. I am being more and more fully me, in each moment, each day. My body now tingles with excitement at the unknown future instead of shaking in fear. Because I know I’ve got this. And if I don’t, I know I have a net of amazing women to catch me.

And for my work, I get to guide other women to do the same.

Join this next circle of women and learn to trust yourself again. Learn to listen to the whispers and growls and roars of your own embodied wisdom. Dare to step into the crucible and transform. We begin on March 20th and there are a few spots still left for this next iteration. Find your trust again. Take the first step on this quest, and connect with me.

Trust Lost and Found Being and Unbecoming**Isabel Abbot‘s Writing the Womb & In Her Skin and Amy Bower‘s Dream Lab workshops.

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Dare, Jaguars, Pink Hair & Wonder Woman

Since I began dreaming up the Being & Unbecoming circle four things keep appearing to me, declaring a piece of this next iteration of my work circling with women, this next iteration my own soul work: the word Dare, women with Pink Hair, images of jaguars, and Wonder Women (and other super heroines, but mostly WW). Over and over the images came up or the word makes itself known to me. Over and over I get a small thrill, a chill that runs through my bones and womb and heart, when these images and word appear.

Dare.

Dare to do this work.

Dare to dive into the depths of who I am.

Dare to shed all that has been holding me back.

Dare to rebel against those myths and stories that have tried to box me in, to define me in ways that aren’t at all me.

Dare to circle with other women, ready to do this deep work, ready to reconnect with their own power and strength and embodied knowing.

Dare to take myself to this next level.

Jaguars. Every where jaguars appear to me. In the magazines. On mailers. On TV. In books for the kids and for me.  In my social media feeds. Again and again, they step out of their dens, inviting me in,  to do this shadow work, to embrace my own power, to release this layer of fear, to connect to my own embodied knowing.

Dare.

Dare to release fears. Dare to connect to my own power. Dare to awaken that inner sight, that embodied knowing.

Women with pink hair. Everywhere again. In the same yet different places the jaguars have been beckoning me. I’ve had pink hair on and off since I was a teen. For me it represents both rebelling against social norms and embracing my “traditional” femininity, my “girlness.” Pink hair both declares: I’m not going to play by your rules, and I love all things traditionally female. Pink hair is bold. It’s brazen. It makes a statement. It says fuck you to the status quo while giving it a nod and knowing wink. Yes, I’m female and I’ll wear pink, but only on my terms, only in my way.

Ironically, since leaving engineering I have shied away from my pink hair. Stories of what a “proper therapist” looks like swirling in my head, wanting to be taken seriously, not wanting to work so fucking hard for respect and understanding from those in power, those in authority. “Real” therapists have natural colored hair, my inner shamer says. It was okay to be so daring in the corporate world, but honey, you’re going to have your own business, you need to calm down and grow up.

What??!!! Because having pink hair as an electrical engineer… what? It made me stand out. It made me both noticeable and memorable. It added to my glow, not detracted from it. It made me different from the rest of the pack and my clients loved that. It added to my image of thinking outside of the box, of giving them something fresh and new and unique. Because, tell me, how many pink haired electrical engineers do you know?

Exactly.

And why would this be any different for me as a therapist? Why would it not make me stand out. Why would it not add to what I have to offer those who come to see me? Wouldn’t it only add to my image of writer, rebel and guide? Wouldn’t it add to me being uniquely and authentically me? Isn’t that what I want to model for women, for my kids? To be unapologetically yourself, rainbow hair or clothes or whatever and all?

(Because, tell me, how many pink haired therapists do you know?)

Dare.

Dare to have pink hair.

Dare to take that next step of releasing those stories that aren’t true.

Dare to let go of my need for approval from those in “authority.”

Dare to allow myself to be seen, noticed, remembered.

Dare to allow myself to glow right on through.

Dare to be wholly and holy me and set this world on fire, pink hair and all.

Wonder Woman. Oh Wonder Woman. How I have worshiped her since childhood. How I wanted to be her. I so desperately wanted WW under-roos, but never got them. I did have a WW swimsuit though. And my WW Barbie. Who I loved so much. So very, very much. I watched Linda Carter portray WW each week, and practiced my spin to turn into her myself. I made my own golden lasso out of some rope and my bullet bracelets out of some old costume jewelry.

Wonder Woman loved animals, was kind and strong and knew how and when to kick ass and when words alone would do the trick. She had the lasso of truth that would make the bad guys admit just how bad they were. She was a gentle mother figure and protector, both things I so desperately needed and wanted as a child. She was both who I wanted to become and who I wanted to save me.

And in some ways, both have happened: I have become her in many ways, and in many ways she has saved my life by giving me a role model to look up to, by allowing me to honor my own softness and strength and kick-assness and diplomacy. By reminding me, over and over, that the Truth will always come out, and that the bad guys will be stopped.

Dare.

Dare to find strength in softness.

Dare to have the wisdom to know when to kick ass and when diplomacy will do.

Dare to know the truth, my own truth, of my own power.

Dare to unbind myself from the chains of the myths and stories that hold me down.

Dare.

Jaguars.

Pink Hair.

Wonder Woman.

….

I feel the power of these images, these words, what they speak to me, how they are speaking through me. I get a literal zing in my body each time a woman steps forward to join this quest to unbecoming and being. Thinking about the program, the energy it holds, brings the biggest smile to my face. I feel it, the magic, the power, the energy, of this next iteration.

For me. For the women who have gathered. For the women who are finding their way to this work.

The power of women joining together. In love, support and witnessing.

….

One of the questions on the check-in questionnaire is if you agree to follow the three guidelines for this circle: 1. No comparing or judging; 2. What we share in the circle stays in the circle; and 3. No giving advice (unless specifically requested).

One and three are particularly tough for most of us.  Not comparing ourselves, or our experiences, with others. We sit and think of where we “should” be or what we “should” have accomplished by now and can get lost and sucked so deeply into that downward spiral of guilt and shame. Comparing only serves to make us feel less than, not enough, not good. Here’s the truth: our experience is our experience. It is neither good nor bad. It should not have been any other way, because it is part of what brought you to where you are today. It is part of what will get you to where you are going tomorrow, next week, next year and next decade. It is your journey, the one you needed to find your way home to you. Each step, each experience, vitally important.  Each journey has unique details, and if we listen and honor each other we’ll see our common threads and how they have played out in our unique lives. We’ll see what brings us together, what links us in sisterhood. It’s not about comparing. It’s about knowing, deep in our bones, that regardless of what another has (or has not) experienced, we are all in this together.

Number three is the one I have received several comments on. Not giving advice. We’re fixers, us women. We see a problem, see a person we love in pain, and we want to heal it. We want to make the issue go away, and honestly if the person would just take our advice, it would all be so simple. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). I’m a chronic advice giver. Seriously the worst. I’m admitting this as a therapist in training: sitting and listening to another person’s pain, holding the space, not interjecting, not trying to fix—hardest thing ever. It doesn’t come naturally for me. I want to wrap my clients up in warm blankets and hold them and rock them and (here’s the bad part) tell them exactly what they need to do to feel better. I’m getting better at not giving advice in my professional realm. And I’m very much a work in progress in my personal world.

Here’s the thing about giving advice though: when we give advice, we aren’t honoring the person who just spilled their guts all over the floor for us. We are, unintentionally, telling this person, who is in his or her most vulnerable place, that hey, that’s nice, and really if you only did this thing I’m going to tell you, you’d totally be out of this mess (or would have never been in it in the first place). It’s telling the person we don’t have time for their pain, to shut up and fix the problem already. It’s showing the person that it certainly is not safe to share intimate pieces of themselves. And here’s the truth: it’s judging. Because if the person were only wise enough to do what you tell them, well, it would all be okay. And clearly there is something wrong with the person if they don’t take your advice, if they don’t just “fix it.”

Advice giving comes from a place of discomfort. Being a fixer comes from being uncomfortable with what is “broken” or messy or raw. Part of not giving advice is learning to sit with this discomfort, to allow our own messiness to bubble up. To be as okay with those icky parts of ourselves or our stories as we claim to be with that of others. Not giving advice means honoring and truly seeing the other person, allowing ourselves to give the space for another person to simply be, to find her way in her own time, to uncover and reveal her truths not only to everyone else in the circle, but most importantly to herself.

So.

Dare.

Jaguars.

Pink Hair.

Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman never gave advice, by the way. She listened empathically and then acted appropriately (either by kicking ass or continuing to listen, to hold space).

Dare to sit with the discomfort.

Dare to witness other women. Dare to be witnessed.

Dare to be okay with the messy, the raw, the “broken.”

Dare to listen, and not only that, but to hear others and their experience.

Dare to be heard. Dare to speak of your life without comparing, without shame.

Dare to show up, just as you are.

Dare to shed the stories that no longer serve you.

Dare to glow.

Dare to embrace your inner jaguar. Dare to don pink hair. Dare to be Wonder Woman.

Dare to come home to you. Dare to be exactly who you were meant to be. You may have taken the long way, and you have known your destination all along.

You.

Dare to be you. Fully. Unapologetically. Unashamedly. You.

the long way homeThere is still time to join the next iteration, the circle-quest to you. Click here to request a short check-in questionnaire so we can get to know each other. Space is limited. Dare to join us, dare to come home to yourself, dare to explore the power of you.

 

Posted in Becoming, being & becoming, healing, Join the revolution, Personal growth, Personal Myths, Programs offered, quotes, Revolutionary, Shedding, Unbecoming | 1 Comment

Wishes and Prayers Answered and Becoming

When my daughter was younger she used to wish upon the sun, using the logic that our sun is a star. She would alter the well-known rhyme to “Starlight, star bright, first star I see alright. I wish I may I wish I might have the wish I wish in daylight” and she would make whatever wish her heart called in that moment.

She also prays to the Tooth Fairy. After each tooth lost, all eight now, before we start to read our story for the night, she will quietly lay down on her bed, fold her hands together at her chest, close her eyes and send a prayer to the Tooth Fairy that she not take her tooth, that she understand her unwillingness to let this literal piece of herself go just yet, and could she please go ahead and leave the money anyhow. (If you were wondering, of course the Tooth Fairy always answered by complying).

To date, this sweet girl always asks before she gets a piece of candy or sits down at the computer or to watch TV. She makes sure she is “allowed” and at closing in on eight, I wonder how much longer this will last. How will her way of checking in with us change? When will she stop asking permission and instead choose to ask for forgiveness? How did we ever raise a girl concerned with rules?

Curled up close at the end of the day, or as we are at the sink brushing our teeth or at the breakfast table or randomly in the car she will say “Thank you for being the best mommy in the whole world!”  I’m never sure what I have done to deserve those words, and certainly could give you a long list of things I have done to prove I do NOT deserve those words, and yet she gives them to me, a gift straight from her soul into mine.

I am in awe of this girl child growing into a young woman. I’m not always sure where she came from, and the joke in our family for a long time was we didn’t know who her mother was. Despite all my foibles and outright failures she is a beautiful person, shining brightly every day. I’m honored to be her mama, and I hope as she grows and our relationship has its storms, we both always remember this: She is her own Self—she is not mine even though she came from me, both my body and my heart, and I will always love her and be proud of her, even when I don’t agree with her or her choices.

Because there will likely come a day when she makes a choice that worries me or scares me or worse: reminds  me too much of myself. I pray that I enter those times with grace, allowing her to be her own person, make her own mistakes or even prove me wrong with my worry or fear. I pray I don’t get lost in my own ego and judgement and that I am gentle with her, even more so than when she was an infant, even more so than I am now. I pray I always let her know that no matter what, I am her mama, I love her, and she always has a place in our home.

I pray for a life for her I did not know. I pray for a relationship between us to be one I did not have with my own mother until it was almost too late.

I know in my heart, it will be different, she and I will be different, our relationship has already been different these first seven plus years. And I breathe in the truth that I let go of the stories of how children should be raised and how girls should act and held onto my own truth of what it means to be a mama, what it is to raise a child with love and respect and compassion, what it means to raise a girl into a woman.

And so my prayers may already be answered as I look over at this beautiful girl, engrossed in a game of creation. Her gangly legs bent and her posture that of a teen already. I say another silent prayer: please slow down, please let me savor these between moments a bit longer.  Because the truth is,  it all goes too fast, even when we are paying attention.

her own self

 

 

Posted in A Mama's Life, Becoming, being & becoming, Connection, healing, Mamahood, Mindful parenting, Mindfulness, Motherhood, Personal growth, Personal Myths, Softness, Transformation, Unbecoming | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Winter’s Day

Standing in the sunbeam that forced its way through our slider door, I know the warmth of winter, hibernation and family. My boy crawling along the floor, exploring, examining, experimenting with each of his toys as he pulls them from his orange and white toy basket, wrapped in his own world of play and understanding of his world around him. My girl, curled up on the futon, exploring, experimenting, creating in Minecraft, wrapped in her own world of play and understanding of this world she is growing into.

And then there is me. Sitting, watching. In awe of their curiosity and determination. Breathing in this lesson of theirs to dig in, to examine, explore and find deeper understanding. To allow my own curiosity to take over and to seek and find what is me and mine.

I watch my son throw a toy to the wayside and pick up another. His endless exploration, wanting to taste, touch, know each object in his little basket. I laugh as he shakes one toy and as it makes noise it looks like he starts to dance. He hears his own music and I am grateful for my own cracking open so I can hear the music that bubbles up from within me.

Dancing to my own beat and shedding the story of not making a spectacle of myself. Allowing the music, my music, to fill my soul and push out the voices that tell me to calm down, sit down, be quiet, don’t move, don’t feel, don’t experience my own body, my own inner music, my own innate wisdom.

I was never good at listening to those voices for too long, though I would obey for periods of time. Just long enough to allow the volcano to build up and eventually I would crack and explode, gaining disapproving looks from my grandmother. At times my mother would encourage me, when she felt strong in her own dance and at others, when she was filled with her own fears of loss and abandonment and good enoughness, she would put all her energy in silencing me. And the cycle would begin again.

I look over at my girl, sitting quietly on her tablet, and I know the pattern I have adopted from my mother: at times encouraging my girl’s voice to be loud and bold and at others, in my weaker moments, demanding her silence and even giving the same disapproving looks of my grandmother. My hope as I sit here in this winter sunbeam is that the encouragement outweighs the demands, that she keeps her voice and dances to her own music always, regardless of my parenting failures.

As I sit and observe and reflect, I know the stories handed to me by my ancestors, and I know the ones I am passing on to my girl.  And while I am sad at what I am passing on, I also know what I am not passing to her, and I dream of the day, in thirty years or so, when she sits in a winter sunbeam and reflects on what she is passing on to her children and what lessons she is allowing them to teach her.

snapshot of a winters day

Posted in A Mama's Life, Becoming, Being, being & becoming, Connection, Mamahood, Mindful parenting, Mindfulness, Motherhood, Personal growth, Unbecoming | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dreaming of the future, the past, & the now

Beneath the twinkle lights, I find myself staring out into the fog that has enveloped our fairy forest. The chilly coziness of this grey blanket brings a smile upon my face as I dream of my future that is quickly becoming my now.

I dream of women gathered together, around a campfire on an ocean beach. Howling, laughing, crying. Hugging, holding. Seeing each other’s strength in their vulnerability to share and shed and be and unbecome and become. Being witness to the evolution and transformation of each beautiful soul in those moments of community, grace, and sisterhood.

My dream shifts to couples sitting together, around a short coffee table alter, a fire burning in the background. They are holding each other, hands, shoulders. Tears fall and laughter rings. Repair, reconnection, returning to their foundations. Seeing each other again as they see the other couples in the room. Witnessing their common threads of trials and pain and knowing on the path to healing they are not alone.

My smile broadens as the images of children playing, connecting, sharing comes into my vision. Mothers and fathers in circle together with each other, with their children and without. Days together of joy, connection, seeing and finding new ways to be together, to cope with the ever changing way of being in their particular family. Beauty as understanding comes forward and villages are built. Connection, support, chosen family.

As I sit here at my desk, my smile broadens. I am humbled to know these dreams are being birthed now, both in my internship and guide work allowing me to do the work my heart is called to do: Connecting, healing, circling, transforming.

And as I sit and think of my future, I see so clearly the now that is forming: the women who are gathering and circling with me now in my programs; who are called to quest and circle with each other, allowing me to guide them along this step of their journeys. I feel a deep gratitude for this work and these women. I find myself in awe of them and me: the long journeys we have all been on, together and not, each of us transforming ourselves and each other along the way.

I see my own transformation in this work, this work that fulfills me and changes me and allows me to give to the world as others have given to me. I see my own trust, lost and found, in my own soul and body as it expands and comes more fully into being. I feel myself, my own raw stories, and I know that I am softer and stronger and that these two things are not opposites but necessary compliments of each other. I feel my own juicy center bubble up and feel that knowing smile as I look back and forward and feel the very essence of the now.

There is more to any story we have, and for my own stories, the digging deep, the unearthing and then the exploration, the examination, the questioning and asking has all come both naturally and as though pulling teeth without anesthetic. I know my own metamorphic pains and I am witness to the pains of others, as they go through their own fires and rise from the ashes, shedding what isn’t theirs and becoming more themselves than before.

As Shedding Shoulds comes to a close this week and my focus turns to Being and Unbecoming, I am feeling nostalgic of this circle of life and transformation. I think of the layers and depths and spirals we all travel through and down and on and feel the community of growth and expansion and rebellion. I see, in each circle that gathers, a bit more of the status quo worn away and a new way of being and living and loving emerging.

And that’s what happens when we circle and it is why I do this work: we change ourselves, yes; we change each other, for sure; and whether we see it or not, we are changing the world to be a place of softness and strength, of beauty and awe and most importantly, love.

wise women dance with troubleThe first step of this new quest is open and early bird pricing is available until February 20th. Are you ready to join our circle and embark on the quest of unbecoming everything that isn’t you so you can truly be who you are meant to be? For details, click here.

 

Posted in Becoming, Being, being & becoming, Circling, guide, Mindfulness, rebel, revolution, Softness, Truth, Unbecoming | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Be Alive

Breathing in, out, deeply, slowly.

It always begins with breath. Our life, a roar as the breath enters our lungs for the first time amidst the bright lights or dark corners. And the cold. The cold that lets us know we are alive, autonomous, singular.

The roar that rises up in those first moments of life. Her roar came quickly, his after he had a look around for a bit. Mine? I don’t know what those first moments of my life were like, if I roared immediately or if I looked around first and then made myself known.

Perhaps I did look around at first, try to figure out what the hell was this place, where I had landed. Perhaps that has been my home base this whole life so far: sitting back observing. Then when I’m ready, the roar comes.

I feel the roar and cold and my body coming alive. I have watched and observed and I know I could continue to do so for the rest of my days, but now, now is the moment to make myself seen, heard, known.

These words flow out of my fingers, onto this screen.  They have bubbled and boiled in my womb and belly. Sometimes they burst up and others they slowly simmer and rise. These words, sharing the experience of being mama, of being woman, of stepping into my own being, my own becoming and unbecoming.

What is it to be alive? It is to feel the brisk cold morning air as I settle in to write. It is to feel their warm bodies pressed against mine at the end of the day. It is to hold his hand, and know, simply know to depths of my soul, that he loves me, as I am in this moment. It is to laugh and shiver and glow. It is to whine and feel frustration and wanting. It is to listen to the whispers of my heart and it is to roar out my very being.

It is to own what is mine and make amends when I can. It is to love myself and my humanity and all its foibles. It is to love them and all their perfect imperfections. It is to examine, and excavate, and unearth, deeper and deeper, seeking out that juicy center that is me and all me and no one else.

It is to be curious and playful and ever the scientist experimenting and exploring. It is to be creative, filled with wonder and awe, ever the artist expressing and sharing the world as I experience it, as I know it.

It is reaching up to the stars as my toes root down into the mud. It is being made of clay and stardust and first laughs and lingering kisses and tears and heartache and unquenched passion.

To be alive is all this and more. It is feeling my body, from the inside out and the outside in. It is feeling my skin crawl and belly ache and head pound. It is feeling cool water quench my thirst, warm water soak my muscles and sunshine shower down on my face.

And more than all that. Being alive is living and it is more than mere words can express. It is the silence and deafening loudness, the darkness and the blinding light and it is everything in-between all of that.

It is in those in-between spaces that most living actually happens. In those ordinary moments when we don’t even notice how alive we feel. Or perhaps we do notice. And smile. And know.

Know that this life of ours, is ours. That we choose, each moment, how to live it, even in those moments when we don’t consciously or intentionally choose. How we act and react, what be pass on and keep, what we believe to be Truth and what we believe to be Lies. It is all choice.

To be alive is to choose, every moment, every day. And so I choose to know, to dig, to dive into my depths and grow my mermaid tail, knowing that in time I will glide with ease through this layer of being. I choose to connect and reconnect with this body of mine, to live inside it and not hover above it, unfeeling, unsensing. I choose to feel and know. I choose to explore and shed and allow what is me to glow through.

Starting Friday, for 30-days,  I will guide an amazing circle of women to their depths through deeper connection with their breath, their body, their self and to shedding the stories that no longer serve them.  Won’t you join us?

It is to roar

(Blog post inspired by a prompt from Alisha Sommer and Robin Sandomirsky‘s Liberated Lines FLASH::Amplify.)

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Tranquil

Sitting in the quiet of the morning, before the babes and husband have awoken, I find my breath. Multicolored twinkle lights glowing above my head and reflecting in the slider door, I look outside to our fairy forest, the first bits of light allowing it to be seen through the dense fog.

I feel tired, annoyed in this moment. These are the only quiet moments in my day and they are all to brief. Already I hear my girl starting to stir and I feel my body clench knowing at any moment she will enter my sanctuary and I will need to be mom, warm and loving, inviting.

It is not that I do not want to invite her into my quiet circle. I love the bubble of love and life that she and I create, that we have. Our secrets whispered, our bonds strengthened. It is that I feel I am losing me in this process of being a mother of two. Her brother more demanding than she ever was as an infant and not allowing any space for me (or her) to exist outside of him. Naps I am chained to his side, unable to do anything more than lay there, which brings its own set of frustrations into our world twice a day.

Try as I might to “take advantage” of that quiet time he demands and enforces I feel trapped, claustrophobic. I want to escape. I want quiet and tranquility on my own terms, not his. I want to have control of my being and not feel so imprisoned.  They say, hell I say, to savor these moments as they will pass too quickly, yet in the day to day I cannot wait for this phase to pass, for me to be able to get up to pee without him yowling and screaming awake.

I have no quiet, no rest, except in these first moments of the day. And they are not long enough. I crave to have the quiet stretch further out, so I can ease into life. No chattering, not cries. No need to feed any other body than my own. How in these moments I long for the days I didn’t appreciate before the babies came.

Yet even in that desperate longing I know I wouldn’t go back, even if I could. Despite the loss of a me I once knew and loved, they have truly given me life. They probe me and encourage me and expand me in ways I could have never imagined before them. And while I crave for solitude and tranquility in this moment, I would not have it at the loss of the chaos and noise that is my life now. I know, even though I protest and resist and whine, that these few moments in the morning will be enough for now, enough to recharge, to allow me to be. It is the time for the words to flow and my brain and soul and body to come into the world.

And soon enough this time will be gone too and the morning writing will be replaced by morning snuggles as my husband’s work schedule changes again. My quiet won’t come until the end of the day, when I am tired and words don’t always flow as easily. And this phase will pass too, as each before it did. I will find time for my words and for my family and for me in the constant ebb and flow that is our life.

This will pass too

Inspired by a prompt from Corinne Cunningham‘s Writing Naturally : Winter online workshop.

Posted in A Mama's Life, being & becoming, Family, Mamahood, Mindfulness, Motherhood, Surrender, Truth | Leave a comment

Beginnings, endings

As the northern hemisphere entered the fall season in late September, I embarked on a 13 week journey guiding a circle of women to explore who they were, who they are, who they dream of becoming. We gathered together as the northern half of the planet began its descent into darkness. As the days grew shorter we dug into our own shadow work, learning more about who we were and are, our true strengths and beauty becoming unearthed.  The journey has been intense and sometimes painful, as we shed layers and connected more deeply with ourselves. We have each struggled with resistance and our own shadows. We have each dug deep to excavate our own beauty and light.

I do this work along side the women I guide, quietly. I rarely share with them my own process because it seems inappropriate, it is their space and I hold it for them; I do not want my journey to taint theirs. And yet while I hold the space for them, they unwittingly hold the space for me. Each prompt was written only a day or two before it was sent out, giving me and the circle the space to be exactly as it needs.

The program shifted and transformed during our time together and at some point I threw away the outline I had for the course and simply allowed it to flow, letting my gut and heart guide me to offering these beautiful women, and myself, what we needed in those moments. It was a new experience for me to throw out my road map and rely entirely on my instincts. New and terrifying and amazing.

I tend to like to have a plan, and while I am open to the plan shifting and changing, I feel a safety in having a plan that I can lean back on. The problem with this, for me, is it can  become a crutch and I have felt myself become stagnant and not flowing or shifting at times; sticking to a plan because it was The Plan. I have often felt stuck and not right in my own skin, yet fear of the unknown kept me attached to The Plan. Old voices would insert doubt when I first started to consider ditching the outline for the program; voices that tried to convince me not to trust my gut, not to trust my heart, not to trust my womb and my own inner wisdom.

At some point during the this journey however I came to a crossroads. My skin wasn’t fitting, it felt like it was crawling around me and I knew it was time to shed, time to release the fear and the stories the voices tried to convince me of, the stories that weren’t true or real.  Still fearful, nervous, but knowing I truly had no choice if I wanted to feel good in my own skin again, I took that next step and opened myself to the possibilities.

I was inspired by the women in the circle who were doing the same. Sharing with us all the brave small and huge changes that were happening during our time together. I witnessed them as they faced fears, released stories, gained new perspectives. I saw each of them start to glow a little brighter, their presence becoming stronger, more solid, more tangible.

And because they were doing the work of moving into their next iterations, I had to step up and do the same.  That is the power of the circle: the conscious and intentional and the unconscious and unintentional support and strength that grows from a group of women gathered to do their own work, to be witnessed and to witness, to guide and be guided along this journey of becoming.

The constant evolving and shifting can be tiring, exhausting. There are days I feel it deep in my bones. Yet staying the same for too long does not feel right. I start to choke and my skin no longer feels comfortable, and I know this is true of the women who gathered together this fall for this work.

We began our work as the our parts of the world entered into darkness. We are now closing our circle as the northern half of the earth begins its ascension into the light.

I felt sadness today as I recorded our final video, and then wrote and scheduled the final prompt. I felt the desire to cling and not let go. I felt a poignancy about our journey together and a melancholy about the work that there is still to do. I want to stay with these women, in the safety of our circle. Not really hiding, but then not really allowing myself to be seen outside either. They brought so much to me through their journeys, allowing me to continue on mine and while shedding of layers is never easy, these women have done it with so much grace and beauty I am left feeling a bit awed by them.

So no, I do now want our time together to end. And yet, it is time for the circle to close.

Now is the time for the settling and resting. It is a time of allowing space for the final shiftings of this transformation. It is the final days of descending into the darkness, before we begin our ascension into the light. Perhaps this looks a bit like hibernation. Perhaps it looks a bit like doing nothing. Yet now, after the intentional work is complete, now in the quiet being is when the becoming truly starts to form.

ending beginning

 

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Breathing, Noticing, Praying

I come up for air and I start to notice.

I notice that her eyes don’t light up like they used to.

I notice that she’ll start to ask me to play with her and then interupts herself and says “never mind.”

I notice that her laugh sounds forced.

I notice a sadness emitting from her, when there once was such joy.

I take a deep breathe and I start to notice.

I notice my tone isn’t as gentle as I’d like it to be.

I notice more agitated sighs escaping my lips.

I notice how lost I feel in this parenting journey.

I slowly exhale and I start to notice.

I notice her. I notice me. I notice the disconnection.

And in this disconnection there is a deeper connection. I remember how it was when I became a big sister. I remember how I felt so lost and abandoned. I remember how the baby made everyone laugh and smile and all I could seem to do was annoy everyone.

I remember how much I needed my mom. I remember how very little I still was. Even though I was “older.”

And so I breathe. In and out. And I remember I can change this story.

She comes to me, scared, worried I will be mad or irritated. And she timidly asks if I could do bedtime, even though it’s not my night. And this time, I got it right and I say “Of course.”  And we brush our teeth and I read her stories and sing her songs and hold her close.

She starts to ask me to play, but interrupts herself, again. And this time, I get it right and say “Let’s go play in your room.” And we play dolls, and laugh and start to connect.

I pray more of these moments happen. I pray for more patience and clarity and understanding. I pray for her eyes to light up again. I pray for her laughter to rise up from her belly and not be forced from her throat. I pray for me to become the mama I want to be.

I breathe in and out. I allow myself to soften. Knowing in this softness is wisdom, strength. I soften for her, remembering what it is like to be that little girl. Knowing the criticism does more harm than good. Knowing these stories that live in me about what proper girls do and don’t are only that: stories, not truths. And slowly, painstakingly slowly, I release them and let her be.

And in letting her be, I am allowing myself to be. In allowing her imperfection, I allow mine. As I wrap her in my arms, I wrap myself. And slowly, painstakingly slowly, we heal.

And I know in those moments, we’ll be okay. Both of us, each of us, will be okay.

 

Posted in A Mama's Life, Becoming, being & becoming, Family, Grace, Growth, Mamahood, Mindfulness, Motherhood, Personal growth, Personal Myths | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment