The You That Takes Your Breath Away

Columbine Bud by fireflies604 on Flickr

“We are the only species on earth capable of preventing our own flowering.” – david whyte


This quote floated across the Twittersphere yesterday, and grabbed my attention. When I posted it as my status on FaceBook, a lovely male friend commented in response, “Yet we are drawn to flowering. Such a juicy existence.”, causing me to pause and consider the dynamic tug of war between closing and opening, concealing and revealing, preventing and surrendering.

So many ways we fight what is. Human beings that is. Only human beings. At least as far as I can see, human beings are the only ones who try oh so hard not to be what we are.

Then, I thought of how much energy it would take for a plant to keep itself from blooming. Oh my. Can you imagine if a bud could keep itself from blooming? I can just see it trying to scrunch everything in, holding itself back and in as if holding its breath, trying so hard not to be what it is meant to be.

Or at the other end of the spectrum, if the plant desires to blossom, gets to the height of its bloom and then tries really hard, incredibly hard, to keep the bloom beautiful. forever. without a flaw. without losing its perkiness. without fading.


Fighting one’s design is exhausting. I know. I’ve done it all my life. Especially my design as a woman.

I’ve hid my deeply sensual nature. I’ve kept myself small. I’ve taken on others’ shame as my own. I’ve apologized over and over and over simply for taking up space, for being in the way, for reasons I didn’t even know, even as I was in the midst of doing it.

I’ve been really, really nice, keeping the anger and rage down inside where it won’t be seen so I won’t be seen as threatening or angry or a bitch.

As far as I know, flowers can’t choose. They do what they do because their intrinsic design is to do that. But people, we get to choose. We get to self-reflect. We get to do this dance between ego and soul, a dance between pretending and being.

Fighting one’s design is the never ending staircase, the infinite treadmill, the highway to hell, but you never get to hell, because no matter how hard you pedal, you end up exactly where you started. I call it ‘the project’.

Preventing flowering IS hell.

As I let myself feel my exhaustion, when I stop and allow the full force of my dance with the illusion of my not-enoughness to flow over me, something else makes itself known. It is always there. It’s just doesn’t clamor for my attention. It doesn’t have to. It’s just what is.

It’s the wake up call to remembrance.

It’s the quiet, yet insistent, push to bloom, to flower, to be the one I know I really am. The one I allow myself to see in rare fleeting glimpses. The one that flashes across my face sometimes when I’m caught off guard looking in the mirror. The one that scares the hell out of me because of its persistence. The one that scares the hell out of me because of its beauty.

You know the one I’m talking about… the you that takes your own breath away.


My project has exhausted me for years. And, it shape-shifts. Just when I think I am being real and truthful and risky, I can feel the oh so familiar tightness and constriction of the project taking over again.

Let me make something really clear. The project is NOT bad. It is a ingenious survival strategy to stay safe when young. It’s filled with well-meaning parts that will do whatever it takes to keep safe. The only thing is, if the urge to bloom is there, then the project is standing in the way of blossoming. And, hence, creating exhaustion.

It can feel really risky to be the you that takes your breath away. But, in my experience, it hurts like hell to keep hiding it. The body suffers. The soul suffers. Hiding this you is fighting your design as a soul, as a human being, as a woman.

Beauty appears when something is completely & absolutely & openly itself. ~Deena Metzger

Beauty is something being what it is – completely. Sometimes this learning to allow beauty it is messy. Sometimes I don’t feel beautiful, but then I remember THAT beauty was the beauty I was taught to believe in…not the beauty of something being real. messy. powerful. strong. This is the beauty that pushes the seedling up to the light, the bud to open, the petals to fall, the flower to die.


Right now, there is a force calling us forth to be beautiful, to be completely and absolutely and openly ourselves. Yes, it is very persistent and fierce force, like truth always is, because, as Andrew Harvey says,

“Everything is at stake, and everything is possible.”

This force is compelling women to blossom. Fully. In all our feminine majesty. It is time.


image by fireflies604 CC 2.0 license

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21 Replies to “The You That Takes Your Breath Away”

  1. Feeling right in step with you Julie. My latest post is about how my habit of comparing keeps me from blooming. One of the greatest gifts I can receive from another is how not to feel alone in my smallness. Thank you for that. And also for reminding me about the awesome rejuvenating power of revealing my self.

  2. Wow Julie! I absolutely love, love, love, love, did I say I love your post enough? HAHA. The beauty in me smiles at your beauty.

    Thanks for bringing awareness to “the dynamic tug of war between closing and opening, concealing and revealing, preventing and surrendering.” Love how you look at nature for inspiration. Ah, it is time to see as you say:

    “This is the beauty that pushes the seedling up to the light, the bud to open, the petals to fall, the flower to die.”

    Thank you for such beautiful truthful expression, my heart is dancing!

  3. That distinction of “feeling” risky rather than “being” risky to be the you that takes our breath away. What your writing so eloquently reminds me is… when I am not being that me, I am risking the most.

    Thank you.

  4. So, so much in here Julie. It’s not one flower, it’s an entire bouquet, an entire garden, an entire field of wildflowers – untamed, blooming, gorgeous – indeed, breathtaking.

    I’m so grateful for your voice – this blend of your personal exposure and vulnerability combined with a call to my strength and power. That’s the messiness, isn’t it? Exposure and strength. Vulnerability and power. Not gendered categories, but all bound up within us – all wanting/needing to burst forth…to bloom.

    You are like water to my roots…the ones way down deep that I cannot see but which I know are foundational to all that’s now seen – and yet to blossom; that which is and will continue to be visible, experienced, and enjoyed. Thank you. I am nourished, fed, and bending toward the sun.

  5. The pull to be the me that takes my breath away is getting stronger. Thank you for giving voice to so much of what I’m feeling. Breathing deeply, relaxing into opening…Thank you.

  6. Beautiful!! I kept thinking of the Anais Nin quote I fell in love with years ago: “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

    And it’s not just the risk, but the energy it takes to remain – like you talked about. After a time – after we’ve learned how to protect ourselves — So. Not. Worth. It.

    Love how you honor the self-protection thing – not saying anything with shameful connotations, just opening into the flower you are. Inspirational!

  7. For all the times I’ve been told, “just be yourself”, “be true to yourself” or “love you for yourself”, nothing has really resonated with me, until your words you’ve written here. I love this. I want to tape this to my wall or even better, staple it to my head!

    Thank you for this inspiring post!

  8. All of us are capable of greatness. Our only limitation is our false beliefs. We need to emancipate from this in order to see our powers. 🙂

  9. Just as flowers don’t prevent themselves from blooming, birds don’t stop themselves from singing. They just sing. They don’t worry what the other birds think, as far as I can tell, or try to sing in a smaller voice. They just sing.

    Flowers blooming, birds singing…your words are so inspiring to me this morning!

  10. Ooooh your words brought tears to my eyes. The way you articulate or unfortunately too often tendency to “hide our light under a bushel” as my mom says, is beautiful. How perceptive to notice that we are the only species who has a choice not to blossom. And sometimes we don’t. But sometimes, when we make that choice, like you did in this post and in your writing, the blossoming takes our breath away. You, m’dear, take my breath away. And thanks for reminding me that sometimes I do too.

  11. you know, i’ve been honored to study death and dying and be with many people as they crossed that threshold, and one thing i often tell their loved ones: the dying person always blossoms or rallies before she dies. i’ve noticed that i kinda apply that to my life. when i have a creative project, i give myself a deadline . . . then i procrastinate. i always hated myself for doing this, but recently i’ve realized that maybe i’m treating myself as a hothouse flower – forcing myself to bloom. as the deadline approaches, i am forced to push through any negativities or resistance or doubt and bloom. and while it’s nice that i realize what i’m doing, the important benefit of that realization is how much energy it takes and how much sleep i lose and how much of the process i don’t get to enjoy because of that seemingly-needed procrastination a.k.a. push. i’m working on changing my routine to allow for “justbecause” (my word of the year) projects. to work on things because they are important to me, because they won’t leave me alone until i do work on them. am changing my routine to allow time to savor the juices of working on those babies – enjoying all the things i miss when i’m in overdrive to meet a deadline. does that make sense? it seemed to when i read your post, but as i write amid the interruptions of the dog and the dryer dinging and the text message and such, it seems less clear. oh well.

    ps: wait, you’re on fb? how to find you coz i can never get too much of julie daley;)

  12. My first time to your blog, as a friend directed me to this post ~ BEAUTIFUL! So lovely to read these words, as I’ve been feeling much the same thing lately ~ the pull to be absolutely and imperfectly authentic NO MATTER WHAT! And it is so incredibly freeing! Thank you for sharing yourself like this!

  13. I just love your post! You have a great talent to express your thoughts and feelings in a very clear, comprehensible and especially sensitive way (which is not easy at all!) so that everyone of us can follow and identify with what you’re saying.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! They’re enormously inspiring 🙂

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