True Love

I am done trying to make myself feel positive and loving, when all I want to do is hide, curl up and cry.
Even telling myself that I am loved, that I am surrounded by love feels intrusive. I’m in mourning because my old self is dying, and the different parts of me are whispering their story, their voices becoming louder when I try to be present.
It feels disrespectful to tell those vulnerable parts something I’m not feeling, for example that I am loved by God. I don’t feel love and I don’t feel belonging. It feels like silencing myself, something my family used to do when I was growing up by mocking my anger, and being blind to the sadness underneath. Positive thinking feels a bit similar to me now, it feels like ridiculing the pain I am going through, shrugging it off with “oh stop it, surely it’s not that bad. Here, have some artificial love instead”. That doesn’t mean I never think positive (without trying) or that I’m never happy. I am, usually about the smallest things. I can feel a surge of excitement when I think about making myself a coffee and reading a good book, watching Sex and the City for the tenth time, writing on a story and getting that feeling of time passing without me noticing, just writing, writing and feeling inspired. But when I sit with myself, and I come across a deep abyss of sadness and pain, the last thing I want to do is look away and smudge some balm over the wound, hoping it will go away by itself. It doesn’t. I need to listen, without judging, without turning it into something different. Now is not the time to try and feel gratitude, abundance or love. I show my love by not turning away, by not whispering sweet words, trying to distract the part of me, the child in me that is wailing and desperate for a hand to hold. I hold her hand and I try to stand what she is showing me, because that is true love.  

Matt Licata: A New Neural Groove of Self-Care

Though it may seem obvious, there is a huge difference between feeling our feelings and engaging with them at a more interpretive level, caught up in the subtle narrative which can so easily get spun around them. Staying embodied to profound sadness, as feeling and sensation, is not the same as talking to ourselves about why we’re sad, when it’s going to go away, who caused it and how it is evidence that we are not enough, unworthy of love, and that something is wrong with us.

For many of us we can say – “Oh, I’m fully in my body. I’m in direct, intimate contact with the raw feelings and sensations of anger, sadness, grief, shame, and hopelessness. Don’t tell me I’m not feeling all that! I’ve ‘been sad’ for so long!” But if we will pause, slow way down and get curious about what is true, we may discover that what we are mostly in touch with is a subtle narrative that we have wrapped around our feelings.

In this discovery it is important to not shame ourselves, go into a secondary narrative about how we’ve failed and will never ‘get it right,’ but to return with kindness into the body and meet what is there. We may have to return over and over and over again, committing to stay w/ the burning for short periods of time – not so long that we re-traumatize ourselves or become totally overwhelmed, but long enough where we continue to build our tolerance for intensity. We can push ourselves just a little, with a fiery sort of kindness.

The invitation is to shift your awareness out of the storyline and into the body, not as some ‘goal’ to get it right, but as a practice, because you are committed to kindness and to caring for yourself. Not because the storyline is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong,’ but because it is one level removed from the fire of direct experience. It is within the center of this fire, in the alchemical crucible of the body, where healing emerges. In this sense, healing is a somatic process, rather than ultimately a cognitive one. This is not to say cognitive insight and awareness is not helpful; of course it is. But it is through a full-spectrum approach to caring for yourself that the wounds of the heart are best unwound over time.

As we make the commitment to staying with our immediate experience, we are creating a new neural groove of self-care. This radical sort of attention and attunement was not available to many as young children, as their caregivers were often just too preoccupied or dissociated from their own experience to provide a holding space for another’s. It is a tremendous act of kindness to train ourselves to stay embodied to that which we were not capable of staying w/ as a young child in our family of origin. This is how we can love ourselves and in turn be present, attuned and loving to another.

- Matt Licata

That life that is Me

frozen rain, the earth
stripped of nourishment,
laid bare.
Icy wind plaguing vulnerable red skin.
Slowly, stumbling,
Cursing under my smoky breath
I try to find my heart
in this labyrinth of snow
and concealment,
scared of the drops of blood
along the way,
vivid, fiery, ominous,
scarring nature’s peaceful tapestry.

A life has been wasted here
my mind snarls
Go back now, for God knows
what tragic death you may find.
I’d rather wish you didn’t look, didn’t see,
didn’t wander out in this godforsaken weather,
collecting bones, mending raw flesh.
You are not strong enough, how could that escape your notice?
You won’t be able to stand what you see,
you will cry, you will scream, you will lose your mind,
you will fall to your knees and never get up. You will be
consumed with grief.
Please go back now, woman, return to your cosy sleep.
I doubt, I wonder, I bite my teeth too hard

But a flicker of light in the depths of me,
a memory of wild laughter and merriment
under the full moon
makes me unable to halt,
unable to stop looking,
for that life that’s been wasted,
that life that is me.

Wild Geese revisited

I know I have posted this poem before, but it feels so important to me right now to go over and over the meaning of it again and again.
You do not have to be anything society tells you to. You can just breathe, and pause, and listen to that soft whisper inside of you – or that roar. My mind is so often occupied with others. I can’t tell you how automatic it is for me to worry about what other people will think of me. How long an innocent, spur-of-the-moment post on Facebook haunts my thoughts, because who will see it and what will they think of me?
This poem is like a breath of fresh air, reminding me of my place in nature – you too belong here, with the wild geese and the trees and the changing weather. You belong here, there is a place for you. For people like me, who have so much trouble taking up space sometimes, this is a very welcome, relieving notion.
Self-doubt comes creeping in, self-hatred too sometimes for not living up to a certain standard I set for myself, wanting to appear a certain way. But the poem tells me, my instincts are good, wise…oh, there is so much wisdom in you! I need the reminder that I’m not alone, that there is wisdom and creativity from beyond flowing through me, seeking access to this world, connecting me with others. I’m not special or different, and that idea, after feeling so different during my youth, not seeming able to break the wall between myself and others, breaks down some of the isolation I feel. Yes, there are people I don’t get on with, but there are also people who delight my heart, who make me feel part of something – a tribe, a family. Then again, there is this part of me that doesn’t want to belong, doesn’t want to get lured into feeling safe, and so the journey of going deeper within, sitting with and making friends with all the different parts of us never ends. It is a constant dance between isolation and daring to connect, to reach out, and to being able to stand getting burned, rejected, always keeping in mind our own innocence of simply wanting to be loved.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Wild Geese – Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Getting real this time

There is no goal, no endpoint. You are here, my love, you are truly here. You are who you are, already complete, not looking to be patched up, no. Everything is right here. Think about that, the journey is already completed, yet it goes on forever. Do you want to keep looking outside, where the weather is always changing, where there is nothing to hold on to while you cry? That dark place that you call yourself, where lighting reigns and seemingly no firm ground, there you are, forever. I know that makes you feel desperate, I know that makes you blind with the urge to escape, to jump to solid ground.  Look at yourself, and tell me, do you need the ground? Do you need to know where you are? Or are you somehow bigger than that, more expansive? And yet, you can disappear so easily without a trace. Where do you go to? Jump out of your skin, if you like, but there is no escape. You have to face it. Face that you are here, sitting on this chair, and that there is nothing outside of you that could make you happy, if you fail to turn within. If you fail to brave the emptiness. How? you ask me. There is no how. There is only surrender, tenderness with your wiles. Letting go of the image that your mother has of you, that you are still struggling to achieve. Letting go of what other people want of you, and to realise: you do not know yourself. You do not know what you love, have never allowed yourself to taste it, to venture there. You are afraid, afraid to disturb the waters, to feel people’s wrath. You know what it is to be excluded, to be despised, the black sheep, and you’ve been running from that feeling ever since. All you truly want is to fit in, to morph yourself into an acceptable being, and to be praised and loved. And you’ve learned that to want to fit in is not acceptable anymore to your additional image of being a free spirit, so you’ve driven yourself into a knot, and there you’ve been hanging, suspended, stuck ever since. There is no way out, there is only the work that needs to be done of going deeper, being brutally honest, untying the knots. Love that soft animal that wants to fit in, stroke it with your breath, untie the knots of self-hate covered in a glimmer of self-love. Know yourself, discover yourself, invoke Kali if you must. You are a beautiful being, because you are infinite. Deep down there is treasure, I promise you. Just don’t ever try to run again, we’ve done this too much now. You are worth more than this blind bumping into things, pretending you didn’t see it coming. You did. Be honest, be authentic, know your limits and your intentions. Be honest. It’ll be hard to love yourself sometimes. You might turn away in disgust from what you find. There is no need to deny that, to feign roses and bubbles and expensive gadgets and call that soul-searching. We are more than that.

“Durga becomes angry, her face becoming dark as ink. Suddenly the goddess Kali springs from her forehead.” Kali is Durga’s rage, fury, and bloodlust unleashed onto the battlefield. “She roars loudly and leaps into battle where she tears demons apart with her hands and crushes them in her jaws.”

My Intention for 2015

Self-love, pure and simple. I want to be kind, patient, accepting and gentle with myself. I want to put my own needs first, and to stop fighting so damn hard to please others. I want to tune in often with myself, and speak out when I need to speak out. I want to follow my natural rhythm and pay attention to my writing and spirituality. I want to take my writing and creative gifts seriously. I want to write more. I also want to move out this year, if possible. I want to create my own life, where I am free to be me and to get to know myself better. Self-love is paramount. Accepting my own feelings. Trying to be gentle with myself instead of harsh and judgemental. Having compassion with myself. Knowing that I am trying. Relaxing without feeling guilty. Letting go of the work hard all the time mentality. Trusting that I am looked after. Trusting that I am abundant and worthy of love, whatever happens. I want to stop letting fear guide my decisions, although I also want to accept my fear and love it. Looking out for myself. Developing my intuition. Being myself. Daring to share myself more, raw and uncensured, to worthy people.

Draw Your Sword and Mark Your Line in the Sand

Just because you are willing to stand naked in your truth
does not mean that others will suddenly ‘get you’
and play by the same rules of integrity

Stripping away the false images of hype and strategy
leaves you naked and open to to those
who would scratch and claw away at your raw

But draw your sword and mark your line in the sand

There are others who are standing strong
unwilling to compromise and sell their souls
and these are the ones
that your soul will meet and
be nourished by and
these are the ones whom you will feed

The feminine is meeting the masculine within
and the warrior-ess is making her way forward

She has the instincts of the mighty lioness and can smell
the small minded thinkers even when they have donned the
masks of trickery

She is keen to the games
people play
chooses to drop them all.

She is on a bigger mission.

~ Flora Aube