Feel Her

photo by Anne Jablonski


There is one thing we MUST do right now if we are to survive as a species…if we are to respond to the mess we’ve made.

One thing.

We must begin to feel, deeply. We must open our hearts to the world, to each other, to the Earth.

To do that we must find our way down to our bodies. To the heart. To the soul.

We cannot bypass, either mentally or spiritually.

We have to re-learn how to feel what is here. We’ve been so strongly conditioned out of our natural feeling state, and yet, when we do feel, we respond.

Our hearts are meant to feel. We are designed to feel. It’s how we relate to each other. And, it’s how we can re-learn to relate to the Earth, for She is alive.

Imagine for a moment the Earth as a radiant being. She breathes. She feeds. She is alive. Now, for a moment, consider everything that has been done to her and is being done to Her, all across Her body. Let yourself feel. Her pain is our pain. We are not separate from Her. We are born from Her and we die back into Her. There is no way we cannot feel Her pain, and there is no way She cannot feel ours. We are in relationship with Her. The only way we don’t feel it is if we are not conscious in the places where those feelings are experienced: in the body, in the heart.

No one is going to feel this for us. No one is going to take care of this so we don’t have to. It is our responsibility as Her children to care for Her. We are the only ones who can stop abusing Her and protect Her from more abuse.

Deep feeling leads to responsiveness. When we are open in relationship we see and hear and come to know each other.

You have a relationship with Her. Your body is waiting. Your heart is waiting. Mother Earth is waiting with open arms. She always has been.

Love Her. Share your joy with Her. Bring Her an offering. Sing Her a song. She loves song.



(Click on the link above to listen to the song)

Dear Earth Mother come to me
Allow me in thy prayers.
May this moment speak to me.
Allow me to prepare.
Come Dear Mother be with me,
The sweat that we partake.
All who enter in your womb
Seek within your grace.
Hold this Earth,
The mountains at your feet.
The lake behind us sources us,
The trees keep company.
In this mix may we partake
And taste of your sweet space.
Divinity will come through us,
Today we can embrace.
See as far as you see,
Hear as far as you hear.
Be as far as we can hold
And laugh and sweat and eat.


During our Waking the Inner Teacher retreat at Feathered Pipe, one morning this song came through Tracey, one of the women on retreat. We’d been singing and giving thanks to Pachamama all week. We’d begun to remember, and deepened that remembrance with profound practices of gratitude to Her. And so, we all sang Tracey’s song. It was a beautiful moment (reflected in the image above). After our time together, Karen Chrappa recorded Tracey’s song and I share it here, both lyrics and recording.

[Recorded at The Creative Arts Studio with Karen ChrappaStefanie LipseyTracy WarzerLorraine AguilarAimee Schiff; Sound edit by Abhita Austin of Hidden Chapel Studios.


You are a Celebration in a Body


The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books,
gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives,
discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do!

I’m honored to share this Celebratory post for Michelle and Jessica‘s brilliance and brilliant book.


Take a look around you. Everything is alive: the Earth, trees, flowers, the sun, moon, and stars. Everything is alive, including you. This might seem like a ho-hum, big-yawn, tell-me-something-I-don’t-already-know kinda thing. In fact, most of us go through our day-to-day without even a second thought of what an incredible mystery this whole thing called Life really is. But when we get it – (really get it) – how amazing it is that we are here, alive, something happens inside of us. We begin to feel something. This something is like awe, or gratitude, or even reverence for something we can’t begin to name, but we know it because we sense it. It can feel immense. It can feel wordless. It can feel infinite.

It’s this ‘Something’ that we are in relationship with, and it’s a very, very intimate relationship.

When we allow ourselves to really stop, to just stop and listen, to stop and notice, we see we are in this silent, vibrant, alive, and immediate intimacy. This ‘Something’ that breathes you is breathing you because you (yes YOU) are an essential piece of this dance of Life. In fact, this ‘Something’ is celebrating you with every breath. It’s filling you with inspiration with each inhale.

When you declare You, when you take that step to surrender to who and what you already are, you begin to become intimate with not only this Something, but also with You. And, just as the relationship with this ‘something’ is tenderly intimate, so is this relationship with the You who’s been here all along.

Here in this intimacy, you can see just how much you ARE a celebration to that which breathes you. You, exactly as you are and how you are, without fixing, without making yourself smaller, or bigger, without achieving anything, ARE the celebration.

This isn’t just another blog post about…

loving yourself as you are BECAUSE you are fabulous or shiny or the one here to give everyone else the key secret so they can succeed at whatever it is they are doing. No, this isn’t that.

Nor is it a post to remind you that all you have to do is envision everything just as you want it and you’ll get it because you want it.

Nor is it one that will tell you that you can make six figures this year (and next year seven) because You are the cat’s meow. While this may happen, and of course you are the cat’s meow, this post is about something really, really simple…and entirely practical.

Life created You just as you are. There’s a seed imprinted within you. Each soul is a seed and everything sprouts, grows, blossoms, and sometimes fruits as it grows from within that seed. The sun showers it with light, the rain plumps it up with moisture, and the Earth feeds it with nutrients and love so it can be what it is created to be – a celebration of Life in its own unique imprint.

Life is THAT creative. Yes, it is. And, you are that Life so You, too, are THAT creative. Just as you are an expression of this erotic, passionate Life, whatever you give creative birth to is an erotic, passionate, explosion of this very same Life.

So, You soulful creature you,

What would life be like if you Declare that You are evidence that Life has chosen to celebrate itself in a very unique way and that Life will only be celebrated once in this way through you?

If you don’t declare You and LIVE this declaration of You, Life won’t be celebrated in the way it was intended to be.

By declaring You, Life will live itself through you in exactly the way it’s mean to be lived, giving exactly the gifts that are meant for all of Life to experience, and providing the piece of the pie that can only be offered by way of…you guessed it…You!

And while we are talking about You!, let’s talk about that beautiful, sacred, creation that is your female body. Your female body IS a celebration of the sacred feminine in flesh and blood. Flesh, blood, bones…all of it…and all of You. There is no need to control your body, in fact controlling it only keeps the lid on your body’s own way of celebrating.

Life is too intelligent to make mistakes. It is too wise and whole to create something that is not meant to be here, nor meant to be witnessed with love and celebrated with delight.

Maybe you hear voices that try to tell you this is selfish or self-serving or something along those lines? When they get loud and insistent, tell them you hear them and their point of view, and then tell them they, too, are part of this declaration. Everything, and that would be EVERYthing is part of this creation…even those voices that can drive us crazy with their constant barrage of worry and judgment. A funny thing happens when you listen while they declare their own point of view: freedom happens. Eventually they become free, too, as they relax, come into the fold, and come to know they belong.

Perhaps that’s all any of us want…is to know we belong, exactly as we are.


The bottom line…

You are here, as You, in your body. You belong here. Just as the sun and the moon, the ocean and trees, and everything that breathes, just as all of Life belongs here because it is here and because it is Life, so do You.

You are a member of the largest completely functional (in it’s own crazy mixed up, sometimes entirely dysfunctional way) Family ever created – Life.

You ARE a You and an Us. You are in relationship with everything around you, including You.

So, let’s celebrate! To You! To We! To Life!


images from DeviantArt


A Return to Relationship With Life


“…how calmly, as though it were an ordinary thing, we eat the blessed earth.” ~ Mary Oliver

Seeds are planted, food comes forth…as though it were an ordinary thing.

The moon returns after having gone black…as though it were an ordinary thing.

We open our eyes to live another day…as though it were an ordinary thing.

The Earth sustains us, each day of our lives, and we act as if it were an ordinary thing.


Around us, within us, between us, is the sacred.

Every atom is filled with it. And every atom is it.

Every breath is this mystery gifting us another moment of life. It is quite simple, yet life-changingly profound when we come to really take it in. And, yet, we grow to see it as an ordinary thing.


Wonder and Awe

The nature of the structures and institutions we live in is one of domination and control over life and that which is symbolic of life-giving power. In these structures, the sacred is seen as something above us, outside of us, and in some cases, something that only certain people have access to. It is also seen, by some, as something that does not exist.

For some time, we humans have thought that we can solve any problem simply through our thinking process, even the problems our thinking has created. It’s actually not very logical at all, but then the logical mind that doesn’t acknowledge reality isn’t very logical.

The logical mind run amuck has a quality of cold lifelessness. There is no heart in it, no warmth. When there is no heart, there can be a feeling of the stiltedness that’s somewhat robotic.

The structures we live in do not give much credence to wonder and awe, mystery and uncertainty. When we’re taught we have to know everything, there isn’t much place for these things. When we’re taught that humans own and can control life, not just land ownership but even going so far as to patent seeds, we’ve lost a sense of any relatedness or connection to life. Rather than being in relationship with the life that sustains us, we’ve come to see ourselves as owners and manipulators of this life…sometimes, all for a profit or comfort or supposed safety and security.

But wonder and awe are absolutely necessary if we are to heal the messes we’ve made here on earth. It is our relationship with life that needs healing, and to me that’s the realm of the sacred. And it’s also largely the realm of womanhood.

Why? Because our very need to control, dominate, and fix life is why we are in the mess we are in. And when we continue to act from this mindset to attempt to ‘fix’ our problems without opening to the mystery itself to guide us back into balance, we continue to seal not only our own human downfall, but so selfishly the downfall of many other species.

Our role as humans is of stewards of this beautiful Earth, and, we’ve forgotten our humble role.


Life itself regenerates.

That is part of its mystery, is it not?

Life is intelligent, much more so than any human being. But to know this once again, we must come to remember our place in this vast Universe. There is an intelligence far more intelligent than human beings will ever be. And this intelligence is sacred. This intelligence is what animates all of life. It is the universal life force. It permeates existence. And, we’ve lost our awe for this intelligence. We think we have it figured out. We think we can recite words that capture this intelligence. We think our dogmas explain it.

We’ve been so deeply conditioned to believe that the sacred is NOT in the land, the air, the water, the trees, animals, plants, rocks and yes, people. We’ve been taught to believe the sacred is not in our deep feeling nature as human beings. We’ve been encouraged to believe that the very things we are destroying are simply objects for our use. It’s too easy for our conditioned minds to view life as something we can research, figure out, understand, and even patent, that it is this deep misunderstanding that has brought us to the brink of great destruction.

Furthermore, many of us have been turned off to anything that smacks of religion, or if we follow a particular religion, many of those religions teach that the sacred is above this lowly earth plane. In believing this, we come to push away anything that we believe is trying to tell us what to believe, how to act, or how we must be in order to be worthy of access to the sacred.


A reclamation of the sacredness of life is needed.

Words can point to so many things, and they point to experiences we’ve had in the past, experiences that might be positive or negative or both. So much gets tangled up in a word. Yet, this reclamation that can help us heal is an opportunity; it’s the opportunity to come to know what the word ‘sacred’ means to each of us by way of experience…our very own real life experience.

Words are powerful. We can’t name this that can’t be named. But we can each guide ourselves to really look at our own relationship with this that can’t be named. We can guide ourselves to remember our own experiences of moments when we’ve been profoundly moved by this that can’t be named. And these feelings, these experiences, can be acknowledged with a word, a metaphor, a scent, a flavor, a symbol that speaks uniquely to each of us. Something that puts us back in relationship with that which breathes you.

The word you use to describe whatever it is that brings this awe to you matters not. What matters is the acknowledgement that there is something greater than you, or me, or us. What matters is that we find our way back to a relationship with this that is greater than all of us.



What brings out the feeling that you are connected to something greater than yourself? What brings you back to wonder and awe? What helps you remember there is something greater than you, whether it be community, relationship, humanity, the animal kingdom, Mother Earth…something that compels you to come back to the whole and to wholeness?

When you remember this experience, or these experiences, how do you feel? What do you feel? Where do you feel it?

For me, I notice these things in many small moments, as well as some of the ‘bigger’ life moments I’ve known.

I’ve seen the sacred in those ecstatic moments of my children’s births, or the births of my grandchildren that I was lucky enough to witness. I’ve seen the sacred in those moments of death, pain, and illness of those I love deeply. And sometimes, it’s been the way my arm or hand moves to the music when I dance, or how the warm wind feels when it’s blowing across my face. Sometimes, it’s been the miracle of my grandchild’s small hand with big dimples by each finger that causes my breath to catch.


Breath catching is a sure sign of the sacred.


Just consider this: You are alive. You ‘eat the blessed earth’ each day. You drink Her waters. You breathe Her air. You are here.

The Earth is this Mystery in form. We are Her.

Let yourself see the amazingness of just this. Then, call it whatever you wish. But, acknowledge that Yes, that something is right here, looking out your eyes, breathing your body, beating your heart. Acknowledge just how close this is to you. And, after really taking this in, acknowledge that what this is is not ordinary at all.

I’d say it is sacred. And, what do you say?



Shedding Skin



A year or so ago, I had a dream.

I dreamed I was standing in a grove of wide-branched, thick-leafed trees. It was nighttime. Between the dark of night and the thick of the trees, I stood in darkness. No moonlight or starlight made its way through to my eyes. The darkness was deep, yet not at all frightening. Rather, it seemed to hold me in a kind of embrace not possible in daylight. Perhaps in the darkness all is allowed to simply be what it is. Perhaps.

As I stood in this darkness, my eyes fell to the ground and I saw that I was standing amidst a sea of white snakeskins. They were scattered all around me. The whiteness of the skin was seemingly brilliantly white against the beautiful darkness all around me.

I’m normally afraid of snakes – an old phobia that’s gotten much better through my life, yet still remains to a lesser degree. But, as I gazed upon the skins, I felt no fear even though I wondered where all the snakes were.


Just this past month, I co-facilitated a retreat at Feathered Pipe Ranch called Waking the Inner Teacher. One of my co-facilitators was Michael Lennox, an expert in dreams. I shared the dream with him and in response Michael suggested I see the skins as coming from one snake, and that this one snake was me. I was the snake shedding all these beautiful white skins, and I was doing so by coming to trust in the darkest of the dark places within.

Over these past few months, especially since returning from my time in Montana, I’ve been in the throes of another shedding. I don’t really know exactly how snakes shed their skins, but I sense it isn’t an entirely comfortable process. I know the shedding I’ve been going through hasn’t been comfortable or easy. Yet, something deep in the soul pushes and prods – gropes to find its way through the darkness out into the light.


I’ve written about The Project, how we all have one, and how when we take it off and set it down, we can breathe in a way we’ve never breathed before, and we feel a kind of freedom we’ve longed for. The Project is made up of all the beliefs you’ve taken on about who you are supposed to be, how you are supposed to live and look, even what work you are supposed to do in the world in order to be successful and conform to familial and cultural expectations.

I liken The Project to those protective aprons the dentist places on you when you have X-rays. It’s heavy and protective against rays being projected onto you, and when they take it off, you feel light again.

As I shed what feels like a deep layer of old outworn identity, I feel this lightness, and a kind of joy. It feels simple. It feels unencumbered by the heaviness I’ve carried around me almost all of my life. I now see why that heaviness was there. Like the X-ray apron, this heaviness was a form of protection, but it was also a reflection of the world in which I was raised. I’ve seen how I took on the look and feel of the world in which I grew up, thinking that’s what the whole world was like – because as a little one, that was my whole world. I was a child of the late-fifties and sixties and there was a lot of heaviness not only in my family but in the world at large.

So much of the hard and stern ways of the structure we live in were actively engaged during those times, ways we are seeing pronounced today in the rigidity of our political and corporate structures. Conditioned masculine and feminine ways of being kept, and keep, many people trapped in suffocating gender roles.

Children are very impressionable and the daily impressions of their world become set in the psyche as the way things are…until the soul pushes and wriggles and finds its way out of those old impressions. This is what I’ve come to see so clearly over the last few weeks. And even though I knew this intellectually for a long time, until I could be with everything that was stored in my body – impressions, emotions, events, beliefs, energies – and allow them to be revealed and move in the ways they needed to in order to be free, I couldn’t come to know this new skin. Or maybe it’s more an original skin that was covered up. It feels that way.

The playfulness and lightness that are here feel pure and innocent, while at the same time there is a new sense of maturity, a sense that holds a kind of responsibility that feels right and good.

This new and supple skin seems to delight in the simple (yet entirely magical and mysterious) experience of being alive.

While dancing last night, I was taken by a sense of awe at the ability my body has to move in the ways it does, by the way small white lights looked lining the walls of the room we danced in, and by the way each of us dancing seemed to find our own unique movement and expression while listening to the same music. All very simple everyday things lit brightly by eyes that have been opened to the blessing that it is to be here, alive, in this body.

I know that the whole world is in a big transition. Both our individual and our collective skins are being shed and its not at all comfortable. But something in us knows we’ve outgrown this old way of seeing the world through eyes of separation, distrust, and sternness. Much of our societal tendencies reflect a belief that play and pleasure, softness and compassion, creativity and giving, are weak values to live. Yet, these very places of tenderness that we’ve tried to protect by hanging onto our old skins are what we must embrace again if we are to know our wholeness and humanness, and we are to truly understand (even the slightest bit) the gift it is to be human and to live our lives as an offering to life itself.

We women hold a way of being the world hungers for. It is what we are when we stop trying to be what we are not. We are not men.Our bodies hold offerings we must now live if we are to survive as a species.


Photo : AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by rustman on Flickr


Appetite: Living from the Pulse of Soul




It can be so much more than a desire for something on the menu. I felt it the other day. I feel it now.

I thought I’d not felt this deep, deep appetite before…deep and raw. No, that’s not quite right. I’ve felt it, but I wasn’t so conscious of what it was. But the other day, I did…and I was…conscious and aware of the experience of profound appetite.

It wasn’t an appetite for food. It had nothing to do with hunger in the traditional way we use that word. It was an appetite to feast on life, to be smack dab in the middle of life, alive and awake and aware.

[This is not to be confused with hunger in someone who is starving…literally starving. That I do not know. I’ve never known that. This is about appetite, something deeply instinctive.]

When I felt this energy coursing through my body, it reminded me of giving birth – open and available for life to move through. Both times I gave birth, I felt myself begin the surrender that happens. It happens before labor begins. It happens when you understand there is life growing within and that this life will grow and move in its own way. And, once labor begins and that baby is coming, something takes over and the body moves through the process of birthing. I remember how raw and alive I felt as I worked with my body instead of against it. I remember the felt wisdom of labor. I remember the power and love at the heart of that process.

In birth, I worked with the appetite for life and birth and becoming. And this raw appetite is exactly the same…it is life pulsing and prodding to live and breath in its own way.

Just the other day…

as I felt this appetite, I was open, deep in my body, to the level of soul, not only my own, but also what felt like the soul of life. What I mean is open to the raw material of life itself…the chaos of becoming.

It was appetite, appetite not for food but for life, life that is rich, raw, and even voracious; a profoundly powerful appetite to experience life wholly. Appetite is the best word I could find to describe it. It was ravenous, yet not insatiable, like I was really, really hungry for something, yet I had no words for what I was hungry for.

The appetite wasn’t of words. It didn’t need to understand anything. It knew.

How do I know it was soul? I know it because what was communicated was in images, feelings, sensations, and inklings. What was communicated was feral and fecund, pulsing with life and creation. And it was clear that there is deep wisdom in appetite. It is very clear and it knows what it wants. It’s a different ‘want’ than what I’ve felt in the past, a want that felt like it could never be satiated.

This appetite isn’t to fill a hole that cannot be filled. Rather, this appetite is a relationship – a relationship between soul and life.

As I fet it, I just kept saying the word, Appetite. Appetite. Appetite. I could feel it rolling off my tongue and it felt right.

Like giving birth, it follows the pull of something wildly intelligent that flows through DNA, through the cells, through the inherent wise movement of life.

I sense how it moves through me, how it knows what it wants without any sense of hesitation or apology. I’ve thought of all the times I’ve not known what I really wanted, yet all the time this instinctual appetite was just under the skin, emanating from deep in the core of the body. It’s primal, sexual, creative power. It is impulse. It knows what it knows. It senses and tracks, and follows what it’s hungry for. It feels joyous, yet not like the lightness I usually associate with joy. It’s joy that comes from deep in the belly, like a good kind of belly laugh, a kind of lip-licking joy felt when appetite is sated.

This deep and raw appetite moves through women. It is part of our powerful sacred creativity as beings who bring forth life. Many women choose not to have children, or cannot have children. Yet, their appetite still pulses with pregnant possibility. There are infinite ways to bring forth life.

We all have this appetite right under our skin, simply waiting to be acknowledged and trusted. I know, boy do I know, it is not easy to trust this. We’ve been directly and indirectly taught to distrust this. We’ve been taught to not allow ourselves to see that it is our life force, our sacredness, our sacred sexuality and creativity, and that it is first and foremost a part of our own soul and our own life expression.

When we honor that it is within us, a part of our soul and a part of the joy of being a woman, we come to know it for ourselves, and in doing so, we then are more able to share it consciously with the people we love. This appetite is not something we are to give to others, it is something that is intrinsic to our own expression, and when we honor that, its expression can be received and enjoyed by others.

I’m going to be exploring what it feels like to live life from this deep appetite, allowing it to guide me in what I write, what I create, and how I express myself. I’ve been known to rely heavily on my rational mind when I get nervous or fearful, so this practice will helpfully go to the core of my learned coping mechanisms.

It was appetite that drew me so deeply to the dance.

It was appetite that moved me out of a career in technology and into the work I do now.

It was appetite that called me to dive directly into living the question of what it means to be unabashedly female, even when so many internal voices feared that dive.

For me, this goes straight to the heart of women’s creativity, sexuality, and power. It takes us out of the oh-so-well trained mind and into the heart of the feminine.

Stay tuned…

And, I’d love to know how you’ve experienced this. What have you come to see? To know? To feel? And if you haven’t, what you’re curious about.


Photo by Anne Jablonski, taken at Feathered Pipe Ranch during the Waking the Inner Teacher retreat.

And, my good friend and colleague, Rachel Cole, writes beautifully about hunger and being well-fed…perhaps another way to look at appetite…

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