Just imagine the beauty still veiled by these delicate petals.
Deep inside the heart of this wild iris is the most tender essence of life.
Perhaps we are like this.
Perhaps we save our innermost places of the heart for one beloved.
“It does not pay to cherish symbols when the substance lies so close at hand.” ~ Audre Lorde
Why do we look for God out there, up there, outside of us, when all that exists is the sacred made manifest?
The substance of the sacred is so close you can touch it, so close you can breathe it, in fact closer than your breath.
I am filled with the light of the sacred.
You are filled with the light of the sacred.
All is filled with the light of the sacred.
A shadow hovers over this light. We fear seeing it.
We fear our own magnificence.
We’ve been taught we are not worthy. That is not so. We are the sacred made manifest in form.
Hide not from your own light.
Hide not from your own darkness.
Turn to look within.
See the light of the sacred shining from the very center of your being.
See the darkness of the mystery, where what is yet to be lies waiting to be known.
I can tell you one thing: I see your beauty and it is breathtaking.
I will not be silent about your beauty.
I will not be silent.
Reverb10 Day 06
Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
This year has been about making love. And, I’ve used my heart, my body, my mind and my soul
Now I know most of us have been taught that making love means having sex with someone we love. But, I want to break open the tiny sliver of a way in which we see sexuality, sensuality, the erotic.
The way we currently see sexuality is limiting, yet it is so much more. Collapsed and hidden within our culture’s definition of sexuality are sensuality, longing and desire, passion and beauty, and touching to deeply connect.
Let’s take women’s sexuality today – so many women see pole dancing as a way to find their sexy selves. Connecting with our fire in this way isn’t a bad thing at all. It has helped so many women tap into a part of their nature and give it breath. And, yes, it is just one way. And, it can be limiting. It is also a way that can fit into this culture’s view of women – as sexual creatures, even objects, that are here to serve men’s erotic fantasies. The pornography industry is big business. It has a particular view of women, and it isn’t a pretty one. This industry has become ubiquitous in our culture. Its perspective has infiltrated mass media.
When we see ourselves through this perspective, is it serving our wholeness, is it serving how we see and value ourselves? This doesn’t mean trying to eliminate this view, but rather opening up to our whole lives, a sense of wholeness as souls here to love life, to serve with our whole being
I want to open up our view of our sexual energy so we see what’s been hidden. There is a fire in the erotic, a fire that can serve our work in the world.
What if our sexuality could be informed by our intentions, not our conditioning?
I see the possibility for a profound shift for humans: to open our point of view around love-making from an act in the bedroom to all of our acts in the world. To know ourselves as erotic beings in a way that is whole, loving to self, and in tune with the whole of life.
A story that captures the essence of what I’m wanting to convey:
This man in India is a man of the Brahman class. As a Brahman, he is not supposed to touch people who are beneath his caste. What he does is feed the poor, the homeless, the destitute, the old people who have no one. He cooks each day, then delivers the food, even feeding some people by hand, the ones that can’t feed themselves. He also explains how he loves these people. He is shown bathing them, giving them haircuts and shaves, even massaging their feet. His actions show great love. His voice speaks great love. He is showing these people great love in each action. His touch seems to indicate that he is loving them with tenderness, true compassion and caring.
His actions so clearly show what I am trying to convey. His love infuses his actions.
You might ask why I call this making love, and not simply doing good works. You might find it confusing to mix up sexuality, sensuality and the erotic, and doing work in the world with great love.
All of this can be confusing, because trying to communicate with each other through words is limiting at best. Words come with baggage. We collapse distinctions around words, causing them to point to a mixed-up jumble of conditioning, experiences, beliefs and desires.
For me, this opening up of our minds to our own soul nature is crucial if we are to rediscover our whole nature as sensual, sexual, erotic loving beings, and find the fire and passion to unleash our greatness.
I’m wanting to explode open our limited conditioned ideas of sexuality and making love, for buried in them is our fire, our passion, our power. We are so much more than objects that can be sexy, if we do all the ‘right things’.
Here in our culture, many times when we see people touching we immediately think in terms of sex and sexual attraction. We make up stories about touch. Yet, touch is one of our most amazing senses, and one of the most amazing gifts we can give another. To touch and feel in the heart at the same time, brings a closeness unique to the sense of touch.
Somewhere, eros and sex got mixed up.
Somewhere, love was thrown into the mix, making things downright messy.
Ã‰ros (á¼”ÏÏ‰Ï‚ Ã©rÅs) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love;” however, eros does not have to be sexual in nature. Eros can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than the philia, love of friendship. It can also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage. Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” Plato also said eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros.
eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth…Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros.
Audre Lorde wrote this of the erotic:
This is one reason why the erotic is so feared, and so often relegated to the bedroom alone, when it is recognized at all. For once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe.
She adds this:
When we look away from the importance of the erotic in the development and sustenance of our power, or when we look away from ourselves as we satisfy our erotic needs in concert with others, we use each other as objects of satisfaction rather than share our joy in the satisfying, rather than make connection with our similarities and our differences. …
But this erotic charge is not easily shared by women who continue to operate under an exclusively european-american male tradition. I know it was not available to me when I was trying to adapt my consciousness to this mode of living and sensation.
We can choose to see what perspective we are operating under. The European-American male tradition has choked the life out of women’s eroticism, out of our sense of our erotic, sensual selves. It’s put it all into narrow confines and wrapped the words sexuality and sex around them. Everything points there, and yet in reality, that simply isn’t so.
A soul that can give of itself to the whole of life.
2010 has been about discovering for myself, what it is to be a sensual, erotic being. In making love to life, I am beginning to re-member the sensual and erotic nature within my being that I cut out because it didn’t fit into the cultural tradition in which I was raised. I began to earnestly make love to life, to let go of the small narrow ways I see myself, so I can open to the erotic nature of the soul and of life itself.
What is it to be a soul in a human, female body, a soul that longs to remember its wholeness, the beauty of the world in which it lives? A soul that can give of itself to the whole of life?
Bringing our whole selves to our work, to helping give birth to this new paradigm means re-discovering our nature, a nature that can bring the joy, the eros, the love back into a world starving for what we have to give. We can unleash a passion that fuels our work, so we give our whole selves to it, not just our small, timid egos.
I am in the midst of this making, a making of how I live in this world, how I see myself and what I can truly do, so that it isn’t quite so overwhelming, but rather a natural extension of my nature.
Let’s allow ourselves to notice the fire that was hidden, the passion and joy for life that have been tucked away in the bedroom, or that have become non-existent in our lives, because we believe they can only come out when we’re having sex, or feeling sexy.
Let’s allow each other to discover this for ourselves, to not judge how we do so, but to know we’re all on this journey together, in service to the emergence of the sacred feminine within us.
“The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” ~Arundhati Roy
I was introduced to this amazing woman when I read her first and only novel, The God of Small Things, in 1997.Â In this book, Roy writes about the many varied faces of love…and there are many. Her words are beautiful. They are real. They are alive.
When I first read this quote, so many things jumped out at me. I had to read it over and over, letting what she was really imparting, that transmission between the words, fill me with its wisdom.
What I love about her words is the raw truth she shares. In a world that is filled with so many ways to turn away from reality, including the one I’ve flirted with for so long, that of being a spiritual seeker, she calls me back to reality. Reality in all its rapturous beauty, vulgar disparity, unspeakable violence. Reality where I am utterly insignificant – simply one of billions of people existing on this planet right now, and just one of a gazillion forms of life on mother earth.
In most places, we’re encouraged to see our specialness, to pump ourselves up with our own importance, breeding a kind of hierarchical sense to one’s existence. To never forget my own insignificance reduces that sense of importance and specialness. Somewhere in this insignificance is true humility…
What comes to me from this quote is her pure love for this life. And her inviting us to open our eyes, our hearts to the fullness of human experience. Opening to life fully, all of it. To embrace the paradox of joy in the saddest places, opening to beauty in the most raw, painful moments of life.
My seeking began at a young age. I grew up in a family without religious dogma. We did go to church, occasionally. At the same time, Mom and Dad had their own belief systems about God. How could you not, growing up in this western culture? The wonderful thing they did pass on was a thirst to know, a longing to know the real God. I remember the longing in my heart, as a young girl, filling me with ache. A longing that kept at me, and kept at me, and kept at me….
Throughout my early adult years, I was busy raising a family, working, building our own home, doing things people do in everyday life. Normal, mundane things. Sometimes the longing would peek through in these simple moments of the day. My heart would ache, tears would well up, a sense of emptiness would make itself known. Immediately, my mind would jump in, wondering what was missing. Thoughts would jump in, convincing me that there was something I had to find ‘out there’, something I would have to do one day, something somewhere that would satisfy this longing. My mind always looked to the future as the storehouse of what my heart was longing for. My heart simply felt emptiness, some deep sadness, aching, hungering, longing…
When my late husband died suddenly, at 4 in the morning, my heart was torn open. His heart gave out, mine tore open. It was a place of no mind. Just sheer raw pain. Enough pain to put me in shock. I wandered in this desert for a long time. I wished I could be more there, more present, more mother, more together; but, I wasn’t.
I searched for a way to live with this ragged, jagged heart, ’cause it wasn’t going away. If I tried to talk myself out of this place, my heart would have no part of it. It knew. It knows. The heart knows the wisdom of grief, the intelligence of the process of moving through it all, the joy that is waiting on the other side, the broken-open heartedness that is waiting if one is willing to keep inviting it in.
I realized the profound beauty in this process of grief and in this place of broken-open heartedness. Others I shared this beauty with couldn’t understand my use of that word. Beauty in grief? Beauty in death? Beauty in such profound pain? Yet, the profound aliveness I finally felt after 38 years of closed-heartedness was breathtakingly beautiful, because of just that…the profound aliveness that poured out of my broken-open heart.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not romanticizing death. I’m not minimizing the pain my children went through, my husband’s mother went through, our family went through, or I went through. Minimizing pain does not bring beauty. Feeling pain does. Indulging in pain, does not bring beauty. Experiencing pain does.
It would have been so easy to die while I was alive. A part of me wanted to. Simply to numb it and get on with life. Many people encouraged that. But something, and it certainly wasn’t my mind, wouldn’t let me…my heart knew the pain was my doorway in, the doorway in to that which I had been longing for.
Nothing in life is a straight linear line. Instead, it seems to move in spirals, in every increasing circles of wisdom and understanding. As the longing grew, I became a seeker. A seeker of that which would satisfy this longing. A seeker of that which would end the pain. A seeker of that which would fill the hole. I was pursuing this ‘beauty to its lair’.
All along I thought “I” was seeking, that I had the power to find this source of beauty. All along I thought my seeking was going to bring home the bounty of beauty, as if I could really find this beauty in its lair and capture it for my own pleasure.
The seeking was trying to ‘do’ the longing in the only way my very humanness could. The seeking was necessary, but it was never in charge. The seeker can’t find the lair. But the pursuit brings forth beauty. It’s the nature of the paradox of our existence. Both divine and human. Both heart and mind. Both being and doing. The paradox of seeking is that in the seeking we find that which could never be captured, and we find that seeking is really keeping us from that which we seek.
All along what I was seeking was right here within me, surrounding me, hidden in the one place I never thought to look. What I was longing for has been here all the time.
Sometimes it takes going on a hunt for it, pursuing it to land’s end, to know it has been right here all along. Here in the midst of the turmoil. This is the goddess. This is discovering light in all our broken places.
Beauty’s lair is all around us, yet we’ll only catch glimpses until we open to the grace that is always here, the grace that invites us to open our hearts to our own insignificance.
We are swimming in our own insignificance. Just look out your eyes at the wonder life is. We are a tiny insignificant part of this life, yet the paradox is when we realize our insignificance we realize that our being here is immensely significant.
The only thing that causes us to lose this dream Roy speaks of is the belief we are separate. The illusion of separation is what allows us to turn away, to get used to the unspeakable happenings of our time, to believe we are more significant than another being, or even the earth itself.
The only dream worth having is the dream that is no dream. It is the awakening to what is right in front of us, behind us, all around us…the infinite that has no edges, top, bottom…the infinite that is missing nothing, that holds everything.
In this great infinite that is reality, what I am is insignificant, and completely significant. What I have to offer cannot be offered by any other. And in the totality of it all, I am but a drop in the ocean.
My humanness, that insignificance, is the great gift, because there I find humility and awe. To embrace it all, even those things I desperately want to turn away from, is to be in right relationship with life. Joy can be found in those sad places. Suffering can be our doorway in, in to a place of lightness of being, and broken-open-heartedness.
As Roy says, “Another world is not only possible, she’s on the way and, on a quiet day, if you listen very carefully you can hear her breathe.”
This is the world of the goddess, the world we awaken to when we come out of our slumber enough to realize that all along we’ve been sleeping in beauty’s lair.
I’d love to know what you’ve discovered in beauty’s lair.
After our last post, It Just Popped Out, I’ve been basking, and reveling, in the sensuous. The sensuousness of Life. As I open to receive it, I see it is always here, whether or not I am aware of it. Yes, right now is a beautiful time of year. And, life is always serving up beauty, even if it isn’t the kind of beauty our minds desire.
As I was attempting to put into words what I could see out my window, I thought, “Why bother?! I’ll just video it.
So here is my first vlog. As you will see, I’m not on it. It’s too early in the morning. Besides, what I want to capture is what is out there in the early morning sunlight.
I hope you enjoy this. I’d love to hear what it inspires in you.
I’m currently updating this video. It will be online again soon.
Lately, my posts have been flowing one from another, as if writing one allows an insight to surface and wash over me. It feels sort of like a scavenger hunt, where one clue leads to the next, and that one to the next. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but close enough…
After writing my last post, The You That Takes Your Breath Away, I remembered something I wrote a few years back. It was never shared here on my blog. In fact, I donâ€™t think I shared it with anyone. At the time, what I was writing felt too close to my heart to make known to others. Sometimes, this is exactly what needs to happen; we need to not speak those moments of insight so that they continue to work their way through us.
â€œWe can even declare that we are what Byron saw: â€˜a rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.â€ Eventually we realize that whatever in us has remained folded up is really that about us that was never loved. This is the sadness in the folded rose of ourselves. What was not confirmed and loved by others, especially our parents, did not have full permission to emerge. It is up to us to find this confirmation now from within ourselves, our relationships, and our spirituality. Joy results from permission to unfold.â€ (pg 110-111).
â€œJoy results from permission to unfold.â€ Wow. How powerful this statement is.
We are the only ones that can give ourselves permission to do this – to unfold those oh so sweet leaves of our being, those that hid away because, for whatever reason, it didn’t feel safe.
Now, we are adults. Now, we can hold these sweet and tender places within our own heart, hear what they have to say and give them permission to unfold, permission to be seen. Perhaps, being seen first by ourselves is the greatest gift we can give to them.
With this permission comes joy. And peace. And, as these parts come back into the light, wholeness naturally occurs.
The other piece is about the exquisiteness of vulnerability. Complete unfolding brings no more separation. When we open to the fullest extent possible, nothing hidden, petals outstretched, there is no longer anything that knows separation, and this can be frightening as hell.
But, our lives are really about the flower unfolding. We yearn to unfold, to blossom into complete nakedness, raw vulnerability that allows one to be seen and known.
This ripe blossoming is also the very last step before the petals fall and the blossom dies. This is our return to the whole, the moment of wholeness that is simply a breath away from death, where death ends our separation from the whole.
At the singular moment when we unfold every ounce of our being and exist at the height of vulnerability, that of out-stretched petals, we know our sense of separate self will fall away. When nothing is hidden, we can no longer be separate. In our complete vulnerability, we open to all and to everything.
There is a peak of each blossom, when it is poised at its pinnacle of beauty. This is our moment of realization of all that we really are. In this moment, our sense and identity as a separate flower falls away and we let go into our true identity as all that is.
When our petals fall and decay, we can grow into the fullness of a human being, wise and unconditionally loving, for who we now know ourselves to be is the life force that compelled the flower to emerge, bud and blossom, the instinctive drive to open fully to the light, the air, the wind, and all of the world around us.
The edge of wholeness, this edge of ripe beauty, happens many, many times, over and over, until we know ourselves to be the beauty itself. Nothing lasts forever. And, it’s in this knowing of our ephemeral nature, that we know what it is to be fully alive.
So, here is what I wrote, back a few years ago:
On The Edge Of Wholeness
Standing on the threshold of the one true moment of existence
I know myself as both blossom and the urge to bloom.
Every ounce of my journey has been to unfold
To follow the blueprint of this flower
From young rosy bud to powerfully stretched petals
From nubile possibility to the height of complete engagement.
As my petals open to the arc of full bloom
my arms stretch open wide and vulnerable
my chest aches with joy and
I am completely available to Life.
It is in this moment of complete openness
I know that I have loved to wholeness
Every ounce of who I am
Even those parts that once felt impossible to love.
Somewhere deep in the recesses of Being
I realize the natural path of this process and
begin to feel the life force that has propelled
my unfolding welcoming me home.
I know there is this one moment
When my petals are at the height of ripeness
The height of the arc of fullness
just beforeÂ I turn to the face of release
This moment happens many, many times
And at the same time is a singular moment in my life
I can now see that petals falling is also an act of grace
For as I stand on this threshold of change
I realize it is only by being courageous enough to open
That I have come to know what I truly am
The sunlight and soil of grace have held my becoming all along
my urge to bloom was always at the heart of who and what I am
This urge to blossom is also my urge to return
To the one constant in all of Life, the very nature of all that is.
~ Julie Daley
Just look at the beauty of this inside of this flower. We would never see it if it remained closed.
Image: Pink Tulip by Julie DaleyPin It
“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 BlackButterfly, Flickr
As I open to the grandeur of the soul, I feel the immensity of her being. Such raw creative power. Such soft joy. Such simple elegance. Such beauty – beauty unlike anything I’ve been conditioned to recognize or understand. In many ways, she is elusive; yet, she is right here, always.
I refer to her as she, yet she is she not in the way we think of she. She is she in her complete receptivity and vulnerability. She yearns to know, again, the sweet piercing of the heart. She is of the feminine nature.
In my day-to-day life, I know she is there, yet I lose this immediate connection to her. I lose it through the conditioned way I live daily life, that way that pushes out from the mind, rather than meeting life through the sensuousness of the body. I lose it through the ways I have learned to disrespect myself. I lose it through the ways I was conditioned to dishonor all that is of feminine nature.
Yet, I’ve discovered I can reconnect with the grandeur of the soul by shifting these things in my daily life. As I open to her presence, she leads me to know her through sometimes unexpected means. They are means that speak to only me, for my ways of evading her presence are just as unique as I am, just as soul speaks to you in ways you will know.
On a warm, sunny day in August, I took a trip in my new car. All my life, I have purchased things on theÂ basis of practicality and cost-effectiveness. By themselves, these are not bad values, but when they rule my decision making process, I find myself surrounded by things that don’t reflect my own internal values of beauty, sensuality, and refinement. I find myself wearing clothes that don’t reflect who I truly am deep inside. I fill my home with functionality rather than refinement.
Things that are well made are beautiful, simply because of the care put into the construction through thoughtful details and quality workmanship. They are infused with a sense of the beautiful.
After twelve years of driving a small car, I bought a beautiful car that had been owned by a woman who took impeccable care of it. In this car, I feel its refinement, the craftsmanship of those who created it, and the elegance of its design. I feel more safe in it, knowing its body can withstand much more than the economy car I traded in.
We headed off on our trip after our morning dance in Marin. All along the route, from Sausalito through San Francisco by way of the Golden Gate bridge, down the peninsula along one of the most beautiful freeways in California, out to the ocean and along its shore by way of the coast highway that weaves through Monterey and the Carmel Valley, and on to Big Sur, we talked, listened to gorgeous music and felt the sun shine down on us through the open sun roof. It seemed as though beauty surrounded us and infused us with its power and peace.
We arrived at Esalen in time for a soak in their world-famous baths before eating a dinner that was filled with vegetables grown in the gardens on the lan. Looking out over the Pacific Ocean, fully emerged in the natural hot springs that flow from the ground at 119 degrees and 80 gallons per minute, I began to let go into the simple radiant elegance that is the Soul.
During the remainder of our weekend trip, I was fed, both literally and metaphorically.
I hope you see that I’m not saying we can only know soul by way of grand experiences. Rather, I am sharing how sometimes soul calls to us to remember its beauty and grace, to remember the regal nature of soul. The tightness and contraction we feel when we deny the beauty of the world in its simplest manifestations, can cause us not to know, on the deepest level, that what we truly are walks in the beauty of all that exists. And, that we are that beauty.
What are the things we learned, at a young age, that keep us from relaxing into our true nature? What keeps us from knowing our deep, raw creative nature as women? What keeps us from reclaiming our sensuality, a sensuality that is not something we have been gifted with just to please others sexually, but rather a natural divine connection through the senses to a life force that all along simply continues to come and go, into and out of existence.
When I think of this weekend, I think of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and raw sexuality. Aphrodite is my nature as a woman, of the true nature of all women.
Where in your life do you remember this true nature? What experiences are being offered up on the altar that celebrates you and your femaleness? I would love to know when and how you settle back into the soul, and whatÂ that awakens in you.
This post is part of Gwen Bellâ€™s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge
Day 19 Car ride. What did you see? How did it smell? Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with?
Last Saturday night, my dear friend Megan hosted her second annual Fig Gig. In Megan’s backyard is the most beautiful, gnarly, fecund fig tree. The figs are a deep purple color, and when you pick them right off the tree, biting into one is like biting into the most divine jam. They are visually glorious, all fleshy, soft, moist and red inside.
Megan also hired a Kora player; the Kora is an instrument from Africa with 12 strings. The woman who played was incredibly gifted and vibrantly funny. Her voice was beautiful and lyrical, and the sound of her music created the most luscious background to the evening.
At one point, Megan greeted her guests and invited us to take a moment to celebrate and give thanks to the Mother, the Earth and all that she provides for us. We celebrated the Fig tree as a symbol of this abundance and nourishment…and as a symbol of the feminine.
As we sat in this moment, my heart became so full. This moment was one of those sweet spots in life, a moment where my attention was given to the beauty available in every moment. In fact, it became so full, I felt as if my heart couldn’t hold any more – that it would burst if I allowed in one more drop of beauty.
This life is beautiful. In the moments, like the Fig Gig, when we are enjoying the party, life feels good. But, I have come to see that we can fully appreciate these moments when we also see the beauty in the not-so-great moments of turmoil, pain and grief. Opening my heart deeply to the painful moments of my life, and the painful times we are in, has also allowed me to feel the beauty more deeply of all the moments of life.
I have come to know that in these painful moments, and in the happy moments as well, that the heart can hold much more than our minds believe it can. When it feels like the heart is breaking, it’s not the heart breaking, but rather the chains that bind it…those places where we have closed ourselves off to feeling, for fear we won’t be able to handle it.
We are in interesting times. I realize now, even more clearly, that to taste the sweetness of life, we must open ourselves to the beauty that is available here, right now. We can no longer afford to close our eyes to the places that feel hard or painful, fearing them. There is beauty in them as well, for when we make ourselves available to the full range of feeling, we become vividly alive within our own hearts. We can feel deeply, the full range of emotions, and that in itself is beautiful. When we open to the dark places as well, we are available to respond to those dark places, both out there, and within ourselves.
When I worked with women who had lost their spouses and lovers in 9/11, in our dating/relationship class, we worked to open the heart, to allow the range of feelings in that one feels in deep grief. In allowing the bindings to loosen, so that grief can do it’s work, one can begin to taste again the fullness of life.
As I enjoyed the fullness of beauty of this very special evening, I realized my heart was so full, because I have allowed in the deeply painful moments in my life. In opening my heart to the places that scare me, the chains that bind it are breaking down. And in this fullness, I can begin to feel the fullness of my humanity and taste the sweetness of an open heart.
I’m curious about you. Do you allow the sweet moments of life in? Do you fully receive the bounty that life offers? Do you shy away from those painful emotions? How might your sweet spots of life taste?