The Unsatisfied Force Within You: It’s time to set it free

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Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

***

You are a lot like me, but not in a way we would necessarily see if we met face-to-face.

On the surface, we might seem similar or very different, but under the surface, something strong and alive pulses inside us.

Here, under the surface, we are very much alike.

Under the surface, we long for something, and this longing is more than just a simple whim or desire that comes from our more pedestrian human lives. It is way under the surface. Way down where marrow enlivens bone and blood runs thick, hot, and blue.

This longing, this pulse, is the desire of life to be fully alive, to be fully expressed, and to enjoy the feelings of aliveness and joy and unfolding, even though they are often intense. Very intense.

This desire, this longing, this pulse – was submerged long ago, long ago when we, you and I, were young.

Parents try to get us to calm down, quiet down, contain ourselves, stifle the voice, and not be ‘so outlandishly’ loud and ecstatic. Not be so happy. Not be so joyful. Not feel our feelings so intensely. Not feel.

We learn to squash the life force within us down to an acceptable level. We learn to be afraid of our own aliveness and vitality, our own emotional intensity.

We become ‘adult’.

I know I became very skilled at squashing my vitality and joy, which is what full aliveness looks like on the outside! I internalized the voices of adults over the years who kept at it, kept getting me to ‘tone it down.’ I used to be pretty vibrant. I played hard. I would get really sweaty and I loved being alive. But I grew to contain myself as those adults would shoot me glances that told me my fabulous vitality was not and certainly not polite.

Then, one day I began to do it to myself, taking those many voices outside into myself, taking them down deep inside where I couldn’t really hear them consciously but where they could still wreak their havoc in service to my dutiful smoldering of this inner fire – and it IS a fire.

Are you feeling this? Is it resonating? Do you, too, know this fire?

***

“Eros – it sounds like a nice dessert, like a happy ending. But Eros, the Greek god of love, was considered a tragic figure in antiquity. He was not the god of pleasurable satisfaction, but of emotional intensity that burned just as hotly, if not more so, when unsatisfied.” Dr. Andreas Weber, Matter & Desire

How does it feel inside you when your emotional intensity burns hot and sits unsatisfied within you? What’s going on inside of you when everything you really are is trying to claw its way out, trying to set itself free? How does that feel? Are you aware of it, conscious of this deeper impulse to flow like lava, or spread its wings and flee the cage?

I can tell you how it feels in me. Hot, angry, alive, pushing back against those old, old voices that, while I’m sure felt they were helping me to grow into a polite young woman, continued to imply that what is inside of me cannot be trusted and so I must contain myself.

But it is love. It is love that wants to fly. It is love that wants to push itself up and out of these holy bodies and into the bright air of this holy world. It is Eros. It is impulse. It is life.

We don’t trust what lies within us, but at the heart of who we are is a love so powerful that it must unfold itself into the world because when it does so, life increases, life grows, life expands – and this is what allows life to continue. This is all we were as kids – love in a small human body wanting to know itself, wanting to feel gloriously alive.

But now – we are growing dead inside as a species. We lock ourselves up. We are locking others up. We are even locking children up now here in my country.

Command. Contain. Control.

The message: do not trust that impulse inside of you to come alive, do not trust your humanity, do not trust yourself.

This that we haven’t trusted is love’s great and hot desire to live into the world, to continue itself, over and over, becoming alive and then enjoying the deep feeling of having done so.

“But this love – I thought, as the trail of the swift’s arrowlike flight seemed burned like an afterimage into the evening’s empty air – is indeed nothing other than the inexhaustible drive of both life-forms and the ecosystem to grow and to unfold. It is the desire for such unfolding and the joy experienced when that drive is fulfilled… It unfolds regardless of whether something good happens to me or another being because it is the joy experienced whenever life increases in the world, somewhere.”
– Dr. Andreas Weber

“… whether something good happens to me or another…”

This is key here. It’s not just about us. It is about life itself. We are part of life. We are included in this. We are not separate form life. We humans think it is just about us. We think this earth revolves around us. This is how we are killing ourselves, and how we are killing other beings. We’ve forgotten. It is about life itself and about the joy of this entire existence constantly pouring forth into the world as a holy expression of the deepest longing of love.

***

So, that feeling of frustration, grief, sadness – and sometimes hot and uncomfortable desire to be free, to run, to fly – is necessary to face and feel and welcome in. It is telling you something. It is life saying, “No. I will not contain myself. I will not kill myself slowly in this lifetime. I will keep a bookmark here, I will keep a placeholder so that when I grow completely tired of this charade, I will find myself again and I will fly free.”

Listen for these words in your own true voice.

And when you grow tired, you can fly free. Eros is pulsing. Love is always trying to make its way to freedom. Life will liberate itself when given the chance.

Eros is wholly unsatisfied when it burns hot and cannot flow. When it is kept down, kept quiet, kept submerged. Like lava, it will erupt. And then it will flow into the world, making new earth, making new life, creating as life as life does.

You are no different than Pele. You are no different than that hot intensity waiting to become new earth. You are life and there is nothing wrong with you or with your desire to be fully, wholly, and holy alive.

Everything in your glorious nature knows how to flow. A bit of loving attention with that voice inside of you that wants to contain you (because it is trying to protect you) and you are set free. Believe me. We are very much alike. We are family, the human kind, and we must guide each other to back to our own kind of flight – human flight – the billowing forth of love’s desire to both express and know the joy of this profound unfolding.

I know this. I’ve done this. Find your way to freedom.

We will become free, together.

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Writing Directly Out of the Vast, Deep Mystery

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when you are struggling
in your
writing (art).
it usually means
you
are hearing one thing.
but
writing (creating) another.
— honest | risk

from salt, by nayyirah waheed

 

 

We all receive what wants to be created through us in different ways. As a writer and creative, I get images and a sense of what wants to be written/created. I can feel it, but it’s rarely clear. But even then, there’s always enough to begin, enough to take that first step.

That’s really the most important piece. To take that first step. To begin.

But what happens along the way to cause the struggle?

I was talking to a friend today about writing. We were sharing with each other about our writing process and how hard it can be sometimes to put words to what we ‘hear’ or ‘sense’ wants to be written.

I usually get a sense of the writing that wants to come. Sometimes it comes in images, other times I ‘hear’ something. But to write and create, my mind has to communicate what I sense, see, and or hear. Something deeper than my rational mind, the unconscious, is showing me the writing in its own way, but my mind must take that and put it into words. My mind must communicate the creation into form.

Sometimes I’ve noticed that my mind has a hard time doing that because there’s too big a gap between what I sense and what my mind can translate into words. So my mind fills things in as best it can and what I end up with isn’t at all what I sensed or heard. I’ve lately found myself sitting here at my laptop, fingers poised to write, while my mind attempts to find the words. It’s such an interesting thing to witness in the moment because I am aware of a felt sense of frustration within me – seeing/hearing what I’m trying to write and then trying to find the words and phrases that capture it.

Sometimes, too, the writing just flows. There is no gap. The mind is open and free enough that there is no separation in me, the one who is writing. There is only writing.

And then other times, I notice that my Voice of Judgment (VOJ) jumps in almost immediately, judging and criticizing what comes even before the mind gets it down on paper. It’s like an immediate judgment of what comes. It’s crazy how fast the VOJ can grab a hold of the steering wheel and take you right off course.

But really what I want to do is communicate what I am hearing and sensing. That is all I really want to do. It’s easier for me through photography (the image above) and dance. I don’t edit. There’s no judgment. There’s only the expression. But writing has been harder for me to lose the VOJ, the editor that wants to edit before there are even words on the page.

Can you relate?

We want to get it right but so often we come up short. It’s the mind somehow thinking it has to ‘make it happen’, which is really way beyond its job description of simply communicating. It’s trying to play ‘Soul’ rather than letting Soul be Soul and being, doing what it was created to do.

I’ve found that writing regularly helps to shorten this gap. A regular writing practice helps the mind get used to the practice of writing what it receives.

And, what I’ve found always brings me back to writing more naturally and effortlessly is writing about what brings me joy, or what I love, or what I care deeply about. If I’m trying to write something because I think it is what others want to hear, I never do so with much ease. I struggle to get the words out and once I do the piece can feel stilted and tight. And after writing it, I do, too. Because I’ve left Soul by trying to make it happen.

But when I write something that brings me joy or pleasure, then the writing flows. The soul can be heard and felt. When this is true, Soul is so close. That’s also true about writing in my Writing Raw groups. I love diving into writing when I’m surrounded by that sisterhood. Just the energy alone of the circle is a big support. And in these circles, we write from deep within, from the texture and beauty of Soul. We write directly out of the deep and vast ocean of Mystery. But you don’t need to be in a circle. You can begin to deepen your own practice of entering into this deep and vast mysterious ocean that is the source of all that is created.

We are so deeply interconnected through something much greater than any one of us. When you write what brings you joy or deeply moves you,  and you faithfully express it as you hear it, you move those who feel a similar way or need to hear it, or something else related. There is a connection. There is a correlation. We do meet our audience through our words but not in the way we ‘think’ we are supposed to.

Something greater than any one of us connects us through the deep place of love within each of us. It is this that drives creative expression. It is this that we honor when we write what we hear. And our writing becomes so much easier through this honoring.

Thank you to nayyirah waheed for her poem, available in her profound book of poetry, salt.  And thank you to Tanya for reminding me of this poem.

 

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The Wild Within: Where Only the Majestic is Enthroned

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Holding my own flesh
like a holy site
an unbound pleasure.
~ Isabelle Abbott

 

Unbound pleasure takes me in. I have rarely let myself go completely like this. I close my eyes to feel this. I know this unboundedness as awareness, as infinite consciousness. An open sky. But in my own flesh? No. But I want to. I’ve been admitting this to myself lately. Lilith is calling me. She who is a goddess unto herself, she who told Adam, ‘No, I will not be on the bottom.’ She who left the garden.

Did her fierce sovereignty cost her? Perhaps only in the eyes of those who believe in the texts, but I believe in the text of Lilith’s flesh. This is her holy site. How is her text mine? In her text, she left on her own accord. In the text of the patriarchy, she was banished.

I sense the Garden of Eden as man’s garden. Man drew the borders, set the fence posts, strung the wire and proclaimed this to be the civilized world and anyone who strays outside and enters the wild becomes the feared, the scorned, the wicked. But outside the garden? Unbound pleasure.

What keeps me from unbound pleasure? This fear of banishment. I felt a bit of this when I left my relationship six years ago. Suddenly, I was not with a man – no longer one who is chosen. Oh yes, no one says these words. But I could feel it.

A woman’s sexuality is powerful. Wild even. To be fully oneself, one must enter the wild. We fear banishment because we’ve believed we no longer have our wild.

Banishment in the wild without one’s own wild is frightening. Banishment in the wild WITH one’s own wild is a homecoming.

***

Plums, not apples.

Dark thick, purple-black plums, like Her.

The Dark Queen.

The Black Madonna.

Hidden throughout shelters and caves with rustic,
hand-made altars erected to her reckoning.

She is the impenetrable woods.

Thicker than the honey that lines the heart. Blacker than the moonless nights. She is unbound pleasure as she spreads herself across the wild land she claimed with her own, Hell No.

That dark queen lives in me.

The impenetrable woods, the thicket, and bramble that winds its way into my holy center. Protected. Fierce. Where only the majestic is enthroned.

The Black Madonna knows banishment well. Yet, She also knows the deepest most encompassing love, including love for those who banished her. For here is the grace She wields. And here is the grace she is teaching me. My desire that burns hot will not banish me but rather burn away the pain of my own separation from my majestic sexuality.

And it is majestic.

It is union with the Beloved. All the unspoken lies go up in the flame of Beloved and lover becoming one.

My body is an altar to Her.

Everywhere, there are wild altars to Her.

***

Through my own journey, I have discoveredlilypotf that flowers are altars to Her. A flower once showed me the whole of existence through her bright countenance. She showed me the true nature of life here on Earth. She opened my heart showed me that flowers speak to us so that we can remember this nature, our nature. And when I open to flowers, they guide me.

For a short time, I am offering a Power of the Flower Lite Study of You. I’ve created a deck of flower cards. With you in mind, I pull one flower, your flower, and then I sit in deep meditation to see what she reveals to me about you and any question you’ve shared with me. I write up what I see into a beautiful 14-16 page PDF and send it to you. Within a few weeks time, I will also mail you – yes, snail mail! – a printed copy of the flower for you to have and place on your wild altar.

Read more about this beautiful study of You and how I was awakened to the Power of the Flower. You’ll be taken to JulieDaley.com

 

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Eros, Love, & Real Power

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Existence is relationship and you are smack in the middle of it. ~ Alan Watts

 

Eros

I am in a deep exploration of Eros. I suppose I have been for quite a while. It was showing up through me – in my photographs and writing – but now I am making a conscious decision to move into a thoughtful, open, inquiring exploration of what this form of love truly is. It is calling me.

Eros is love. It is joy. It is beauty and deep feeling. And it is power…

I’ve been writing a lot about power: the kind of power we see today in our culture and the kind of power that is beginning to take hold in our world that is truly a form of love, a form of Eros. I see these two expressions of power from a relational perspective, for all of life is relational.

Power Over

The power we witness in our culture today is what I call ‘power-over’. Power-over is hierarchical and is characterized by domination and control. In our cultural systems, those in power are held higher in privilege and worth than those who are not. Those who are in power are supreme over those who are not. Those holding up the power structure are those who have power, whether it be through positions of power or unearned privilege.

This is finite power in a closed-loop system. It’s a zero-sum game. Why? It is a systemic power granted by and held within this specific system. The system grants it depending on how high you rank in the system. But there’s a catch. It’s ultimately not true power in the larger reality because there is a greater source of power than power-over.

Power-over is based on control because to believe that this is true power one must ignore the truth that life is really in control – that life is the greater source of power. Think about it. Within our culture, we do not entertain the truth about death (part of life). We push it into some kind of ignorant oblivion. As long as we refuse to see death and its power, and to see the power of nature itself, those in charge and in power of our cultural systems can pretend that they are all powerful beings, which they are doing on a continual basis.

Power-from-within

But there is another form of power emerging. It is power-from-within. Power-from-within is also a systemic power but within a different system – the system of life, whether it be the whole of life or one’s individual life. Over the past decades, people have been becoming more conscious and doing the work to heal wounds and become clearer about who they truly are. What we’ve been doing is waking up to our power-within. Not everyone is doing this, but so many are. And it’s shifting things.

Within one’s own internal system, there is a flow of life force that comes from Source. It is a steady flow through the body while we are alive. The internal world is the world of the feminine, the world of soul. When the feminine rises within, there is a movement to know and live our power-from-within – our naturally creative, life force power – into the physical world.

The thing about power-from-within is that when we live it, we are no longer living solely in flow with the status quo. The power that flows from source is intelligence that is alive. It is fueled with intelligence that knows something more than any one human being, or two, or even three, could know. This intelligence is tied to the whole of life.

Power-from-within is Eros. It is deep creativity. Power-from-within is the expression of this love into the physical world of matter. 

Now you know why Eros has been made to be something to fear or something that is only sexual in nature because if we fear our source of true power, we will stay within the power-over dynamic, even if we are in the ‘under’ position.

Eros is definitely orgasmic, but then orgasmic experiences are, again, found in so much more than just sex.

Power-with

Power-with is when I am living power-from-within alongside you living your power-from-within. Power-with is generative. When I live power-from-within, I take nothing from you. I don’t dominate you. I don’t try to control you. In actuality, the reverse happens. When I live power-from-within and you witness this happening, the awareness of your own power source begins to be awakened in you.

Eros

So here’s the thing. Alan Watts wrote, “Existence is relationship and you are smack in the middle of it.” In order to navigate and negotiate power-over structures from a power-from-within approach, we must come to remember that we are smack in the middle of life itself. A power-over system is not the ‘big’ system of life. It is pretending that it has that power, but it does not. When we come deeper into the real relationship with life and know ourselves wholly from this place, we can then see these power-over structures for what they are. It does not mean they go away, but we can navigate them differently with this generative life-affirming power.

We navigate them differently through Eros and our relationship with Nature and the Earth. Earth becomes our foundation. We begin to weave our power-from-within together.

We become resourceful and resilient, together.

Eros is love. It is deep feeling. It is beauty and joy. It is pleasure. It is life moving through life, asking life to blossom fully. This is the love we can embody in order to bring a new world into being. Eros connects us and when we are connected we are much more powerful in responding to the power-over structures.

When sleeping women wake, mountains move. – Chinese proverb

It is time to awaken to our power-from-within. To do so, we must go within. That is the task at a hand and we are up for it.

***

This is what I do in my coaching. I guide you to awaken to Eros, to your power-from-within. I then walk with you as you begin to live this in the world. I’d love to be your coach.

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Eros. A Beautiful Thing.

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Eros. It’s a beautiful thing.

I’ve often felt this underlying sense of grief that I cannot name. Sometimes it’s just a sense that I don’t want to be here. Not in the literal sense, but more of a kind of distancing from life. It’s like a contraction, like a pulling into myself. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. Everything contracts in the universe. Everything. And it expands. It’s a cycle of expansion and contraction.

But what I’ve noticed lately is that much of my pulling inward was learned. I learned to suppress my power – my Eros – because as a young girl it was much safer to relate through my powerlessness. I was a full-on force of nature when I was small – as we all are. Right? Do you remember this? Feeling like you were so alive, so full, so present, so much in love? I remember it at about the age of 3, maybe 4, before I started to see that the big people (adults) preferred little girls to be much less ‘active’ shall we say.

When I think of Eros, I think of the energy of Yes, the energy of life. Think about small children. They are all about the YES!

Eros is the ‘YES’ inside of us. It’s our vitality. Our yearning. If we’ve been down, depressed, grieving, sad, we can be out of touch with Eros, our life force. Suddenly when we come into contact with it again, we feel alive again.

Eros is the energy of change, that aspect of creativity that is a spark of consciousness desiring to be born. Osho once said, “God is in the new.” Eros is our dance with the Beloved that takes us out of complacency and into the arms of the mysterious force that cracks seeds, pushes sprouts through the soil, and thrusts the blossom open.

Eros is intimacy, magnetism. Eros is growth. Eros is joy and abundance. Eros is the cherry tree in full cherry! (I love Neruda’s, “I want to do with you what Spring does with the cherry trees.“)

Eros is our power. Power from within. And when we are not in touch with it, we are sad creatures.

Eros has been drawn down into a small, small sliver so that so many of us now think Eros or the erotic is simply about sex. It includes sex for sure, but it is so much more. And I feel we are suffering as human beings here in cultures where this is so because we no longer know Eros as the fullness that it is.

I often write of wholeness, but I haven’t written of fullness as much. I in my own journey I see how important this coming back to fullness is. I remember when I sat with Brigid’s flame in Kildare, Ireland, how the one thing I felt was fullness. The feeling was clear and distinct.

I’m now embarked on a spectacular dance with Eros. A full-on immersion into what this is. And this is taking shape in two ways – at least two right now.

sweetpeaswscriptpageheaderOne – Spring 2017 Writing Raw

This circle will be focused on Eros & Joy. It begins March 14th. The early-bird price ends tonight, March 4. We are going to have fun in this session. Not that the other ones are not, but this is the first time I’ve declared a focus for the session. Find out more and register here.

Two – I’m creating a podcast all about this exploration of Eros.

I have no idea where it will take me – or you my readers. I’m nervous about it, to tell you the truth. But as Fritz Perls once said, “Fear is excitement without the breath.”

I’d love to know what questions you have about Eros and invite you to contact me so I have some great places to begin my exploration.

 

Right now, we need to rekindle, even catalyze, Eros because it is the force that blossoms change and we are in the midst of a deep cycle of death and rebirth. What is coming and how can we midwife it? Through embracing Eros in our lives, through opening to the source of Eros within us.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

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A Woman’s Fire and Desire. Spreading Ourselves Across the Land.

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Standing on Kīlauea Caldera, a powerful, sacred place on Mother Earth.

 

The story goes that… 

Eve – you know, the one in the garden with the scaly close confidant – bit into a big, red, juicy apple – based on advice from said confidant. I know it was a big one; not the apple, but the bite.

Eve wanted that apple. She had a big desire. She wanted to bite down hard. She wanted to devour that apple.

How do I know? Because I am Eve – a woman who desires.

The juice. The red. The big fat bite.

 

I used to think…

there was something wrong with desire and having the kind of appetite desire requires. I used to think that I needed to hide it. I used to think these things until I met myself in the crater of a volcano and began to let it sing to me of the truth of hot rock, undulating lava, and brand new earth. Something happened there on the lava bed, there on the floor of the southern edge of Kīlauea Caldera on the big island of Hawai’i when I visited a few weeks ago.

A caldera is formed by the collapse of an emptied large underground pool of liquid rock, a liquid that snakes its way along, voraciously devouring everything it runs across. Can you imagine the hotness of this heat? Can you imagine that is the hotness of your heat, too, of your desire? Because this same underground pool of liquid rock is what forms out of your own existence, the same lava that snakes its way up and out of the ground of your own erupting desire.

When I feel my desire, I feel waves rolling up out of the deep ground into the sonorous caverns hidden deep under the surface sense of my body. And, when I ride these waves, sensing their exquisite rhythms, what I see and know and feel is the overwhelming desire to bite down into life I want to bite down into life – just like Eve, just like the volcano. We aren’t that different, Eve and I. We aren’t that different, you and I.

My appetite for life is big and full and healthy – when I am in touch with it. But, often that’s problem. Often, I’m not in touch with it. It can disappear in the blink of an eye when I tell myself it is wrong. I can grow cold in an instant, muscles tightening like lava cooled for centuries.

In the past, I’ve often…

felt embarrassed by my desire, like it is something to be ashamed of – after all, I am Eve. It is my relationship with desire, my physical, somatic experience of the potency of desire itself, that most frightens me. Desire in my body feels too big, too much, too out of control. Desire itself feels dangerous. And then it’s a fast track to sensing that if I desire I am dangerous. Like a volcano – a mix of beauty, heat, fire that both destroys and creates. Often we as women are more comfortable with water, air, and earth, but fire? Fire can wreak havoc on the world, bringing down structures that no longer serve and never did serve.

Exactly.

Ultimately, under my embarrassment, fear, and shame, like under the dirt of the earth, is this real, alive, vital connection to the source of creation. Just like lava flowing into the ocean creates new land, hot desire flowing through my life creates new territory, a new expanse of land and life yet unexplored.

The volcanoes in Hawaii are different than ones in other parts of the world. They are Shield Volcanoes. They flow. Like the Feminine. They have broad gentle slopes. They are built almost entirely of fluid magma flows – highly fluid lava, which travels farther than lava erupted from Strato Volcanoes. This low-viscosity lava travels great distances; spreads itself out across the land, creating these broad gentle slopes out of this brand new earth.

This is how I feel…

I don’t erupt when I express – in the bedroom or otherwise. Instead, I flow. I spread myself across in broad strokes. I become larger and more connected to this earth. I become a more fertile field. I am like a woman giving birth, the womb expelling new life, new ground, the new flesh of a human being, into this world, not sure at all just where that new life will travel.

But I’ve allowed my own flow to be constricted and restricted. I take up way too little space. The expanse of my soul is yet to be known. I feel cramped up, reigned in, contained.

 

Something’s got to give…

This mountain of flesh and blood and bones has got to give. I’ve got to give what I’ve been gifted with – the capacity for fire and the cycle of destruction and creation, for to have the creation of something new, something must first be destroyed. We don’t like that word, but this is truth. Destruction can come in small ways. And it can come in big ways.

Often life does it for us, leaving us in the wake of destruction where we find ourselves in a new fertile bed of possibility.

Desire is the force of creation, the creative force of the universe. It is the seed in the seedbed of Eros and when the seed splits open desire pours forth and creation creates the blueprint at the heart of each desire. It is power. No wonder we are taught, as women, not to desire.

When we are very young and the purity, innocence, and truth of our love is questioned and mistrusted, we come to question and mistrust and eventually fear the intention behind and the safety of our own love, the love that is the flowering of what we really are. We come to no longer believe in the innocence and purity of our true nature. Eventually, though, we can come to see that this is where we erred…that the light within that we fear never did lose its luminosity and brilliance – never did lose its fire. Indeed, this fire is the radiance of our love.

We come to fear what is at the heart of what we are here to offer and create. This fearing brings great grief; we must then grieve the loss that comes with fearing our own nature in order to remember and touch back into the purity of desire itself, the innocence of Eros, the longing that is at the heart of love.

 

To take back your pleasures,

to take back your sensuality and eroticism is to take back your power, joy, fulfillment – and fire. To take back your appetite is to take back your ability to feed and nourish your soul and quench the thirst in your own heart. To take this back is to remember that it was never anyone else’s.

You belong to no one. You belong to life. And it is the life in you that is the source of your fire and appetite for life.

Desire wants to spread itself out across the territory of life, consuming experiences that expand the soul’s capacity to be here, fully. When hot lava pours itself across the land, it does destroy, but in the path of that destruction, virgin soil appears, seeds crack open, take hold, and grow. In the fire of desire is an intense love for this world, for the earth, and for all of Creation.

***

May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within. — John O’Donohue

JulieRonnaBadgeWe will work with desire at our “Writing (and Trusting) Your Heart” writing retreat at a beautiful retreat site in Lake Elsinore, California.

Desire is a fire that can ignite your writing. Desire felt fully in the body, for yourself and your own creativity, is a gorgeous threshold into yet unknown places in your creative world.

This isn’t just for writers. It is for women who’ve longed to look within and find that it is easier and more pleasurable to do so surrounded by other women who long for the same.

I will be co-leading the weekend with my friend and fellow-writer, Ronna Detrick. In our work with women, we both work from this perspective – that it is through kindness that we best come to know ourselves as we truly are. When our gaze toward ourselves is filled with tenderness and acceptance, everything changes. It doesn’t make it easy, but it becomes simple. And it is easier surrounded by women who also hold you in this gaze.

We still have space and I would love to have you there. I feel it is going to be a remarkable weekend.

It’s in Southern California from 9/30-10/2. If you’ve been considering coming, now is a good time to think it through as flight costs begin to increase.

If I can answer any questions you might have, please reach out.

 

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Desire Seated in the Lap of the Deep-Knowing of Self as Holy

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darkrose

photo by https://unsplash.com/@sebamolinafotos

 

Because of our wisdom, we will travel
Far for love.
All movement is a sign of
Thirst.
Most speaking really says
“I am hungry to know you.”
Every desire of your body is holy;
Every desire of your body is
Holy.
Dear one,
Why wait until you are dying
To discover that divine
Truth?”
― Hafiz

 

 

Last week, I spent two days away with a dear friend.  We had hours to talk while sitting on her porch, eating our meals, and walking at the beach that is just down the road from where we were staying. We talked about many things, yet everything circled back to one topic: pleasure and desire.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know I write often about the erotic and Eros. I’ve been exploring this capacity we have as human beings to feel deeply, and especially how the erotic is experienced by women. The deeper I go into my body, the deeper I go into this work because the erotic is about feeling and we can only feel if we are present in our bodies.

As we become more and more embodied, becoming conscious in these places that have been numb for so long, we must feel the old feelings that have been held hostage there. The journey into my body, consciousness awakening in the cells, has brought me deeper down into the root and into the place where our sexuality and creativity rise up out of. I discovered a great amount of grief was stored in my body, most recently in this sacred place where our sexuality stirs. This isn’t surprising considering the world we must inhabit as women, this world where women are denigrated and shamed for being sexual creatures, while at the same time being objectified in a way that tells us our sexuality (and the erotic) is for men yet not for ourselves.

Bridging this gap between our sexuality and our sacredness, this place where we know our desire and our journey toward love is holy, can feel like such hard work. There are many feelings that caused this gap in the first place, feelings we often name shame, guilt, and fear. To bridge the gap, we must feel these feelings. I’ve spent the past five years as a single woman doing this work. And now, I am beginning to date again, beginning to enter back into this world. There is great joy in being in my body and feeling Eros stirring. And, I am watching and listening for those old stories of shame and fear about what and who I am.

For the past sixteen years, I’ve been clearing away and liberating all of the old, stuck stuff that I took on when I was young – old feelings, beliefs, and tyrannical inner messages that caused me to really hide my sensual and sexual nature. I am sure you can relate. I feel it is the journey so many of us are taking as women alive on the planet today.

Now I’m getting down to the real essence of what my soul has been guiding me toward, and I sense I am getting there because I’m finally much more alive and conscious in the cells whose job it is to offer me the amazing experience of being a sexual, sensual, and yes, erotic woman. There is something about finally bridging this gap between the sacredness of life in a woman’s body and the inherent dignity of our sexuality – bringing the awareness of love into down into the realm of the deeply-layered flesh of my female body.

Even though we’ve been taught differently, the erotic is so much more than sex and sexuality. Audre Lorde wrote:

“The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feelings. In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression in our history must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed (for instance within our culutre as women) that can provide energy for change. For women, this has meant a suppression of the erotic as a considered soure of power and information within our lives.”

This is my real desire – to be so keenly awake to this erotic energy within that it blossoms and grows organically, and that it guides me to know and live the power that is inherent within me as a woman. The erotic is our lifeforce. It is the source of great wisdom and power. And, it is the source of great joy.

Pleasure and desire are, and feel, good. This is something to celebrate. And when desire is seated in the lap of the deep knowing of self as holy, it is a gorgeous force for healing, a powerful force for awakened creativity, and a source of knowing.

In touch with our erotic nature, a kind of self-confidence is born out of one’s core. It’s a confidence that knows that this force that blossoms out of you is rooted in love. This confidence can flourish knowing that this power has no desire to be used over others but rather in service to life itself.

THIS is the shift in awareness, expression, and choice that we must make as women right now in our world.

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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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divineflow

 

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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I Am Not That

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Manuel Barroso Parejo

 

The walls of the room where I’ve danced for over thirteen years are made of thick wooden slats. Each one, about four inches wide, stained dark brown, offers a surface to push against, to create space between my body and a world that attempts, or has attempted, to close in on me, asking me to conform, to believe, to shrink, to silence myself, to become smaller, tighter, more like what I am expected to be.

But I am not that.

The body knows I am not what I’ve claimed to be.

Hands push against, hard against the slats, arms reaching to their full arc, feeling their full length, their full aliveness.

Hands pressed against the slats, feet firmly planted on the floor, I move to the beat, slowly arcing and arching out into fullness of being and expression. Something inside me pushes out, trying to return to its natural shape and arc and arch, trying to feel into what it remembers itself to be.

Space opens, virgin space between center and the arc of my full reach. Space opens, lungs expand, belly relaxes, hips soften, and big exhales come.

Suddenly there is room for soul, room to feel beyond body, to know that I am not this body yet beautifully and firmly rooted in and through flesh and bones.

Something inside knows it is not ‘in relation to’ but instead ‘simply is’. Something knows that all moves to be this or that could never be the expression of what it is.

What it is has no counterpart, no opposite, no comparison. What it is just is.

I find myself pushing away from… ideas and meanings and arguments. Not arguments as in arguing, but arguments as in crafting a cogent, logical premise and all of the words and ideas that must follow in order to substantiate my point and myself.

I find myself pushing away from… stating my case, needing to tell you how to be, needing to tell you how I should be, and needing to tell you anything about yourself.

Who am I to say?

I find myself pushing away from… separation, me here, you there, objectification, duality, and pushing into freedom where there is only one.

Outside of my mind and thoughts and rigidity, I find freedom. Freedom to just breathe, to feel the inhale and exhale on the soft skin just below my nose and above my upper lip. Freedom to feel the true spaciousness of soul as I shimmer and flow ever so gently as a stream. Freedom to listen for song, to feel appetite, to know the rise and fall of each wave of creation creating itself.

I lie on the day bed in virgin space, soft after three days soaking in pools of warm sulphur water, feeling waves of being, softly moving in and out, in and out, in and out, alongside breath. I move in and out.

Here, self is fluid space, silently becoming and dissolving with each breath, outside of the mind that conceives of. There is no longer an impulse to do anything, fix anything, change anything. It all just flows, on its own, in its own rhythm, beat and meter.

No river banks. No shore. No solidity. Just pulse, heart beat, rising, falling, contracting, expanding.

Everything is new and old, ancient and deep, virgin and light, growing and decaying, one sea.

::

photo by Manuel Barroso Parejo under creative commons zero

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