Sex and Candy -Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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“Desire is the kind of thing that
eats you
and
leaves you starving.”
― Nayyirah Waheed

When we refer to someone as being sensual we often think of someone as having a passion for physical pleasures, namely sexual ones, however, sensuality can go much deeper than that, encompassing the ability to fully awaken one’s senses using smell, touch, sight, hearing, and feeling . This can awaken desires in the body and influence sexual connection in numerous ways, as well as contributing to an overall sense of well being and an appetite for life.

Music, dance, art, cooking…all of these things can be sensual.

SEX can, and should be sensual.

We are living in a time where being busy is viewed as a measure of self worth and we have an increasing need to prove our relevance through our use of social media. We are actively connected while becoming progressively disconnected from other things that truly matter like our families, our bodies, our partners and our pleasure.

Desire does not start in the bedroom.

Desire is a sense of longing, wanting, a craving even. As humans when we desire something or someone our sense of excitement is heightened over the very thought of that person or thing. Desire can be immediate or it can escalate over time. I believe desire drives the energy behind our sensual manifestations. The ache and hunger resulting from desire connects the dots to our sensuality, blending the two into a beautiful union.

Our desires can often seem frivolous, wrought with feelings of unworthiness, shame or even fear. Those emotions manifest in our bodies making us feel burdened and disconnected with our sensual selves. This can be confusing, in regards to sex and other areas of our lives where we might feel unsettled.

We all have different relationships to desire, some of us feeling like pleasure is our birthright and others feeling like it is shameful and indulgent. Our enjoyment of anything, whether it is the sweetness of candy on our lips, intimate flirtation or sex is dependent upon how we identify with that thing, and ourselves.

Example 1).

I want a cupcake. I really really want a cupcake, I can picture it in my mind, and it is an oversize white confetti cupcake with vanilla icing and sprinkles, my mouth waters when I imagine biting into it. I believe I deserve a treat and I cannot wait to relish in every decadent bite of that cupcake. When I finally bite into the cupcake it tastes like angels made it and sent it down from heaven. It leaves me feeling fulfilled. I feel good about treating my body as it takes good care of me.

Example 2).

I want a cupcake; I picture it as the most beautiful thing ever, a white confetti cupcake with soft vanilla flavored icing topped with sprinkles. I can’t stop thinking about it and my appetite for it cannot be quenched by imagination alone. The thought of the cupcake drives me to distraction and when I finally get it into my mouth the first bite tastes like disappointment and shame. I hear those mean girls in grade five who taunt me and tell me I am fat, and I recall those all too tight jeans that my parents wouldn’t replace because they said I was growing too fast and I was forced to squeeze into them with my belly hanging over the waist band. My desire for that cupcake represents my humiliation. I throw it in the garbage and wipe the embarrassment off my lips. My pants now hang off my body, my once womanly curves have given way to a thinner, more delicate frame, some may say I border on emaciated.

The above examples represent different relationships to food and to our bodies; it can be assumed that the individual’s relationships to sexuality differ as well due to their distinct relationships with their bodies.

There is power in our wants and needs, in satisfying our desires in a healthy way, whether they are for sex, food or fulfillment. We do not have to satisfy all of our desires of course but what if we are able to realize them, see how they feel in our bodies, and be aware of our responses to them.

As we grow and change from children into young adults we become abundantly aware of perceptions and how society views certain things, especially ourselves and our bodies. We feel the pressure to look, dress and act a certain way, to be perceived as smart, powerful or sexy. This can lead us to feeling a huge disconnect with who we really are. When we are lot aligned with all of the things that make us unique, who are we really? This disconnect, when mixed with the shame, fears and traumas we have dragged around since childhood, or picked up a long the way can lead to further confusion and doubt. We are constantly looking outside of ourselves for approval. When we neglect to look inward to see what our needs are, what resonates with who we are and what we want and how we want to show up in the world we often get it all wrong.

Men and women enter into adulthood carrying a lot of shame surrounding themselves as sexual beings. The reason could be as simple as the way they were talked to about sex and how it was portrayed to them. Often parents use fear as a tactic to keep their adolescents from engaging in sex and that alone can have real and lasting consequences. When we are taught that sex is bad, and we give in to our desire for it anyway, we still have sex but our pleasure is limited or perhaps non existent. We may have had sexual experiences where we felt clumsy and embarrassed or were made to feel undesirable and that can show up in the way that we view sex and desire until we are ready to heal that. Sexual assault statistics are staggering, one in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetimes and that can have tremendously damaging effects on sex lives when that trauma is not healed. When that thing that is supposed to bring you immense pleasure is used to hurt you, all future encounters can be painful and complicated. Just last week I saw a story about a rape case in Ireland where a teenage girl’s thong was entered into evidence. We should be horrified beyond words by this. To associate any article of clothing as an excuse for rape is appalling. I myself enjoy sexy underthings, it makes me feel good; sexy and powerful. I feel comfortable in my own skin. It doesn’t matter that I am the only one that is going to see them throughout the day, I feel good in them and I embrace that. Rape is not about desire, sensuality, or love and it has very little to do with sex. Rape is about power over another person. The shame that surrounds sexual assaults can impact us over an entire lifetime, causing us to become so detached from our own bodies and disengaged from desire, sensuality and pleasure that sometimes we just go through the motions.

“Desire makes life happen. Makes it matter. Makes everything worth it. Desire is life. Hunger to see the next sunrise or sunset, to touch the one you love, to try again.

‘Hell would be waking up and wanting nothing,’ he agrees.”
― Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever

Pleasure is our birthright.

We know this but it is not enough to just know.

Do you know what it feels like to actually embody your body?

Because of beliefs that were impressed upon us from pre-birth onwards we are often under the assumption that sensuality and sexuality are things that we do, not things that we are. Knowing of course is only half the battle, to get curious about ourselves and our bodies, to expand and to be, can sometimes lead to further discouragement because what we believe to be true from years of conditioning may not feel right in our bodies anymore. We have years of outdated beliefs and ideals embedded deep in our consciousness and many more hidden in our unconscious. Challenging them may bring up some discomfort. That is OK. Change is not always comfortable.

This post is an invitation to fully step back into your body and to experience maximum pleasure, to heal your traumas, to expand your erotic knowledge and to embrace your desires.

Fully embracing your sensual self is not just a task for those partnered up. To not only recognize your need and want for pleasure but accept your right to it is a creative endeavor for anyone with a body. Get curious about yourself.

Are you talking to your partner about sex? Are you expressing your wants and your deepest desires? Are you communicating what you like and what you don’t like? Are you have mind-blowing sex?

We cannot expect our partners to be mind readers. In a committed relationship, sex is an expression of our love for one another and communication is an extension of that love. If you are in a non monogamous relationship and you are not seeking to experience the maximum amount of pleasure and fulfill your deepest desires…what are you doing???

We are all individuals; we have our own set of beliefs, wants, needs and pleasure centers. If we expect to get the maximum amount of pleasure out of anything we do, we need to get curious. The current will carry you where you want to go but you have to stop trying to row up stream. (Stop resisting your wants and needs)

In the entire universe there exists only one thing that you can control. That thing, that amazing human being is you and you are a vast universe within yourself, an infinite sea of passions, experiences and recollections. In any given moment you have an unlimited set of choices. Consider getting to know you, all of you, as a person, a divine being and a sensual being full of love, wants, needs, desires, and an unrivaled capacity for pleasure.

What is it your mind, body and soul are craving? Give it that. If it is sex and candy enjoy the sweetness of it all, with no shame.

“There is no fulfillment that is not made sweeter for the prolonging of desire”
― Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Dart

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Imagine-WISE PROJECT 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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I woke up this morning in a very good place, I was vibrating at a whole new level of awesome and I was thinking how amazing it would be if I could bottle that feeling and drink from it on the days that I wasn’t feeling so shiny. The truth is, I can, in a way, I know all of the good things that I put into place to harness this powerfully incredible energy. I drank the kool-aid and I want seconds.

I came across a sticky note on my desk on Monday, it has been there for months and I cannot recall what circumstance had me write it, I generally  write sticky notes hoping that later it will trigger a memory for me and though this is not bringing me back to a particular memory it has resonated with me in numerous ways. It is four scribbled words, barely legible, scrawled across a pale yellow sticky; forgiveness, connection, healing and hope. The words are then encased in a loosely drawn semi-circle with an arrow that says love.

For me, it all comes back to love, every single bit of it. None of those other things are possible without love and we cannot lead a truly fulfilling life without love. Love is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

I know I read things all of the time that trigger me and I bet the above paragraph is a trigger for many people, particularly single people because many people would see that as me saying that love is a necessity and without it you cannot lead a truly fulfilling life.

That is absolutely what I said. I stand by it. If you are triggered by it your interpretation of it may possibly be, I am single, therefore I cannot be fulfilled, something must be missing for me.

I didn’t say that, but if you thought something along those lines the important thing to note is I can tell you something from my perspective but I cannot be responsible for how it is received. This revelation alone has been a game changer for me.

I believe that love is the most powerful thing in the entire world. That is not to say that if you are not paired up with a significant other that you are somehow less than or not living your best life. That would never be an appropriate thing for me to assume.

I think that we are way to conservative with love in our society, the very word can illicit fear in people. Being told ‘I love you you” can make some people extremely uncomfortable, almost as if the very word comes with a contract and a whole slew of scary promises.

Romantic love is a beautiful thing but it is not the thing that defines love. Love is expansive, I would find it entirely impossible to define it in a single dictionary definition but I do Know that those four words on my sticky note; forgiveness, connection, healing and hope are not possible without love.

The love we give to ourselves is the most essential thing, and when we are committed to loving ourselves for all that we are we meet others in a very loving space, a place of authenticity and of non judgement. A place that illuminates positive energy and healthy connections and invites growth.

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We cannot commit to loving ourselves when we become all that we can be. Loving ourselves fully is what empowers us to become the best version of ourselves and to those of you putting in that work you are fully aware that it is an ongoing process. You don’t become your shiny self and say ‘Ok I am good here, I am going to stop now.” The universe is continually shifting and changing as are we and learning and growth is life long.

As 2018 is drawing to a close I was looking back on my year and thinking that one of the very best things I did for myself this year was reconnect with an old friend who allows and encourages me at all times to be my authentic self. There are situations in my life where I have wondered if I measure up, there are others that I feel like maybe I am a bit too much. I had my mind blown last week by a quote by Nayyirah Waheed, author of Salt (Poetry) alluding to the fact that the fear of not being enough and that fear of being too much is the exact same fear, the fear of being ourselves. What a wonderful thing to find a person that invites you to be all that you are, all of the time, without fear of judgement or ridicule, whose acceptance, support, love and encouragement empowers you to be…just you. That simple connection has encouraged me to show up differently in other areas of my life, trusting that when I show up as all of me I will attract the people that are meant to be in my life at this time.

I have struggled this year with the delicate balance of knowing when to hold on and knowing when to let go. Knowing where to put my energy and where to set my intentions but release my white knuckles and allow things to flow naturally.

I have caused myself a great deal of stress trying to manipulate situations to go my way, feeling like my tenacity would always win out in the end. Stress physically manifests in my body and just recently I went to the doctor for a recurring, stabbing pain at the base of my skull. It had gotten quite bothersome, subsiding a bit when the doctor confirmed it was muscular and caused by stress and not by something life threatening. I then went to my Acupuncturist, the amazing Dr. Geha at Wellness on Whyte; Geha is very intuitive and she told me immediately that I needed to get moving. I was sitting there looking at her blankly wondering how she knows that I have not been being active, how does she know that I was internalizing a personal situation and curling up under fuzzy blankets hiding from all of the things in my life that have kept me well. I had an amazing visit and left with a great deal of relief but the pain crept back and began stabbing me again, randomly at first and then incessantly. I went to see Dr. Mailie, my Chiropractor at Wellness Chiropractic and she worked her magic and then looked me in the eye and spoke to me soul to soul, Maillie is very insightful as well and can take one look at me and know that I am the creator of my pain. She gives me an amazing adjustment and then talks to me about my tendency to hold stress physically and makes some suggestions. I left her office with some relief and I went home to curl up under my fuzzy blanket with my cell phone, as if something on Instagram was going to jump out and change my life. That did not happen but what did happen is that over the next few days  inevitably, that stabbing pain returned at the base of my skull and even though the doctor assured me that it was not a tumor, I began to wonder if she could be wrong, she had not run tests after all.

In my misery I started thinking of all the things I would be doing if I wasn’t wrapped up in this pain, and a blanket. My mind traveled back to the weeks prior to the pain and all of the things I was doing on a daily basis to promote physical and mental wellness. I had a daily meditation practice that I had abruptly stopped, I was out walking daily and often working out at home.

The situation that was causing me stress was not personal, and it that I mean it was not meant to be taken personally. From the very beginning I knew that and I was also assured that there was nothing I could have done to change it, yet my unwillingness to accept the situation as it was, seeing any sort of repose on my part as giving up on something important, allowed me wallow in guilt and anguish. It allowed me to stay still, to feel sorry for myself and make myself unwell.

A good friend asked me some tough questions that not only led me to some very honest contemplation, it led me to three hours of crying. After that I meditated for an hour. My entire perspective shifted. What I wanted to give the situation at hand was compassion, understanding and love. I was giving none of that to myself. I fed myself that outdated bullshit of self blame, maybe things would have been different if I had been less of this and more of this.  I wasn’t sitting in integrity with myself, I was not holding myself in a loving space and in turn my entire focus was skewed. I am happy to say that I am maintaining a daily meditation practice again. It allows me to access a quiet place of non judgement within myself and move through struggle with grace. Letting go does not have to mean giving up. Sometimes it simply means loosening our grip and allowing the energy to flow where it is needed. I have started to move again. I am busier at work and it is colder outside, my daily walks are not as feasible but I have started shaking what my mama gave me at every opportunity. I close my office door several times a day, put on some old skool hip hop and just move. Last night at home the dog and I were grooving to Bust a move as we moved out old energy out and invited new energy in.

I slept amazing last night on freshly laundered sheets, accompanied by smooth shaved legs, such a simple feel good thing. On the way to work I could feel that there had been a phenomenal change in energy. Within moments of each other I got two fabulous messages that lifted me up, one from a new friend and one from a dear friend who was also a close friend to my late husband. Reading those messages assured me that the universe was fully supporting this energetic shift. My stabbing pain subsided and it has been replaced with a feeling of excitement. I am excited about my life, excited to keep growing and learning and to connect with amazing people.

I will struggle, that is inevitable but I am truly starting to see that I am the creator of my experiences and there an extraordinary amount of power in that.

For those of you that are struggling to let go and move forward in your life I have created a quick meditation to encourage you to let go of what is holding you back and move into imagining the very best version of yourself. The very minute my energy shifted I literally spit this out, it was there, hidden under a cloak of fear.

I invite you to get comfortable and take a couple of minutes to relax and empower yourself.

I am not afraid to say I love you.

To the person that is reading this and hoping for me to fail, I love you. To the person who takes the time to reach out to me and let me know that you are encouraged and inspired by me, I love you. To the person who sees the very best in me, even when my fear doesn’t allow me to see it, I love you. To the person who is struggling but still showing up, I love you. To the person who is not ready to let go, who is afraid to forgive and afraid to love, I love you.

Love is not scary. Imagine a world without love. Imagine for a second the atrocities that are happening in the world right now, acts that are born of fear. Imagine waking up and all love has been erased from the world? The absence of love is terrifying.

Love is not a luxury. Love is a necessity.

Love yourself. Love one another.

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Walk this way -Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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How many times in our lives have we sat in disbelief and shock, in tears, shaking our heads and saying over and over “I just don’t understand?” No matter how much contemplating and suffering we do, we still cannot figure it out.

When I lost my husband to the beast of depression I had to surrender to the idea that life’s maneuvers operate corresponding to a mastermind that is way beyond anything linear.  There are enough challenges while navigating trauma and loss, and as you move through that pain the only thing that is expected of you is to simply take the next best step. There is no map to navigate through grief, you are not expected to control the territory around you, you simply have to take each step forward as it presents itself to you, and if you do that in your pajamas with three day old make up and your hair in a bun trust that that is enough.

When you do not understand, you just need to trust, and I know that when you lose someone tragically trusting that everything will be okay seems ridiculous. To me, the world felt scary and unsafe, although at a certain point I was able to abandon the what ifs and the ideas of the way things should be and slowly and with intent put one foot in front of the other .

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die”

~ Thomas Campbell

I have become very aware of the cycle of life. Death is inevitable and though we are given life, how we choose to live it is optional.

Members of my family on both sides are experiencing grief, loss and heartache today. I come from a small town in a small province surrounded by small villages. Loss has a ripple effect and can be felt throughout the communities. There is a lot of love, and sadly, as always a lot of judgement because judging is always easier than understanding. Empathy is a concept that not everyone is able to grasp.

People treat pain like a hot potato and to avoid experiencing pain they often pass it along to others. It is not right and it is not pleasant, and it is a certain reality that anyone who experiences the loss of a loved one will likely face.

Today I am compelled to share with all of you the importance of holding space for someone, which simply means to be present and to allow them to feel everything that they are feeling.  Grief can be uncomfortable, for the onlookers it can be as difficult as watching someone with a bloody, open wound. Sometimes the automatic instinct is to avoid those that are suffering until the wound begins to heal, or at least till the wound has been stitched up and covered. At that point you may have lost a friend. Relationships are severed, formed and strengthened in times of struggle.

For me, the right people showed up, the right people came, the right people stayed and the right people left. It can be hurtful to lose connections at such and important time in your life but it is powerful finding out that the people that belong in your life will always be there, in some capacity and definitely when you need them the most. We are continually growing and changing and it is important to realize that not everyone is meant to be with us for our entire journey.

“Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?”

~ Terry Pratchett

There are some simple things that you can do for people that are grieving. I often hear, “ I do not know what to say”, “ I do not know what to do.”  Here are some simple important things you can do.

  1. Show up– let them know that you are there and that you care. There are no magic words and you cannot take away the pain but knowing you want to is enough.
  2. Food is always appreciated. My boss kept bringing a food. I would not have cared if I ever ate again but when someone set a plate in front of me I did. There will also be a lot of visitors and people like to eat when they are sad, just as much as they do when they are happy.
  3. Avoid phrases like, “it was God’s will or “everything happens for a reason” and “don’t cry”. Nobody needs to hear any of that shit when they are grieving. If you are unsure of what to say, just say “I am here.” Or simply just be there.
  4. Recognize that you can ask a grieving person what they need a million times in a million different ways and they will not know. What they need is their loved one back and they cannot see past that. When you are grieving shock suspends you in a weird place for awhile, a place where everything is numb so that the pain does not bring you to your knees. Pick a task and do it. Fold laundry, go get milk and toiletries, make phone calls, assign tasks to other visitors.
  5. Share your memories. People often avoid talking about the person that died which is just weird and creepy. They lived, they existed and they will always exist in our hearts and memories. Share your memories and your funny stories, share them now and share them always.

 

To all of you that are suffering and finding your way through the pain of loss please know that my heart is with you. You will be ok. There is no timeline, or magical manual to navigate grief and nothing I can say that will make sense or ease your pain except to say that if you choose to, you will be ok.

 

“All the art of living lies in the fine mingling between letting go and holding on”

Havelock Ellis ~

 

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Naked -Wise Project 2018- #TenaciousTuesday

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Last week I wrote about a workshop that was gifted to me called the Gift, facilitated by Integrity Workshops here in Edmonton. I was really excited about the tools I had gathered to move forward with me on my journey and how I was committed to setting clear intentions, standing in my own personal integrity and being in charge of the experiences I wanted to have in my life. I was expecting to have a much different week, but I experienced a great deal of discomfort, sadness and emotional mood swings. It wasn’t till late last night that I was able to see the gifts amid my struggle.

I have been struggling with something in my personal life that has taken up a good chunk of my head space and after finally reaching out to a trusted friend for some much-needed perspective I felt a bit renewed but at bedtime the monkeys in my head were talking very loudly and I found myself being bullied into feeling bad about myself because what I see as fearless tenacity, society often refers to as crazy, brazen and entitled. How dare I ask for the things I want, how dare I fight for them, how dare I expect them? They say I am messy with all my wants and all of my feelings. I am supposed to take what I get and smile and say thank you. Do not ask for more, that is rude. Why would I imagine that I am deserving of all these things? What makes me so special? I am just a foolish woman, outrageous, irrational, way too wild to fit into civil society.

How dare I?

How dare I not?

I decided to do a guided meditation before bed to quiet the noise and it was something Deepak Chopra said that that soothed my soul “If you want love in your life you need to give love, if you want kindness in your life you need to give kindness….” This was not new knowledge for me at all but in that moment, it was an affirmation.

Society would like us to believe that we only love people that love us back, we are only kind to people who are kind back. It is no wonder that we are living in a time of political unrest, an us vs. them society. We withhold the healing power of love and kindness because of the expectations we hold that we give to receive.

In that moment I realized that in my week of discomfort I was receiving the greatest gift. The unconscious was becoming conscious. I was becoming aware of the old vows, contracts, promises and beliefs that kept me small, that kept me quiet and most of all kept me from growing and giving the best of myself for fear of appearing”too much”. My self saboteur is a mean bully and has always been there whispering in the quiet corners of my mind, but I was somewhat powerless her when I was not fully conscious of her. Now as she roared at me, I hollered back.

One of our most paramount misconceptions I have had is that life is happening to us when in fact life is happening through us. There is a responsibility in that. Everyday we talk about wanting change, but we declare ourselves powerless. I think one of our greatest fears is realizing that we are indeed very powerful. We hold these outdated beliefs about the world around us and our automatic default is to follow along instead of lead. When we heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our lineage; mothers, fathers, grandmothers. Many of us come from backgrounds of generational trauma, abuse, addiction, poverty or some sort of struggle. Healing is not comfortable or convenient, but it is a fierce catalyst in living a beautiful life and it is an amazing gift to give to future generations. There is a formidable amount of power in that. What we create in our own lives not only matters now, it will matter to our sons, daughters, grandchildren and on and on. To say we are powerless is really just shunning our responsibility and in some instances we pretend not to know because we perceive it as easier. We choose to go through the motions three hundred and sixty-five days a year and call it a life. That will not be my choice. When you know, you cannot un-know.

“No matter who our ancestors are, our own personal and monumental task is to become the best person that we can possibly be – someone in whom our own descendants in times to come can take great pride and find inspiration.”
~ Laurence Overmire

I believe people are inherently good, we come into the world that way at least and we also carry the beliefs, attachments, contracts and vows of our fore families and possibly past lives if you are a believer of such. Add on to this our own learned beliefs, behaviors, traumas and struggles there is rightfully a whole lot of shit in our piles. Now pile on expectations, media and societal norms and we feel the need to constantly hide who we truly are to fit a mold that was not made for us. We are told how to dress, how to act, how to get the job, get the girl/guy, appear ten pounds thinner, enhance our breasts and diminish our free thinking. Love, kindness and vulnerability are things the world needs to survive but we are taught that they are weaknesses. They will hurt us. So we suit up in our protective armor daily and call it “being strong” We shun human connection, the very thing that can heal our world.
If we don’t do the work, if we feel powerless, who will step up? Who will we allow to lead us and where we they lead us to?

None of us are safe from what is happening in the world right now. Hate and division is killing people at an alarming rate.

When you know, like I do, it is the end of denial and as I said it comes with a fair bit of responsibility and this almost insane need to be honest, not just with myself but with others. It may not bring me the victory in any popularity contests, but it will help me reclaim power over my own life, heal and transmute old wounds that have been carried forward generationally and alter the path for myself and my family going forward, interrupting generations of trauma and struggle that created restraints, beliefs and blocks. That is how an entire lineage progresses. There is no denying how fucking powerful that is and no amount of noise in my head can convince me otherwise.

When I am not standing in love; love for myself, for others, for creation, for the world, I am sitting in fear. Fear keeps me small and insignificant, it keeps me from taking risks and having the joyful experiences I want to have in my life.

Am I too much? Am I bold? Am I brazen? Am I entitled? Do I want too much? Do I expect too much?

DAMN RIGHT I DO!!!

I am learning to trust in myself and the work I am doing in the world.

I feel a bit like I am standing here naked, stripped of all I once believed to be true. Stripped of vows and contracts and burdens that were bestowed upon me unknowingly. I stand here naked yet more powerful than I ever thought imaginable.

I am expanding, learning to fill my space and to stop hiding behind fears, insecurities and outdated beliefs. I am worthy and what I bring to the table is valuable. I am doing work that is challenging me and it makes me question everything and even when it is hard and everything feels awful I keep showing up, heart open and vulnerable. My  courage and strength surprises me.

The noise I now hear is my ancestors cheering for me. My passion and desire is needed.

Find your power. Stand in your integrity. Create the life you want.

xo

“here’s to being your ancestors’s wildest dream”

~ evyan whitney

 

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SO WHAT (I’m Still A Rockstar!) Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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I had an uncomfortably amazing experience this weekend at a course called the Gift through Integrity Seminars designed to help me (and others) identify and break down barriers that prevent change and keep me from leading my best life both personally and professionally. I was interested in learning how to establish and support inspiring relationships at home, at work and in my community.  Though I could personally identify areas like ego, vulnerability and trust as some of the limiting dynamics that create obstacles in my relationships,  I actually went in very unaware of some of the automatic boundaries I put in place to discourage new connections.

For those of you who know me, you probably would never describe me as shy or introverted and you might possibly be surprised to learn that I have discovered that I have developed some habits that may say otherwise. I walked into a room of thirty strangers and I felt small and more than a little bit scared. Those old beliefs of “am I enough?” ran through my mind at lightning speed. When I am communicating with my tribe I often feel like a bit of a badass, completely at one with myself and confident in who I am and also wide open to learn from the empowering and resilient people I have called into my life. In a room full of strangers I felt none of that, however, what I recognized immediately in the discomfort is that I was being gifted the amazing opportunity to grow and expand and free myself of the restraints of my outdated belief system.

My late husband Kirk was a huge presence in every life he touched. He was not a large man physically but he took up a great deal of space in the world. He was loud and loved to be the center of attention. His sister made a comment to me a short time after his death that I was funny but she had never noticed, it was attributed to me being around Kirk for several years and he was very funny.  I always knew it was more than that.  I was always funny and I became accustomed to standing stage side and being my husbands support. I shrunk to fit into the spaces that were left over. I was shocked to learn about a year before I lost Kirk to the devastating affects of depression, trauma and anxiety that he always felt alone in a room full of people. The person who myself and many others came to know and love as the “life of the party” struggled immensely in a room full of people, feeling completely alone and even talking about it made him cringe. His need to be loud and seen and heard stemmed from a great deal of fear and anxiety. I allowed myself to adapt to being in the background and after his death it was challenging to step into my own, expand and fill my space in the world.

“Change is inevitable.

Growth is optional.”

`John Maxwell

 

Standing in a room full of thirty strangers I could feel myself shrinking into the space and attempting to become invisible. So many times I have declared my need to be seen and heard and I found myself in the opposite position and though  I didn’t like it, it gave me a tangible place to launch from.

I was enamored with our facilitator Rae-ann, she is sharp as a tack, a powerful influence(r), and has the ability to cut through bullshit in seconds. I always say that the words we use matter so I was captivated by her ability to quickly point out how often myself and my course mates were using words like but and talking in the third person to diminish the impact of our words. She became our anchor in a storm of emotions that if left unattended may have had the ability to sink us. Her sharp intuition and commitment to redirecting us when we faltered encouraged us on a path of progression and expansion.

There were times that I deliberately chose to sit back and listen, I feel that we don’t always learn a lot from talking but we can benefit a great deal from listening to the experiences of others. Listening is progress for me as I spent a great deal of my life listening only with the intent to reply. Listening to learn is a bit of a super power.

I tasked myself this past weekend to notice the areas where I was experiencing discomfort. I was in a state of discovery and better yet rediscovery and that disquiet was an advantage that would quickly lead me to my areas of resistance so that I could make the conscious choice to make space for new possibilities.

“We cannot become what we want to by remaining what we are.”

~Max Depree

I have chosen to recommit to standing in my integrity and to set clear intentions about the types of experiences that I want to create in my life.

The thirty strangers that joined me in that room were and will continue to be an integral part of my healing, ascension and growth. Their inspiring stories, wisdom, fearlessness and energy have given me new purpose.

I have made mistakes. I have not gotten that thing I really wanted. I have pushed when I should have pulled and pulled when I should have pushed. I have sabotaged myself and my happiness on more than one occasion. I have under valued myself. I have chosen comfort over connection. I have limited myself with beliefs I didn’t even know I had.

So What!

I’m still a Rockstar.

In the words of Rae-Ann Wood Shchatz “Now what?”

It is what I do now that matters.

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Don’t Dream it’s over- Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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When I was a little girl a rose was always a symbol of love to me. I lost my Dad to a heart attack at 39 years young, but he had a red rose tattooed on his arm with his and my moms’ names.

I have always loved roses, especially the wild pink roses that grew near my grandmother’s house. I love to look at photographs of roses, no two the same but each delicately exquisite, stunning and alluring. I learned pretty quickly that they were surrounded by sharp thorns, and many times as a child I would prick my fingers or hands while attempting to pick the perfect rose but even though when grasped they would draw pain, the rose held so much beauty and significance to me that the thorns would not keep me from them, much like love.

Like a rose, love should be cherished, cared for and nurtured. All love is beautiful in its own way and like the rose, some love matures and expands in the summer heat, only to fade and lie dormant when the frost comes. The thorns we bear strengthen us, allowing us to see just how precious and tenuous love is.

Love can make us radiant with joy but a love lost can leave us depleted and struggling.

Several years ago I planted rose bushes all along the side of my hose, I imagined my children and their children enjoying them the way I did as a child at my grandmother’s house, making bouquets and homemade perfumes and relishing their wild scent. They dislike them, the bushes have grown large and they feel attacked by the thorns but one day I suspect that they will come to appreciate their resilience and the things their beauty expresses such as promise, hope and new beginnings. They are teenagers so they are well aware of the traits the thorns represent, loss, defense and thoughtlessness. The rose is subtle and the thorns offer it a bit of protection but some people will never get to experience the true splendor of the rose simply because of the annoying thorns.

As humans we have our own thorns, we often protect ourselves from being seen and loved for all that we are because we keep parts of us inaccessible.

Our fears have fears and we put all of our outer beauty on display while protecting the parts of us that we feel will keep us safe.

The summer after my husband passed away I had almost completely lost interest in my roses and any and all of the pretty flowers around my house that once brought me such easy joy. Nature took care of them without my unsteady hand but I was doing dishes one day in the fall and glanced out the window at the bushes. We had already had snow and the last of the leaves had abandoned the trees but this particular day was abundant with sunshine and it held the promise of something new. I noticed a lone yellow rose stretched towards the beaming sun, basking in its glow, looking as healthy and vital as a spring daisy. I dropped what I was doing and went out to inspect it and take a picture. In the days and weeks to come I inspected it often and it became a bit of enigma to me. I had completely neglected that rose, failing to provide it with my love or care; and nature had been merciless yet despite its bleak circumstances that yellow rose seemed unaffected and continued to spread joy and delight. At a certain point I lost track of the rose but I do recall going out in the middle of a snowstorm to snap a picture and it still shone bright, its stem had grown long, catapulting it away from the rest of the bush and leaving it without the protection of thorns. I was allowed to admire it, smell it and touch it without the worry of pain. It seemed like a small thing but that single yellow rose that was able to grow and shine, regardless of the surrounding conditions spoke to my heart.

We have a lot to learn from nature.

“Beauty and seduction, I believe, is nature’s tool for survival, because we will protect what we fall in love with. Louie Schwartzberg”

 

In the past several weeks I have had some growing discomfort surrounding the subject of fears, insecurities and relationships. In a conversation with a friend on the weekend I revealed that maybe I did not have my shit together as much as I imagined because I started to realize that there are areas that I struggle with and when I see others building imaginary castles around their hearts and living from their ego instead of their soul it suddenly became like a mirror for me and I started to see that the very things I didn’t want for myself were being reflected back at me.

 

Our egos would have us believe that love is a trap, but it will also make us feel that we are incomplete without the love of another. Ego believes that love is a dangerous game; it threatens us because conflict and rejection can cause us great hurt. So can commitment, surrender, and trust. Great pleasure is a huge threat to ego. A great love is just too much for ego to handle, it feels intimidating and when the idea of love begins to steadily rise the ego acts out of discomfort in ugly ways because it knows, there is no room for ego when love rules our hearts.

 

Love lures us towards goodness, encouraging us to be kind and sensitive at all times. When acting from love we create beauty and joy always.

 

True love is fire. It begins when two sparks unite and it rises in our hearts beginning a slow burn that gradually melts away disconnection, walls and space. When two souls come together in pure love we become very aware of the effects of our connection. Not only are we affected, the space between us becomes electric and our flames spread like wildfire, touching everything around it.

The fire of love and desire needs fuel to continue to burn and constant care is needed to tend that fire.

 

I recently went to a workshop about the benefits of pure silver and the doctor that was giving the talk said that if you want to purify silver you need to put it into the hottest part of the fire and the impurities will steadily melt away, leaving you with the purest form of silver. Amazingly LOVE does the same thing with us, when we allow ourselves to be exposed to the purest fire of love, it will burn all of our defenses away, leaving everything that we are not in ashes and exposing the purest version of ourselves.  A vulnerable, courageous and authentic human being.

No way says ego.

No friggin way!

Ego views this as a catastrophe and will pull out all the stops to maintain the person it thinks you are. This push/pull creates all kinds of fears surrounding trust and doubt, even using the past to take fuel away from the fire. Dangling things like freedom and individuality in front of you like a choice, as if you can only have one or the other.

Just as the rose needs roots to grow, so does love, we need to be rooted in one another , and most importantly firmly in ourselves so that we can continue to grow and bloom continually, giving weight to all that we are as individuals while complimenting the beautifully unique qualities of our partners. Maintaining our individuality is not only compatible to unity, I think it is essential for a healthy union.

At the beginning of our love affairs we create a private space where sparks fly and everything is sacred. Eventually as the fire in us begins to grow we expose our love to the elements and that is when things get interesting. We let the world in and all of the sudden, everything changes. Sometimes that it is an amazing thing and sometimes it is not but not all loves are meant to last forever.

All love is meant to teach us in some way. When we lose love we often feel like we have failed somehow and the truth is love is not a losing game. If we truly loved another human being, the memory in that, the experiences and the growth from that will live inside us forever, long after our hearts are stitched back together and our tears have dried up.

Love and ego will be a constant battle in our lives and will affect all of our relationships. Offering the truest version of ourselves to another, whether it is in friendship or romance, with no guarantee of anything in return is really scary. We will struggle with it and sometimes we will get it all wrong but we are trying and that makes us wonderfully human and perfectly flawed.

The choice to love and be loved is a courageous one that can take us on magnificent journeys if we allow.

 

Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

 

~Crowded House

 

You’ve got a friend- Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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I love people that understand their place in the universe, that embrace their darkness and nurture their light. They hold all of themselves in high esteem and understand that all of the struggle, tragedy and despair that helped them to evolve is not something to hang onto but something to grow from. What transpires when a person learns to love themselves where they are and understand the vulnerable yet beautiful nature of dualism is something amazing to witness. Those are the people that make the best of friends because they support, challenge and love you, just as you are. They have no need to change you or to hurt you. They inspire you with their honesty and resilience and even if they are not where they would like to be on their journey, they have no interest in pulling you backwards so they can catch up. Those are the most authentic of all friendships and if you have even one of them you are blessed. Cultivate and develop a kind, supportive and loving relationship with yourself and the right people will come into your life. Friends get to see the very best of us and the very worst of us but the most incredible thing is to have friends who actually see us.

Friends come and go, it is reality. I used to say it was a sad reality but that is not always the case. Some relationships are not meant to last forever and some simply shouldn’t. The beautiful thing about aging and maturing is continuing to learn, evolve and grow and the realization that not everyone belongs in your life and that is OK. The people that are meant to be in your life will be, always, at some point, if they are meant for you. No friendship is an accident, all friendship teach us in some way if we are open to the lesson.

“No friendship is an accident.” – O. Henry

I think of the friendships that we attract throughout our lives and why and what we get from them and how when we are not in a good place with ourselves we vibrate at a lower frequency and we attract the same into our lives.

I was talking with a friend of mine this morning. We have been friends for ten years but things have not always been easy for us. Though we experienced some of the best times of our lives together we also were experiencing struggles. We struggled as mothers, as friends as women and as wives. There were times in our friendship that we were split wide open and I think we sort of fed of the mad toxicity of it all, pasting band aids on each others gaping wounds and calling it friendship. It wasn’t healthy and at a certain point our journeys continued down separate paths, crossing several times but always with a bit of trepidation. When tragedy struck my friend dropped everything to just be with me. My people came, my people reached out and the one thing I realized in the last little while is that the reason her and I found our way back together is that even when we did not love ourselves enough to want or demand the very best for ourselves we always wished the very best for each other. We supported each other even if at times we did so quietly from afar and I think we needed that time to reflect inward and invest in ourselves.

As we grow our friendships either evolve or they do not. I have a very eclectic group of people that I call my friends, people that celebrate my victories and hold my hand when I am defeated, that love me, understand me and challenge me and never want or expect me to be anything but me. I feel like I am at this point in my life that it feels really good to not worry who is with me or against me and to know for certain that the “my people’ only want the best for me always and I for them. When they talk behind my back it is too share share my triumphs, and that is a great feeling.

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.” – Henry David Thoreau

I know I am a lot, to my friends, thank you…truly. The last several years have been difficult for me and I am in a place where I am finding myself, spreading my wings and seeking freedom and joy and authentic connections.

Connections are important, we do not need a large group of friends but it is important to foster connections with people that allow us to be ourselves but also gently encourage us out of our comfort zone.

I have thought a lot about what it means to be a good friend and I admit that there are times that I have been a terrible friend. I was a shitty friend to myself and others.  There are very simple rules to relationships that encourage all of the important things that make them thrive. The fantastic Brene Brown calls it BRAVING and it is an easy reminder for all of us.

To all my friends and frenemies have a fantastic day. Xo

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