Self-determined and Full of a Flourishing Sense of Self-worth

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“The roots of the word “wild” are thought to be found in welt, meaning forest or wildwood and willed. To be wild is to be wooded, to be willed. Self-willed, self-determined: not under the will or rule of another; unruly, uncontrollable.” – Kara Moses

 

Most of us, even those of us who’ve done ‘a lot of work’, are still somewhat far away from ourselves, still somehow tied to others, still living under their edicts that bind us to express ourselves in predictable and patterned ways. Even if those ‘others’ are long gone from our daily lives, their voices and faces are etched deeply inside of us. For the most part, we live out their judgments and injunctions unknowingly, carrying on many ancestral stories that no longer serve us or our ancestral lines.

We are raised into captivity, losing our wildness early on. In our lives, we move along lines of habit and routine, for the most part not realizing just how much we are still under the rule of the past.

I remember being a strong, passionate, and physical girl. I remember learning to reign myself in, to control myself, to un-unruly myself. Big, vibrant flowers have always been my favorite. Bright colors. A boisterous laugh. Early self-confidence eventually eroded into a predictable habit of cautious choices, always checking to see if my presence was too-much-enough for authority figures to frown, learning to be very careful. Learning to be controlled by myself. One frown became enough to reign me in. I didn’t always remember this. We forget over time. But we can remember. We can re-wild.

Over the past few decades, slowly but surely parts of my essential nature became known again. I began to feel more alive and in touch with that magical, mystical Soul Self within. Essential nature is what we are, essential as in fundamental, basic, important, and vital. These describe the simplicity of Self. It is what it is. You are what you are. There is great power in realizing this. Even though we learn to complicate it all, we never lose our essential nature and we can return to being self-determined.

I’ve come to see that self-determined is to follow our ‘bliss’ in Joseph Campbells’ definition – to express the ‘push out of our own existence.’ Our own existence is our wild, simple, essential nature. It is our life force. And it is the source of true expression. It is our bliss. It is love.

To be this SELF-determined is to be guided by the deep intelligence of Life that breathes us into being. THIS is true power, the power of creativity and creation to live as a Self-determined being. THIS is power-from-within. THIS is the power of love, to live as a powerful, loving, life-affirming presence on Earth.

THIS is a flourishing condition within, a flourishing Self-worth, aligned, rooted, and dynamically in vital expression.

When we reclaim and live Self-love, Self-respect, Self-trust, and Self-confidence, we are reclaiming these qualities of living that rise up out of our essential nature. Our Essence doesn’t lose these; rather, the part of us that learned to believe we were too much or not enough works very hard to keep up that story of being something else other than our fundamental vital self.

Recently, I remembered learning to fear my confidence and self-assertion specifically. Little girls who are confident – especially back in the 60’s – were taught to mute and quiet. Words like bossy and pushy were used. So of course, that energy went underground and turned into anger at not being able to be and express my essential Self. My Essence was never bossy and pushy. It is strong, determined, and powerful. Being told we are bossy and pushy are ways to get us to tame our power. Bossy and pushy, or muted and cautious, then become the way we use our power in the world when it is trapped and unable to be unruly and wild.

We can re-wild ourselves and we can find our essential Self-confidence and Self-trust. We can find, again, our essential Self-respect and ability to love the whole of ourselves, even the parts of us who continue to attempt to keep us contained. We come to know them when we come back into relationship with Self. And we do this by turning within and listening for what has always been here – that deep intelligence that breathes us into being and longs for us to remember our nature.

*****

PlumbTreePLUMB!
I recently began to sense a new metaphor to describe Self-determination and sovereignty. When you are rooted and aligned in a deep, rich sense of Self-worth, you are filled from within with dignity, strength, and a knowing that who and what you are at your core is worthy just as you are, regardless of your outer circumstances and others’ opinions of you and your life. This is what it means to be Plumb.

So how do you get ‘off plumb’? You come to distrust what is within you. You come to lose respect for who you truly are. You come to lose confidence in what you know, desire, and long to speak and express. You believe that you are under the power of another human being.

I’m offering a five-week course called PLUMB where we will turn our attention to our fundamental and vital nature while remembering and reclaiming all the ways we know respect, trust, and confidence for who we truly are. These things are within us and when we give our attention to them, bringing them into the light of awareness, they can flourish within us once again.

The early-bird price is good through Jan 1st, 2019. I sense this will be both a deep and pleasurable way into discovering and remembering our unruly selves and a palpable foundational feeling of Self-worth. I hope you’ll join us. And feel free to pass this along to women you sense might be interested.

Happy New Year!

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The Primal Animal of Your Body

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The Primal Animal of Your Body:

You know what you are by how it feels to experience yourself.

As I work on a new incarnation [yes, she’s coming to life again as we speak] of Writing Raw: Writing from the Animal Body, I’ve been contemplating the animal body and these lines came to mind.

“You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”

Part of a longer, amazing poem, these lines by Mary Oliver remind us of what a break from conventional wisdom it is to even realize that we have a soft animal of our body and that we can simply let it love what it loves.

What I now am curious about, though, are the different animal qualities a human body can have.

How might you let the fierce animal of your body love what it loves?

or…
…the fiery animal of your body or…
…the luscious animal of your body or
…the primal animal of your body or
…the slinky animal, the protective animal, the well-fed animal, the hungry animal, the delighted animal, the joyful animal?

You have an amazing array of animal qualities to experience in your body.

Qualities of experience tell you so much about what you are because you only exist here and now, not as an idea but as a living breathing being.

You know what you are by how it feels to experience yourself.

 

Try this…

For a moment, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, sink down into your hips and thighs and belly and feel and sense the animal in you, the animal body that you really are.

Sense into how it feels to be your animal body.

Sense the feelings and then the qualities of these feelings.

They could be tight, hard, fluid, pouncing, expansive, hungry, languid, on-the-prowl.

Listen and feel, closely.

Feel your hind paws on the earth and notice how they link you back to ancestors not so far removed from the earth, ancestors who felt no distinction between who they were and the animal body they had. Ancestors who hadn’t yet perfected the art of forgetting they were real, alive hairy animals who had to scout and forage for food.

Your animal body is this close.

Enjoy the experience of getting even closer, so close you no longer feel you ever left her far behind.

writingrawfromtheanimalbody

 

If you’d like to get closer still, join me for

Writing Raw: Writing from the Animal Body

It’s not just for writers. It’s for women who long to be and feel alive, and are curious about writing deep into the space of their soft, primal, alive… animal body.

We begin on October 30th.

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Who Will Stand for the Wild Soft Heart?

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Who will stand for the wild soft heart?

 

Who will stand for the wild soft heart, the deep and steady breath, the hunger of the soul, if not us?

Who will speak for the Earth, the children, the elderly and the destitute, if not us?

Who will love the depth of our humanity, holding it tenderly in all its joy and pain, failure and triumph, blessedness and fright, if not us?

I walked past a homeless man the other day. So young, with already-weathered skin. Just a big boy, really. Cold. Alone. Sitting against a gray wall, empty eyes staring somewhere other than there. My momma’s heart broke open and I stopped. Tears fell against my own weathered cheeks.

I didn’t know what to do.

I wanted to bend down and reach out.

I wanted to do something to help ease his suffering.

I don’t know if he wanted that. But this was my instinct.

I stood not moving except for my breath and tears, standing on a busy San Francisco street, wanting to follow my own instinct, the instinct to care for a lost cub alone in the night.

How do I walk on this Earth, in truth, my body alive with an instinct so quick and real there is no hesitation when a fellow human is in need? An instinct so real because it is once again connected to Life.

How do I begin to remember? How do we begin to remember?

Who will hold this world in her arms against her warm heart filled with light if not me? If not us?

 

Written during a Writing Raw circle.

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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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Pure Prowl

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image by Roksolana Zasiadko

 

 

Wildness, thick and dark.
Blood red.
Saturated Indigo.
Golden suppleness.

Jewel tones are captivating my pen.
Deep, rich, saturated succulence.
Vibrant, thick power.
It’s like I cannot get enough,
like my hands want to get into the colors,
and knead them like bread,
like a panther, midnight black,
big thick paws, claws extended,
making bread on mother earth.

There is no word for what I am feeling.
There’s only feeling and a low deep rumble,
like a growl with purr wrapped around the edges.
Definitely friendly, yet fierce nonetheless.

Thick, rich hindquarters moving in elegant cadence,
supremely sensuous,
all body, no thinking.
Pure prowl.

Brown eyes, wide,
slow like doe eyes,
yet piercing the night air with desire.

Yes, desire.
Desire and God.
Desire and freedom.
Pure prowl.
Jewel tones captivating my pen,
so thick I can’t get enough.

***

I wrote this during one session of Writing Raw during the fifth week where we cross the threshold of taboo to write about things that we have forbidden ourselves to write.

A taboo for me is the complete freedom to express all parts of myself, including this instinctive, powerful, sensuous desire that prowls just under my skin.

When we cross the threshold of taboo, we do not need to understand why it was made taboo. We simply get to explore what is considered off limits by writing about it, then reading without judgment, critic, or praise.

What is taboo for you to put into words, then read aloud?

The next session of Writing Raw begins May 24th, Tuesday at 9:00 am PDT. There is always a second session each week on Thursday at 5:00 pm PDT.

I would love to have you join us!

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In the Flesh: Where Wilderness and Spirit Meet, Part 3

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Francisco Carrasco

 

“In our yearning to be perfect, we have mistaken perfection for wholeness. We think we cannot love ourselves until we and others meet some external standard. Depression, anxiety, — in fact, most neuroses and compulsions — are ultimately a defense against loving ourselves without condition.

“We are afraid to look at the damp, dark, ugly yet exquisite roots of being that stretch deep into our survival chakra. We are fearful of finding that the spirit is not there, that our Home is empty, even as our outer home is empty. Yet it is in that place of survival, where the dark mother has been abandoned, that spirit longs to be embodied so that the whole body may become light.”  ~ Marion Woodman, Dancing in the Flames, pg. 66

 

As I sit with these words and feel into this dark root at the base of my torso,

I see that my fear of messy stems from this loss of deep Home. When chaos strikes, which is what messy feels like to me, I can find no ground and this is what is terrifying.

But, even deeper than this is the truth of abandonment – mine of Her – mine of the dark, the dark mother.

I can find no ground when I deny the ground. I am rooted in the ground when I embrace Her.

I often feel very grounded, but this is something deeper. This is a full homecoming into the lap of the dark mother.

Cut off from my own dark,

my own root, my own exquisite ugliness, I’ve hidden the ugliness, the voraciousness, the huge appetite of the dark of self. Sent away to the sewer of the psyche, years ago I would have sworn to you I had no appetite, no devouring nature.

For the past twelve years, since I first felt a pull down into the earth, I’ve followed a dogged path to know something, to remember something. I’ve not clearly seen what that something is. I’ve followed some wise teachers, many of whom taught me a great deal about what it means to wake up. And, along the way, I’ve become more conscious.

But it wasn’t until just weeks ago that I realized something critical to my journey – that on some very real and deep level, I didn’t want to be here…fully here, fully alive in this body. This isn’t the same as not wanting to be alive. It is different. It is not wanting to be fully here, fully in this body – which means being fully awake and feeling in this body, in the entirety of this body.

Yet it is in that place of survival, where the dark mother has been abandoned, that spirit longs to be embodied so that the whole body may become light.”

I am seeing something: that to truly be here in this body means to truly survive, and to survive one must become conscious, become light-filled, all the way down into the survival chakra…into the root of the body. It is here where we finally take root in our lives.


What happens when the root of all roots wakes up?
 

As I perused synonyms for ‘survival’, I found…

to… continue to live or exist, remain alive, live, sustain oneself, pull through, get through, hold on/out, make it…. keep body and soul together…keep body and soul together

Keep body and soul together. THIS is it. Without the dark mother, we separate body and soul. We cut ourselves off from a big piece of our nature. The reality is, we need the mother, the queen of darkness, to survive. We need our instincts. We need our anger. We need our connection to flesh, to all of it. We cannot be fully alive without it. How could we be? How could we possibly be fully alive if we deny the reality of parts of our body?

What’s the point of being here if we are not fully alive, fully alive with the light of love?

There is a regal quality to soul. She, soul, is where light meets flesh, where wilderness and spirit meet. She is the regal bridge between the light of Spirit and the instinct of the dark mother. We’ve only labeled it as ugly. We believe our animal nature is ugly.

But how could we ever come to know our earth in her holiness if we can’t see holiness in the soil of our own flesh?

Think of the parts of yourself that you most want to deny. What did you have to do to these parts and aspects of yourself in order to deny them? Where did you put them when you abandoned them? How deep did you bury them?

To be here, fully, we must root down into the dark, moist soil of our being. What does it mean to root down? It means to become conscious, to fill with light, the light of awareness, to wake up to the holiness of the most base and basic qualities of our humanity.

What wisdom does the dark hold?

When I began to listen, I opened the door to power, to a great presence, the kind of power and presence that stands firmly in her autonomy, solidly in her sovereignty, and joyfully in her agency. First, though, I had to admit I was angry. First, I had to admit that I am a sexual creature. First, I had to admit to myself that I’d cut myself off from my soul. Then, and only then, would she begin to listen, and then speak. Then, and only then, did I begin to feel great remorse for my unconsciousness. Then, and only then, did I come to see that she had never forsaken me.

She, the dark mother, does not forsake us. We forsake her.

Our belief in the existence of perfection causes us to cut ourselves off from everything that doesn’t fit our idea of perfection.

Perfection could never include darkness, but wholeness cannot exist without it. Without the dark there is no light.

::

 

How to Enter the Creative Unknown

CreativeProcessMapAdvertI’d love to have you join me for the pilot/beta run of my new course, How to Enter the Creative Unknown. We begin on Dec 1st and meet for four weeks. In exchange for your rich experiential feedback of the course, I’m offering a reduced price. I am excited about this course. In it, we’ll go into the heart of the creative process and discover how YOU uniquely navigate change, challenges, and creativity.

You can read more and register here.

 

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In the Flesh: Where Wilderness and Spirit Meet, Part 2

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“The movement of love is that of a sacred thief, come to remove your clothing and your concepts, and to burn away everything that is false and less than whole within you. And when it is done all that will be left is a raging firestorm of creativity, sensuality, openness, warmth, and kindness. For this is what you are.”
~ Matt Licata

I’ve often caught mere glimpses of her, this ‘raging firestorm’ within. Just the glimpses would freak me out. Afraid of this power, I’ve thought of this firestorm as something bad, some strange and frightening part of me. So, I’ve contained her. I turned my back on her. I cut myself off from her.

But, she never was something bad. I’ve been containing my own beautiful, brilliant, firestorm of a soul, the wilderness within my flesh.

One night a few weeks ago, I woke up, halfway, from a dream. I was in that in-between state –half awake, half asleep. I don’t even really remember the dream, but in that halfway state, I heard a voice inside saying, “But I thought if I contained myself everything would be okay.” I could feel a kind of surprise in this voice, a sense of feeling like what she thought would happen didn’t. I could almost see her, this young version of me, with a look of surprise and sadness that what she expected would happen didn’t happen, even though she had contained herself, held herself in, suppressed her own vibrancy. I could see her standing with her arms by her side, hanging straight down with her lower arms sticking out at a 90 degree angle yet pulled in toward her belly. She was containing her life force, my life force. She learned it well.

As I woke up from the dream, I had this sense again of feeling like I’ve been containing something frightening. Then, I had this flash of wondering what I would be letting out if I quit containing me. And then…

The next night before preparing for bed, I went into my living room to sit and meditate. As I walked into the living room, I suddenly sensed a very large presence, so big it filled the room. At once, I knew. This was my soul. I’ve never experienced it this way before. As I sat, I realized it was no longer contained. It was full and deep and palpable. This was me, but not the personality me, it was the presence that I am. Yet, as I sat, I felt distant from this presence. This was my own presence and I felt a distance from myself. Tears came. This distance was painful. And the fear was painful, too. But the greatest pain was realizing that I had done this to my own Soul.

For many years of this spiritual search, I’ve seen presence as out there, or up there, somewhere, and that a deeper knowing of presence would be by way of it coming down into the body. But in this moment, that didn’t jive with my experience. The presence I felt was all around me, completely around me, but I was seeing myself outside of it, or up above it, or distant from it.

A long time ago, I made up something about my power and came to believe something about it. I could go into what that was, or is, but that doesn’t feel relevant here. What feels relevant is my relationship to the power of this presence itself – I keep myself from it. Nothing I could ever have done would change the nature of what I am; but the beliefs absolutely shifted my connection to it. I turned my back on it. I came to believe, and then pretend, it wasn’t there, so that I wouldn’t be ‘too much’.

Imagine the beautiful tiger above coming to believe that its power was too much, and then finding some way to disconnect from that power. Crazy, huh!?

It’s been a few weeks between the part one of this series and this second part. It’s been a time of experiencing great shifts in my relationship to this power, this presence. It’s had to do with coming to see, and ‘understand’, how our childhood years, no matter the nature of our family life, are about trading in conditional love. As a girl, I learned to turn my back on my own soul, the source of this firestorm. Soul that is wild at its core. I made that choice. Painful. Painful to see. Yet, I made it to survive in that family life, in this culture. But, now, it is no longer offering survival. Instead, it is a painful loss of life force.

Ultimately, though, I am responsible for the choice.

Soul is animal. Soul is body. Soul is where body and Spirit meet. Soul is instinct and appetite, and wilderness.

God and Goddess are not above earthly life. They are infused through every part of earthly life. When I cut myself off from soul, I cut myself off from the wilderness in my flesh. And coming back into right relationship with this powerful presence means coming back into the deepest, darkest places within my flesh.

Can you relate? I write about my experience rather than trying to tell you how things are. It’s the only way that I feel in integrity – by staying with my own experience, and in doing so, coming to honor my experience as real and valid, and offering a lens for you to also know that your experience is as well – real and valid, and so important to make known.

::

This is part two of a three-part series.

Read part onehere.

Read part threehere.

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In the Flesh: Where Wilderness and Spirit Meet, Part 1

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“Above all, the world needs passionate people: not people who are passionate about this political cause or that religious teaching, this candidate or that guru, this project or that movement, but passionate about Being, about Awakening, about this very Breath, this miraculous gaze into the eyes of a Friend. The only power that will not fade, will not be exhausted or shadowed by doubt, is passion for Presence itself. It is the Serpent Fire in your spine, the Beloved in your heart, the Dancer who whirls a double helix of stars out of your silence. This is the passion that will transform the earth.” ~ Fred LaMotte

 

Three nights ago, I was messier. Last night at dance, I was messier still. Messier than how I usually am on the dance floor. Not messier as in sweatier. Sweat happens when I dance, no matter what. No, messier as in real. Messier as in following the desire in my body, the wilderness that prowls and stalks just below the surface of my skin, skin fashioned from words I ingested and digested and metabolized into cells that hold and tow the line. The line of good girl, good woman, contained woman is held by my skin.

Except, now, my skin is longing for something else. It is longing to express what is beneath it, swimming within it, firing up from below it.

It is longing to touch, and be touched by, the miraculous – the wild spirit in flesh.

Three nights ago, I gazed into another dancer’s eyes. At the end, in stillness, we were prone on the hot planks of well-loved wood, so still in stillness that the only movement was our breath…and a slight movement of our bodies as they settled down into the floor, each muscle finding its own way to being held by the bones, the bones held by the floor. As the teacher called us into the ending circle, this dancer looked at me, deep into me, and I held his gaze with mine. My own wild gaze felt like it came straight from the depths of beyond-black space.

Last night at dance, I danced against another dancer’s skin, close enough to smell his scent, close enough to feel the emotional sea roiling within him. Our skin met, then moved away, then met, again. Wilderness oozed from beneath my skin, tracking him with its natural predilection for breath, gaze, and the miracle of knowing another in stillness and movement and silence. The wilderness of my flesh explored the nuances felt through my skin, through hands that pulsed with heartbeat and feet that moved with the sensuous.

Something in me has been dying to come to the surface, dying to make its way into expression. I’ve kept it under the tense and taught derma-sheath that pens it in, pens me in. I am not this body, and I am this body. I am known, and I am this never-to-be-fully-known wilderness, too. I am this passion, the Dancer who whirls a double helix of stars out of your silence.

And, I am not just the thinking mind that keeps referring to myself as I, the thinking trying to keep messy at bay. We all have our own ways we don’t like to get messy, and it’s our over active minds trying so hard to contain life, contain this wilderness we can feel within.

***

I’ve been on the fence about dating. On one side, then on the other, then back again, finally just setting my ass down on it to stay. For a bit. Until now. Now I can see what the until has been about. I want to be physical, sensual, sexual. I’ve been alone for four years. I’ve been happy and content, but also desiring companionship and intimacy. I want to be connected, flesh to flesh, heart to heart, soul to soul.

I learned that the real wild self should only come out in the bedroom, although she often prowls on the dance floor where ‘behavior’ like that is more acceptable. But, the real wild self? I’ve been waiting for just the right time, just the right partner, just the right…

But, there is no, and there will never be,  just the right anything.

Yes, it is exquisite to experience this wilderness in connection with another, but it doesn’t need to wait. I don’t need to wait for anyone or anything. To pretend I have to wait for him and a bedroom is to give my power away, continually. To believe this is just about sex and the bedroom, is to believe the lies I’ve been taught that I’ve used to keep myself contained.

To continue to contain it is to deny what I am. A woman’s wilderness is frightening to many, but especially to herself. When a woman wakes up to this  ‘power that will not fade, will not be exhausted or shadowed by doubt’ there is nothing that can stop her. 

This is a ‘passion for Presence itself’. It isn’t passion for a partner, nor is it passion simply for sex. When we know passion for Presence itself, all else flows from this.

It’s not personal.

It is in this flesh where wilderness and Spirit meet in Presence.

It is the wilderness beneath your skin.

***

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Belonging – 21 Days to Find your Way Home.

I’ve opened registration for another round of Belonging: 21 Days to Find Your Way Home

For 21 days, you’ll receive a daily email that will guide you through to a new way to see belonging and practices for you to begin to find it in your own life. We’ll have two calls together, and a secret Facebook group where we’ll share what we are discovering through this journey of belonging.

This goes deeper than trying to fit in. This is about belonging to that which never left you, will never leave you.

We belonged the moment we were born.

We can find our way back home…together.

The cost is $59 dollars, and increases to $99 on October 20th. We begin Oct. 22.

Read more and register here.

 

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Magic

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I see her.

Her left hand out reaching toward me, beckoning me to come with her. Her body is leaning the other way, to her left, showing me the way we will go. I haven’t seen her face for ages.

Eleven. Fifty-eight. Ages.

 

She is alive. Her eyes dance.

She wants to take me back into her innocent world; back into the world I learned to pretend doesn’t exist. But it does. She knows the way. Her body is leaning that way as if to say, “Come, come, let’s go. It’s just you and me. Nobody else is here, now, telling us to be something other than who we are. Nobody is here demanding that we turn our back on magic and step into that cold, dead world where everyone says things they don’t believe and everyone denies they long for something else.”

I left her behind. Not meaning to, really. But, I left her behind. So far behind I’d forgotten who she was. I couldn’t even really remember how it was to be with her, how she laughed or how she would get silly. I couldn’t remember how strong and lithe she was, how in her body she was.

She’s smiling at me with such innocence, such joy. I can tell she hasn’t changed a bit. It’s the smile.

I now remember the exact moment when I turned my back on her. I had to. I had no choice. It’s the only way I could make sense of the senselessness I was being shown. Everywhere I looked there were messages telling me that she had to be forgotten, pushed aside, abandoned. No one wants an eleven year-old pubescent girl to maintain her wholeness. It’s too much. Her wholeness and innocence and provocative ways signal magic.

 

I take her hand and follow.

She wants to show me butterflies. We used to go out to find them, hoping to have one land on our hand. They were free. They were soft and tender, their wings made of the same magic as her heart.

When I first saw her again, really saw her, and heard her calling to me, the tears poured like buckets. Grief. Big buckets of grief. I’ve experienced big grief in my life; grief I never thought I would ever know. But there’s something about realizing you abandoned yourself so long ago, ages ago that cuts to the bone at the center of the heart. That bone. That magic bone.

All I remember is that I was told that my needs were no longer relevant. Those were never the words used, of course. Instead, every indication was that I was here for something other than my own desires. I was here for others’ desires…especially men’s.

Instead of freedom, I began to feel emptiness. Instead of softness, I began to feel a kind of resignation. Instead of feeling me, I began to be really good at feeling everyone else – looking for what they needed, what would make them happy, how to put myself at the back. It sounds like martyr. It looks that way. But it was not. It was believing that my desires didn’t matter. It was believing that I didn’t matter. That suddenly, now, that I was growing up, that the magic in me had to go and the beauty and power of my young girl’s magical soul was not welcome in this world of men and men’s power, and this world of women who had forgotten their own magic.

Or maybe my magic was wanted too much. If I hid it, would they not look at me like they were beginning to look at me? I hid the magic just like I hid my blossoming breasts. The lacy yellow training bra earned the name ‘old yeller’ because I was too embarrassed to wash it and hang it out in the house to dry. In our house of one woman and three girls, a girl’s magic wasn’t spoken of. Menses, breasts, and blossoming desire were only talked about in cursory, logical ways.

 

No magic was mentioned.

There was no map pointing the way from young magical girl to full magical woman. There was no talking about it. There was nothing said between young magical girl and magical woman. And there were no full, magical women to guide me.

How does a girl hang onto the magic of womanhood when so many around her pretend it does not exist?

How does she hold her own hand tightly enough to not lose herself or her magic?

How does she hold her own body close to her heart as she awakens to the shame that others believe is at the heart of womanhood?

How does she not make that shame her own?

How could it be that something so holy, sacred, and brimming with the magic of life becomes something to hide, to ridicule, to dominate, to violate?

I find I have no answers, but I am paying attention to her because she knows things I have forgotten.

 

Her hand is soft and young, still in the shape it was when I turned away.

She’s timeless. Hand in hand, I begin to feel the sweetness of her breath filling my lungs and sense the wonder of her magic beating my heart. I tell her I learned a long time ago to dismiss myself, to defer to others, to hide my light, to make myself small and insignificant. As I say these words, I hear how powerless they sound, how weak I sound. I cringe, yet they are true. She just listens as she holds my hand.

I tell her I don’t know what I want, what I desire. I tell her I’ve forgotten how to desire, how to know, how to choose. I tell her I’ve forgotten how to choose for us, to know what it is I want and to focus on it. She already knows this. She’s been in the background watching me circle and circle, unable to land on the solid turf of completion. She looks at me with such lightness and love. And then she tells me that is why she’s come back – to show me the way home, the way back to magic.

It seems as though she doesn’t hear those other voices that run so often in my head, voices of skepticism, judgment, and shame. She seems to just delight in life itself, in the very real experience of being alive. She is soft and open. The thing I notice most, though, is that she trusts. She trusts herself. And she trusts life. She doesn’t seem to even be aware of this. She doesn’t need to be. Trust was never broken for her. Her connection to life is intact, full, and faithful, as is her connection to herself. She doesn’t seem to be so aware of herself, but instead very aware of everything around her, as if she is immediately affected and enraptured by the smallest butterfly flutter and the gentlest birdsong.

 

As I watch her,

I begin to feel a tiny bit of what it felt like when I knew this world. She is guiding me back home just by her presence and love. I feel great sorrow and grief for what I did, but she doesn’t. She is just happy to have me home again, with her in the magic.

She leads me to a place where lightness abounds, joy flourishes, and softness is evident everywhere. Everything is vibrantly alive. As I look around, I can see the light that infuses breath. Everything is breathing. Everything. Trees. Sky. Earth. Sun. Everything is breathing.

She looks at me with impish delight and asks,

“Do you remember? We used to live here, in this world, together. And, here we are again, together.”

 

 

::

Writing Raw is now open for the third circle, beginning on March 4th. Early-bird is in effect through February 18th.

 

 “i feel so strongly that what you have created in writing raw has this potent link of turning us – leading us – inviting each of us into our own selves. not calling it anything but ourselves, words hinting here and there of naming, but to be ourselves and have faith in that is a great great great gift that is given in that circle.” ~ Barbara Heile, woman painter writer mother
www.heileart.com

 

Read more and register here.

 

 

 

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Re-Knitted | Poetry

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Re-Knitted

Earth-wined me.

This image of being earth-wined
causes the words to stop flowing,
the image so powerful
my soul must stop to drink it in,
this purple sun syrup
flowing down my throat.

I smell earth in this syrup and taste earth in its pearls.

My skin reeks of earth.
Stained.
Re-knitted. Yes.
To my Body. And Her Body.

The Crow outside caws as I sit with pen in hand and earth in mouth.

She, too, is re-knitted back to me.
Crow. My Sister.
Black and wise and crosser of thresholds,
She takes me down into the Belly
where I’m stained by this heady earth wine.

She caws loudly,
reminding me of the pleasure of the dark,
this place where my true baptism takes place.

Another voice rises up out of the crow’s mouth,
a black womb with wings and beak.

Just a whisper, at first,
I crane my neck to hear.
Words, if you can call them that,
rumble around in this black womb.

Coming into being,
they vibrate and reverberate against
the  ageless black-stained walls of this holy womb.

I draw closer to the Crow’s mouth,
wanting to miss nothing.
With one shrill caw She sucks me in and
I fall into this heady soup.

I swim in her dark-stained belly.
I become crow’s lunch.
I decay into a million pieces of black,
holes that hold the light of a trillion stars.

(C) Julie M Daley

::

Image is ‘As the Crow Flies’ by Jimmy Brown under Creative Commons 2.0

Many new poems were born out of the first circle of Writing Raw, both for myself and for the women in the circle.
This one I’m sharing with you today was born during Writing Raw.

The poem that ignited this piece is A Berry Entire by Pattiann Rogers.
Catalyst phrases from the poem
are ‘purple sun syrup’ and ‘earth-wined’.

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