Shaking Off the Concrete: A Wildly Alive and Fiery Force

Share

 

This Big Old Wild and Lovely Tree

A few weeks ago, as I was walking down the main street of my neighborhood business district, I came upon a scene with men in suits, men in hard hats, and men with chain saws. They were watching and talking, gesticulating and sawing. This big old wild and lovely tree had grown too big for her ‘place’, her roots uprooting the concrete sidewalk that had been placed all around her when she was young and still manageable, not her full-grown, wild-self nature.

As I stopped to watch, I heard one of the men in suits talking about the tree say, “It just became too much for the street here, too much to contain. We had to cut it down. We’ll dig up the roots, cut them out, and pave over the hole. It will be much cleaner.”

She couldn’t and wouldn’t be contained in that too-small spot she was given, decorating the fancy-shopped street along with a few other chosen trees, spaced neatly and orderly along the way. She was trying to shake the concrete off, trying to grow into her full potential, following the seed’s instructions that were at the heart of her becoming.

Now, enough days have passed by that all signs of the tree are gone, except for the sidewalk squares that are obviously new concrete, sitting right up against the old. There won’t be any more ‘growing things’ in that spot. We must maintain a controlled-enoughness at all times.

 

Pave Paradise

Now, I’m sitting, waiting for my Darshan with Amma.  Amma is the Indian saint who’s travelled the earth hugging others with unconditional love. I’ve been graced with her hugs many, many times, and each time is different.

The temple is filled with Shakti. My body is filled with fire.

As I wait, I hear a voice inside, an insistent voice, a fiery voice that is clear about what she wants. Shake it off. Shake everything off that is not true. Strip me bare of everything that hides my nature, that hides who I really am, like concrete laid out in large archaic patches across Mother Earth, keeping her bound, her bosoms unable to rise and fall with those magnificent in-breaths and out-breaths she takes as she prepares meals for her children.

As I see this almost-furious voice laying claim to what is true, I see that I am this strong core with deep roots, a core that is unshakable and roots that hold me steadfast to the earth.

I’ve been paved over. I was wrapped with concrete, laced with rebar that holds the paving in place, maintains a strict form, and certainly doesn’t allow any big bosom breaths to shake up the status quo.

You know that old Joni Mitchell song that croons, “We paved paradise and put in a parking lot”? Yeah, that one. Sometimes, that’s what this body of mine feels like – like paradise, a flesh and blood paradise, a conscious, aware, breathing, desiring paradise that’s been paved, made into a parking lot full of concrete, straight lines, and all sorts of rules as to who owns it.

 

Feral Flesh

Enough rules about ingress, egress, and regress will cause
any wild woman to forget that she was ever feral flesh.

And not the kind of feral flesh that old ‘parking lot attendant’, the one who believes he knows the ‘lay of the land’ and the rules about who gets to use this used-to-be-paradise, would want you to believe. No, not at all.

THIS. This body, this feral flesh – feral as in completely and utterly in tune with the seed of her becoming – flesh as completely and utterly part of this existence we call life, matter infused with the love and vitality, inspiration and creativity, vibrancy and expectancy that anything completely alive knows – this feral flesh, this desiring paradise, still remembers, still feels, still knows it is good and whole and necessary.

The Soul can only know what it is to be fully alive in this life by way of this body. A paved over body cuts the tree down, uproots the roots – at least in our psyche. Our doing this causes great pain to the Soul. But when we turn back to Soul, when we show we are ready to let the Soul lead, the Soul returns, shaking concrete off of roots, untwisting rebar, unveiling her nature, the trunk and roots begin to emerge.

As Amma takes me into her arms and I feel her presence, I can tell she’s heard my Soul’s request. She hugs me with a force I’ve not felt before, her jackhammer of love hitting against those thick slabs of forgetfulness and severed connection. She’s tearing away the untruths just as this fiery voice requests.

These two wildly alive and fiery loving Divine Beings seem to have a direct line to each other. It is my job to get out of the way and let Nature do its work.

You don’t have to be in Amma’s presence for Nature to help shake off the concrete. Nature is ready and willing.

::

bafonbadge300px

Experience Becoming a Force of Nature!
I’m offering my course, Becoming a Force of Nature, over the summer, running from June 2nd through September 3rd, 2014. Our first call is on June 4th, with the first module being released on the 2nd, to give you time to go over the material.

This time, I’m offering the first module and call (June 4th) to EVERYONE, free of charge!

Sign-up here to receive the module so you can experience the course. I know you will learn a great deal just from Module One.

 

Share

Her

Share

Sweet Honey, by K Kendall
Sweet Honey, by K Kendall

Thirty-seven years ago today, 11/11, I held her in my arms for the first time. She came into life, I became a mother.  It was a day that changed me forever.

Holding her in my arms for the first time, I knew a love I’d never even comprehended prior to that moment. A love completely unconditional. A love that would deepen over the years as she grew into womanhood, left home, married, became a mother, and handled life’s challenges and graces with such strength and courage.

Sitting here writing this post, I can’t begin to put into words the depth of this love for my daughters, I have two, and their children. It is completely unconditional. While in my day-to-day life I may do things in very conditional ways, not always showing up in the moment in a way that reflects this unconditional love, the limitless depth of the love in my heart is always here.

Four years ago, I was sitting in an ashram in India. Amma’s ashram. I was sitting in meditation while Amma gave darshan. Long lines of people would show up every day she was at home in her ashram, when she wasn’t touring the world giving hugs. Sitting in her love-filled temple, I was profoundly moved. My eyes came upon an Indian woman and her small child. They were sitting across from me, on the other side of the temple. She was holding him in her arms while he slept. She looked like the Madonna with child. A beautiful light surrounded them, a light not visible with my eyes, but wholly visible with my heart.

In that moment, this memory of the moments I became a mother, and the love that filled my heart for my babies, once again flooded my consciousness. This time, though, it wasn’t inside me, it surrounded me. It held me. It was me, and I was it. This love was so deep, so full, so rich that everything in my awareness was bathed in love.

Sitting here, writing this post, I feel it once again. This love. This universal motherhood consciousness that Amma speaks of. It is in us all. We are all bathed in it. Women and men, whether parents or not, are all universal mothers to all the world’s children.

Thirty-seven years ago, I was seventeen. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was meant to give birth to this child. I knew it in a place within me that was ancient and wise, a place that knows what I am here to do. As a young mother, I drew upon a strength and wisdom that flowed from this ancient place, a fountain of wisdom and love. I drew upon the sacred feminine consciousness within me, within my body, within my heart.

I certainly was far from a perfect mother. Far from it. Yet, something deeper flowed through my imperfect actions. Something unconditional infused my ways of loving conditionally.

This female intelligence, this wisdom, strength and knowing, runs through all women. We know what is right for our souls. We know what is right for our bodies. We know what is right for our children. When we are in touch with this wisdom, we know.

I knew this was right for me, for my soul and the soul of my daughter from some deep place within me. No one else could make this choice but me. It was the right choice for me, and that says nothing about what is right for any other woman.

So much that has been done through the structure and paradigm of patriarchy has clouded and obscured our female intelligence, our feminine ways of knowing. We’ve been cut off from the sacred feminine. We’ve been led to believe She is not here, that we can’t trust our own knowing and wisdom. She has been kept down in the dark. Yet, don’t let that fool you for a moment. This female intelligence has always been here. She is now rising into the light, up into consciousness.

She is living and breathing inside you right now. Somewhere you know this, even if you can’t quite yet trust Her.

Open to Her. Receive Her. Remember Her in your cells. Let Her bring forth your tears of grief for having lost touch with Her. Let Her bring forth this universal wisdom within you, so that you may shower your own heart and body with Her love. For Her love is your love, Her wisdom is your wisdom, Her ferocity is your ferocity.

Happy Birthday, beautiful daughter, wise woman.

And, you?

I’d love to hear about your female intelligence. What you know. What you see. What you feel. We all learn by knowing what another woman knows of her own experience.

image by K. Kendall, licensed under CC2.0


Share

Life’s Darshan

Share

That which God said to the rose, & caused it to laugh in
full-blown beauty, he also said to my heart. ~Rumi

The other day, I had Darshan with Amma. It was delicious because it was filled with laughter…laughter mixed with love.

Amma is a woman, some say a saint, who has given her life to selfless service. She has created a global web of humanitarian services that are empowering women, feeding children, and responding to the immediate needs of millions of people affected by both natural and man-made disasters.

And, every day of her life, she spends hours giving Darshan to those who come to receive it. Darshan is a Sanskrit and Hindu term meaning sight (in the sense of an instance of seeing something or somebody), vision, apparition, or a glimpse. It can also mean to experience a realized Being, one such as Amma.

During her Darshans, Amma hugs you. You kneel down into her lap, and she hugs you. Now, this isn’t just a hug, it is a HUG. Everyone’s experience with Amma is different. Usually, I am simply filled with love.

The other day, it was a hug filled with laughter. As the woman ahead of me was receiving her Darshan, another woman brought a baby over to Amma and the baby began to laugh. Amma laughed. The baby laughed. Amma laughed. They began to just grin at each other, and I was kneeling right in front of the whole shebang as it unfolded.

I just watched the playfullness of the baby, mirrored in the playfullness of Amma. You know how laughter is contagious? Well, the virus began to spread. I reached in for my hug and as Amma hugged me, she was still laughing. I could feel her entire body moving as she heartily laughed. I mean REALLY laughed. And, she has this deep, earthy laugh that makes it all the more compelling. My entire body began to laugh, too. I experienced sheer delight as I was held in the arms of this incredibly strong and lovingly compassionate woman.

Love, laughter and delight.

This past week, I also spent time with my granddaughter Aveline, and my niece’s twins, Eli and Hannah. Again, laughter. So much laughter at the sweetest things, the simplest things, the most unexpected things. Bugs. Berries. Peek-A-Boo. Dancing when there was no music to be found. Dancing at the drop of a note. Fascination with the littlest details I pass over every day.

Aveline is twenty-one months old, and Hannah and Eli are twenty-months. There is a wonder and curiosity at this age that is totally contagious.

With babies and children, one moment there’s laughter, and in the next, crocodile tears; one moment there’s amazement and wonder, and in the next, the need for a generous, big mama hug. These babies in my life are always giving Darshan.

Laughter, delight and amazement are qualities of the feminine aspect of life, qualities always available to us all, when we step out of our analytical minds and into the graces of the heart. From here, we can see, know, feel and touch things we miss in the ‘figuring-it-all-out’ places of the mind.

Life is full of so much turmoil right now. And yet, wonder and curiosity, hugs and amazement, love, laughter and delight are here, too. Just maybe, we might find a way out of all these seemingly intractable problems by remembering the innate, spontaneous movement of love that appears when we remember our own innocence and listen for that which caused the rose to laugh in full-blown beauty.

Life is always offering Darshan. Are we curious enough and open to receiving it?

And, you?

What Darshan have you received lately? From life? From children? From who knows where?

This post is part of Dian Reid‘s blog challenge at Authentic Realities. Check our Dian’s blog challenge to learn about discover other bloggers writing about Self-Evidence and Authenticity.

Share

Body and Place

Share

Place.

As I’ve pondered this word (today’s blog challenge prompt is ‘The best place’), I’ve thought of many places I love:

walking in Tilden Park (I live across the street from this wild heaven)

on the dance floor on Sunday mornings at 8:30 in Sausalito with 149 other sweaty and passionate 5Rhythms’ dancers

sitting on the floor in a puppy pile with my three grandchildren, 2 great-nieces and 1 great-nephew on Thanksgiving

doing yoga in my sister’s (the one and only Molly Fox) incredibly physical, and joyously lyrical yoga class

listening intently to my clients on our coaching calls as they share the most intimate details of their ‘one wild and precious life‘ (prostrations to Mary Oliver)

sitting in meditation with the most amazing teachers Lynn Barron, Amma and Adyashanti

simply being with Jeff, the man I share my life with.

I am struck by these things:

how crazy fortunate I am to be living the life I am living

and

how integral being in my body is to the ability to ‘be’ in any place and ‘know’ how it feels to be there. My body is my doorway to place, because I experience place through my senses. I drink place in with my eyes. I touch place with my heart. I feel place through the cells of my body.

and

The ‘best place’ to ‘be’ in is in this body, this sensuous female body that feels deepy and loves completely.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t always been the best place to be. In fact, for many years I wanted nothing to do with this place. I stayed way up in my head, or at times, was nowhere to be found even in the vicinity my body.

Now, after much ‘work’ and lots of great body practices, I know differently. This female body is divine. Not just mine. All female bodies are divine.

I remember being at and Adyashanti retreat when he was speaking about the divine nature of all of life. As I listened, I had an epiphanic experience (fancy way of saying an ephiphany, because I love the word ep⋅i⋅phan⋅ic). I suddenly knew, in the embodied way, that my female body, and all female bodies, are divine. We bring life into life in a myriad of forms. Our female bodies are gateways to this amazing thing we call life. If we are in our bodies, we feel deeply, we connect with the earth.

As this was satsang, when the time came for people to share experiences or ask questions, I raised my hand, was called upon, strode up to the mic, and said, loudly and clearly, “I just got that this body (pointing to mine) is divine”. I suddenly heard a chorus of female gasps arise around the room. I obviously wasn’t the only one who had missed this message growing up.

So in wondering about place, I now see, and taste and touch and hear and feel, that body needs to be in conscious relationship with place, any place, to know it.

As Mary Oliver writes,

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

This post is part of Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge
Day 11: The best place. A coffee shop? A pub? A retreat center? A cubicle? A nook? A BODY!

Image credit: Place of Healing, by Mara on Flickr

Share

Transmuting Anger to Love

Share

Blue Tara ~ Goddess of Liberation

“Blue Tara, or Ekajati, is associated with the transmutation of anger. A Protector expressing ferocious, wrathful, female energy who destroys all learning obstacles producing good luck and swift spiritual awakening. She removes fear of enemies, spreading joy and good fortune.” (source: Seasonal Salon)

If I am going to be unabashedly female, I must be present to what is here. Anger is here…again. To be honest, I don’t know what to do with this anger. Anger wasn’t something I learned to feel or express, but it certainly is here.

Anger for the way women and children are treated. I sense rage underneath a pretty veneer of good and appropriate behavior, not only on my part, but in the world at large. I sense many women feel this rage at something we can’t quite name, or perhaps don’t know how to name. I am sure many men feel this, too. I know some of it is my own anger, while I know much of it is the collective rage, a rage carried over from centuries of oppression of the Feminine.

My mind can’t understand how this anger and rage can be expressed without hurting another. I don’t want to simply spew more negativity into the world…there is enough already. But, I know I must feel this anger. It is here. And, I feel compelled to do something about what is happening all over our planet. While I feel small compared to the problems, when I feel this anger arise, there is at least something moving, something stirring rather than the complacency that comes when I feel overwhelmed by the problems I see.

In my writing, I have been stymied by the anger that comes up. I am clear that I don’t want to blame or rant or rave. I want to move from the love I know lies deep within my heart. Yet, I don’t yet know the fullness of how love can show up, the ways in which it can move and stand in its fullness as the truth.

I do know that love can cut like a knife of truth. I have seen it. When I stayed at Amma’s ashram in India, I witnessed Her love over and over. Even in moments of Darshan, when she was hugging someone with infinite tenderness of the Mother, she would occasionally express this knife of truth (what I might call anger or something like it) towards someone when it arose. But, here the expression was clean. It cut through the haze of ego like a knife, cleanly without a lingering trace of guilt or blame. Her love flowed through the entire experience. Witnessing its expression took my breath away. I had never seen the beauty in truth of expression like this before.

From my own experience, I know that pure love follows the true expression of anger. When anger is experience fully, without identifying with it, and without allowing one’s conditioning to feed off of it, it transforms into love.

I now know this transmutation of anger to love is what Blue Tara represents. For thousands of years, Blue Tara, and the other goddess forms, have represented this transmutation because anger blocks the way to expression of truth and love. There have been deities to express this because this is part of our path to awakening, to discovering the truth and wholeness of what it is to be female.

There is so much fear amongst women about being angry. No woman wants to be the angry bitch. Yet, we must feel the entirety of what is here, without identifying with it. We are not our feelings or thoughts, yet they move through us. When we block the negative ones, we block all of them. Our hearts are big enough to hold the entire universe…I know we can hold the feeling and expression of this anger, too. Perhaps then it will be like letting the air out of a balloon, slowly, little by little, rather than letting it get so full that it pops.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Share