Struggle, love and growth…
You can listen to this weeks post here
I had a conversation with a friend the other day that has been facing a serious health battle; she was not only facing her battle with magnanimous grace she had made the decision to live every single day to the fullest. I am so proud of her and many other of my old friends who are facing the blackness of grief and trauma and those that are struggling with their health and facing their own mortality, what I am seeing time and time again is though we have been dealt unimaginable circumstances the universe has also handed us a gift and in that gift is a wisdom that perhaps we were just not ready to see before. There is nothing like tragedy to make you see things in an entirely new way. Life itself is a gift but we rush through the most important moments, always planning for the future or stuck in those places in the past that ripped our souls out, that taught us to be small and fearful, to doubt ourselves and to obey old vows and commitments that have been handed down for generation upon generation, that keep us sick and bound. I remember as young children everything I told my girls they would say “but why?”
It was incredibly irritating and I usually gave the customary answer that had been handed down among generations of mothers “because I said so”
At some point in adulthood we stop challenging the social and political norms and we follow along like good little soldiers with a little voice in the back of our minds. “mama said be polite, mama said be a lady, mama said don’t get my clothes dirty.”
We stop asking “but why” and we allow life to move us along.
For me, when tragedy hit I was so fucking terrified. My husband was my rock and facing a life without him had me panic stricken but loss brings with it a certain understanding of the world, a thoughtful consideration of the seemingly unpredictable ebbs and flows of life; that move us, cleanse us and guide us.
There is sadness in saying goodbye not just to our loved ones but to all that we believed would be our lives, just as there is sadness in saying goodbye to the breathtaking magic and fearlessness of youth. Moments, memories and days we thought would never end slip through our fingers; like the sand we packed in our hands at the beach as children and the tighter we held on the more it seeped through the cracks.
It hadn’t yet occurred to us that we would run out of time or that the transient nature of life came with a reckoning so we lived without a fear of dying.
The thing with being a kid is that most of us didn’t know devastating loss and we hadn’t yet been faced with the impermanence of life. We hadn’t said our final goodbyes in hospital rooms our spoken heartfelt thoughts about our loved ones in eulogies. It hadn’t yet occurred to us that we would run out of time or that the transient nature of life came with a reckoning. The beauty in that is that we lived without a fear of dying.
I remember when I lost Kirk there were days that I was overcome with an irrational fear of evanescence. I believed that if I allowed myself to heal and to move forward then his memory and essence would rapidly fade. I wish I could come up with something to say to make everyone that will inevitably face loss understand, that that fear could not have been further from reality. As I began to allow myself to inch forward I began to see Kirk in a whole new way, not his death or the tragic illness that ripped him from us but as a quintessential life, something that could and would always transcend time and space to guide and support me. My memories of him are vivid and though the moments of struggle and fear we faced have insignificance now, it is the laughter and the stolen moments of candor and abandon that live in around me and propel me forward.
The wisdom that tragedy gives us is that we should all live in the wonder of youth.
I will not follow the rules that someone else made and call it living. I will not live to please everyone but myself; I will not rush through my life as if it is a race to my death. I will not allow the death of my great love to be the thing that cripples me and drains me of life little by little until I die. I will let love and death be my teachers; those things that remind me to live big, to laugh and to always choose love. The wisdom that tragedy gives us is that we should all live in the wonder of youth. Calamity knows no prejudice, at some point it will bring us all to our knees, it will not leave us unchanged but we should never allow it to diminish us.
Life, love, loss; it comes and goes in waves.
If you prefer to listen instead of read, you can listen HERE
I posted a piece a couple of days back called Too Much Woman by Ev’Yan Whitney, I shared it having no idea who she was and it was a couple of days later when I found myself going back to the piece to read it over and over again that I decided to look her up. The piece was written back in 2014 and published on Ev’yans blog Sex Love Liberation.
Her blog is stunning visually and it contains a lot of raw truth for anyone who struggles with their sexuality and womanhood. I would even suggest that men read it, if you are in love with a woman who has difficulty accessing and embracing her sexual side you may want to gently direct her to this blog. There is a lot crippling shame and emotional discomfort that plaques both men and women who deal with sexual issues and it can be emotionally draining on the individual with the issue as well as there intimate partner. Relationships are not easy without the added stress and shame of sexual dissatisfaction.
I was lucky to be a part of a presentation yesterday put on by The City of Edmonton and facilitated by ex British Military and intelligence Dave Ainsworth. The course has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality but as all things are relative and I find myself frequently connecting the dots of the universe, David said something that resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you both in the context that it was intended and in the way I feel that it relates to everyday life. It led me back to this piece and how we so often let our fear of embarrassment, our fear of speaking up takes precedence over what we know to be right. The course was an Active Intruder/Shooter course and Mr. Ainsworth took us through multiple scenarios where if one person had spoken up, the outcome could have been different. I was relaying this message to my daughter on a walk last night and she said “but that stuff doesn’t really happen in Canada” and the truth is yes it does. Yes it happens on a smaller scale but Canada has unfortunately had fatal instances of terrorism as well as school, domestic and work related violence. In almost every scenario we were guided through, there was an incident where someone could have and should have spoken up and didn’t and it affected everything. I highly recommend that if you have an opportunity to attend a course in your city to do it but for me this message led me back to Ev’Yan Whitney’s piece “Too Much Woman” because so often it is ingrained in our being to be small, be polite, don’t create waves, don’t speak up…
I am telling you today “FUCK THAT” ‘Too Much Woman” we need you. Keep showing up, keep speaking your truth.
I am sharing this piece below because it means something to me, it reminds that it is OK to be all of me, to be expansive and fill my space, to want, to ask, to seek and desire. To move, to expand, to feel and to be every single bit of me.
I am a “Too Much woman”
Too Much Woman
There she is. . . the “too much” woman. The one who loves too hard, feels too deeply, asks too often, desires too much.
There she is taking up too much space, with her laughter, her curves, her honesty, her sexuality. Her presence is as tall as a tree, as wide as a mountain. Her energy occupies every crevice of the room. Too much space she takes.
There she is causing a ruckus with her persistent wanting, too much wanting. She desires a lot, wants everything—too much happiness, too much alone time, too much pleasure. She’ll go through brimstone, murky river, and hellfire to get it. She’ll risk all to quell the longings of her heart and body. This makes her dangerous.
She is dangerous.
And there she goes, that “too much” woman, making people think too much, feel too much, swoon too much. She with her authentic prose and a self-assuredness in the way she carries herself. She with her belly laughs and her insatiable appetite and her proneness to fiery passion. All eyes on her, thinking she’s hot shit.
Oh, that “too much” woman. . . too loud, too vibrant, too honest, too emotional, too smart, too intense, too pretty, too difficult, too sensitive, too wild, too intimidating, too successful, too fat, too strong, too political, too joyous, too needy—too much.
She should simmer down a bit, be taken down a couple notches. Someone should put her back in a more respectable place. Someone should tell her.
Here I am. . . the Too Much Woman, with my too-tender heart and my too-much emotions.
A hedonist, feminist, pleasure seeker, empath. I want a lot—justice, sincerity, spaciousness, ease, intimacy, actualization, respect, to be seen, to be understood, your undivided attention, and all of your promises to be kept.
I’ve been called high maintenance because I want what I want, and intimidating because of the space I occupy. I’ve been called selfish because I am self-loving. I’ve been called a witch because I know how to heal myself.
And still. . . I rise. Still, I want and feel and ask and risk and take up space.
Us Too Much Women have been facing extermination for centuries—we are so afraid of her, terrified of her big presence, of the way she commands respect and wields the truth of her feelings. We’ve been trying to stifle the Too Much Woman for ions—in our sisters, in our wives, in our daughters. And even now, even today, we shame the Too Much Woman for her bigness, for her wanting, for her passionate nature.
And still. . . she thrives.
In my own world and before my very eyes, I am witnessing the reclamation and rising up of the Too Much Woman. That Too Much Woman is also known to some as Wild Woman or the Divine Feminine. In any case, she is me, she is you, and she is loving that she’s finally, finally getting some airtime.
If you’ve ever been called “too much,” or “overly emotional,” or “bitchy,” or “stuck up,” you are likely a Too Much Woman.
And if you are. . . I implore you to embrace all that you are—all of your depth, all of your vastness; to not hold yourself in, and to never abandon yourself, your bigness, your radiance.
Forget everything you’ve heard—your too much-ness is a gift; oh yes, one that can heal, incite, liberate, and cut straight to the heart of things.
Do not be afraid of this gift, and let no one shy you away from it. Your too much-ness is magic, is medicine. It can change the world.
Don’t believe me? Check this: All of your favorite women, the ones who’ve made history, the ones who’ve lent their voices for change and have courageously given themselves permission to be exactly who they are. Some examples: Oprah, Ronda Rousey, Beyoncé, Kali, Misty Copeland, Janet Mock, Mary Magdalene . . . they’re all Too Much Women.
So please, Too Much Woman: Ask. Seek. Desire. Expand. Move. Feel. Be.
Make your waves, fan your flames, give us chills.
We need you.
Share this message with your friends, it is important that we not only are assured that we are enough but that we feel free to be all that we are. We are never “too much”
This is no time for us to roll over and purr, it’s time to ROAR
In 1969 Dennis Hopper took a maturely modest approach to cinematic shorthand when Wyatt and Billy rode into hearts and homes as two Southern Californian Harley Riding Hippies who complete a drug deal and then ride off on a journey of spiritual enlightenment seeking truth, peace and happiness in Nixon’s America. Watching Western’s with my Dad back in the day I noticed that they always put the good guys in white hats, omitting minutes of unnecessary explanation at the beginning of every movie. Instead of weighting the viewer down with colorless facts, Hopper brilliantly applied this approach to a Motorcycle movie and it worked. The Soundtrack to Easy Rider was a blazing success as well, 49 years later Steppenwolf’s Born to Wild, which was their first successful single, still gets tons of radio play. The minute it comes on the radio I can’t force my hips to stay still and I am convinced, more than ever, that I was indeed “Born to be Wild”
The truth is we all are.
The last couple of days have been extremely uncomfortable for me and influenced by some shitty ups and downs. I have come to the conclusion that often when I feel frustrated and upset I attack myself and I become disappointed in myself. I am beginning to see very clearly that these periods of discomfort are the consequence of a huge inner battle. An uneasy conflict between my comfort zone and my true nature; my desire to grow. Every time I fight what is in front of me, the path that I am stepping into, I am unnerved.
For years society has put us into well arranged and tidy roles, organized by labels and ill fitting boxes.
I for one feel fucking cramped!!!
Our comfort zone keeps us safe and cozy because it is familiar and even though staying firmly rooted in it may not always be the healthiest or wisest choice, we find relief in what we know.
What happens when we outgrow the box, when jamming ourselves into that stupid box every single day, and lining up in a neat and tidy row makes us sad and sick? Do we shrink to fit; do we dim our lights to fit into a dreary row? Do we trade our freedom for the titles that society bestowed on us? We are men, women, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, leaders, role models…there are expectations and responsibilities for us after all.
I am a wild woman. My true nature is freedom. I will not be bound by a role that society defined for me. I will not shrink into a well labeled, neatly organized box.
Do you know what I mean by the Titanic pose?
Do you ever imagine yourself as Rose at the railing of the Titanic with your arms outstretched, wind in your hair and that feeling of flying? Rose was fighting against the pressures of a relationship that made her feel dead inside. She was about to trade, liberty and choice for money and esteem, a life that would diminish her in all of the truly important ways. We see it so very clearly on the big screen, cinematic magic sweeps us into a place where for a short time we can imagine being Rose, we understand her restraints and we understand the wild independence she longs for. Alas, the credits roll and we say goodbye to the beautiful fantasies that will live only in our memories because we cannot possibly have everything we want in life and still feel free! Can we?
I think we can. I think it is possible.
Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.
~ Stephen Covey
When I lost my husband Kirk to the devastating effects of depression and mental illness I knew immediately that to honor him I had to live my best life, a life full of the lasting peace and joy that he so very much desired. The second I knew he was gone I was hit in the face with the reality that it would be me teaching our children how to move forward gracefully, how to embrace life and live big. Every bit of me knew how important it would be to embark on a journey with myself and take the time to fully be with me, void of the labels of wife, spouse or widow. I very much wanted to free myself from the societal fabricated restraints of what it meant to live and heal and grieve.
I learned from Anne Lamont that laughter is carbonated holiness and Glennon Doyle Melton reminded me that there is sacredness in tears and I learned that I can experience both of those things quite intensely without one experience diminishing the other.
Grief has become my teacher.
In the last several months I am working towards who I want to be in the world and sometimes I feel unnerved because parts of me are being stripped away, parts of me that I have held unto with bloody knuckles because it is all I have ever known.
There is a freedom in reclaiming the wild-hearted person you were always meant to be but sometimes you feel unrecognizable to yourself and that can be scary. It can often be mistaken for feeling broken but I truly believe it is healing and becoming.
Grief really makes you take a look at life and consider the impermanence of it all. Life, love, it is all transitional, fleeting. Like the waves of the ocean (thanks Roberta Shephard) we can drown trying to hold unto all of it, some things are not meant to be bound.
I see my friends in various stages of discontent, holding unto things that cause them hurt or things that take away their freedom, relationships defined by chains, and expectations, magnifying insecurities and creating resentments. We have been doing things all wrong for so long!!
From the time I was a little girl I can recall a saying that I believe my mom taught me, “When you love something set it free, if it comes back to you it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was”
I loved that saying forever but I want to change it up just a bit, people do not belong to each other, we are not objects and we belong only to ourselves. If we love someone we should ALWAYS, no matter what the circumstances, want them to feel free. Anything else is not love, it is fear based on attachment and the want for comfort and security. Sometimes our true power lies not in holding on with bloodstained hands but in letting go and finding our own way to create happiness and freedom.
The truth is that death has a lot to teach us about love and living. I feel deep gratitude that I had the opportunity to love a person so deeply, that even in his physical absence he is able to guide, support and encourage me. I am reminded every single day that true love should feel like pure freedom and the importance of loving and supporting myself so that when the time comes that romantic love comes knocking, I will answer the door because I have love to give, not because I desperately need love. I think that is a very important distinction in our relationships.
We were not born wild and free only to allow ourselves to be bound by chains. As my talented friend Charlie A ‘Court croons, chains of love, are chains just the same.
Just for a second today, imagine yourself standing at the railing of the Titanic with the ocean breeze in your hair, arms outstretched like you can fly, or imagine yourself on the top of a mountain, lungs on fire but arms in the air, relishing not in just the view from the top but the tenacity it took to climb it, that is freedom. Feel it, love it, and crave it.
You too, were born to be wild.
Make your moments count, make a difference and make sure that you live and love in a way that allows you and others to feel free.
We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.