Within & Outside: Finding Peace in a Warring World

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Photo by Ullash Borah on Unsplash

 

Everything within is also outside. Everything outside is also within. In reality, everything is almost all space, so the lines of distinction we believe are so solid, like the line between our own body and the rest of the world, are not. Which means, everything we feel and sense and experience within is also outside. And again, everything we feel and sense and experience outside is within.

As within, so outside.

This is a helpful way to understand why how we see things outside of us impacts how we see things within us. And again, vice versa. How we see things within are how we see things outside of us.

What I am going to share might be triggering. If you begin to feel something and it doesn’t feel good, please consider passing on the rest.

I want to share a scenario about power and victimization and how we can be impacted by the force of being victimized. This is told from the perspective of a child, adolescent, or adult in relation to someone bigger, stronger, more powerful, and more aggressive. It’s told from my perspective.

When there is an imbalance of power – physically, mentally, systemically (cultural and/or familial)- and we receive the energy of aggression into our physical, emotional, and energetic bodies, the psyche responds by attempting to protect us in the moment as well as from future harm. The outer dynamic becomes imprinted within. Big, powerful aggressor out there, less powerful self in here. While the event itself comes and goes, what we make up about ourselves and others in relation to the event becomes not only the story we project onto ourselves, the aggressor, and the world and our place in it, which is how our psyches form meaning.

We are taught that victim consciousness is weak and are told, over and over, ‘not to be a victim’ or ‘don’t play the victim’ as if it is some sickness we have to eradicate. Rarely, though, do we say the same thing about being the victimizer. How often do you hear people say to you, ‘don’t be a victimizer’ or ‘don’t play the victimizer’? In a culture that celebrates ‘power over’ and strength, and fears being powerless, we are lopsided in our exploration of how this dynamic between these two poles is affecting us. It isn’t an either/or thing, but rather a both/and dynamic.

Back to the above scenario. What can happen when we are victimized is that our own inner-victimizer (we all have one) turns on oneself since through the power imbalance the imprint is one of being harmed. The inner-victimizer becomes the self-punisher out of self-preservation because this person cannot exercise the animal/human response to fight back. The fight turns to oneself. As a form of protection, we then develop a habit of harming self, punishing self, using our own power on ourselves to keep ourselves small, which means safe. The cycle is set so that even when we grow up and/or come into a more balanced power dynamic the unconscious habit is in place and we habitually continue to behave from the more powerless place – until we wake up.

All of this takes place mostly in the unconscious. We aren’t aware we are doing this until we are. We often don’t even see that we do it, but only see the effects in our lives.

The systems we live in give power to some over others, meaning we learn at a young age that we are either in the power group or not, be that male/female, white/Black, etc. Our psyches develop accordingly. And then when an event happens, these conditioned dynamics play out.

Here’s the thing. We must realize we all contain these poles – victimizer, and victim. When we are unconscious to this and to how they play out within us, we are unconscious to how they are playing out in the outer world. As within, so outside. If we have learned that we are part of a group in power and we learn to be comfortable with our inner-aggressor, we have a certain internal dynamic between our inner-victimizer and inner-victim, the former becomes more positive to our psyche and the latter more negative. We allow our victimizer to be in the world, sometimes in very subtle, and sometimes in not so subtle, ways. And we push the inner-victim to the shadow.

If we learned that we are part of a group that is not in power and we are not comfortable with our own aggression, we then have a different dynamic within where our inner-victim becomes dominant and our inner-victimizer is relegated to the shadow. In the outer world, we play this out by being accommodating, and sometimes even collapsing when we’re facing difficult challenges. The victimizer doesn’t have to be a person – it can be perceived to be ‘life’. Remember, we project our inner world onto the outer world. So in the scenario, what was a person victimizing the young person becomes projected onto the world as the world at large and all people who trigger this inner dynamic.

So what’s the point of all of this?

The other day, I came to see my own inner world very clearly. I saw how the events of my younger life caused my own inner-victimizer to go into the shadow where it was relegated to a reign of terror in my psyche, becoming a vicious attacker toward my own sense of safety, worth, and ability to stand strong in the face of perceived trials in life. I have been one of those people who collapse out of the fear of others’ judgment, shaming, humiliation, and condemnation. It’s not easy to say that here, but I believe it will be helpful to you and others. Here is why.

When I saw how my psyche was set up and really took it in and sat with the truth of it, I was finally able to acknowledge how vicious my inner-victimizer is toward me and how painful that is. How there is a deeply sad and hurt part of me that has had to tolerate these attacks for most of my life. And, I acknowledged that I have been living from a big victim pattern. I have fought this. I knew I had been victimized but I thought that if I acknowledged that I carried that pattern then I had to deny the experience of victimization. But this is where I’ve been wrong for so long. It’s one thing to have an experience. That is real. It happens. But if we don’t acknowledge how it affects the psyche’s development and how we then play that out, then we stay stuck in not only victim consciousness but also our own victimizer consciousness as well, however it navigates the inner/outer world, whoever it victimizes, within or outside.

Again, this is true for the victimizer. The same cycle plays out in some way.

When I was able to see them both and truly be honest with myself about it all, something big released and I felt a peace that was profound. A friend mentioned that it was the peace that comes from bringing the polarity to rest.

I saw and took responsibility for the way my own mind has terrorized me my whole life. I learned I couldn’t let it out toward others. That I had to be nice and good, rolling over for those who’d learned to be aggressive and powerful. My inner aggression had to go somewhere and it was pointed at me -although it would come out in fits and starts.

The inner-aggressor/inner-victimizer polarity is simply our own personal essential power that has been taught to behave in a conditioned, habitual way – against others, away from others. It’s our fight or flight response playing out within and without in various scenarios. It’s playing out in the real world and in each of our lives in so many different, destructive ways. But, most of us are not holding them both, not seeing them both, not taking responsibility for both.

Healthy is when we can come to an inner peace between these poles, embracing them both, seeing that we have both within us. And if the feeling I felt and am feeling of both peace and true power from within is any indication, then when enough of us do this, we will know a great deal more peace in the world.

Think about it. Who we see as so powerful in the world, using their power over others in ways that are so harmful not only to others and the world is harmful to them as well; there is an inner-victim that is suffering inside of them. There’s a war going on like there is for those of us who tend toward the victim side.

The point of understanding this is to see that we all have this war going on inside of us between victimizing and being victimized and the pain of it is excruciating.

The war we see out there is the war going on inside. The war we finally allow ourselves to SEE AND FEEL inside is the war going on out there.

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What is the Feminine Narrative?

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photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

 

 

There is a tenderness to this world that is often seen as weak.

There is an inherent beauty to all things that is so often trampled upon, like the tender violet finding its way toward sunlight.

There is a necessary quality of care for human beings who are very vulnerable – the young, the old, and the ill – that is close to invisible in our cultural conversation.

There is a mysterious nature to life and death that we fear and so we, both men and women, project it onto those who embody this mystery – women.

The feminine has been normalized in a way that is not an accurate or dignified representation of the feminine nor of those human beings who embody her.

In our human conversation,

there is much judgment and labeling of what is good and valuable, and what is bad and worth little, rather than a discerning eye for the nature of things as they are.

While we might want to believe that humans aren’t capable of discerning without judging, I disagree. When we become more conscious of our direct experience, we begin to be able to put words to our experience in a way that creates a whole-encompassing narrative rather than categorizing into a hierarchy of worth and value.

Perhaps that is the key – that we find a way to help each other to become more conscious of our own direct experience. One way we can do this is to begin to put words to it.

Over the past few months, something has been noodling in my thoughts. I’ve noticed how, at least in the United States where I live, our cultural conversation has ‘normalized’ things that are not normal.  I’ve watched how the cultural narrative has shifted as different people have come into power. Angry – really rageful – rhetoric is now seen by many to be a ‘normal’ way of speaking to another. Statements are made as fact, even if they are not. These statements are repeated over and over until people begin to believe they are fact. And then a new narrative is born based on lies, deceit, and ignorance.

When people in power speak and behave in a certain way, we can begin to believe it is the new ‘normal’ or that it is ‘true’. And then, suddenly, we have a new narrative about what is ‘real’.

Consider the cultural narrative about women and the feminine.

When I listen to how women are portrayed and discussed in our culture, I am not hearing or seeing my experience, which is very different. I am not hearing my narrative spoken. While my white experience is reflected, my experience of being a woman is not.

So I offer this to you…

Who will normalize the female experience if we do not as women? Who will normalize and make explicit one’s experience of the feminine aspects of life if those of us who are becoming conscious of them do not?

We have a creative opportunity at hand. We get to write our own narrative about ourselves – about women and the feminine. If we are willing to pay attention to the truth of our lives and the truth of ourselves, we can come to write a narrative of what it is to be female and what it is to embody the feminine. I am not saying we are all the same. Not at all. But, there are certain strands and threads that run through our experiences because these strands and threads run through the feminine herself.

[And by the way, I hope men do this, too. I sense the current cultural narrative of what it is to be a man is not based on many men’s experiences.]

The feminine is not only white.
The feminine is not only straight.
The feminine is not only Christian.
The feminine is not only thin.
The feminine is not only ‘beautiful’.
And, the feminine is not just female.

Who will define (and normalize) the feminine or the female experience if we do not? If we, ourselves, are not willing to be vocal about what this experience is?

Since the election,

I’ve been posting on Facebook in the early morning hours for exactly this purpose. In these hours when the night sky is black and my deepest thoughts are most lucid, I manage to find words that shed light on my personal experience as a woman without them becoming too linear and logical. In these early hours, I write from the deeper places in my body and soul, the places from which the feminine can be known, for the feminine is the internal world, she is the world of soul, she is the beautiful darkness and never-to-be-fully-known mysterious nature of life. She is much more than this, but these are ways to speak of her.

We can give voice to our experience. We can offer our narrative to each other and to the world. The feminine has been hidden and now she is becoming visible again, and one way she can is through feminine expression into the world of form.

We can write her into being and we will have a more accurate representation and narrative if all women do so.

If you were to offer a narrative of the feminine, what would you say and how would you share it? How would you give voice to your real and true experience?

We’re in this together and we need all of us, together, to normalize the feminine narrative. Isn’t that a wonderful realization?

 

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Watershed: A Moment of Awakening

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Watershed

This remembering and returning.
Wave upon wave.
A spiral that begins with wide arcs
Never seeming to make their way around
To anything recognizable.
Until one day they do
And I notice
The slightest sense that
I’ve been here before.
Rediscovering something I’d discovered before.
About who I used to be.
But now there’s less veil and more light.

Big mind unknotting.
Catching glimpses of who I am and
Who I thought I had to become.
At the same time,
Flashing back and forth
Beginning to understand
I can now let go.

A mind so very tired of
Believing I am separate
Vigilantly watching
Carefully holding on
While remembering what it was like
To be free
To love the sunshine
To feel unabashed joy
And to simply love what I loved.

Watershed moment
Who am I now?
Back and forth
Unknotting and releasing
A distinct sense of Self, emerging
That isn’t distinct at all
Then birdsong sings and joy floods in
And I realize there is but One
Who is both tired and joyful
Unwinding and free.

***

Yesterday was a full moon eclipse. I experienced something powerful – an unknotting of my awareness. It was quite amazing, really, to witness my thoughts and how I kept seeing through them. But it was without effort. All I did was stay present to what was occurring.

I was walking along when tears came and my mind and heart opened. There was a distinct sense of organic qualities that were just present, while layered upon this was a sense of a created self, born out of trauma and a reaction that turned into habits. A created self who monitors vigilantly, hovering above the self who just is, joyful and radiant, soft and curious, tender and vibrant. A created self, born out of a fractured relationship to life from that trauma, now believing it was separate and wary. As I walked, my awareness slipped back and forth between the two. The wary one was aware that it could possibly let go, that it just might be safe enough to return to the open spacious awareness it was before it became vigilant. And then it let go as much as it was ready to and I softened. And I realized that our consciousness identifies with some idea of self and then habits build up around that idea of self that help to maintain that idea of self. I could clearly see this.

I immediately wrote the above poem to capture the essence of what had happened because it was such a profound experience to be so conscious of it while it was occurring.

***

I share it with you because I know we are all on the same journey – the journey home. When we share our stories, we help each other come to see what is happening within our own experience.RISEstairsbadge

This is much of what my new course R I S E is about – allowing our wholeness (creativity) to be the source from which we choose to make choices in our lives. Our wholeness is here, but we’ve fractured into ideas of who we believe ourselves to be, oftentimes making it really hard to experience who we truly are. We can step back and root down into our wholeness. We can come to live from this place.

And when we do it with others, together, we lift each other up. We rise together.

This is going to be a beautiful, potent exploration. I know sometimes that can be frightening, but it is truly a chance to explore and discover yourself in a way you’ve perhaps longed to do.

R I S E begins on Tuesday, Feb 14th – Valentine’s Day – for this is ultimately about love and letting love be the guide for your life.

 

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The flow of red is bittersweet

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sparrowPhoto by Linh Pham

 

A slight taste of sorrow mixed with the
sweetness of red juice running down
the inner blush of my skin
where bone and blood meet.

Through the soles of my feet
the red sap flows
into the earth where she
swallows it with glee.

The earth knows no words of possession.
Everything is shared and offered.
Pumped through stem and trunk
and blood stream alike.

We make so much of trying to
understand what it all means,
yet the cherry is red, I am the color of this flesh,
and there is no meaning.

My heart is breaking. Not in the big
dramatic way but the barely perceptible,
just under the surface of my skin
where the sweetness of red swells.

The sap swells my heart.They are
not such distant cousins, hearts and cherries.
Cherries to one day be found and
eaten by a plump red bird.

Like cherries hanging low on
the branch, glistening in the moon’s
reflection and so close to outweighing
the branch’s hold on them,

I glisten in the moonlight as
her light draws the tides of my heart
in and out with the ever faint swoosh
of the beat and the blood.

To let go into her love
is to dissolve into juice
that feeds a thousand sparrows.

She calls me to her and I go
willingly, my stem breaking
under the weight of longing.

(c) Julie M Daley, 2016

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The Essence of Relating With the Creative Force

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This morning, I woke up around 4:00 am and just lay there in bed, listening and feeling. It’s usually quite a busy time for me, 4:00 am. It’s the time when insights and epiphanies flood into me. This morning, I was aware of the felt nature of the experience of being flooded – penetrated by a river of divine inspiration. I could feel the wateriness and ephemeral nature of it. And in this state, I was also keenly aware of the difference in felt-experience of my mind trying to come in and in some way immediately negate the ideas. The mind felt rigid and tight like it was trying to shut the flow down by rationalizing (and/or catastrophizing) what would happen if I were to not only listen but act on this flow.

What I remember most about this experience is not the content but the mechanism of how things happened and felt – albeit at a 4:00 am speed. What stayed most clearly with me was the realization that the flow is always right here – right, here – and how the nature of my mind works to thwart the expression of the flow.

Today as I write, I can feel the flood coming in, yet when I’m fully awake my mind is busier and what felt like a clear flood in the early morning hours now feels like a constricted channel. I’ve felt this before. But today, I can feel how somehow my mind is creating the clog. It is easier to avoid feeling by going to ‘how’ instead of being still and listening.

It was just today that I came upon this from Simone Weil:

“Our thought should be empty, waiting, not seeking anything, but ready to receive in its naked truth the object that is to penetrate it.”

This is what I was feeling in the early morning hours…this openness, this waiting, this not seeking.

I woke up receiving.

When I sit back and observe my awake and active mind, it feels like thousands of connections happening at once (there are more, of course, most I am unconscious of), but I can feel the ‘noise’ of my mind. And my mind is pretty quiet today in comparison to how it usually is.

And, I can also feel the increased energy that flows through me as I am penetrated by this divine flow. I’m sitting here writing in a café and I feel this desire to go out and run or dance or walk in the sun just to discharge the energy. I feel like I’ve had a triple espresso, but in reality, I haven’t had sugar or caffeine or alcohol (or just about everything else that makes us groggy and sluggish) in 3 months. I’ve been on a diet (doctor’s orders) that is so incredibly clean. And in this clean space, I can really feel this energy flow.

But, even when I feel the compulsion to discharge it, I also do not want to discharge it. I want to feel it, to stay receptive, to come into direct relationship with it, to not fear how it will feel. I want to open to it, to receive it into me, to come into a relationship with it so I can simply listen and write.

So, instead, I sat here feeling it, listening, then writing what came, just as it came. I deleted three paragraphs ‘telling’ you in a ‘teaching way’ about these moments, because instead what wanted to come was the sharing of my experience at 4:00 am, my experience of the mind clogging the flow, and my experience of this intense energy flow.

This much energy feels like it is going to be ‘too much’ to feel. It is intense. And, it is just energy. It is simple flow. It is life force. To be in relationship to it means to be open, to receive, to be empty so I can receive what is coming into and through me. This is where I begin to really feel how closely creativity and sexuality are intertwined. To not discharge the energy but instead to direct it into creative expression is the invitation.

To listen in this way is a form of prayer. To write this way is prayer, too. I am learning how to do this, how to listen deeply and simply scribe. Sometimes it just happens, but usually, I don’t like this feeling of confusion that comes when I fight writing, and when I concoct all sorts of stories about what will happen if I put words into the world that feel wild and wooly and still smell of blood and bones and the earthy scent of flow.

This is why I love Writing Raw. I offer Writing Raw as much for me as I do for you.

I trust you will feel these words. They are pregnant with life.

*** image by Andrew Bertram

 

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Incredibly and Intimately Near

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“I think the beauty of being human is that we are incredibly and intimately near each other, we know about each other, but yet we do not know, or never can know, what it is like inside another person.

It’s amazing. Here am I sitting in front of you. I am looking at your face, and you’re looking at mine, yet neither of us have ever seen our own faces.”     ~ John O’Donohue speaking to Krista Tippett

***

After a wild chaos, the music finds its way to stillness. As the music slows and softens, the blood pumping, sweat dripping that was chaos still vibrates throughout the room.

Stillness brings me face to face with the intensity of my own aliveness. In stillness, while the body might barely move on the outside, inside planets orbit in wide arcs, the ground shakes, and oceans break against shores. In stillness after chaos, there is no doubt I am alive.

And, I am aware of just how alive I am when my skin touches his skin and electricity sparks. We are dancing near each other; yet, it is when our arms barely brush against each other in response to the music that a new channel opens between us, between his soul and mine.

As our forearms slide alongside one another, something within me communicates with something within him, and it happens through our skin. Fluidly, where arms were merely meeting, hands come together and clasp. We are not looking at each other, but we can ‘see’ each other. It’s a seeing that doesn’t rely on eyes. And I am a witness to ‘this dance that is the two of us’. And, he is a witness to the same dance.

I can sense where I end and where ‘this dance that is the two of us’ begins. My fingers begin to travel this new terrain.

Sparks fly.

Cells buzz.

A more shy part of me emerges with fur standing on end and hunger whetted. My heart hungers to touch because it is through touch that my heart can navigate this wise flesh and what lies within it.

And so, I make my way out of my own dark forest and meet him under the moonlit sky.

I am amazed to feel my heart beat against his skin. We are not that close; yet, we are incredibly and intimately near each other. My heart beat travels down my arm, through my fingers, and pulses against his skin. My heart wants to know him but I can never really know him. I can only navigate the land where we come together, where we both feel ‘this dance that is the two of us’.

As this last song of stillness meanders from beginning to end, our bodies move together – arms around waists, cheeks touching cheeks, front to back and back to front – and tears begin to form below the surface of my eyes. They never fall down my cheeks. Instead they flow from ‘this dance that is the two of us’ back up and into my heart.

I can feel ‘we’ in me.

Something in me has had the incredible chance to know something in him. In the depth of a dance. For the length of a song.

And then, the music stops and ‘this dance that is the two of us’ ends. But, I am now different, changed. I know more of myself because I opened and touched and listened. I know more of myself because I navigated the terrain of us. In a few short minutes, I’ve remembered unseen realms and listened to ancient stories.

And, while I can never know what it is like inside of him, maybe, just maybe, out of the shadows of soul I’ve seen a glimpse of my own face.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nature is Light Made Flesh

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iris

 

ten years ago…

It’s a brilliant sunny day in San Francisco. My boyfriend and I are, very slowly, making our way through the community garden near Fort Mason. It’s a really wonderful place because the people gardening there seem to love what they cultivate. You can feel it in the air. Flowers seem to flourish here. It could be the weather, too, and I can see the care with which each person is tending their patch.

We’ve wound our way through most of the garden, and as we come into the northwestern corner, just before we make our way up the terraced hillside to the gate to leave, I see a flower right before my eyes. Something in this flower draws me in. It’s the colors. It’s the light. And, it’s something more.

My eyes completely take this flower in. I don’t know what kind of flower it is, but it is tall and narrow in shape, and along the height of it it moves from deep purple, to indigo blue, to green, to yellow. The color flows in and out with no perceptible shift from one to the next.

In what is probably not more than a second of looking, I am filled with a profound sense of something that I have no words for. Absolutely no words. But, I am filled with it. My heart…my whole body is filled with it. A space even bigger than my body is filled with it. This space encompasses this flower. For a length of time that is outside of time, I am enveloped in something I have no words for, something that literally causes me to go speechless. Tears are streaming from my eyes.

The beauty of this flower as it moves from purple through to yellow has opened me to the wordless place, and I stand still, transfixed, transported, transformed. In this moment beyond moments, in this community garden filled with the most commonplace happenings of daily life, I come to know something profoundly beyond what my eyes normally take in.

My boyfriend takes my hand and asks me, “What’s wrong, Honey?” He sees my tears. He sees that I am not moving, transfixed in front of what looks like just another flower. I cannot speak. I try, but I am speechless. He puts his arm around me, and his touch slowly brings me back to the garden, to standing there with him.

The flower still looks extraordinary to me, but I am no longer transfixed nor speechless. I begin to try to tell him what I experienced, but again there are no words. Everything I say just sounds ordinary. “It is so beautiful. Look at the colors; how the gradually move from purple, to indigo, to blue, to green, to yellow. It is so incredibly beautiful.” Yet inside, the experience I am trying to relate is so alive with fire, with light, with life. The words cannot capture the feeling, but they do carry some of it because it is alive.

 

Back to now, ten years later…

In looking back, I see how my relationship with life changed, my relationship with flowers changed, my ability to ‘see’ changed.

The flower was filled with light, with a fire of radiance, a fire of light in every cell.

That experience stayed with me for a bit, and then it began to recede in memory…until now. I remember trying to understand what had happened. I tried to make sense of it. But, I don’t think that is necessary, even if it is what we tend to do. I feel experiences like this come when they come. I see now that all the while something was deepening in me: a relationship with beauty, with light, with immanence.

In that moment, I felt love. I felt the light of being streaming through me, streaming through the flower. In that moment, I cannot say what I was or who I was. The woman. The flower. The light. The fire. The love.

What birds plunge through is not the intimate space
in which you see all forms intensified.
(Out in the Open, you would be denied
your self, would disappear into that vastness.)
Space reaches from us and construes the world:
to know a tree, in its true element,
throw inner space around it, from that pure
abundance in you. Surround it with restraint.
It has no limits. Not till it is held
in your renouncing is it truly there.

Rainer Maria Rilke, translation by Stephen Mitchell, by way of my friend Barbara

 

To know this, in its true element, throw inner space around it…from that pure abundance, pure love, pure beauty [with]in you.

Why do I share this story with you? We are all this. This love. This light. This fire. This space. We are this force. We are this Nature.

Nature is Light made flesh.

Becoming aware that we are this is the necessary work of our time.

Becoming a Force of Nature is waking up to the divinity, the holiness of your own flesh, blood, and bones. To see this light within you, to see your own divine, sacred Self radiating and pulsing with life, and to see it in all of life. It is waking up to your body’s intelligence, and to your own beautiful self worth.

I’d love to have you join me for this summer course of awakening to the force of nature that you already are. We begin June 9th.

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Pleasure: Soul Sustenance

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Every Sunday morning, I dance. Last Sunday was no exception.

As I danced and felt much pleasure from being in my body, I realized how I’ve pushed away pleasure for most of my life. I know I am not alone in this. Perhaps we do this when we grow up in a culture where the undercurrent of belief is infused with pleasure equating to sin.

But, it’s more than that. As I danced, I began to feel the pleasure myself, and for a moment it felt odd that there was no one else there…only me. I was enjoying my own experience of pleasure, sensual pleasure, and there was no ‘other’ in the experience. I could see something I hadn’t seen before: that giving myself pleasure, either through dance or any of the things I love to do in my life, changes the experience of who I am in others’ company. I know this sounds simple, but hang with me here for a minute.

In my life, and I am sure in your’s in your own unique way, there’s been a silent undercurrent of ‘having to BE pleasureable’, like it is a duty I must fulfill to be a pleasurable person Or, that if I am good I will give others pleasure. Could be sexual, could be in another way. But, as I felt pleasure, I realized I was pleasurable without having to BE anything. The only thing I was doing was doing what I love and truly being in my body while doing it.

 

I was simply feeling pleasure. I was taking myself into myself.

 

It reminded me of something I’d read this past week. I came across this post by Erin McKean where she writes:

You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.

I realized that we don’t owe pleasure to anyone either. Offering pleasure to another ‘is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.’

Instead, when we participate in those things that are pleasurable, we radiate pleasure.

Sometimes it is hard for me to know what I desire, what I want, what I love. In that moment of dancing, there was no question. I was loving how it feels to be in my body, loving how it feels to dance, loving how it feels to be a sensual human being.

I included this Iris picture here because this picture brings up the same feelings of pleasure…sensual, pleasurable beauty. This photo takes my breath away. The colors. The feeling. The dreaminess. It works on me, through me, removing layers of resistance I have to knowing my own self in this way.

We are hungry for such pleasurable beauty, for such deeply sensuous tenderness and pleasure in our lives. Hungry for it. Aching for it, because the soul loves it. It is soul food.

The soul gets to feel what it is to be alive through the body, and heaven knows there are enough moments in the body when life is not pleasurable.

Why not feed the soul some really lovely, pleasurable sustenance?

Pleasure is soul food, and what I was experiencing was truly a divine connection between my conscious self and my soul. For me, this is the most important relationship in my life. And knowing this makes my quest for living a life of love all the more alluring because I know it is my soul that brought me to dance in the first place. She guided me there and she continues to guide me into what I truly love, for it is She who truly loves.

:::

bafonbadge300pxPleasure is just one of the weekly topics we explore in my 12-week program, Becoming a Force of Nature. Pleasure is an important area of exploration for those of us wishing to be more alive and more in our bodies. Pleasure is part of life, and it is a gift to offer to the soul.

If you’d like to go deeper into the way I facilitate creativity while applying what you learn in real-time to your own life or business vision, join me for this summer run of Becoming a Force of Nature. Registration is now open.

This is a powerful course. It can be a vehicle for deep transformation, as well as practical, tangible movement on a intention you are holding. We will dive deep into the creative process. We’ll experience first-hand ways to creatively meet life’s challenges.

When you live your life as a work of art, you come to realize you are the true creation.

This is the last time I will be offering the course in this format. Along with 12 teaching calls, you’ll receive 12 rich multi-media PDFs for each course weekly segment. After the course is done, you’ll be able to dive even deeper by way of these rich interactive lessons.

Take a look to see if the course is right for you. If it is, come join me for this summer journey.

 

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Life’s GPS: The Connection Between Creativity, Purpose, & Soul

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Lately, I repeatedly see an image in my mind’s eye. When it appears, it’s always the same. I’m standing in the middle of the scene and on one side of me is a pool of thoughts and idea(l)s made up of what other people think, what the culture says, and what my own Voice of Judgment tells me. On the other side of me, the right side, are the deep, dark mysterious waters of my soul.

In the image, I have a choice. I can choose from the dark waters of my own soul. Or, I can choose from ‘conventional’ wisdom (what is often not wise at all) and the roar of judgment from so many different places, including my own head. By judgment, I don’t mean conscious discernment. Rather, here judgment means the kind of thinking that is meant to keep the status quo in place, keep people in place, keep things from changing. This kind of judgment does not like the fact that life is constantly in flux. This kind of judgment wants to contain, control, shame, dominate, and keep small. Again, notice it is both out there and within.

But, you might be wondering why I include ‘conventional’ wisdom in this mix. To me, it is the unconsidered status quo, the stagnant conventional thinking, that keeps true creativity from being able to enter our world, either our own personal world, or the world at large. And, boy do we need some truly creative ideas and expressions at this point in the human journey.

Creativity upends the status quo. Creativity isn’t conventional. Creativity is brand new and comes when we’ve allowed the fertile ground to be turned under, left fallow, and then tilled for new life.

Creativity comes out of the deep and dark mysterious waters of the soul.

We can try to pin it down, trace it back, figure it out – but ultimately where it comes from is unknown and cannot be known. We can name it, but we cannot truly know it except as an experience because it is alive.

Creativity is alive. Purpose is alive. That which keeps us from being creative and purposeful is stuck and stagnant.

In this image, I can see so clearly how important trust is – the trust of both what lies within me and my ability to hear it and act from it, as well as the knowing that every other human being also is creative and also has a deep well of creativity within them.

I see how often my attempts to understand my purpose, my reason for being alive, have insidiously come from looking to others, or my own Voice of Judgment, for information, validation, or ideas on what this purpose might be. Looking out there isn’t the same as true mirroring from those who know you and really listen to you. Effective mirroring can be a source. But, ultimately, even mirroring must be checked against the knowing that comes from an alive and trusting relationship with one’s soul.

And, I see it is a choice. It is always a choice. Sometimes, I go unconscious in the choosing process, and choose out of fear of humiliation, abandonment, rejection…. like everyone else.  We are meant to be in relationship and community. Our minds can get squirrelly when we think we won’t be.

This image began appearing after beginning to engage in direct dialogue with my soul, which isn’t the easiest of tasks. But, I did hear her clearly, after asking the question, “How do I begin to follow your lead in my life?” Her response? “Don’t make anything more important than me!” (exclamation point mine!!!)

This image shows me clearly that in each moment it is a choice to not make anything more important than where my soul is guiding me.

***

What I’ve come to begin to see, (and I write ‘begin’ because, again, we are speaking of the mystery) is that to open to our true purpose we must honestly, in the most way, begin with the question of “Who am I?” and “What am I?”. This is the journey of turning within to ask, to look, to listen, to feel and sense…and then to learn to receive.

When we learn to trust in our nature, both as a creative being and as a woman, something shifts. There is less need to look out there for validation and approval. There is more joy from the acceptance of yourself and who and what you are. And, there is less fog and confusion about things in general, fog and confusion being a way to avoid life and acting on your own behalf.

Your nature is both universal and unique. The soul has unique qualities, and in my experience and in the work I teach, it is these soul qualities that begin to give us a sense of what we truly are. These qualities are NOT static things. Often, when we think of personal values, they are static things. Rather, these qualities are qualities we find when we investigate our own experience(s) to notice the feeling states inherent in them.

Like creativity, experiences are alive, not simply concepts.

To know purpose, we continue to come back to what is uniquely alive within us. What is the feeling quality of an experience when you are doing what you love? We aren’t focusing on the outward expression or the objects of life, but on the feeling state of the experience.

I wanted to share this image here on my  blog because the tendency to turn to someone else, or someone elses, to see ourselves is so strong. We learned to do it when we were really young because more often than not those adults in our lives who might have really mirrored our own light back to us couldn’t see it because they, too, hadn’t been seen.

But as adults, we can begin to do what it takes to look within, to remember that there is this vast inner world of soul.

This inner world will guide us. It is always here. It never left – we just turned away.

You might find you have your own image. Soul speaks in images and symbols. Open to what your soul shares with you.

Now, when I see this image in my mind’s eye, in my image I turn to soul and open to receive.

Just this act is everything.

***

I’ve just opened registration for my course, Becoming a Force of Nature.

bafonbadge300pxThis round of the course will begin on June 9th and run for 12 weeks. In Becoming a Force of Nature, I teach and offer experiential ways to make this turn back to the inner world, and then to begin, or deepen, what can be a long journey to trust and faith in oneself. This will be the last time I offer the course in this format. I may offer it again, but it will change – because my work is changing. I do know that if I offer it again, it won’t be in this format.

In fact, I’ll be teaching it a bit differently than I did the first two rounds. On our weekly calls, I’ll introduce the material and then facilitate the exercises on the call, so you have your first taste of each week’s material together with your classmates. Then, after the call, we’ll spend the remaining part of the week ‘living with’ the material. You can read more about this on the registration pate. There is so much great material in these 12 weeks; SO much that you can take the course with me the other women in our group, and then – at your own pace – go through the 200+ pages of PDFs that contain so much exquisite detail and interactivity.

The depth of the dive you can take is quite astounding. And, doing it a few times is exactly the way to deepen your journey. The PDFs contain everything I will teach on the calls, but they take things deeper in a way that you can utilize to your advantage. Taking it live with me the first time will activate the material in a certain way. After that, using the in-depth writings will allow you to deepen the experiences you had in our time together.

I hope you’ll take a look and consider joining me. You’ll find a new video on the registration page that I created to give a little more background to the material and its capacities to effect change in your life.

 

***

I’m in two new podcasts on the subjects of Creativity and Becoming a Force of Nature – one with Amiel Handelsman, the other with Charlie Gilkey. Take a listen. I know there are some wonderful gems in each of these podcasts. Both Charlie and Amiel are great interviewers and I even learned much more about what it is I do.

 

***

Image above by The Wandering AngelCreative Commons 2.0. No changes made.

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A mystery that both must be and can never be known.

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photo (22)

rose

full, fertile,
softest petals on a
strong, fierce stem.
each petal brushes against the
chambers of my heart.
each breath rides along the
petal veins.
lines blur.
petals become flesh,
veins carry life.
heart flutters,
tickled by such soft
layers of existence.
fragrance fills the chambers,
petals fall away,
leaving only scent to fill this fecund abyss.

everything courses along these veins.
fragrance infuses cells.
each inhale a becoming,
each exhale a death.

this line is fine,
so short-lived,
so numinous.
and the heart keeps beating,
the bones stand strong and sturdy,
the blood circulates,
doing the heavy, fleshy lifting
for a mystery that both
must be
and
can never be
known.

(c) julie m daley

written during a #WritingRaw circle.

:::

I’ve shared a very special four-part series on embodying soul, Of Soil and Soul: A Call to Remember,
over at Pema Rocker’s SoulGrowthRadio.com
Each part will be made available each Sunday in April. The first part is now up and ready.
I hope you enjoy it. The work is part of a larger body of work to be published later.

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