Heeding the Siren and Letting Everything Go (big changes for 2014)

We are not enlightened by what we speak, but rather what speaks to us. Yet we pass Truth around, instead of letting it pass through us. - Tara Wagner, www.theorganicsister.com

We are not enlightened by what we speak, but rather what speaks to us.
Yet we pass truth around, instead of letting it pass through us.

These were the words I wrote over a year ago, words that went ringing in my ears, setting into motion a train that’s only now pulling into station, that last sentence like the line of cars being pulled along, showing itself to me again and again.

I want to try – possibly unsuccessfully – to explain how it’s changed me and what that means for this space. Be patient, please…and be gentle…

——

We watch as wisdom flashes across our screen – a quote, a message, a reminder, a graphic – some ancient knowledge speaking to us, jolting us awake from our day-to-day shuffle, but we fail to let it permeate us, to sink in through muscle and bone, to the marrow of our soul, the space between our cells where transformation and Truth spring forward.

Instead we Share it, Like it, Pin it, and then move on without it. It doesn’t matter how deeply it moved us, doesn’t matter the goosebumps it brought us, or the lurch it spurred in us. The earth can move the seat beneath us, then be forgotten in three instants later as we continue to scroll down the page. I can even come across the same exact words, the same exact graphic, and not remember it had already spoken to me, rattled me, tried to awaken me. (I know this because of that handy little feature on Pinterest that says “Pssst! Looks like you already pinned this.” or when I recognize that what I’m looking at was actually shared from me in the first place.)

This is my sad reminder of a shallow distraction, when the scripture being written on my heart is so easily dropped into the file of no return.

Every day I’m so bombarded with so many of Just the Right Words that all they become are empty words, a passing thought, a glimpse of Truth, a mop passed ’round and around the puddle of Light, pointed out and handed off to one another to show our own enlightenment, but not truly lapped up by our own hands.

We are not enlightened by what we speak.

And so Life is not letting me do that anymore.

It’s not letting me skim across the pixels on a screen, trying to turn intangible into tangible, quickly distracted by the next dinging bell or onslaught of information. It’s not letting me pass around enlightenment without absorption. It’s not letting me speak too quickly, often times leaving me not speaking at all. (I’ve sat quietly in more situations in the past year than I have in a lifetime before.) I’m absorbing, absorbing, absorbing, opening every pore on my body in hopes that more will pervade.

I can hear the siren call. It’s saying to drop out, turn off, tune in. It’s saying things can’t go on the same, and can’t go back without facing certain death.

It’s saying spiritual suicide is committed when we don’t give ourselves completely to the lover gripping us at the waist.

I feel it when I sit down at my computer, like the hands of God being placed on my back, pushing me out of my chair the moment I lose myself to distraction, to the things that strip me of time, rather than strip me of my own Ego. I feel the pressure to go, move, get up, shut it off, step away, be done with, and I can’t ignore it. It’s become that train, first only echoing in the distance, but now rumbling so loudly in my chest that it can’t be disregarded, talked over, brushed aside. Instead it is stampeding through me, rattling my ribcage, demanding I take heed before it barrels me over.

This is what Life is saying to me…

Get up, get offline, get out.

The virtual handshake is no longer satisfying the need for a physical embrace. It’s not enough to see one another in avatars and condensed pixels and 140 character blurbs that have been repeatedly edited to portray just the right image. It’s not enough to know what you had for breakfast but not know the voice that’s sharing it.

I need touch, I need voice, I need face. I need to know what spills out of your mouth before you can backspace and try again. I need to see the flashing in your eyes that tells the rest of the story. I need to hold your hands and see us both get real with one another (and ourselves).

I don’t want to just listen to a woman on the phone; I want to take them in, seeing what Spirit shows and what they show, when we are face-to-face. I don’t want to only talk about essential oils; I want to drip them into hands, rub them into necks, anointing feet and Soul.

I don’t want to just work, lose myself in the paying of bills, or the marketing of products and services, and forget that none of this matters, that my only real job is to realize my own Self, to awaken to my own Consciousness, to see and experience Life with those I love and with that wide-awake presence I can’t find when I’m constantly distracted by the tiny computer in my pocket.

So, I’m taking the jump. I’m plunging off the high dive. Delving into the deepest of deep ends. Marrying my own Self-Realization, prioritizing my own spiritual practice, and allowing it to show me what gets to fall away.

And I can see glimpses of it already.

I’m already leaving my phone in the other room, on silent, at home.
I’m making the shift to a planner that feeds me, not just organizes me.

And now I see my mentoring hitting the pause button.
And I know the Organic Sisterhood is being retired.

I know that my time is being reallocated to make space for meditation every morning, and satsang 3 days out of every week, maybe four. For less Facebook, more dancing. Less marketing, more personal creativity. Less planning, more movement.

And I know that what is left after all this shakes out will be driven by something other than my Ego, other than my business plans and marketing goals, other than my own mind. (I’ve talked so long about “getting out of our head and into our hearts”; it’s only now that I’m seeing the ways in which I resisted doing that.)

Because I can’t anymore. I can’t ignore my own Dharma, the role Life wants me to play, the flow it’s asking me to relax back into, give into, allow. I can’t ignore that inner guidance saying it’s time to do more than pass Truth around, time to truly allow it to pass through me, to embody it, to spend more time living it, than teaching it.

And I don’t want to. (Ignore it, that is.)

Last year I learned how to surrender. Through fear, through trepidation, I gave in reluctantly, hesitantly. I trusted the process, but only through a lot of deep breaths and self-pep talks.

This year I’m not surrendering. I’m devouring. I have a hunger, a gnawing growl in my belly that is ready to rip through me with desire, that’s ready to consume and be consumed, whether it be professional suicide or not.

I know I’ll lose friends, lose some of you lovely readers, make some family uncomfortable, and maybe piss a few people off.

I’m sorry. I love you. And please understand me. There comes a point when you have no choice, when you’re willing to look crazy and disregard reason because you know, you know, you KNOW the Truth that sits at your side, holds your hand, and tells you it’s time. You know it like you know the face looking back from the mirror, because it’s your face, and it’s been looking at you all this time.

And it is time. Time for me to change what I do, or maybe just how I do it.

Dharma (my guiding word for 2014) is said to be a divine order, a natural flow to life, that gives us a role and a path, a job or a duty. I resisted those words, the connotation of force, of unwillingness, of obligation they seemed to smack of. I didn’t want a duty; I wanted only freedom. But that was a lens of fear and misunderstanding I was seeing through, and that lens is being shattered. Now I’m finding freedom in that flow, in the giving in to the path laid before me, into the blessing of it, the way it fits me so perfectly, comes together so easily, feels so right. (How could it not? I helped create it.)

This Dharma thing is speaking to me…

About making a community…
A home here in Florida…
About rooting down…
Spending my free time with my guys…
Helping Zeb prepare for the possibility of high school…
Helping him step out of his box and confront his fears…
About writing on paper – real paper – what’s written on my heart…
It’s speaking of a role, a duty I have to my Self first, and my guys next…
It’s telling me there is a time for everything, and that this time is for the here and now…
For real life friends, and bonfires on the beach, and paint under my fingernails…

I’m trying, I’m really trying to articulate this, but I promise you, no matter how much you think it’s making sense, my words aren’t conveying the deep and powerful message Life is laying down before me about where I need to be and why it’s all part of a perfect plan.

If there is one thing Life has given me this year, it was my own heart, wide open. It laid it’s strong and heavy hand against the marble I had built around me, and it slowly, gently wore it down, until what I thought was impenetrable became porous, became sandstone, became twigs and brush, became a mist of smoke, and it didn’t take a huff or a puff to blow my house of self-preservation to the ground.

With one soft and sweet and sexy breath upon my neck, my walls scattered and my heart was exposed.

I’ve experienced more joy, more laughter, more silliness, more delight, more hilarity, more dancing than I thought my boxed-in soul was capable of. Here I was thinking that “who I am” was embodied only in depth, the kind that manifests as reverence and seriousness, never recognizing that my true Self, once unlocked, extended into the depths of gratitude, magic, perfection, and bliss as well – that I had the capacity to see and enjoy both the revered and the ridiculousness of the Absolute. I’m overcome by emotion at the beauty of life, overwhelmed by the brilliance of the human condition. I’m moved to tears and laughter at this stage performance we all keep losing ourselves in. It’s so much more than I imagined.

(I know I’m not explaining this well. Profound Moves lose much in translation.)

Simply put, I’ve been transformed.

My own son hardly recognizes me anymore, and in the best of ways.

I feel my heart pounding its wild fists against my chest, stomping its wild feet in tune to its own wild dance, a declaration of its existence, a finding of freedom and trumpeting the song written across it, like a tiny Footloose playing out amongst my ribs. It manifests itself as silliness and joy and utter stupidity. And people I’ve known all along, including myself, are marveling at the woman they are only just now meeting.

I’ve sat with this story for months, just trying to hear it. Then more months, listening and relistening, interpreting, absorbing, and making sense of it. A year now of being spoken to of astronaut wisdom and forgetting cell phones

And then my Granny’s hands…her life, her love like the bushel that broke the camel’s back, shattering my illusions of what matters, what’s real, and what we’re here to do.

Life has been talking to me about Life, about living it, about wringing the juices out of it in real and tangible ways, about celebrating with our movements and our hands, about things we can touch, Truth we can’t skim and scroll past.

I thought I had done this as we’ve traveled for the past four years, but in Truth, as we explored the country our lives became less tangible, more online, and lacking in a quality that it needed. A depth and connection that goes missing when you drive by so quickly.

There no doubt in my mind that this year has changed my life. Took me places I never thought I wanted to go, exploding ideas into splinters of inconsequential particles that landed softly and dissolved before I even realized they were gone, and there I was…exposed.

The ship is going by a mighty engine, and you are busy rowing. - Mooji

I’ve thought long and hard about this choice to stop rowing, to let the mighty engine do what I can’t really stop anyway, until thinking no longer made sense and all that was left was the doing, the getting out of one’s own way, the admitting, the owning of not only what this girl’s gotta do, but who this girl has gotta be.

Yes, I could feel scared. I have bills to pay and there is still a habit of mind that asks how the hell it will come together, work out, fall into place. But that’s not a game I want to play with my mind anymore, not a place I have the desire to go any longer, and so I’m not. Just like that, I’m just not. Because I know that when I step into the flow, stop fighting the rapids, and allow Life to rush over me, it may not ever look the same, but it will never drown me, can’t drown me.

How can the ocean drown in itself?

So I don’t feel scared (okay, maybe a wee bit). Mostly, I feel excited. Ready. I feel as though I’m hitting a permission button on my heart, a process that has taken me 10,000 steps over 10 years (or lifetimes), something I thought I had done again and again already (and realize I might end up doing again and again later too).

Before, my heart, my spirituality came only after my practicality. But a wide awake heart has no patience for that. Not when it’s hungry to know itself. To know Life. To realize more and more of what’s beyond the makeup of the mind.

So this is my coming out…

I’m wildly in love with that place beyond. Head-over-heels for the mystical divinity within. I’m putting the “oooooo” in Woo-Woo, people. And I’m owning my joy, not just because it’s bubbling up and making itself impossible to hide anymore; I’m owning it because it’s just that freaking good.

It’s not going to change me; it already has. I’m just finally ready to admit it to all of you. I don’t want to just be “The Organic Sister” anymore, locked into something I feel I must maintain for good looks or sensible business strategies, for competitive edge or God knows what. I’d rather wipe the slate clean with my own admission, paint into it a new image (or no image at all), one guided by Buddhi, that inner wisdom that tells me how to align myself with Dharma, the right path; how to let go, let flow, and watch the magic taking place.

Is all of this making sense? Let me try to say it in simpler terms:

My heart has woken up, my spirit is the captain of this ship, my Ego is below deck, learning to take orders. This boat is heading in a new direction. Some things around here are disappearing, left at the horizon; some are just changing. Some things might just be getting my whole attention, and some may come back later, but some most certainly are not.

I’m closing the Organic Sisterhood, taking a break from mentoring, and allowing the rest to happen naturally.

You may not be a good fit anymore for the direction of this voyage, and I honor that, but not by dishonoring my Self.

I still love what I do, still love my oils and want to talk about them, still love my work and want to practice it, still believe in what I’ve created and want to share it.

But the How has become my Optimus Prime, reconstructing itself into something bigger and more imposing on my soul. It’s accepting no excuses, no distractions, no second chairs. It’s transpiring only as a result of inner guidance from now on. If it doesn’t come from the Universe, from my own heart center, if it doesn’t place my own spiritual practice front and center in my life, it’s just not happening.

I feel vulnerable putting this out there. I know the voices that can crop up, the criticism, the snide remarks, the fear, the judgment, the worry, the frustration. (I know it because I got to move through all of it myself to get to this place of peace.)

Please know I’m not totally abandoning this space. Please know I’m here to answer questions.

Please know I love you.

Please, if this change might affect you in any way, please sit with your questions and emotions for a moment, a day, a week, and then reach out to me with patience and an open heart. I’m here to talk with you.

And please, if you feel the draw, hang around. I don’t know what 2014 will look like around here but I’m excited to find out. โ™ฅ

 

My Retreat Turned Into Retreating

On my way...

I’ve got my feet up, my heart out, my head on. I’m not sure if I’m ready or just resolute, but I’m on my way. Confronting my resistance with 7 days of all day, every day meditation. It might blow my mind to bits. But that might be a good thing.

That was the photo and those were the words rattling around within me Friday. Right before I turned my phone off, handed it to my hubby, and arrived at the ashram.

I’m not sure how to describe the week that followed. People like to ask if I “had a good time”, but “good” is not exactly the word that fits. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t exactly good either.

Useful. That was the adjective I settled on.

It was a useful week. Enlightening. Challenging. Helpful in many ways. Heart-wrenching in others.

I knew I’d be confronting my resistance to meditation, but I had no idea what that resistance was. I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea how I was about to crumble. Shit, I’m not even sure where to start, how to explain it, to describe the gamut of internal movement I went through and where it has lead me, and where it might be leading me now.

I mean, I see it. I feel it. I just have so few words for it.

Five meditations a day (I had thought it was only four). The first one at 6:30am, to which I could barely drag myself out of bed for.

That was my experience the first 4 and a half day actually. Bone-fucking-tired and can’t drag myself out of bed (or off the couch).

I’ve never slept so much in my life. I’d be awake just in time for the first meditation (fall asleep during it of course), then wake long enough to eat breakfast and take a shower, head to the second meditation and fall asleep within 15 min after until the third meditaiton, then eat lunch and try to read until I fell back asleep again, wake up just in time for the fourth meditation, have dinner, and then either fall back asleep until the last meditation or fight to keep my eyes open until I did.

Sleep, eat, meditate, punctuated by reading and discussion circles (of which I often fell asleep during).

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I shouldn’t have been surprised actually. My body tends to put me to sleep when I’m moving through deep work. I’m pretty sure it’s my spirit’s way of making sure my head doesn’t get in the way. I just hadn’t planned for it.

I also hadn’t planned for the way in which I retreated into myself.

Or all the crying.

Cracking open is hard work. It’s messy and more than a little embarrassing. There are so many parallels drawn in my heart, so many images my mind showed me if where I was.

I went expecting to confront the things in my world that were challenging me but all those things fell away. Instead what manifested was my own bullshit, but reflected back by my immediate surroundings. Instead what I dealt with was the deep gorges held within me. (Meaning you can’t do work in your world by withdrawing from it. At some point you’ll have to step back into your world to apply what you’ve learned.)

And there were two main things I saw within me:

  1. Exactly who I am in this body, this mind, this personality, this set of needs, these emotions, this heart.
  2. How skillfully I’ve avoid it.

I saw patterns through eyes that have never seen so clearly. I saw my heart behind a brick wall – to protect it from the world, but also from myself. I saw what I’m capable of – both good and bad. I mourned the death of everything I wanted to see. I rejoiced at what I had long insisted wasn’t allowed in my world.

I realized that one of my greatest desires is to know myself, and then I realized with a sudden start that I did know myself, and part of that self was the desire to still search, to still learn, to experience the depths of myself, the parts that can never fully be known – that that is what makes me Tara. Digging into the depths with ease. Finding beauty in what others see as darkness or ugliness or fear. I realized how dangerous those very pieces of myself could be if not handled with care.

I saw a lifetime of my real self reflected in a thousand choices, a hundred styles, all the ever-changing parts of my chameleon skin pulling together to make a whole. How every varied place I’ve been in my life was really all aspects on the same spectrum I play on.

I think I went hoping to transcend myself and my ego, and instead I ended up fitting more snuggling into my own skin.

So much more happened. Things that tore my chest open and toppled me to the floor. But each time I try to write them out, they draw themselves back again.

Right now I’m unraveling what all this unraveling means for me back in the “real world”. I can feel a need to shift, to reclaim, to embrace myself (with a bit of a middle finger to the whispers in my head that I shouldn’t). I’m wanting to unravel how to hold onto this comfortable, settled place I found when I stepped away from the busy and the crazy and the push-pull of the world.

But until I get that figured out, I’ll leave you with this, because it makes me laugh…the cocktail and decadent meal I treated myself to after I left Friday night. Because every week at an ashram should be celebrated with alcohol, baby back ribs, and cheesecake, no? ๐Ÿ˜‰

What? You don't celebrate a week of meditation at an ashram with a cocktail, ribs, and cheesecake?  #yesidid #keepinitreal

P.S. Synchronistically, we’re still talking about Self-Acceptance in the Sisterhood this month. Have you joined us?

My Wisdom, My Bullshit (and showing up for the right one)

She insisted we had too much to do. I insisted nothing was more important than this right here. #betweeniandme #morningwalk #meditation #consciousness #organicwisdom

I leave in just a couple hours, and I haven’t packed or even done laundry. I’ve been rushing through all the things I need to do before I leave because once I’m gone I’m actually going to be 100% gone. Off the grid.

Seven days. Nothing but meditation.

No email. No Facebook or Instagram. No internet whatsoever.

I’m not even going to bring my phone. [Insert wide-eyed look of fear here.]

Unless there is a bonafide emergency – something that (heaven forbid) involves a hospital or a mortuary – I will have zero contact with anyone but my own Self and the few others who will be on this little “retreat” with me. (That alone is a big deal. I can’t remember ever being out of contact with Justin or Zeb for more than 24 hours.)

It’s not really a retreat, in the way we’ve come to see retreats. It’s not up in the mountains or filled with yummy organic foods made by some Kitchen Goddess. It’s not scheduled on the calendar and filled with other meditators from around the world who signed up with me (although I did plan my retreat at a time when others were also planning theirs).

Nope. Nothing “fancy” or “sexy” or “dreamy” about it. Which is exactly why I chose it.

It was only an opportunity. A standing offer to anyone who seriously wants to confront their own practice, deepen it, not because it looks fun or beautiful or restful, like a gorgeous vacation; not because it will make me look like any of those things. Those things are beautiful and wonderful and meaningful, but I knew I needed to take up this offer without all that in order to take it seriously.

The offer to stay at a nearby meditation center in the middle of busy commercial part of town. To putter around, read their books on their worn down sofas, partake in endless conversation that will either energize me or totally wipe me out, scribble mad notes in my notebook, DIG IN, and most importantly, take it all a step further – practice how to fully and completely release it and come instead to meet and know my own center of consciousness.

How does one... #artjournal

I know it will be intense, not because they or it is intense, but because the shit that has been surfacing as this date approached is intense. Intense resistance, in the form of irritation toward it, fear of it, exhaustion at the thought of it, and endless, endless, endless reasons why the timing is just not good.

I used to think that resistance like this was my inner guidance telling me not to go.

I mean, it’s LOUD, and loud is something to listen to right?

But I can now recognize it for what it is: Bullshit.

We’ve all been there, right? In that space between My Wisdom and My Bullshit, and unsure of who is telling the truth when they both insist the other can’t be trusted?

I faced those battling voices – one being damn near drown out over the screaming of the other – and had to make a choice. Which do I listen to? Which do I trust to be my guidance?

It’s a question we all struggle with. Only this time I knew what personal patterns to look for.

When I made the decision to retreat, I felt a pounding heart, tears in my eyes at the sense of homecoming, anticipation and impatience that I had to wait three months for September to come around, and an undoubtably steady knowing that I needed to be here. I felt an overwhelming surge of Love; for myself, for this opportunity and those offering it, for the journey I am on, for Life and all those who live it with me. I felt confidence in my decision to confront my own meditation practice and felt the same confidence that this safe space would be the right one to support me, without taking any of my crap. I knew it all like I know I have a vagina. It was obvious. You couldn’t convince me otherwise without sounding like a crazymaker.

When the resistance started sneaking in, I felt agitated, critical, annoyed, judgmental, unsettled, uncomfortable. I felt scattered, distracted. Too busy, full of excuses. Short-tempered or full of doubt. I danced on the corner of “how could I” and “it’s just not a good time”. I tried to DIG IN and hit a protective barrier, something that told me to go “Fuck Off” because this one wasn’t going to budge no matter what I did or said.

It sounds like it was an obvious choice when I write it all out – a choice between Love and Trust…or everything else – but it really wasn’t.

Even when I could see the contrast, I still wasn’t sure which to trust. I mean,ย I’ve spent a lot of time showing up for that voice of fear in my life. It’s strong, insistent, convincing.

But this time I decided to show up for that voice of Love instead.

I wrote this in the Sisterhood:

But my mantra has been to “keep showing up”, steadily choosing to follow my initial instinct…Those initial instincts can be so easily buried once the mind starts gibber-jabbering, so I just keep bringing it and me back to that moment when I knew beyond any doubt the choice was perfect. I’m not giving those surfacing doubts the same power to make my decisions as I’m giving that joy and the whole-body-Yes feelings I’ve had (even if they aren’t the stronger sense right now).

I made the final decision on Monday. I chose to just show up.

To keep showing up to my daily meditation practice, even when I really don’t wanna.

To show up to this retreat and hopefully confront whatever the hell is rearing its ugly head and locking me out of the conversation.

After making the decision I had one Oh-Shit moment when I almost backed out – too much to do, too many distractions (too many excuses).

And in that moment I chose to “just show up” again.

Not perfectly. Not with a sweet smile and a fake disposition. I might even scowl at someone when I walk through the door tonight (I think they’ll understand). And I might even just own my bullshit and ask for help.

But even without the bells on, I will definitely be there. Which is more than enough.

The Spiritual Type-O-Meter: Which one are you?

What's your spiritual "type"?

Have you ever noticed certain spiritual “types” – ways in which people approach or navigate or experience their own personal development or philosophies or beliefs? I’ve been playing with this idea – not as another flipping way to create a label for ourselves – but as a tongue-in-cheek way to notice our own tendencies. Don’t take it too seriously, k? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Type 1: The Spiritual Doer

The Spiritual Doers are easy to spot. They take their drive in business and in life and apply it to their spirit. Their energy never stops. They devour Life and all its experiences with an insatiable hunger for more. They aren’t easily daunted by what they perceive to be their own work. They delve in, swim in it, play in it. They do the same with all of Life. They are most often the adventurers and I think they may be the ones to take the most inspiration from many different cultural beliefs, creating their own understanding of the Universe. Their curiosity helps them to explore and thus see the Truth in anything. They go after Enlightenment with a Bring It On approach. They are energetic, find the joy in Life and every experience it offers, and are contagious in their desire to release the negativity. They don’t have time for the bullshit; the Universe is too good, too breathtaking, too inspiring to get caught up in their fears or struggles for too long.

I find that most Spiritual Doers are attracted to the Law of Attraction, wanting to create their abundance and awakening through sheer will. I also find that many Spiritual Doers are hiding an inner control freak inside, and LOA appeals to that control freak by being misinterpreted as “If I DO this, I can get what I want”. (Come on, admit it. It appeals. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) This probably means it can become very easy to miss the bigger picture: that all of it is impermanent. Spiritual Doers are often challenged by the idea that even joy and happiness are impermanent human states of perceptions, especially if we go after them as something we can create or do.

Surrender is the biggest challenge of all, though. It feels like giving up, defeat, becoming passive and allowing anything (anything meaning “the worst”, naturally) to happen. With surrender, comes Trust which goes against the genetic makeup of a doer – doers often do because of what they fear might happen if they don’t. (“If I don’t grasp the opportunity, it’ll never come again.”) Or dammit, they just like to be in control! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Letting go is almost sacrilegious to those of us doers, until we’ve learned to confront that part of our self that moves unconsciously from our head, instead of our hearts, our core, our Truth. I find most Spiritual Doers are very, very, very challenged by the practice of meditation. Being still, “doing nothing”, makes us itchy to move. We think of a hundred things that need doing and so our meditation can quickly turn into a planning session with a To Do list on the floor beside us.

What Spiritual Doers Can “Do”

Cuz I know you’re asking. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stillness is probably the most important practice for you if you find yourself to be a Spiritual Doer. With it will inevitably come what Spiritual Thinkers are so good at – self-inquiry. DIG IN and examine what is truly compelling you to move and what surfaces within when you consider the idea of not moving. Essential oils (Lavender, White Fir) may help you find physical stillness, calming the autonomic nervous system. While practicing this quiet space each day, also practice what comes naturally to a Spiritual Feeler – tuning in to your heart (another essential oil, ylang ylang, is really good at helping with this). Don’t just spend time noticing the emotions that arise, though. Instead, notice the way the air moves across your face. Notice the sensations in your hands. See if you can feel your eyelashes. And do a lot of observing – observing when you move, why you move, how you move, and from where. This will allow you to slow down enough to tune in more deeply and your movements will then be attuned to the natural flow and grace of the Universe.

Type 2: The Spiritual Thinker

Spiritual thinkers are obviously deeply thoughtful. They approach spirituality rationally, because it just makes sense. They devour books and ideas, and like Spiritual Doers are often curious about other cultures and beliefs, although they make not feel as adventurous or action-oriented. They simply like to learn, and everything and everyone carries a lesson for them. Spiritual Thinkers also tend to be very articulate, and can often help others through their own spiritual process by saying what that person might not be able to articulate, or offering the same wisdom in a new way that allows another person to sink deeper into the understanding within themselves. I see Thinkers as most often being spiritual guides for this reason, and we often love it because it furthers their own spiritual growth in the process. They are also very self-aware and can identify their core beliefs and triggers easily once they know how. This can lead to a lot of freedom from within, very quickly.

However, and I hate to break it to you, but of all the spiritual types, if you’re a Spiritual Thinker you might have the hardest time maintaining that freedom. That love for helping others can easily turn into your own persona-creating and ego-stroking identification. You can get lost in your own ideas and most especially get lost in your own thoughts or daydreams (which quickly turn into worries and fears). Inner fears (you know, the ones that sound silly, irrational, or embarrassing when you say them out loud) are thicker for you, because you tend to live in your head more than most, which can unconsciously feed your primal thought processes (think: survival, fear). You can easily drive yourself to the brink, just as naturally as you can drive others back from it. (I often wonder if Spiritual Thinkers and really Spiritual Doers without all the physical energy. We just do it all in our heads.)

Something for Spiritual Thinkers to Think About

Your job is to get out of your head. When you do DIG IN, do so carefully and with intention, and don’t stay in there too long. Only self-examine to bring about a new awareness; never to turn the same damn thought over and over. Take on the motto, “It’s just a thought” and practice assigning less value to them. Spend more time in your body. Go for a walk, practice yoga (which will move your body in order to still your mind), cook a meal, watch a light-hearted movie, smile and really feel the sensations of it. Say things out loud that you’ve been dwelling on in your head to diminish some of the enchantment they seem to have when you keep them hidden. Plant a garden and make it a daily practice to hand-pick the bugs (talk about meditative). And every time your mind starts to spin into its bullshit, immediately stop it in its tracks and state the Truth as you know it (even if you’re not feeling it). Practice connecting to Love and Trust in meditation, using ylang ylang or marjoram to pull you out of your head and into your heart. And practice moving from your heart – volunteering time at a shelter, performing random acts of kindness, anything to get you into that presence of beauty all around you.

Type 3: The Spiritual Feeler

Spiritual Feelers tend to be the most deeply convicted in their values and beliefs. How can they be anything else when they sense and experience things on such a deep, instinctual, and emotional level? These are the people who deeply feel their Truth, down to the bone, to the cell. They don’t often argue or debate about it, because that would be as strange to them as arguing about the color of the sky. They just believe. They know. And they know what they know because they’ve experienced it in a way that surpasses the understanding and limitations of the mind or the eye. It simply IS.

Spiritual Feelers have the greatest capacity for empathy and compassion. They are the ones wrapping their arms around the wounded and show them their own value. They see, they understand, and they feel a deep draw to be present for others in order to show them what they need to see in themselves. They can connect most easily with their own Presence, with a residing sense of Love and peace, with Spirit. Meditation start to come easier because it feels so good.

But Spiritual Feelers have an easily tragic pitfall. They tend to feel everything deeply, including what they perceive as pain and suffering in the world. Feeling the violence around them, sensing the disconnection, touching the sorrows of the world, they can often fall into their emotions so deeply they don’t find their way out. Nonattachment feels like an insult to them, heartless and cold. And that inability to be unattached can lead to feeling overwhelmed, too small, hopeless, depressed, maybe even angry, and often eventually apathetic and shutdown. In fact, I often wonder if this currency of apathy and vacancy we see in our culture is the effect of Spiritual Feelers becoming so overwhelmed with the state of the world without the tools to navigate it safely that they are left with no other option but to shut it off completely. When they become too overwhelmed with the world, or too battered by the experience of it, they disconnect from their own heart, or they get so lost in their emotions that they can no longer feel that overriding Presence they used to in meditation, and that’s if they even find themselves in meditation or prayer at all anymore. They shutdown to Love, shut down to their own gifts, and at worst, the only thing they feel is a dull ache from what they’ve buried.

A Practice for Spiritual Feelers

Spiritual Feelers are probably feeling every word written here, and hopefully feel this wave of warmth and love I’m sending, too. If you’re a Spiritual Feeler, it might be your practice to create boundaries around yourself, and time in your day (yes, every day) in which to simply breathe. Don’t call it meditation, especially if that feels too big right now. Just take a walk, watch the birds hopping around for seeds, and let yourself find some stillness away from the world. You need some time to reconnect to something bigger than your own desire to help heal others, something that whispers to you that it’s okay to Trust the process of Life.

Movement and choices – like the Spiritual Doers – are going to give you a little more space from everything you feel so acutely. Try applying some essential oils to your solar plexus or heart, like Frankincense essential oilย (to help you ground yourself – especially when everything is overwhelming and leaving you feeling scattered) or Wild Orange or Lime essential oilย (to raise you up out of the depths when it all seems too heavy). And try breaking the heavier energies with water. Drink water, take a swim, take a shower, wash your face (maybe not take a bath if it just ends up feeling like you’re stewing in your own stuff).

I’d also recommend you try on the role of a Spiritual Thinker and DIG IN, examining some of the emotions you feel – especially things like obligation and hopelessness. Ask where it comes from and how you can best do what you’re called to do. Most importantly, spend time with the spiritual principle that the only way you can make an impact on the world is through nonattachment, by not seeing and judging something as “negative”. Stop watching the news. At least for awhile. Practice viewing the world through the eyes of deep awareness, and viewing the Light in others, instead of viewing only their hurt and darkness. Lastly view your own reactions with some distance as well. Step back and simply observe yourself. Create some space between You and your emotional perceptions so you can see the world and those in it from that love-centered, grounded place again.


You are here.

Whichever type you are I can almost guarantee that reading all this brought up a myriad of conflicting responses – laughter as you recognized yourself hopefully, indignation or resistance as you recognized yourself perhaps, and quite possibly, self-judgment or even a sense of self-doubt, as though you think you’re stuck in this place.

The truth is our Spiritual Types change constantly. Each is an experience we move through to allow us to have the fullest understanding of Who We Are. But Who We Are is none of these things. You are not truly a doer, a thinker, or a feeler. Those are more like “habits” we can identify ourselves as having.

If you noticed, the practice is similar for each: self-inquiry, observation, stillness.

When you can allow yourself the practice of quiet observation of these traits, they will begin to fall away and the You that is true (not to sound like Dr. Suess or anything) will be all that’s left. And that’s where the freedom and joy is truly found. In Being and allowing your actions, thoughts, and emotions to organically move from that Being.

 

And Then Along Came a Spider (Your Fear is Your Medicine)

Spiders

It was almost two year ago. I was deep in my own inner work, peeling back the layers of my story, probing the past assaults I’ve inflicted on my own spirit, forgiving the heartaches given to me.

And I was writing. Pouring my heart out. My truth and soul spilled across the digital page.

Blanket sprawled across a grassy field next to our RV park, cool breeze, sunshine. Heaven.

And then along came Spider.

I’ve always listened to the signs and patterns in my life, always paid special attention to the creatures as soon as they first raised my curiosities (“Mom, do bugs know our name is People?”). I had had close encounters of the comforting kind with Hummingbird for years, a sweet creature that journeyed with me through some dark and lonely terrain, who spoke reminders of my being cradled and held and seen and loved.

So Animal Medicine wasn’t new. But I wouldn’t say I’d jumped off the deep end either.

And then along came Spider.

I was no a fan of spiders. I used to screech and run in the other room, not daring to enter again until Justin had swept it clear of any and all potential assailants. Like a large portion of the population, something about them creeped me to no end.

The way they moved. Watched you move. Moved with you. And something else, something I couldn’t rationalize.

And then along came Spider.

Right across my flipping hand.

I screeched. Flailed. Jumped up. Ran.

Alone in the field I had no option but to venture back. Inspect. Brave the threat.

And that was that. (For that day.) I went back to my writing with nothing more than a paranoid glance around me from time to time.

But that wasn’t that. Spider came back again and again. She would hang over my head, crawl across my hand, peek over the top of my laptop. She’d dangle in front of me, landing right next to me, staring me down. She would startle and scare me, pester and nag me until she finally got my full attention.

“WHAT?! What do you WANT?!”

Of course, she was pretty silent, being a spider without vocal cords and all.

So I began to research. Read. Google. Animal totems. Animal message. Spider symbolism. I began to pay attention to when Spider sat down beside her and noticed it was ever time I wrote, only when I wrote. And so I began to listen.

And I began to talk…

“I’m listening. Really I am. But can we maintain a 3 foot perimeter here?”

(She obliged. I’ve never had Spider crawl across me again. Instead she would saunter in and plop her herself almost precisely 3 feet away every time. I shit you not.)

One would think it was my Inner Woo-Woo leading these conversations with Spider, but it was just as much my Inner Pragmatic.

Life speaks in patterns. But its our perception that teaches us.

It’s the fear, the sense of being startled or unsafe, the pattern we notice in the way we respond to Life that is our greatest teacher. We can call it the Animal Guides (and I do) or we can call it delving into our own psyche and how we make sense of what we perceive (and I do). Either way the thing our spirit is calling us to learn, to pay attention to has everything to do with what we notice, how it affects us, and what we see ourselves doing with it time and again.

My Inner Woo loves this stuff, don’t get me wrong. But it’s my left-brain practical side that really gets it.

It’s all – very much indeed – “in our heads”. And in the words of Dumbledore, why should that make any of it less real? Everything we think, feel, perceive, do begins in our heads.

Spider and I haven’t traveled together much since that summer. But my poor arachnophobic son is now visited daily by her.

He comes to me asking “Why? Why are they following me? Why only me?”

And I can’t answer him. I share with him my experience, make suggestions. But it sucks to tell your child, “I don’t know. Spider’s talking to you, sharing something with you right now, not me. I can only tell you what I could interpret, what I could see about where I was and what my mind could see in her.”

And it’s the truth.

You can seek out clues and guidance and tools. But it’s only when you stop seeking and start listening that you’ll know, with any certainty, the voice of wisdom.

Are you a part of the Organic Sisterhood? Share your experiences on the forums.

TechNomads, Perched to Fly, and Hatch Words

kellydahlinterview

Just a quick little post to direct you to three other places to hear from me!

  1. Ramblings: Tales from Nomads – Chris and Cherie interviewed us waaaaaaay back in 2010 when we had JUST hit the road, right before I had started coaching and when our entire world was transitioning us into Who We Are. This is the updated Where-We-Are-Now video!ย 
  2. Life, Love, & Source with Hatch Words – This lovely website is truly amazing. Stories from all walks of spirituality and understanding. Joni interviewed me on my journey from Christianity to whatever you would call me now. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have to say, I’m used to the basic interviews but this one was so much richer and deeper than I normally get to share. It was wonderful for me to just put my experiences and feelings into some sort of (inadequate) words.
  3. Fulfilling Life with Perched to Fly – Connecting with Kelly over Skype was just plain fun in one of those instant-connection-and-laughs kinda way. She’s doing a series on creating fulfilling lives and we talked about what it means to me, how I create it, and how what fulfills me challenges me.

Pop over and give these beautiful peeps some love! ♥

Is “filling our cups” conditional happiness for mamas?

True to the that. #yogi #tea #wisdom

I love all you women on the Tribe/Sisterhood forums. If you’re not on there, or not over there often, they’re all so beautifully deep and reflective and honest. The conversations that stem from those qualities are cup-filling for me, big time.

One such conversation was on that exact topic, “Filling Our Cups”, also the first module of the Organic Parenting e-course. This part of the course focuses on a part of the Digging Deep process that is based off of Nonviolent Communication. A really important and soul-stretching discussion was opened up on whether our attempts to meet our needs and create the elements that “fill our cups” can lock us into a form of conditional happiness…as in “I can only be happy when I get what I want”.

This was particularly thought-provoking for me:

I worry that I will become *dependent* on “getting my me-time” or whatever it is, for my happiness…instead of just learning to be happy in the moment.

I answered there, but wanted to share some other thoughts here too, as it’s been on my mind.

I wholeheartedly concur with the part of NVC that states the way we feel is based on our needs being met. In other words, yes…we are dependent on our needs being met to be happy (although never dependent on how). But then there is the spiritual practice of radical acceptance, finding peace within the moment, surrender to was is deeper than our needs, what is always accessible at our core.

It’s like reconciling the practical with the spiritual.

We have needs. No amount of anything can change that.

And when our needs are going unmet, we can feel depleted, overwhelmed, resentful, impatient and so on.

So how do we practice radical acceptance and happiness while acknowledging and meeting our needs? Doesn’t that mean radically accepting that our needs are going unmet?

Maybe. And I hope not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think for me it’s about radical acceptance of others, radical acceptance of limitations {be they time or resources or the demands of a family and home}, radical acceptance of messy experiences and emotions…and radical acceptance that my needs STILL are valid and important and deserving of honoring.

My happiness isn’t actually dependent on the actions I take to meet my needs. My happiness IS dependent on meeting my needs. But meeting my needs can just as easily be learning to take a deep breath and tap into that sense of acceptance within any moment, as it can be about getting creative in finding a little quiet space for myself in my day or turning on music to ease my nerves or eating my favorite meal for breakfast.

When I’m unhappy it IS because my needs are going unmet but that doesn’t mean I have to feel resentful or angry or frustrated or overwhelmed. When I’m feeling those things it’s my sign that I’m not meeting my needs but instead focusing on an expectation of HOW I meet my needs.

Meeting my needs, filling my cup, doesn’t make my happiness conditional on what’s happening AROUND me. It makes it conditional on how I choose to respond to what’s happening WITHIN me.

{Oooh, I like how that came out.}

{P.S. If this is a meaningful topic for you, you might consider the Organic Parenting e-course. There are plenty of resources in it and on the forums to support you in digging into and peeling back the layers of this challenge so many of us face. (((hugs))) to you while you do.}

There and Back Again {A Tale of Thanksgiving and Spiritual Failure}

I'm not sure how we chose a flight with a four hour layover with this red eye but at least the floor looks comfortable. #travel #airport #exhausted

We just arrived home from a 9 day trip back to Las Vegas.

Let me warn you now, this post may be long, meandering, and senseless to anyone but me while I try to make sense of the many things going on in my head and my heart.

{I’m also going to talk somewhat candidly here and do so mindfully and in my never-freaking-ending practice to keep my focus on my own heart, without projecting or losing sight of my own accountability. None of this is “about” anyone, hold my experience with Life and how the hell we make sense of the seemingly senseless hurt it can deliver.}

Leaving #lasvegas

Ascending on my hometown
Feeling more like a visitor this time
{than the escapee of before}
I haven’t missed this place
Haven’t missed “home”
Although I know that’s not the story for all

Those were the words I quickly penned as our plane descended on the Vegas lights. For once, I didn’t feel that impending sense of entrapment – like I wouldn’t be able to leave without getting stuck – that I felt that last time. {That was big for me, to not feel stuck or constantly pulled back to a place with which I don’t resonate.}

I felt at peace, centered, excited for the week.

Excited to watch my little sister walk down the aisle (so moving!).
Excited to see the brother and nephew and niece I hadn’t seen in 10 years.
Excited to just BE – cooking and painting and watching movies with family.

Nephews.
afternoons with nephews

And my mama joined in!  #art #artjournal
art with my mom

Art journaling with my niece.  #artjournal #alteredbook #art #paint
art with my niece

He loves her so. #thompsonwedding2012
Their love = tears of joy.

Do we ever stop romanticizing those ideas of how things will be?

I have memories in my head of a house full of laughter and food and playfulness. Of huge family camping trips with everyone in attendance and giant games of hide and seek – kids and adults. Monthly family dinners. And holidays that stick to your heart.

And I haven’t experienced one of those romanticized holidays in almost 10 years.

Is it that as we grow up our perceptions are sharpened, picking up on things we can miss in youth and that amazing ability to remain in the moment? Or are we simply jaded by age and expectations? Or maybe things really do change that drastically and for no apparent reason than we all grew up and in separate, incomprehensible directions to one another.

It’s not that anything major happened this Thanksgiving. It’s that my heart and my head just couldn’t let go.

I’m not proud of that.

We all know family, even family we adore, can be a lot to take in all at once. And for those of you HSP’s out there, you know how compounded the situation can be when you’re sleeping in a room with two other families, four running dialogues, at least three noisy electronics going at all times, random bouts of stress and rush, and a dozen personalities and sets of needs.

I don’t pretend to be perfect. But it’s still disheartening when every tool I want to lean into seems so far away from my conscious mind as I slip back into a role I have carefully been working myself out of for most of my adult life.

Do we ever stop reverting to what other people expect to see?

Do we ever feel and respond like the adults we are when we hear the criticism or triggers of our childhood?

They mean me no harm but it’s time that I face it
They’ll never allow me to change
But I never dreamed home would end up where I don’t belong…

That’s a Rascal Flatts song that makes me cry with heartache. Those words almost describe it except for one thing:

I don’t believe that anyone won’t allow me to change. I just believe it’s so damn hard to show them I already have.

All my best intentions for a wonderful week lead to all my expectations breaking my heart.

No one else is responsible but me.

I didn’t meet my needs. I didn’t express my emotions {until they were boiling incomprehensibly…and loudly}. I didn’t pay attention to the patterns that trigger me, patterns of teasing and sarcasm and my holding back {anything from my opinion to my own sense of style for fear of the feedback I assume I’ll receive}. Patterns of expectations, ideas in my own mind of how anyone else should be.

I placed the responsibility for my own peace and joy on what others were able to do and that wasn’t fair or responsible. It made us all unhappy.

By the time I realized it I had already excused myself from the meal, driven away – the very best I could manage. I missed Thanksgiving because I had missed my own patterns of expectations and hurt and burying the truth to keep the peace, to try to support others instead of leaning into open honesty.

Hanging with one of my very best girlfriends in the sun. Kids running around the park. Good times.  @elizabethlowery
sweet, reflective, wonderful friend

My sweet wonderful girlfriend and I had a couple long talks, and as they often do, they centered around our role in our own lives and the lives of others. And the message was the same I had been grappling with: Every time I place an expectation on someone I love, I miss the opportunity to be at peace with what is. I miss the opportunity to love them. To practice surrendering to what Spirit is showing me.

It breaks my heart to read those words. It’s the same message I’ve been receiving for the last several months, the same message I think I’ve gotten right before I realize I haven’t: Stop pushing, stop micro-managing, stop thinking it’s all your job. Let go. Surrender to the direction of where Life is flowing. Surrender to peace and love within that moment, exactly as it is, without your thoughts that it needs to change for you.

It breaks my heart because I know it. I’ve been practicing it. And I’ve been failing, again and again.

It’s fucking hard.

Hard not to offer advice, instead of holding space.

Hard not to want to “fix” it – whether it’s an actual problem, or just a bad mood – instead of extending empathy first.

Hard sometimes to WANT to do anything from love: want to DIG IN, want to speak nonviolently, want to listen, want to reach out when you have nothing to reach out with.

So I did the very best I could do…I took space for myself.

I walked out when I couldn’t find that space to listen over the screaming of my own head. I hiked a mountain and lay on the rocks and turned my face to the warmth of the sun. And I said goodbye, or even missed opportunities to say goodbye, flying home without resolve.

Sitting on the hillside talking life, plans, culture and conformity with @justinplayswithballs and looking forward to flying "home" #lifeatthismoment #lasvegas
from the hillside with my lover

As Justin and I walked and hiked he asked me the same question I’ve asked myself for almost 8 years, since my dad died before we got the opportunity to have the talk that was on the horizon. It’s the question I asked myself multiple times over the past week as I did the very best I could {which didn’t seem like much}:

If the worst happened, would you regret this choice?

And I answered him honestly.

No.

I wouldn’t regret the choices I made to let things go, or not have conversations that I didn’t feel ready for. I wouldn’t regret walking out when I couldn’t find love or patience to respond with instead. I can’t regret doing the very best I could do, listening to my intuition and my heart when it says, “This is not going to help; you’ll only cause more pain right now.” I don’t ever regret the choices to surrender, to lay down my Ego-fear that tells me to judge or fix or change or fight or expect or even help, to “save” others or even see them as someone who needs saving.

I have to address my own heartache and hurt first. I have to unpack my own stories and triggers before I can bring my authentic love into a conversation with anyone else.

It’s no one’s job to apologize or change or fix anything for me, anymore than it’s my job to do the same for someone else.

It’s my job to examine what came up for me, and why. It’s my job to find my center before I try to find a solution. It’s my job to bring my real self into challenges like these, instead of compounding them by bringing my baggage. It’s my job to find what only I am accountable for {my emotions, my reactions, my choices} and release everything else {my expectations, my assumptions, my sense of obligation} so that I can walk in with nothing left but love.

Moments like this hold me perfectly still. #manchild
melt-worthy airport moments with the man-child

I can leave without regret,
With peace that I made the best choices I could,
but being void of regret
doesn’t mean being void of hurt.

{penned from the plane home}

It’s an unconventional, even controversial, viewpoint, that I believe it’s okay to say goodbye without first making amends. {Caveat: And it’s not always the right choice. As a daughter whose lost a father during an argument, I can attest to the anguish that comes from holding grudges, instead of taking mindful space.}

But the difference is in the mindfulness and the space {as opposed to the unconscious distance we tend to put between us instead}.

Are you paying attention? #artjournal
full attention slows the current

I’m experiencing hurt and frustration and sadness. And I’m allowing myself to experience it. No under-the-rug sweeps. No grudges held. But no feeding it or burying it either. No allowing it to overcome me, or to own me.

Some serious shit came up for me {and yes, I’m totally okay admitting that – why shouldn’t I be?} and I’m opening my heart up to what Spirit is trying to show me. I’m doing the inner work that’s being asked of me. I’m learning to stop projecting {hard} and stop blaming {harder} and meet my own needs so I can actually stand in the Truth that allows me to be – fully and unapologetically and compassionately – ME.

Hardest.

And even though there is a big part of me wanting to resist this next statement ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can feel it nudging me to be experienced too:

I’m thankful for this. Thankful that I lost sight of myself and damn near lost my shit. Thankful that I felt hurt and frustrated. Thankful that I screwed up. Thankful that it’s so deeply triggered and challenged me. Thankful that it’s bringing up in me the bullshit that was hiding there, because I know full well it only comes up when the timing is perfect for it to be addressed {even if I don’t like that fact}. I’m thankful for the comments that were made, the stories that were dredged, the triggers that were found. Thankful for failure in how I handled it all {or didn’t}.

I’m thankful for the nudges that keep telling me when I’m trying to do something or say something here that isn’t focused on my authentic heart, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

I love them all. They – like me – are doing the best they can as well. That I don’t feel at home says nothing about them, and everything about me – where I am and what I’m moving through with Life as my guide.

Why am I sharing all this?

Why am I “airing dirty laundry”, as culture has taught us to see it?

Because I got the most amazing messages of gratitude over the week: messages from incredible women who totally nailed it and stood in compassion and authenticity in a challenging family situation, messages from heartfelt women who struggle{d} to do the same and are thankful to be reminded they aren’t asshats for being human and unable to access that place of compassion and authenticity at the same time,or even separately.

Because I’d rather dismember the monster that tells us we can’t be honest about having a hard go of something, the monster that tells us it’s not okay to be imperfect, that tells us our lives “should” be perfect and by the book or else we’re going to hell. {Shit, I wrote a book on dealing with triggers, and my experiences still aren’t by the book.}

Welcome to being human. Welcome to trying to be that human with over 7 billion other people, many of which are our greatest, most wonderful, most frustrating teachers.

We love our families. But we mess it up. We do. I do. Again and again. And hopefully, again and again, we do the best we can to get through that moment, to get through the challenge, to learn and grow and try to love ourselves and others a little better each time. Sometimes we nail it. At least the same number of times we don’t.

My declaration is this: I’m okay with these facts. Okay with Life sometimes being messy. Okay with the fact that I’m going to make mistakes at it. Okay being open and honest and authentic about it. Finally okay with the choices I make. {And learning to be okay if others aren’t okay with it.}

Some wisdom from my mama's wall. #bestill
wisdom on the wall

This get you thinking too?
Some questions that may support you: What do I need to get still with? What parts of myself am I bringing into similar challenges with those I love? If I was fully centered and grounded first, what would I do/say differently?

Experiences with Mama Ocean

I heeded the call of Mama Ocean and let her pull me in off the shore. Shivering and soaked, in the salt water and the power.

i didn’t even want to be there, at the ocean
i told myself

this tender space i was in was already too much
i had too many tendrils out in the world
and my heart was overwhelmed
and the only thing i knew i wanted was to not feel this way
sadness aching for unknown reasons
as my cracked open shell weeped a pain i didn’t have a name for

i had been in a space of spiritual healing
tucked away in my notebook
in my walks
in my quiet space to protect myself from the harshness of the world
i could breathe in that quiet space, could feel the ache subside
until i stepped into the world again
and felt it’s heaviness wrap over me

and so i didn’t really want to go to the water
out there in the world
even for the quick glimpse they all promised

but as we pulled into the parking lot
and i caught a sliver of the endless sky through the shrubs
i realized how much i had missed Mama Ocean
and just how badly i needed her
although i didn’t understand why

so i put my music in my ears and beelined for the shore
and stood at the edge of her waters
where the sea could lick my toes
where i could inch in closer, despite the cold
and allow her to wash my feet
and hear her calling me in

i stood with tunnel vision, just watching the waves
and feeling the rise of each like a pull on my chest

without words i could hear her
Mama Ocean
see her open arms, her readiness to take me in

it wasn’t really love or tenderness i heard
but power
and firmness
that i rationalized away

it’s too cold
my body doesn’t handle cold water well
, i thought

(but even as i said these things to myself
i felt the growing warmth in my feet
as they grew accustomed to the waves)

my lover came behind me
wrapped his warm arms around me
protecting my jacketless body from the grey dreary skies and cold breeze
and whispered something to me that i couldn’t hear
over the music in my ears
or the pounding in my chest
that was synchronizing with the pounding of the waves

and so we stood, watching the line where the ocean met the sky
and the sea lions that were breaking through the surface
and the waves as they continued to crash

i want to go in, i whispered to him
but i still couldn’t hear his response above the song that was playing

so i kept watching each wave
and feeling that magnetic tug from the center of my chest
as the ache within me tried to burn through
welling just to the surface, telling me i needed to release
to let go
leaving tears in my eyes and a sob caught in my throat
then ebbing back again to leave me watching the waves
and justifying why i couldn’t heed its call

and then i asked myself,
will this be one of those things you regret not doing?
will you wonder about this, about what would’ve happened?
about what mama ocean had to say that you never heard?

and as i asked i looked out to see one more sea lion
looking my direction, perhaps wondering the same

and the force of my movements welled up this time
and i said something to my lover
something like “i’m doing it” or “i can’t help it anymore” or “i have to go in”

because i was, and i couldn’t, and i had to

i couldn’t stop myself

i saw the look of worry in his eyes
as he watched me undress down to my bathing suit
(an earlier attempt at a beach excursion)
taking from me the things i stripped off, putting the music in his own ears
a soundtrack to my motions
and looking into my eyes to catch any glimpse of something he should stop
but seeing only that i needed it
and knowing only that i just had to do what i just had to do

so i stepped forward
that pull doing most of the work
as everything melted away
but the brief flashes of wild women i didn’t know before my eyes

then only Mama Ocean
saying “finally” in impatience
as i moved into water i’ve never before allowed myself to feel

up to my knees, and i was propelling forward
then my thighs, marking the deepest i had ever allowed myself to go
then she sent a wave crashing over my waist, washing my core
and the ache welled up within me again
and the sob i had held back broke free
and i kept moving forward
into an ocean that met me without compassion
with only the pounding of what needed to be done
of the battle she was ready to fight for me
not harsh to me,ย really
but to the heaviness i carried

the cold was aching in my bones, and i was still moving forward
watching each wave
looking up to the dreary sky

and as the water reached just below my chest
i pleaded a surrender i didn’t know had been waiting behind my tears

just take it. take it from me.

and that was just the permission she needed
for in that moment a giant wave stood up out of the water right before me
as if it had been waiting beneath the surface for those precise words
waiting to crash over me
and sweep me under

it was only one small moment that i was submerged
my hand over my nose
my feet swept from under me
and the taste of salt water in my mouth
but it was a moment that held the whole universe within it
where the rest of life paused
holding its breath with me
and the presence of Spirit enveloped me fully
and i felt myself within something greater
tucked away and hiding from the world

i felt the fear of its power as it pulled me down
the moment of doubt if i would emerge
but an undercurrent of knowing i was safe
and this was right
as though i was within something sacred
baptized and held
but also…my body…ignored, small, powerless
just a witness to the ceremony
as i felt the entire ocean flood me
break me open
grounding the shards i had been carrying into sand
and pounding them away

i came up gasping in the cold
crying without tears
the taste of salt and weightlessness
my chest heaving with waves of gratitude to match her waves of power
and a total surrender waiting for another round that didn’t come
each wave that followed gentler than the last
telling me to breathe
and nudging me back to shore
to my lover who had stood watching
holding the bundle of items i had strewn on the sand
tears in his own eyes as he felt the experience from land
and watched as it washed the heaviness away

shivering
and laughing
i buried my head in his neck
as he held my drenched body
wrapping his arms around me again
and a sweet soul sister wrapped me in her clothes
and i tried to explain
but found myself just heaving out inadequate words and wet hugs instead
convincing them to take a turn and
joining in again

later that night
i fell asleep shivering against a hot water bottle
to drive the cold of Mama Ocean’s work out of my bones
and with the sensation as though i were covered in holes
where she had pounding away the pieces of my shell
leaving my still protected
but open in a million spots
where the cold air and the sea salt
and the light could enter
and escape
having no idea what it all means
to have had such a conversation
and an experience
with Mama Ocean
but feeling it all the same

ยฉย Tara Wagner
July 21, 2012

Organic Wisdom :: How To Find Your Answers

I like to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts and feelings on it here.

“Organic Wisdom” is what I have found speaking to me in those quiet moments, that guides me and that echoes Truth in my life. Please feel free to download, or share this image in any way you’d like.

I touch on this in the free e-course, on how to turn inward, to find what we seek that is already dwelling in our core. But I want to expand on my thoughts here too.

We spend way too much time looking for answers outside ourselves.

We look to books, and magazines, food and alcohol, Oprah and Dr. Phil.

We turn to rituals, and talisman, and trinkets, and oracles, and religion all in an attempt to divine our route.

We turn to gurus and leaders and ministers.

But only one thing is ever true:

That everything, every answer you need, resides within you.

That Still Small Voice.

That intuition.

Every thing, every person you turn to – if it’s based in Truth – will always guide you to turn inward.

Every lie that tells you otherwise is the ego leading you to more confusion.

Yes. You can and maybe should read and study and discuss ideas and the Truths of others. It’s wonderful to find new tools and resources and people.

But they are never a replacement for your own Organic Wisdom. And the best wisdom from others is that which helps you to lean into your own more and more.