Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Living Water, mental-health

A Piece of Church


I found church last night in Barnes and Noble.

I left my mom self at home and went out to person for a while.  To feed my soul so that I could feed us all.

I used to be a strictly fiction reader, escaping my world for one more exotic, yet predictable.  Since the beginning, books have been my home, my haven, my safe house.

And then I hatched.  I birthed myself afresh from the confining cocoon of uneasy comfort which held me captive.  I found again my love of learning that had gone dormant out of fear.   I found biographies.  Memoirs.  People pouring words out of themselves about their realness.  Humor.  Growth.  Humanity.

So I drink it in.  There’s always a new Amazon box.  Another podcast.  The next Audible book.  It’s exhilarating.  Life-giving.  In a lonely time in my life I have found communion and companionship in the spoken and written hearts of others who have been down paths that look like mine.  Past landmarks that I have seen as well.  Whose growth and evolution inspires me to lean into change.

At first, I held it all close to the vest.  The tender sprouts of my new understanding too frail to be exposed to the harsh elements of the world outside myself.  And then, like Jeremiah, it became a burning in my bones, lighting my soul on fire with epiphanies of life and love.

I drew courage from others who speak.  From the gorgeous souls who bravely bare themselves for connection.  I haltingly said a thing.  And carefully another.  It did not kill me.  I breathed in this realization.  Pondered it.  Gathered it to me like a gift.

I went to Barnes and Noble to wander the aisles looking for more courage.  For the people from whom my book people had gotten their inspiration.  Down the rabbit hole of the next author.  And another.  And the next.  Trusting that my searching, my craving for life is opening my mind and my heart to the more and more and more love and connection and healing that the human soul longs for.

Someone else was looking too.  Another human on a path of learning, expanding, growing.

We had church in the aisle.

All the burning newness.  The soul fire of love and learning.  The unlearned and the relearned.  The gift of letting the words out.  Another portion of courage and vulnerability.

I left in a glow of glory.  I felt alive with the magic of it.

I take wonder in.  I absorb concepts.  I mull ideas.  But they don’t fully become mine until they move from my brain to my mouth.  From my mind to my fingers.  Somehow, the act of passing them out of me catalyzes them.  They are transformed from glowing embers into roaring flames.

This is my church.  This is where my soul is fed.  This is my learning come to life.  This is where I find resurrection.  In Barnes and Noble with a stranger.  Who is really not a stranger at all but a human who is connected to my humanity by hope.  By the courage to be alive.  By the bravery to grow and change and be made new.  By the capacity to live loved.

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Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, mental-health, Thanks for the memories, The Future

Ashes, ashes. We all fall down.


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Photo credit: me…

I am a phoenix.

I regularly burst into flame.  And am reborn.

Hurts like hell to burn but I come back fiercer, stronger, more loving every time.  I will burn this mother down as many times as it takes to come out the person that I am, under all of the shit that obscures the beauty of who I was meant to be.

I will burn.  With the fierce passion of knowing that I was made for Love.  I will die a little every time that I may come forth in new and new and new life.  And all of the me that isn’t truly me will burn up little by little as I become.

It is terrifying to stand on a new truth, or a more refined truth.  What if I am wrong?  Well, chances are I am and will be wrong many times and many ways yet to come.  Hence the burning down.  And rising forth.  A baptism of fire.  A rebirth of anguish and glory.

I will burn this mother down.  I will burn this sister down.  This friend.  This wife.  This citizen.  I will be wrong.  And I will be new.

I said yes to life and health and all of the magic and pain that will bring me alive.  I will face the difficult.  I will trod forward in weariness.  I will triumph over the victories and so often weep for the failures.  Because all these things ignite me.  They consume the false and reveal the authentic.  The genuine.  The truly precious.  My soul.

I will burn this mother down.

I am a phoenix.

I feel the fire coming on.

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, mental-health, Thanks for the memories

I see me.


I was invisible.

To the world.  But most importantly, to myself.

I was raised in an environment that eroded the knowledge that I had value.  My therapist said once that the last place I probably felt safe was the womb.  I think we come into the world demanding to be cared for because we have an innate sense that we are helpless and that it’s our right as living, breathing, precious humans to be nurtured by the people who brought us here.  The fact of being alive comes with it the appraised value of immeasurable worth.  And then life…  Usually it is the simple fact of living that erodes our known value incrementally.  In my case, and in the cases of so many who have been treated as less than, the increments are staggering and crippling.  The once secure infant, squalling for acknowledgment, becomes a shrinking, ever-fading wisp of apologetic humanity, becomes a hustling, boundary handicapped adult.

So I became equal parts hidden and flaunting.  Validation was nectar of life to my soul.  I couldn’t move to the right or left without a strong sense that my decision would be met with acceptance.  I was crippled by having only the possibilities that I could see in my immediate now.  I struggled to see beyond.  To imagine more.  I wore a flashy disguise to cover the shame of my stunted resilience.

I couldn’t see me.  No one else could see me.  So I yelled and screamed above the crowd, hoping, praying, dying for a shred of recognition.

Until I was recognized falsely.  Having worked to the bone to put my heart on display in an aching need to be known, how was I so unknown?  How had no one heard me?  Did I even know me?  What if I wasn’t?  What if I didn’t?  What if I couldn’t?

The questions drove me to retreat into myself.

Shockingly, what I saw in there was me.  The real me.  The valuable me.  The worthy, precious, wildly loved me.  The me that hadn’t been seen in decades.  The me that was screaming and weeping and dancing invisibly with little hope of notice.

My world got quieter.  Because I didn’t have to shout to be heard.  Because I didn’t need to be heard.  I could hear me.  I could see me.  I made it quieter so I could hear myself be.

The superfluous had to go so that the genuine could shine.  The excess was shed so the authentic had space to flourish.

I’m thriving on less these days.  I’m giving myself space to see so that I’m not consumed with the need to be seen.  I listen so that I am heard by my own self.  I’m getting acquainted with me.  I like her.  I’m not so worried about other people’s acceptance of me.  I’m not perfect but I don’t require myself to be so that’s ok.  It’s messy.  It makes very little sense some days.  But it is so much more peaceful here in my new existence of acceptance.  So much happier.  So much less fearful.  And so many more possibilities ahead.  Once I’m ready for them.  I don’t need to have it all.

I am.  I am loved.  That is all.

 

Posted in Christmas, Family, Holidays, indigo inspiration, Thanks for the memories, The Future

Christmas Past


I finally did it.

I took down my tree.

I said goodbye to last year’s Christmas.

I’ve been thrashing myself with a whip of cords for the last 10 years.  I’m such a bum.  A lazy mom.  A loser that would leave the tree up until Valentine’s Day.

I walk past it over and over, wincing at the thought of unwrapping the lights and boxing up the ornaments.  The stockings come down first, usually around MLK Day.  Then the mantel lights.  The tree skirt comes off.  The Christmas Tupperware sits on the floor by the tree for a time and I throw in a few of the kids’ handmade goodies as they flutter to the ground.

Lazy, lazy, lazy.

My manger is still up.  It might not go for another month or so.

The deck lights might become permanent.  I unplugged the porch ones.  That’s good enough for now.

I figured it out this morning.  While I sawed off the branches.  Yes, in the house.  While it was still in the stand.  What?  You have you your process.  I have mine.

The Christmas tree represents for me the magic of the holiday.  The 6 of us picked it out and cut it down as per our tradition.  Jim sets it up.  I light the tree.  The ornaments are about 40% handmade by my children.  I didn’t even hang them this year.  My  children did.  Well, 3 of them hung ornaments.  My 2-year-old threw them at the tree and clapped when they landed on a branch.  It was pure perfection in my eyes.  We sit around it on Christmas morning and hand each other gifts.  My kids buy for each other now.  Watching them light up over the thoughtful choices was the pinnacle of Christmas spirit.

It is us.  It is love and joy and magic.

By this time every year, I have a dried piney fire hazard in some corner of my living room.  An old man of a tree.  An elderly Christmas past.

And I have to euthanize it.  Every year, I have to kill Christmas.  I have to put it out of its misery and make way for the new year to blossom.

I’m not lazy.  I’m grieving.  Just a little bit.  But enough to give me pause.

What if we’re not lazy every time we think we are?  What if we’re anxious over change?  What if we’re sad at letting go of something?  What if we’re overwhelmed?

Feel your feels, peeps.  Give them a name.  Own them.  Embrace them.  Give them the attention they need so you can move forward in your life.  In your day-to-days.  In your living and loving.  You are included in your loving.  There are 6 people in my home that need me to care for them, not 5.

So today I am saying goodbye to 2016’s Christmas.  I’m giving myself room to grieve so I can be wholeheartedly in 2017.

January 2018 will bring the death of 2017’s Christmas but I know what it is now.  I can embrace the goodbye.  I can beat myself up over one less thing.  I can go forward feeling the unpleasant emotions so that there is room in my heart for the other ones.

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Living Water, Winter

Waking Up To Love


I had to hibernate for a while.

Winter came suddenly to my soul.  Not a death, per say, but a necessity to hide away in quiet in order to be reborn and transformed.  It was brutally cold and dark and the only way to survive was to withdraw and conserve my resources.  I didn’t know it was coming.  Rather, I may have known in a way, but didn’t yet have the instinct to nourish myself in preparation.  I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to survive the season.

In hibernation, I shed a skin, a former life, as a fresh me began to come together.  As the ground thaws and the stirrings of new life whisper in the breeze, I’m seeing a new world around me as I, myself, am changed.

I’m opening my heart to Love and health.  I’m opening my mind to pursue new branches of wisdom and inspiration.

It’s terrifying.  As hell.  But so brilliant.  Like beams of warm, healing light breaking through the forest canopy to kiss the needle covered ground below.

The shedding made room for new.  For beauty.  For depth.  For uncertainty.  For adventure.

In slowly, carefully, emerging from my cocoon, and reconnecting more fully with the loves in my life, I am coming to see a new facet of Love’s glorious wholeness.

Love is not linear.

It is a window into eternity.  It is the finest wisp of understanding of the Love of our Creator for us, outside of time.

When someone comes into your life, when you let them in, when you love them, you love all the someones they have ever been.  All the someones that have made them who they are today.  Love doesn’t simply begin at one point and move forward.  It is born in the center of a moment and expands to flow out in all directions.  To the past that made you who you are.  To the future and all the promise of who you can be.  To the depths of experience and the heights of emotion.

A friend told me that she loves who I was because that person birthed who I am now.  That awkward jean skirt wearing teen me is in her heart just as I am now.  It was a deeply healing moment.  Teen me smiled through crippling pain.  Teen me was not worthy.  She was, as Brené Brown so aptly words it in her speaking and writing, “hustling for her worthiness.”  In that moment, my friend gave now me, as well as teen me, an exquisitely perfect gift.  Love reached through time and gave unloved, awkward, unfriended teen me a friend.  A long-aching part of me felt healing.

It was eerily similar to a conversation I had with another friend the night before.  We discussed an exercise that my therapist sometimes asks me to do.

“What would 31-year-old you like to say the little girl you that feels in pain and terrified and uncared for?”

“What does 6-year-old you need from adult you?”

It is always an incredibly vulnerable moment.  The best moments are.

There is very little chance that I will ever have my childhood pain acknowledged by the ones who inflicted it.  But that doesn’t mean the wound has to remain open and weeping forever.  In learning the eternalness of Love, I have gained a new ability to give myself the acceptance that every child deserves.  The more I learn of Love, of connection, I can more readily acknowledge the trauma I lived through, the pain I carry, and the utter worthlessness that suffocates healing Love.

I am retroactively valued.  I can give myself acceptance.  All of my selves and evolutions.  All of the me’s that felt rejection.  Abuse.  Denial.  Worthlessness.  Because I still am and will always be me.  In the same way that Love is, has been, and will be.

And winter will come again.  That is the nature of life.

But this time I will take a layer of nourishment into the cold with me.  I’m feeding my soul with Love and beauty and acceptance.  I’m letting the nonlinear, wildly eternal, all-encompassing, divine nature of Love reach into the dark, sleeping parts of me and assure them, assure me, that I am Loved.  I am worth.  I am accepted.  All of me.

Which brings connection.  And more Love.

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, mental-health

It’s OK…


It’s ok to be broken.

It’s okay to be incomplete.

It’s ok to not be there yet.

It’s really ok to look and be and feel and everything with you-ness.  Your worth is not wrapped up in meeting some invisible, arbitrary standard set by the nebulous ‘them’.  Often insults come in the form of “you’re so _____!”  Fill in the blank with anything that isn’t your strength.  Or some quality you are working on improving but have as yet not attained.  Or something you’re good at that doesn’t appear acceptable to the populace.  Take the power out of it by agreeing.

Yes!

I am messy.  And sensitive.  And contradictory.  I have trouble with any number of things.

And?

I already know that about myself.

But guess what?

I am a lot of other things too.  I am creative.  And sensitive.  And open to so many things.

I used to think that I could achieve perfection.  I used to think I should achieve perfection.  That until I made it, until I made the bell ring at the top by swinging the mallet with enough strength, I could not claim the love and acceptance from the ‘them’ and from myself that I so desperately crave.  I long for connection, but connection comes with so many rules, it seems.  And I am not in the box.  The rules don’t make sense to me.  The box dims my gifts and abilities and me-ness.

No one person possesses the elusive perfection that so many of us believe to be the goal.  Find out you.  You were perfectly and wonderfully crafted.  That truth can coexist with the flaws and imperfections you also contain.

Embrace your individually scarred body.

Befriend your one-of-a-kind mind.

Cherish your beautiful weird heart.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

See that hook?  Let yourself off.  You are not letting yourself down.

Simplify your perfection.

Because broken isn’t trash.

Incomplete isn’t worth less.

Not there yet means you’re on your way.  You’re in the middle of the process.  You’re living.  Being.  Experiencing.  Loving.  Growing.

Welcome 2017 with your beautiful, wonderful, exquisitely mosaic you.

Posted in indigo inspiration, Insane in the Brain, Thanks for the memories, The Future

Hope is the other side of the jealousy coin.


I went to bed early.  Like way early.  And then I woke up at an ungodly hour.  There’s a 5 o’clock in the morning too.  Who knew.

So I did what any reasonable person would do.  I read book reviews on my phone in bed.  I came across the scathing opinion of one reader.  Mind you, I haven’t read the book.  But the feelings in the review…

It got me thinking.  About healing.  And self-care.  And about hiding from what will make us better.  About being mad at other people who are healing because it spotlights the places we are still sick.

The process of pursuing health often looks ridiculous from the outside.  It looks selfish.  Downright weird.  Believe me, it feels weird on this side of it, too.  The growing pains, the exhaustion, the unusual choices.

The thing is, staying where you are is a choice.  And timidly peeking your head out from under your pain to look for help is a choice.  And both of the choices will hurt.  Hugging your abuse tumor hurts.  Getting it removed hurts.  Emotionally crippled hurts.  Reconstructing your heart hurts too.  But the sickness kills.

I put off a lot of things that could help make me well because it felt like it was too big of a deal.  It felt selfish.  I felt unworthy of them.  My luggage wasn’t heavy enough to merit getting someone to carry it for me.  I put down people who I felt were recklessly open to caring for their hearts.  It wasn’t proper.  It was self centered and irresponsible.

Irresponsible is knowing you have something eating away at you that keeps you from living.  It’s knowing that part of you is crushed and dying and that the dying part is hurting you and your closest tribe.  And choosing to look the other way.  Denial will decimate you so much quicker than the sting of admission.  It will hurt your people.  It will drain the color from the sky.

Does something feel not quite right?  Trust that.  Educate yourself.  Search for answers.  Do weird things like yoga on your back deck.  And if you’re wrong about something helping you, scrap it for something you’ve found works better.  There’s absolutely no shame in changing course when you learn a new thing.

The harshest protests often come from the greatest pain.

  • “I wish I could just throw money at my problems.”
  • “The rest of us just have to suck it up.”
  • “Wow.  Look at that mess.”

Um, yeah.  Pot, meet kettle.  Mirror, mirror…

It’s longing.  It’s jealousy.  It’s the desire in ourselves for improvement.  It’s called hope.  And fear.  It’s a terrible dance.  I know I can be whole but I’m afraid I can’t be.  I want life but I’m terrified it will kill me.  I am too big of a mess and I think it might not be bad enough to merit all that.

Listen to the warrior inside that you keep trying to hush.  You are a hero.  Put on your damn cape.