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.

 

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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

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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

Crystal

As I look out on the deck covered in brown leaves lined in crystal frost, I think of the impermanence of it all: how slowly and quickly each season passes, how the frost will melt, the children will grow, my husband and I will gain more grey hairs.

Looking back over the years, they seem to have passed in a blink. I look at photos of my husband and I when we first met and I cannot believe that was almost two decades ago. I look at those young people and smile, still feeling them in my heart and bones. I look in the mirror and am sometimes shocked by the grey and the lines, not always sure when they first appeared. I wonder how it can be that this body is over 43 years old when most days I don’t feel that. But then of course, there are the days I do.

I wonder how the days can feel so long at times when the years seem to have passed in less than a blink. How is it possible I have been with one amazing man for over 17 years? How did my tiny premature baby girl grow into this giant almost-8 year old? How did my boy grow from helpless infant to a little toddler who walks and climbs and insists already on doing things on his own and in his own way?

I wonder how I survived the days that seemed to drag out forever. The fights and arguments that I swore would shatter us? The sleepless nights comforting my teething girl and now my teething boy? The ER visits where I swear my heart leaped out of my body as they showed us images of broken bones? The days of being yelled at constantly by one child or the other or sometimes now both? The days of not having time to sit down and write and allow the flow of my experience and soul to find a resting place? The days of not even having time to go pee by myself?

Yet survive them I did. And survive the ones to come I will. This life, so precious, so fragile, so strong.

He sits in his bouncer babbling at me as these words appear on the screen. Hiccups come and he chews on his finger, in awe of the teeth that have sprouted up over the last couple days. There are days this all annoys me, not having time to write on my own, not being able to concentrate, but today I smile and the truth that this won’t always be reality washes over me.

She is still asleep in her cozy bed. I wonder when she will awaken? When will she join our quiet little party of words babbled and typed? When will she add her smiles to our morning revelry? Soon enough, at exactly the right moment I know.

Was it just yesterday that I was worn to my core with his screams and demands of not allowing me to leave his side as he napped? Was it just yesterday that her laughter grated on my very being, so loud, so disturbing to my ears? Yes it was, and it may again be today and possibly tomorrow.

Right now, however, right now I smile and want to wrap them in my arms, holding them close and never letting them go. Right now I want time to stop and the smiles and laughter to dance in the air. I want these quiet, private moments between us to be remembered in my soul in those moments I want to runaway screaming and crying. I do not want these moments to melt away with the passage of time, I want to keep them fresh as a new fallen snow, forever.

So I sit and type my words as he babbles and starts to become irritated by his trappings of the bouncy seat and I wonder if his shouts will wake his sister. They are my flesh and blood, and yet they are not me or mine really. They are their own and still we are one.

snow tree last foreverWriting inspired by Corinne Cunningham‘s Writing Naturally:Winter workshop.

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Squall

Looking in, I see the storm brewing, rising up. There is a need that will no longer be ignored. Getting the words out. Telling the story, examining the story, understanding the story. My story. How I came to be. For me.

It’s not a pretty story, but it is a true one. True in that way that I believe it to be, though others may have a different opinion. There is pain and heartbreak. There are hospital visits and abandonment. There are moments of hope and peace. There is redemption and survival and living, deep, breath-taking living.

There is a long period of self-destruction and while that phase may make others sad or uncomfortable, it was necessary. The breaking down had to occur for the re-construction to take place.  It had to be that dark so I could notice the light.

And eventually the light was noticed and the reconstruction began. It would be nice to say that it was all flowers and sausages from that moment forward, but this is reality, life, my life, we are talking about. There have been rocky bits and scarey bits and rainbows and laughter and windstorms and thunderbolts. There has been pleasure and joy and beauty and perfect imperfection. It has been a whirlwind some days, weeks and months, and other times more of a quiet, gentle breeze, and other times still the air has felt so stagnant I couldn’t breathe at all.

This is the ebb and flow of life, my life specifically and I’m quite certain your life, and your life, and their life too. We have periods of destruction (hopefully) followed (hopefully) by reconstruction. And we are never quite the same after each breaking down; each new iteration of us something more than we were before. We become people with more jagged edges and softer, gooey-er centers. We become harder and softer, depending on where we are, who we are and how we view the world.

We each have our own lens that developed in those early years of life. Many of us were given our lens by our parents, grandparents, teachers and other important adults in our lives. They tried their best, I need to think, and each had his or her own lens they viewed the world through. And their lenses influenced our lens and at some point we aren’t sure where they stop and we begin.

And there is a time of seeking and searching and sorting out what is theirs and what is ours. What is mine and what is hers and what is his, where in the blurred edges do they actually stop and I actually begin?

Maybe there is no real separation. Even as I shed their stories and sort out what is truly me, I know that they are still a part of that. They still influenced all the decisions before, either in my conscious or my unconscious heart and mind. For me, the point isn’t to extract them fully from my being, but rather about being aware of them and understanding when it is more them and less me. Knowing when the fear that creeps up is the generations old story and not from my personal experience. Knowing when to soak in the wisdom and when to gently yet forcibly push out the myth that no longer serves me, or them.

Because they do live in me, the women and men before, those who make up my DNA. The ones who gave me their eyes and hips and lips and voice. The ones who passed along this love of words and writing and the ones who didn’t pass on an innate talent for drawing or painting. They and their experiences are as much a part of me as my own experiences are. And this sorting out and deciding what to keep and what to let go is like an endless cleaning of the attic, constantly finding both treasures and trash.

So now, in these moments of my 44th year of life, I feel I am in the quiet of the storm. I see the chaos that surrounded me, that created me yet I feel at peace and calmed by it. I am now in that place of being able to reject what no longer serves me and to allow myself to step more fulling into who I want to be. Their limitations are not mine and I do not need them to keep me safe. I now call on their strength and bravery to step into this next iteration, this new way of being me, being proud of me and who I am, and who I am becoming and unbecoming.

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

Posted in Becoming, Being, being & becoming, Connection, Mamahood, Mindfulness, Motherhood, Personal growth, Personal Myths, Roots, Shedding, Unbecoming, writing | 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.)

Posted in Mindfulness | Leave a comment

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

These bones

In my bones are stories that aren’t mine. Stories of my mother’s or grandmothers’ or great-grandmothers’. Perhaps they weren’t their stories either, perhaps they were handed down to them too. Passed off as Truth, as Rules to Live By, as The Way We Must Be. Stories of what it is to be a mother, a woman, a wife. Stories of how or when to talk, what it means to be successful, how our worth is measured by others, be they by our side or not.

Stories of being a bad mother not deserving of children. Stories of not having value. Stories of not talking too much, or shining too brightly. Stories of being noticed, but only for the right things.

So many stories live in my muscles and bones and DNA. Stories given to me on silver platters lined in blood and tears.

Competition, holding down, holding back. No trust in these stories, no sisterhood. No love. These stories were not shared in the red tent or in circle around the fire while howling at the moon. These stories were born of loneliness, isolation, pain, and fear.  Always fear.

Who spoke the first story telling me, them, us, we have no value of our own? Who forced these stories upon my mothers and grandmothers and aunts and great-grandmothers and all the women before them? When did these stories become “Truth”? Was it when Hesoid transformed Pandora from a Earth Mother Goddess, a creatrix of life, into the bearer of all pain and destruction in this world? Was it that long ago? And why, oh why did my mothers succumb to the fear and allow those stories to be told so many millennia ago? Why, did they take them in as truth and allow them to be  spread as a disease that grows in our being, to be passed down through flesh and bone to each of their daughters?

What will it be to shed these stories one by one? Will they ever all be shed? How can I not pass these stories on to my daughter, who is made up of half my DNA? How I can show her the value of being a girl growing into a woman? How can I replace our tainted bones with ones of life and creation and beauty?

Slowly, so slowly the layers peel back, getting deeper into these bones, extracting the marrow that no longer serves and allowing a new nourishment to grow in its place. It is messy and painful and beautiful this extraction and new growth. One story excavated, shown for what it is: a myth, not Truth unless I want it to be. And as this story rewrites and reforms into my own reality and truth and being now, I find yet another story of theirs, and I take in a slow deep breath and prepare myself for this next procedure of extraction and new growth.

Coming into my body, into my breath, taking back my muscles and skin and bones and very being as mine. First in my body and then in my soul, me, mine. Sharing, giving, melding, and still holding what is mine as sacred and honest and earth and blood. The stories come and go and the tears flow and I hear their whispers and screams to stop this process, to let the stories lie and continue to live in fear of being too much or too little and always never enough. I wrap us all in love and comfort, letting my mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers and their mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers and theirs too, all know that we will be okay, that there is no wrong in digging down to our truth and stories, in allowing this regrowth; there is only beauty in coming together in circle and allowing ourselves and each other to glow and that as we own our body and being and breath and life, we will do more than survive; we will flourish and thrive and glow and truly, deeply, fully, live.

know theyself

 

Inspired by Alisha Sommer and Robin Sandomirsky‘s Liberated Lines FLASH::Amplify.

Posted in Becoming, being & becoming, Connection, Family, Mamahood, Mindful living, Mindfulness, Personal Myths | 2 Comments