Be the Observer

Does your heart ever ache?
Like there’s a hand that is squeezing tightly around it, restricting the flow,
Constricting, like a cuff that just can’t quite fully expand, and your heart strains against it?
It feels so deep…
Deep down between cells, down to the molecules, to the atoms, to the spaces between them.

Have you ever experienced a loss?
One that penetrates so deeply that you feel it in the spaces between where matter ends and only energy resides,
Ironic….how can it matter if it’s not even matter?

It’s like there is a space where all the pain and sorrow is concentrated.
How can nothing, seemingly nothing, hurt so bad?
Nothing physical at least.
How can an imaginary thing, that no one can see, cause this physical pain?

It’s because it’s not a thing that’s actually hurting us.
It’s not the death or the physical loss,
It’s the energy that that thing exchanged with you.
Whether a job, a relationships, a parent or a friend,
You had energy exchanges
Every time you interacted,
Every time you touched,
Laughed, loved.

Energy is in the space between the atoms, and it’s no surprise that when it comes to matters of the heart, this is where that pain, that sorrow, that grief is felt…

Sorrow is interesting to me.
It’s one of the easiest emotions for me to witness.
When I experience sorrow, it is incredibly powerful.
I feel it deep in that heart space.
And I see it, I see the beauty of it, and adore looking at it.
I caress her cheek gently, and stare directly into her eyes.
Sorrow is what it means to love, to be human, to live in this body…

Sorrow is what it means to have loved.

Other emotions are harder for me to witness.
Most notably anger. Which often pops up to protect my tender heart from the sorrow it feels.
But I admit, that when I feel sorrow, I am masterful at watching it wash over my being and make my whole body ache.
I feel the waves of it crash through every space in my being.
It ripples across all the matter and creates tears that then wash down my face.
Sorrow is a really beautiful thing to witness, and I believe it is the energy exchange we commit to when we experience a loss of love, loved one, or whatever else may have once brought you joy.
Some connection severed.

I’ve had plenty of experience with Sorrow in the past years, specifically this last year.
I lost my father.
A close friend of mine took his life…

And if I’m being honest my friend taking his life was far more sorrowful than the loss of my father.
I believe this to be true because my father’s loss brought him peace,
Although, I’m sure the same is true for my friend…

It was the sudden nature of it….I didn’t have time to prepare.
I had years to prepare with my father.
Years of sorrow to witness.
Years of tears and frustration and anger as he slipped closer and closer towards death.
Conversely, my friend was just gone…never to walk this planet again.

On top of these notable losses, I have had an inner journey that has been challenging and filled with discomfort, and yes….more sorrow.
Difficulty in relationships that make my heart space absolutely ache with sorrow.
My eyes close just at the thought of this pain.
My hand instinctively moves to my chest to rub it in reaction…
It’s powerful to feel this deeply.

I enjoy sorrow.
It is a beautiful emotion to witness.
It reminds us we had something to lose.
It reminds us to respect what it is that we have.

If I look back further, I look at all the unwitnessed sorrow I left on the table,
Whether it was the trappings of motherhood or self preservation,
There was plenty of sorrow that I walked by without a glance.
I picked up and left my home, my friends, my career, and moved 3000 miles away with a newborn baby….

Sometimes I wonder if I was crazy…
Other times, I know I’m not.
And right now, all I can think is about all the sorrow that caused me, and that I never witnessed myself in that.

I’m not sure why, and I’m sorry for that.
I deserved to witness myself in that.
And I forgive myself for that too.

So, does your heart ever ache?
Do you ever feel it deep in that heart space that somehow manages to pulse out to the rest of your body?

Witness it.
I beg of you, witness all of it.
I encourage you to sit back, give it space, and revel at her beauty, at your beauty.
She is not bad, she is a gift, a messenger, a reminder, an opportunity.
And if you’re willing to be brave, I encourage you to have someone else witness you in it.

Use this beautiful moment and ask yourself…what wisdom can I gain from this?
What blessing can I glean?

With my Dad, the lessons were deep and life altering, it changed the trajectory of my entire existence.

With matters of love for another who still walks this planet…it becomes more complex.

What wisdom do I take from that broken heart?
From that failed romance?
From that unfaithful boyfriend?
From that friend that lied to me?
From that friend who abandoned me?
From that family member that treats me poorly?

What wisdom do I gain from this experience, from this deep seated pain in the center of my chest?
All that pain that went unwitnessed.

It is not easy, but there is always wisdom,
If we choose to give ourselves space to witness, meditate, and be skillful in our implementation of said crusade for wisdom.

You must witness the beauty of the experience,
The richness of the emotion,
And then go inwards to see the wisdom this will bestow upon you and that you can move forward with.
Sorrow, or any emotion, isn’t meant to stay and live with you, she’s meant to teach you and help you move towards your next lesson.
She’s meant to guide you deeper into the abyss of you.

To find the lesson, the meaning, the blessing, the wisdom, the purpose, the value,
I ask myself questions.
Lots of questions.
Lots and lots of questions.
They are all welcome, and there are no chairs at the table for shame.

What kinds of questions might help me find my beloved chalice of wisdom?

First and foremost this powerful, beautiful emotion cues me to ask,
Did I honor myself?
Did I witness my self?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

And what does that even mean?
It means, more questions: did I listen to my intuition?
Did I tell the truth, MY truth, through my lens but with pure intention and love?
Did I state my desires, without fear of rejection or abandonment?
Did I set boundaries to honor my being?
Did I hold the boundaries I set?

Did I honor myself…did I listen to my self, my needs…did I love my self enough to do that?

And I will ALSO honor myself by forgiving myself for all the times I didn’t.
The Universe pays dividends when we trust ourselves and listen to HER wisdom.
The biggest question is, are you listening?
That voice of intuition is whispering in your ear.

I desire a big life, abundant in adventure,
Overflowing with great great love,
Deepened by beautiful relationships.
Relationships that you know go beyond time and space.
Relationships that take you further into the rabbit hole of exactly what we are here to do.
Relationships that give meaning to WHY we are here.
Relationships that uncover our purpose, my purpose.

And bring joy, tremendous joy, and laughter.

I desire great, great love,
MORE great, great love,
To give it, to receive it.
This love, I trust my self to GIVE,
I give it WITHOUT FEAR,
BECAUSE I have honored myself.
And with that may bring tsunamis of sorrow,
And I will witness myself in all of these things,
And use it to take me HIGHER.
I honor myself with forgiveness, I honor myself by witnessing my self,
And I am wiser for all of it.

Wiser, kinder, more loving, more compassionate, and moving towards mastery…

What emotion do you easily witness? What are you challenged by? And how do you honor your self?

Free Diving – Part 2

Oh my…happy birthday to this beauty of a human being. Like seriously…
HE. IS. BEAUTIFUL.
HE IS BEAUTY FULL.
Nevermind the physical, please look deeper.

This man here…
He is a free diver’s dream…
Endless depths of discovery…but can you hold your breath that long?
Can you train, can you endure, can you be patient through the tough stretches to reach the depths required to uncover what lies beneath?
The depths required to go beyond where most cannot?

Most dives end before we even hit the strides of your limit…
You get that panicky feeling, fear creeps in and you pull the chute and head for the surface…
As is true in relating…

Not this one.

Most dives end before you reach the space where you might die, or think you can’t go deeper because you’ll run out of oxygen or get the bends…
All that scary shit that can cause death…whether literal or only egoic…
It takes resilience.
It takes special training, stretching, regimens, practice, surrender, discipline, to be able to reach great depths while diving and while exploring the depths with another.
It takes patience, and love, and forgiveness, and a willingness to trust and let go.

Because to reach great depths with another, you must be willing to reach great depths with your self.

Sometimes when you’re about to run out of air, the other can give you a breath of life, a new way to see something,
Often your self.
The other can show you a new path.
A new way of being.
A new way to uncover what’s deeper…within you.

The depths that requires, the patience that requires, the constant vigilance that requires, can be harrowing, and scary, and feel like you just might die…and if you’re lucky, parts of you will.
Parts of you that weren’t necessary.
Parts of you that didn’t serve you.
Parts of you that chained you to a past that defined a person you no longer want to be, and simultaneously cannot let go.

Sometimes you have to turn back and head for the surface because you aren’t ready to go deeper.
AND, some times you are!
Sometimes the alchemical response between you and the other is a perfect combination of skillsets, courage, and acceptance to create a really special opportunity…

We have this…
This beauty FULL human and I, have been offered this.
And we fight for THIS.
This special opportunity is a chance for us to dive deeper together, because in his reflection I GET the opportunity to dive deeper into my self.
I get to witness a higher conceptualization of my self through him.
Because without the other, there is no reflection…except for the one in the mirror.
And although I love that reflection too, it can only teach me so much.
And it will never teach me as much as the relationships that mirror my self back to MY self,
Specifically the mirror this beauty FULL human has held for me.

It is said that Goddess created woman to experience her self.
Relating is our opportunity to experience our selves.
I’m so blessed, favoured, loved, and ecstatic that this human was born on this day, in a different country, a different world, different culture and circumstances, because through him I witness some of the most beauty FULL pieces of my self.
AND some of the ugliest too.
And in this place we grow.

And he empowers me still.
I have been empowered and invited, and accepted to explore my own depths, even when I’m diving without him…even if I must train alone for a stint, even when it makes him uncomfortable.

Thank you universe.
Thank you Kibwe.
And thank you SELF.
For recognizing the opportunity to go deeper upon meeting this beauty FULL soul.

No matter where our paths take us, we continually move in the same direction.
And whenever we disconnect,
we always reconnect in deeper more meaningful ways.
Deeper down the spiral of the abyss.

Deeper down the depths of our free dive. Connecting deeper, loving deeper, seeing and feeling each other deeper.

Phewwww….how deep does this place go?
I think the the answer is infinite.

I love this man, and I wish him the happiest and most amazing year ahead. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface with you Mr. Johnson ♥️

(This blog is part 2 to the original blog Free Diving – check it here)

Radical Self Honesty?

Integrity is an interesting trait. Defined as a “quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”
 
We often think about someone as either having integrity or not. Someone is either honest or dishonest. Someone is either acting within integrity, or without. And I don’t necessarily think it’s that black and white. It is, but it isn’t. I think integrity is often the victim of our egos. I think we desire to have integrity, but our egos tell us we are this, or we are that. Our egos tell us an invariable number of stories to keep us safe from many things, one of those things often being our truth, because our programming has convinced us that our truth may not be okay, not accepted, and not worthy of love. Which complicates our ability to have integrity…let me think on this further… 
 
Integrity, for me, is about radical self honesty… And this is where it’s tricky. It’s easy to think we are telling our selves the truth, but then never share that truth. What does that mean? Well, we often think we are being honest with our selves, and yet we are never honest with another ABOUT our selves. And, in efforts to protect our selves from the fear of judgment, shame and blame, we tell those we love half-truths, white lies, or simply withhold pieces of the full truth. *Out of integrity.* And I think it’s common to attempt to protect our loved ones from what our TRUTH is. And here is the caveat, when we do that we are actually projecting what we THINK they will say, do, or how they will receive it – so REALLY what we are doing is silently judging, blaming, and shaming, OUR SELVES. Get radically honest with your self about that. Past programming is a bitch…for real tho….
 
We think we know a truth about our selves, and we hold back from telling those closest to us because we secretly (our ego) still holds judgment and shame around it. And in the process, we never give our loved ones the opportunity to accept and fully love those pieces of us, AND that makes sense because WE don’t fully love and accept those pieces either – a misalignment exists between our TRUTH and our PROGRAMMING…  It takes courage to love all your pieces – ESPECIALLY with all the layers of programming. And it takes MORE COURAGE to TRUST and SHARE those pieces with others. AND within that courage is the gold! Sharing those vulnerabilities is where the healing takes place. I know this, because I have lived this. I still cringe at aspects of my self, and I’m working to laugh more at these parts, and hug my self through it… 
 
I implore you to ask yourself really hard questions…WITHOUT JUDGEMENT of the answer. And I implore you to have the courage to share those pieces with those you trust. If you don’t trust anyone, I’d dare to say that you have some stories that are simply fallacies (your ego has run amuck), or you need better friends and loved ones, because you are ALWAYS worthy of love and acceptance, from your SELF, and ALSO from OTHERS. And if you truly, truly, love your self, speak your truth from your heart – with loving kindness – and remove attachment to the outcome. The right people will remain. 
 
Find your self on the receiving end of someone out of integrity? Reflect (NOT judge) on how this may mirror an aspect of YOUR self that can be out of integrity, and make sure you set clear boundaries moving forward (if you feel uncomfortable AF, you’re doing it right…#Facts). EVERY experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. Save your self unnecessary pain and learn the first time! 
 
Integrity is a non-negotiable in my relationships, AND if someone doesn’t know what that is, and you don’t set AND HOLD clear boundaries, the stage is set for future hurt. Someone that is out of integrity often may not mean to hurt you, they may not even know what their truth is, or “they can’t handle the truth” (said in Jack Nicholas’ voice of course), or they don’t know how to communicate it, because their ego is too busy blaming, shaming, and justifying their(and your) behavior and (perceived) beliefs.
 
Have compassion. That’s not about you.
 
We are all walking around this planet trying to find our selves. Trying to heal our selves. Trying to do the best we can for our selves. So again, have compassion.
 
I read an article about “alive relating” and it was SO good! Because the idea of relating versus relationship is so convoluted in a modern world that’s rife with generational trauma and social/cultural programming. Something the author and counselor said really stuck out to me, she suggested “it is important that we explore the bounds and possibilities of relating with people who share our own depth of integrity, self-responsibility and purity of intention.” I think this is the key to all of it, and finding out whether someone shares those qualities with you, is an entirely different post. Hahaha….  
 
Happy Wednesday fam!
 
 
If you’re doing this work, please check out @silvykhoucasuan and @the.holistic.psychologist on Instagram. They are amazing resources that have helped me illuminate the path I am walking. I like to think they’re holding my hand sometimes and asking me questions… Isn’t social media amazing? 
 
References:

We LOVE As WE Are

“I love you.”
“And how do you love me?”
“I love you as you are.”

It’s a fallacy really.
A lie told to one’s self. 
To believe that we see someone clearly enough to love them “as they are.” 
We like to think that we can see people clearly.
Our parents, our kids, our lovers, our life partners and friends….

Our ego tells us that we see people for their best.
We see them as their highest self. 
We see the good in them.
We see their potential.

And maybe we do.
And maybe we don’t.
And more likely, maybe we can’t.

We like to think that we know the people that are closest to us. 
And I suppose that we often get close to knowing those closest. 
And close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. 

So, what do I mean? 
What is all this about? 

It is about the truth that how we see someone else is completely veiled by everything we have experienced up to now.
Good, bad, and ugly. 
We see those around us behind the veil of all our past programming.

We started as a clean slate, 
Tabula Rasa.
A computer devoid of any software.
Just the pure consciousness and biological bag of mush that we came into this world with.
And as we grew we accepted the truths that were around us.
The truths of our environment, our religion, our parents, our culture, our society.

We began labeling things as “good” or “bad.”
Emotions, behaviors, desires…
We took traumas on that our parents never healed, or theirs before them.
We internalized wrongs done upon us, often accepting them as wrongness within us.
Not enoughness, not worthy.
Because why else would someone abandon me? 

At a young age we don’t understand the complexity of the world, so our brain makes up the story to make sense of it. 
We don’t understand that it has nothing to do with us, it has to do with the pain that person is experiencing, and the pain they are carrying from their own childhood. 
Pain that wasn’t theirs either, that their little brain made up a program around, and a narrative. 

“I don’t deserve…love, acceptance” 
“I don’t belong, fit in…”
“I’m not important, special…”

Their unworthiness and not enoughness is then passed down from one generation to the next. 

In the name of survival, our brain started compiling programs. 
Narratives around why the things around us are happening.
It sorts and sifts and creates lists of “whys” related to its own experience.

“This behavior gets me this….I’d like more of that” – good
“This behavior got me that….I don’t want that experience again” – bad

All this happening unconsciously before we even know how to read chapter books, AND PREDICATED on the response, more accurately REACTION, of those around us, 
Meaning we implicitly accept the world view and actions of others.

And we layered and uploaded all of these programs into the greatest calculator known to man.
The human brain. 
More neural connections than stars in the Milky Way.

These programs were set and installed by the time you were 7.

And as we grow, each time a new experience occurs, our brain cues the appropriate program, the one created when we were sorting and sifting how to get through life as a child.

Over the years these programs run.
Uninterrupted often.
For years.
We gravitate towards situations and scenarios that keep us away from the dreaded TRIGGER.
We avoid this person, we stay away from that situation, because it TRIGGERS our past hurt or everything we have labeled as “bad.”

And often we should, especially if we are not willing to face the pain that can be our past. 
Especially if we are too tender to face whatever burdens were passed down to us, forced upon us, taken out on us. 

We often don’t realize we’re triggered and we say things like “I don’t like that person” or “that’s just not for me.”
Unconscious words we utter that are part of the programs that we installed and never upgraded. 
Those patterns and programs run uninterrupted and create a strong neural pathway, complete with neurotransmitters and hormones that give you the full experience. 

That program, whatever program it is, may run your WHOLE LIFE.
Do you ever see patterns emerging over and over again for you?
It’s one of your inaccurate and now inappropriate computer programs. 
And you just need an upgrade my friend. 
Which isn’t easy.

The only difference between a grave and a rut, is the depth.
And these thought grooves get traveled over and over and over again across the years,
Creating deep ruts within our subconscious,
Creating strong neural connections, that often we travel all the way to our graves.

We are no longer on our own path, 
And possibly we never were.
We are on the path set forth by programming we incurred before we could complete long division…

So who’s path are you walking?
Be terrified that you are on someone else’s path,
Be terrified that it’s a pre-determined program.
And use that fear to question everything.
Question every story and truth you have been telling yourself.

Like a curious and brilliant scientist, start fresh in every moment with a new hypothesis about how the experiment may turn out.
Instead of sitting in fear and anxiety that it will turn out as it has in the past.
Again…not easy.

Alas I circle back to the fallacy of saying, “I love you as you are.”

NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU AS YOU ARE.
Because no one will every truly understand who you are.

They can make a best guess. 
And that guess will always be based off their own experience. 
Their own programming.
Their own thought grooves. 

A cruel and beautiful plight that we all walk as humans.
No one will ever understand fully who we are.

No matter how much I write to express the depth of my emotion, the peaks of my joy, the fullness of my love and the hurricane forces of power and emotion within me, my words will always pale compared to the experience within. 
Like trying to describe a mountain vista, a wooded glen, a beautiful painting…words will never do it justice. 

It is my experience alone to feel.

I can try to express who I am. I can try to be understood. 
And many have done this before me.
Through great story, rhyme, song, poetry, film….
For millennia we humans have attempted to communicate our experience of this grand life. 
Attempted to help you know me.
Attempts to be understood, seen, and heard in OUR human experience…
To be recognized, loved, accepted, understood, known and SEEN.

To love someone is NEVER about loving them AS THEY ARE.
We love people AS WE ARE.

I don’t love you AS YOU ARE.
I love you AS I AM.

No one can ever truly know you. 
Only you can. 
Make it your life mission.
Every trigger, every thought groove, every moment of discomfort are clues and moments for you to get to know you…
Again, I implore you to make it your life mission. 
So that when you get to your grave, it’s not by way of a rut,
It’s by way of a new path, a fresh experience, a curiosity and a lightness of joy and play.
Never knowing the outcome, and choosing to walk the path anyway.
Like the curious scientists.

Take your own hand and walk the path less traveled,
Write new programs,
Wake up to your unconsciousness, 
Go down the rabbit hole of your own self discovery. 
Take the red pill.

Your path is illuminated and reflected by those around you.
So love all of it, love all of them, choose your path wisely and not without conscious intention.

And know that we cannot ever love someone as they are. 
We can only love them as WE ARE.
So love your self.
Know your self.
Hug and nurture your self.
And those that do the same for them selves will naturally align with you. 
And you’ll get to share, reflect, and enjoy this wondrous thing called life!

What a joy, what a wonder, what a wonder filled life.

How well do you know your self? What cycles do you find your self repeating? Drop it in the comments, loves!

I went to a cuddle puddle.

Yep, that’s right, a cuddle puddle! (Insert hearty eyes emoji here).

For those of you who are wondering, a cuddle puddle is a big old pile of pillows, and comfy blankets, with a bunch of strangers piled in the middle, spooning, caressing, holding hands, touching each other with consensual, non-sexual touch.

What thoughts does this trigger for you? I thought it was kinda odd, and I was fascinated. A dear friend was hosting and the idea made me really uncomfortable, soooooooo naturally I said “yes!” Why not? Confront my fears, my discomfort, and see what this was about…annnnnnnd it was really awesome!

Now this is the typical dialogue I hear from people when I tell them about this, “I don’t want to touch strangers.” “That’s weird.” “I don’t like people touching me.” “I don’t like people.” “That sounds like a reason to get a cheap feel.” “What is this? Some kind of gangbang?”

So please, open your mind and continue to read on.

So, I get to the puddle… We do a quick workshop about rules, regulations, and etiquette. And the time arrives, it’s finally time to cuddle. So, I’m sitting in the puddle, and it’s just before we’re about to get our cuddle on, I start thinking… “I could just make a run for it. No one would care. My friend’s feelings would likely be hurt, though. Fuck, why did I agree to this? What if someone asks me to cuddle them, and I don’t want to? I know we’re supposed to say no, but I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. I could just run out now.”

And then the deeper reason behind my train of thought rears it’s ugly head…. “What if no one wants to cuddle me? What if I just sit like a weirdo in the middle of the puddle. Alone. With no one to give me snugs…”
“What if I’m rejected?”

And that’s really what the fear was all about, and it was likely experienced by everyone in the room…

And guess what? That’s how almost all of us walk around this Earth. Wondering if anyone will want to touch us, love us, belong with us, be companion’s with us, accept us, find us worthy to stroke our arm, hold our hand, and embrace us in a true hug.

Not the bullshit formality hugs that most people offer out of habit and obligation. BUT a hug offered out of true compassion for the human condition, quiet love and acceptance for who you are, and honest longing for connection with another being inhabiting a human body in this same Universe. 

That kind of hug requires vulnerability. Just like a cuddle puddle. Although, you know you’re in a safe space, that fear of rejection, of unworthiness…it still seeps in. 

Okay, back at the puddle again: So, I’m sitting there. And I’m reminded of the glacier fed lake that I grew up swimming in. It didn’t matter how hot it was outside, the lake was still ice cold. You would dip a toe in to test the water, before taking the icy plunge, and there would always be hesitation because it just feels SO COLD! That’s what the cuddle puddle was like. You want to jump in, but it feels too cold, and you’re waiting and hesitating… And then you finally jump, and once you’re in, you realize it’s really not that bad.

Once I “jumped in” to the puddle, I was invited by the arms of a vibrant mid 60s woman who asked to spoon me, and I said “yes.” Why not? We spooned, cuddled, hugged, and chatted for a couple hours, in between a tangle of arms, hands, massages and caresses on either side of us and around us. She was pressed up beside me in some way, shape, or form the whole time. Caressing my hair, my arm, squeezing my hand tightly, and most importantly laughing hysterically throughout. She told me about her marriage that was devoid of touch, and how she just “wanted to be hugged” once she got out of it. And I learned about how she grew up sheltered, and over the years had blossomed into the  radiant, expressive, dynamo of a dame, that she is now.  

I was loved on by so many people. Hugged, big spooned, little spooned, arm caressed, hands held, and hair tousled and massaged, and I was asked and I agreed to each request. It was a give and take, where it felt like for every touch you gave, you were receiving another in return. A dance of acceptance and belonging. 

I got thinking afterwards…how many of us are devoid of such touch?

As a culture, this starts early. Often, we demonize co-sleeping, and work to have babies sleeping independently as soon as possible. Breastfeeding can be shunned or seen as inappropriate. Both of these things being beautiful ways to connect and bond through touch. And let’s not forget, what would cavewoman do in both these scenarios?

Human touch is a necessity of LIFE in the early stages of bringing a baby into this world. They would die without it. That is not hyperbole. It’s actual science.

Children are institutionalized weeks after birth, only to graduate to the educational system. Touch is often prohibited by the adults who are around them the most, and if they’re from parents who have experienced the same travesty, who is to teach them the importance of touch, and human connection? We educate our children about BAD TOUCH, and protecting themselves in that sense, but at what point to we educate them about GOOD TOUCH and consent? And for those who are victims to the BAD forms of touch at young ages or old, they are often never cleared of those traumas or re-educated on how good touch can be powerfully healing and transformative.

I don’t know what the answer is…

So, I ask…when is the last time we met our own needs for human connection? When is the last time we sat and cuddled someone that wasn’t our spouse, or wasn’t someone that we have a sexual relationship with? When is the last time we laid in our best friend’s arms to watch a movie and enjoyed being loved and belonging in a completely platonic way. When’s the last time a male, whom there is no intention of sleeping with, held our hand and caressed it while telling them a funny story, or a sad story, or any story that relates our human experience to them?

What about this….  As an adult, when is the last time your parent held you? Caressed your hair? When did our parent’s stop touching and holding us? When did we, or them, decide that we were too old to be loved on? 

Touch is often equated to sex, so much so that we have eliminated a lot of physical touch and created a barrier in human connection. And how often is human connection confused with sexual connection because we are so far removed from touching one another?

I got thinking about my poor father’s final days in a nursing home. If my mother hadn’t been around to touch and love on him, when would he receive that kind of comfort and care from anyone else? And how many elderly people in these scenarios are left untouched by another, after their spouse of decades passes? How long does the widower go before they are lovingly embraced by someone? As age ensues, in our current culture, so does isolation, and institutionalization. So, where does this basic human need get met? It’s one thing to have someone wipe your ass, and help you to bed, but who caresses your cheek, and holds you lovingly against their chest as you near the end of your days?

I don’t know the answer to these questions.

I do know that it is something we all need. And you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think you do.

I do know how I felt after the cuddle puddle.

I do know that as I age, I pray that I am blessed enough to be surrounded by people that want to cuddle, hold, caress, and touch me with love and acceptance.

I do know, that if I’m fortunate enough to move into old age, that I hope there are people around me to love on me without feeling weird about it.

What would cavewoman do? In a time before language, communication and connection were king. How do you do that without words? Through your eyes, and your body. The age old game of charades, dance, and for sure touch… 

So I encourage you to ponder the following questions: how much human touch and connection do I get each day? How does the thought of attending a cuddle puddle make me feel? Why? Look deeper… And finally, what does it feel like to be hugged, and cuddled, and loved on? Don’t you want more of that in your life? Do you think the world would be a better place if this happened more often? 

Have you ever been to a cuddle puddle? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

Mother’s Day

What does being a mother mean to you?
We all came from a woman,
We may have been raised by the same woman,
And we all have to leave that woman at some point in our life, 
Sometimes at birth, sometimes later in life, sometimes she leaves us, 
For whatever reason.

Relationships are hard and complex and riddled with expectations,
And the mother child relationship is really no different.
We place incredible expectations on our moms,
Whether she’s a 15 year old teen mom,Or a 30 year old business professional,
We place a ton of expectations on our moms.
She’s the one that is “suppposed” to love and nurture us forever, right? 

There’s one thing I am certain of, 
We love how we learn to love,
We mother how we learn to mother, 
We know what we know, and we don’t know what we don’t know,
And one thing I’m sure I know, is that as mom’s we should give credit for the simple act of doing your best.

Maybe your mom didn’t show up the way you wanted her to,
Maybe she didn’t love you the way you wanted her to,
Maybe she doesn’t understand you, the way you want her to,
Maybe she was absent, maybe she abandoned you, maybe she wasn’t the mom you wanted,
But I am also certain of this,
She was the mother you needed to cross whatever hurdles you are meant to cross on your soul’s evolutionary path.

And, I’m willing to bet, she did the best she could.
Motherhood is hard.
Most often we enter into motherhood not even knowing who we are, 
And often because our mother’s before us, and before them, didn’t know who they were either,

You’re given a human, while you’re still carrying all your own wounds and traumas, 
You’re given a human, and you simply do the best that you can.

I grew up with a loving and caring Mother.
And she absolutely did the best she could.
I could look back and wish for this, wish for that, as I’m sure we all could,
But the bottom line is, my mother loved me, she would give her life for mine, and she absolutely did the best she could.

As I’m seven years deep into motherhood I think about all the things that get passed from generation to generation,
I look at my challenges as a mother, and I realize most of the stuff we carry with us, never belonged to us in the first place,
They are ancestral lines of healing that haven’t been healed, 

AND AS A MOTHER, IT IS MY JOB TO COMPLETE THAT HEALING.
If I choose to. If I can be aware and conscious enough to realize that.

As a mother in a modern world, we face challenges unlike any other time in history.
We are left to motherhood almost completely alone. 
As our mother’s before us, and before her. 
And that’s not how it’s meant to be done, 
So, if you’re failing, or you feel like you’re failing, I would offer you this….

FAIL FORWARD, AND FORGIVE YOURSELF DAILY…it’s not meant to be done the way we are doing it,
AND we have an incredible opportunity before us.
Although motherhood in a modern world is incredibly difficult, there is one saving grace,
We have more resources and opportunities than any other time in history.

We have opportunities to grow and evolve,
We have experts at our fingertips,
We have social media and ways to connect with communities that are searching for people that want to do all the same things.

We live in a day and age where you can go on instagram and hear from leading experts on how to improve, evolve, heal, and reconnect with who we truly are!
THAT IS FUCKING AMAZING!

So the next time you find yourself criticizing your Self, criticizing your mother, remember this….IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE DONE THIS WAY! 
Give yourself a break mama,
You’re doing the best you can, and if you’re not, then tomorrow is a new day.

My challenge to you, is do something to grow and heal each day.
Find people that want to do the same.
Be the mother for your children that you wish you had, if you wish for that,
And then be the mother to your SELF that you wish you had.
There is powerful, powerful stuff in mothering your Self. 
And let’s face it, we could all do with speaking a little kinder to our SELVES. A little softer.
A little gentler.

And naturally as you do this for you, it will flow to the other loves in your life, 
Especially your children!

To my own mother,
I love you.
Thank you for being kind, compassionate, and raising me the way you did.
To all the other mother’s out there,
I love you.
Thank you for all you do, thank you for inspiring me, for hearing me, for seeing me, and for gathering with me, wherever that may be…

What did you learn from your Mother? Drop it in the comments my loves.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

They asked, what do you want to be when you grow up?
A doctor, a lawyer? 
I remember the question.
My Dad asked me regularly.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I didn’t know then, and I have an idea now.

I think a better question would be, WHO do you want to be when you grow up?
Who do you want to be? 

We often don’t know WHO we are, and we are supposed to know WHAT we want to be for the rest of our lives.
When did you figure out who you were?
Not who people told you you were, but WHO you actually are….

Have you figured it out yet? I suspect most of us, have egos that tell us we are this and we are that,
And if we look deeper, there’s somebody else lurking behind the curtain. 
I implore you to go shake hands, share a hug, and warm cup of something. 

WHO you are is much more important than WHAT you do,
And I never remember my Dad asking me that. 
Likely because he already knew I was bomb as fuck,
And there was a missed opportunity.

To reflect, to journal, to get to the bottom of what my future self could, ought, should, might just WANT to be…

Ask me that question now…
What do you want to be when you grow up Crystal?
And my answer would be wise.

I want to acquire and gain knowledge to better understand myself and the world around,
The world I’m connected to, but often don’t realize.
I want to share what I know with the women who come after me, and learn form the women who came before me. 
I want to see how everything and everyone is connected, and help everyone else understand the very same thing.
I want to share my wisdom and love and joy and self with every and all who come to the altar. 
I want to be wise.

Ask me that question again…
What do you want to be when you grow up Crystal?
And my answer would be wild.

I want to be wild like the wind, blowing across oceans, uprooting trees, and lulling babes to sleep,
I want to be wild like the ocean, rivers, and streams caring for the plants, and the earth, and the animals, nourishing them, feeding them, carving into the earth with my immense power, tumbling and turning across the vast planet, and soft and serene while slipping down a mountain vista, 
I want to be wild like fire, destruction and rebirth, swathing across lands and engulfing all that there is, clearing new paths for rebirth and regrowth, purging out the old, and making way for the new,
I want to be wild like the Earth, grinding and grooving, influencing all others, creatures, humans, wind, and water, feeding, nourishing, making a home for all that are here, showing a synchronicity, and depth of wonder and inspiring adventure, and exploration. 
I want to be wild. 

I don’t know WHAT I want to be. I know what I am. 

I am a mother, and a wife, I am an athlete and a writer, I am a lover and dancer, I am a feeler and a thinker, I am passion and desire, I am fierce and protective, I am love. 

I know WHO I want to be. 
And armed with the knowledge of WHO I am, not worse, nor better, 
And a clear vision of who I want to be in the future, I continue to walk the path. 

The path towards that wise, wild, woman.
The one that gathers.
The one that supports.
The one that loves. All.
That wise, wild, woman.

Drop a message in the comments, if you’d like to come gather with me in circle ♥️

The Universe has your back, are you listening?

I was walking across a parking lot and I saw this woman. 
And something about her spoke to me. 
Whether her energy, or the universe, or all the above.
I just thought to myself, I should talk to her.
And there were enough visual clues, outside of how she felt to me, that encouraged me to initiate a conversation,
So I did. 

She was carrying a Javelin and wearing a USA Hockey hat.
For sure we would have a thing or two in common…
So, we started talking, and within seconds, she asked if I knew how to throw hammer.

“Ummmm….I was the Canadian national champion at one time….”
She was shocked. I was shocked by the question. 
“Can you teach me?”
“Ummmm……of course I can!” 

What an interesting set of things that all transpired, one right after another, in a super odd and surprising way. 
That’s the universe.
Are you listening? 

When I saw her, I could have ignored the pull I felt to speak to her. 
That pull, that was the universe. 
And I WAS listening.

We arranged a time to get together so I could teach her hammer throw. 
And as soon as she started winding her hammer, I could tell who she was.
Focused, intense, a high achiever.

It turns out she is 67, and she is so incredibly similar to one of my best girlfriends back home.
Similar mannerisms, eyes, ways of speaking and moving. 
Another sign.
Are you listening? 
The similarities were uncanny, like my bestie had aged 30 years and was coming through another person’s body. 

We talked about hammer and everything track for the longest time. 

She got dizzy as most beginners do, and I remembered knowledge that I had gathered over years and years of experience as a coach and athlete.
“You will get less dizzy as you adapt, it’s your body learning.”
Brilliant advice, I know…hahaha….

But isn’t that the truth for everything?
As we move through this world, it’s never comfortable in the beginning. 
We feel unsure of our footing, our head spins…
But if we have patience and discipline, what was once hard, will become less hard, and what is less hard, will become easy, and what becomes easy, you will then master.
Hammer throw, life, skill acquisition….it’s all the same shit.
If you are listening. If you are willing to see.

As we continued through the practice, she noted the age of my girls, and mentioned that it’s a “hard time of life.”
Something I have meditated on regularly.
She knew without asking how hard it is at this time in life, and she was the perfect vessel to relay this understanding, to see me, to validate all that a I’m going through, all that a mom goes through.
As she said these words without prompting, I found myself accepting her words and reflexively responding, 
“I know. It’s so hard. How did you make it through? Give me some wisdom.” 

We talked for so long, and she relayed so many tidbits that resonated deeply in my heart. 
When I spoke, she picked out the integral parts of what I was saying and echoed them back. 
“Crystal, what I hear you saying is that THEY SAW YOU.” When referencing my old job and career. 
“Crystal, what I hear you saying is that you made a big sacrifice when you picked up and moved your family, and you need to grieve that loss too.”
These were things I didn’t even consider grieving for, or giving myself space to grieve them. 
I don’t forsake the decision we made, but I certainly should have given myself space to grieve… 

Something she said that resonated deep, deep down was she said “When we have kids, it’s like we put a piece of ourself up on a shelf, and you don’t get it back for a very long time, if ever.” 
She was clear to add that you gain all of these other things. And I agree. 
A part of me did get put up on a shelf, and out of reach, when I had kids.
And it’s scary. It’s impossible to explain to anyone else but another mom.

I know my husband will never fully understand. 
It’s a path and a journey that only a woman, and a mother, can walk.
And not just walk, but know, understand, embody, and live and breathe.
He appreciates he can’t understand, and he supports me there. 
And I love him dearly for that.

I told Jill the embarrassing fact that in 7 years of motherhood, I have taken one weekend to go away with a girlfriend and not do anything mom or work related. 
She looked at me aghast, “why?” 
Great question…
And when I think about it, I really don’t know why.
If I’m being really honest.
It NEVER EVEN OCCURRED to me that I should. 
And honestly, my mom never did things for herself. 
And I doubt that her mother before her did either.

So when would I have learned to prioritize that piece of myself that isn’t being attended to?

“Crystal, what I hear you saying is that you need more support. Do you have other friend’s that are moms?” 
I don’t really.
I have one. She’s amazing. I love her. 
And honestly, when shit gets thick, she’s the only person I can go to and lay out all my shit to, and that I really feel heard and understood, and fucking seen in the challenges I/we/you face as a mother in a modern world.

Thank you Universe for delivering Jill to me. 
That’s how I know you got my back.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! 
Thank you for having my back. 

Jill is me. 
She is a vibrant, beautiful, 67 year old that could likely do anything that she puts her mind to. 
She is a lawyer, and no doubt a badass – professionally, and personally.
She’s a go getter and an athlete. 
She plays hockey, throws hammer, water skis, and attacks all of it with ferocity, intensity, and wonder…
I’m guessing based on her hammer attempts… 
Time does not determine her faith and ability in herself. 
She is a mother. 
She is me. 

No better person could have randomly passed me in a parking lot and delivered the message I needed to hear. 
“Crystal, it may not feel like it now, but this is but a brief moment in your life,” as she holds up her thumb and index finger to measure and show how small this time feels to her upon reflection. 
It’s an important time and it influences the rest of your life, but it is brief. 
“I know it doesn’t feel that way when you’re in it, but it is gone before you know it.”

Wise words, from a wise woman. 
And no doubt, she would have been one of the many women in my tribe millennia ago.
Holding my hand, supporting me as a mother, and helping me through life as we all would have done in our oft forgotten yesteryears. 

So, I say this to you, my fellow mothers. 
I am here, and I am in this with you.
We are all mourning that woman that got put on the shelf. 
And we are all following the same path. 
And we are all going to make it through. 

My request to you, is that you start listening the signs around you. 
I request that you seek out your fellow mothers and band together with them for support.
And I request that you reach out and share your own challenges, tell your own stories, find your own wise women, and forgive, love, and thank all that is and will be. 

Thank you Universe for delivering one of my ancestral mothers to guide me in this modern world, Jill was no doubt a gift from you, and me, and all the mother’s before and since. 

Who do you look to in a modern world to guide you on your way? What wise women influence your path? Share in the comments, and walk with love and light today and always.

A message to women dealing with Imposter Syndrome – Part 2

I felt my worthlessness wash away.

I felt my anxieties and insecurities slip into the abyss. 

I felt my worry melt off my skin like a bead of sweat on a hot day .

And I remembered. 

I am lovely. 

I am wonderful. 

I am awesome. 

I am beautiful. 

I love me. I truly love me and there’s SO MUCH to love about me. 

I felt my heart burst open and let out pure love. 

I felt my heart flow all over my body and I realized…I didn’t need anyone. 

Just me. Just me could make me feel this good. 

I didn’t need anyone to love me. 

I didn’t need anyone to give me love. 

I didn’t need love from any other source than me, because I AM SOURCE. 

And I CANNOT feel that love from anyone else until I’m connected with me, and loving me. 

I cannot love in my fullest capacity without having that connection with me. 

I am powerful. 

I am filled with strength and courage. 

I am ferocious and loyal. 

I am love,

I am sensual, and juicy, and delightful… 

I am made up of queens and kings, and warriors and sorcerers… 

So why had I forgotten this? 

I looked down at myself and I saw a scared and angry little girl. 

I saw a little girl that felt less because of her sex. 

I saw a little girl that wanted to please the men in her life by behaving and achieving. 

I saw a little girl that was angry, calling herself names, and carrying emotional weights that were holding her back. 

I saw a little girl rejected by her best friend and abandoned for a cooler crowd. 

I saw a little girl that felt she must tolerate and endure instead of speak her mind, and be heard. 

I saw a little girl that was a burden and the reason her mother couldn’t be happy.

I saw a confused teen that felt that only her sex was desirable. Not her mind or her soul. 

I saw a judgemental wife and mother who holds herself to an impossible standard and then quietly judges and punishes herself for not doing better. 

And as all the heaviness rolled off my body and my heart burst through the bullshit, I saw all of them. 

Plainly and clearly. 

I looked at them with kindness and love and I said gently, “stop being silly, you are amazing, why do you keep forgetting these things? Let go my love. You know who you are. I love you dearly, can you please not forget?” 

And I remember all the times my Mama said goodnight to me,

She’d tuck me in, give me a hug and a kiss, and as she walked out the door she’d turn, peak back in, and whisper… 

“Don’t forget.”

Our secret way of reminding each other we loved each other. 

A tender memory. 

And a foreshadowing of a forgetfulness that is simply silly. 

After all these years, I’ve been focused on forgetting the love in my life, instead of remembering it. 

So as I lay in my bed tonight. 

Reminded of my radiance, my beauty, my soul and my spirit…I think about all that I have learned and remembered.

I tuck myself in, I curl up into the sheets. And I start my new ritual. 

“Remember who you are my love. Remember you ARE love and you are loved.”

Who are you forgetting you are? Drop it in the comments my loves.

Read Imposter Part 1

A message to women dealing with Imposter Syndrome – Part 1

You are worthless.
You are worth less.
You are worth less than a man.
Your pussy makes it so.

Your voice matters less.
Your opinion matters less.
You don’t deserve the right to ask for and express your deepest desires and dreams.
So keep your mouth shut.
Keep your opinions to your self.

You are meant to do one thing.
You are meant to have kids and take care of your man.

What you want isn’t important.

You are not equal.
You are not as smart.
You are gullible and stupid and naive.
You believe whatever people tell you. 

Your body determines your worthiness.
Your body and your actions determine your worthiness of love.
You need to act a certain way to be loved.
You are replaceable if you act out of line.

You are less important than your male counterparts.
You are automatically worth less and are less important because of your sex.

Your tits are too small.
Your ass is too big.
Your belly isn’t flat enough.
Your legs are too big.
Your personality is too much.

You are a woman.
You can’t be taken seriously.
You are less and you are subservient. 

You are replaceable.
There are other women out there and you’re not special.
You should act a certain way, so you’re not replaced.
You should act how a woman is supposed to act.

You don’t deserve unconditional love.
You are a woman.
You don’t have the same value as a man.
You are not important. 

Are you these things? Or did society convince you of that?
Do you believe these things? Or did “culture” assure you of that?

It’s easy to tout female power, empowerment, femininity, feminism, self love….
It’s easy to prance around and say, “I love me.”
It’s easy to say “I am woman hear me roar!”
It’s easy to say you believe that you are deserving, and equal, and important, and special.
It’s easy to say you are whole, well, and complete, just as you are….

But what if your sex automatically disqualifies you based on your core beliefs?
What if your sexual orientation disqualifies you based on your core beliefs?
What if your lack of conformity with societal and cultural norms that you choose consciously, is actually undermined by your subconscious programming? 

It’s easy to throw up a post and say women are important and powerful and should be empowered and inspired in whatever they choose…
And they should…

But what about the other shit?
What about the stuff that isn’t easy?
What about the deep seated beliefs that we are WHAT we are AFRAID we might be…

What happens when someone acts in a way that confirms to you that you are the things you are afraid of?
What happens when someone says something that affirms your worst fears about who you do NOT want to be?
What if someone straight up treats you like the things you are afraid of secretly being….worthless, unimportant, unlovable, not enough.
These things that your upbringing, your culture, your society, your religion, would like you to believe…

And what if you ARE all those things?
DESPITE how many posts you make about how beautiful and strong and empowered you are?
What if you are actually all of those things? 

Maybe you are,
AND here’s why I think you’re NOT.
Because what makes you up, also makes up the sun and stars.
What created mother Theresa, Gandhi, Buddha, also creates you.
Your gender, your sexuality, your skin color is merely a physical expression.
Who you really are is held in the nothingness and space between each and every particle in your being. 

Not in your gender.
Not in your weight.
Not in your breasts.
Not in your legs.
Not in your pussy. 

If we are all connected to source,
If we are all part of a greater being,
A collective consciousness….
What makes you less? 

Your fucking beliefs is the answer.
The ways you let others confirm or deny those beliefs.
Your choices.
So, who do you choose to be?
Worthless? Unimportant?
All powerful? Pure love?

Who do you let define that?
A society and culture that was chosen for you, and a body and genetic code that is merely an expression of an underlying mathematics outcome?
Or the omnipotent within you that truly knows who you are? 

All of those things are within me.
ALL. OF. THEM.
They rear their ugly head now and again…
And guess what? That’s okay.
Because the more I see it, witness it, observe it, the more I can be aware of it, track it, hunt it down, and slit its fucking throat. 

Because I am worth MORE, not LESS, than I can possibly ever know.
So I will be the huntress.
I will hide and find comfort in the shadows and draw back my arrow when I see my cunning prey.
I will aim with calculated precision and I will release, into the darkness, with my arrow of light.
And as my arrow pierces the shadow, and my prey falls, and blood gushes from the wound, I will bathe in the sweet fluids, drink it down, and integrate it back into the beauty that is me.

Because I am made up of it all. 

I am both dark and light, I am whole and completed by both.
And I am LOVED in both.
And I am DESERVING in both.
And I am WORTH MORE, not LESS, in both.

Read Part 2 Here!

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