Our living well can only come out of our living connected.

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I’ve discovered something. Something that keeps us believing in our smallness, in lack, in the absence of goodness and kindness, in a sense of being unsafe and unable to really live who we are and what we came for.

I’ve discovered it through my own life journey of forgetfulness. A life journey where I began so full of light, so full of love and joy. So full of life. And then the journey of forgetting. Forgetting that the Earth is alive. Forgetting that I am alive, truly. Forgetting that I once lived as light.

We are not meant to live alone.

Not just physically alone. We are not meant to believe in the falsity that we are simply human beings on a planet that is just a big rock. We are not meant to believe that there is nothing beyond this place. We are not meant to live as if we are alone. Our living well can only come out of our living connected to both the Earth and to the light. Our living well comes out of knowing we are in direct relationship with the soul of the Earth, with her as an alive being, and filled with the light that infuses us, available to us, always filling us with each breath, in every moment.

We are creatures here on Earth, sacred creatures, living on a sacred planet, being breathed by light. This has nothing to do with any system of belief. It has to do with life itself and how it moves and lives through us.

There is a ‘push out of your existence’ (thank you, Joseph Campbell) that is life moving through you. A push. A force. A living, always in flux, push. To live. To be alive. As you. For life. This IS life. You as life. Living. Connected to the Earth. Filled with light. Filled with breath. Vibrantly alive until you are alive no more in a human body.

We are not meant to live believing we are not connected, separate, from each other, separate from the Earth and nature, separate from the light. 

But, we do forget. And all around us are reminders, everywhere, always, to remember. We walk the Earth in forgetfulness until we remember. And then, we walk the Earth remembering. With each step. Remembering ourselves back into fullness.

And then, we walk the Earth remembering.

With each step. Remembering ourselves back into fullness.

***

My 21-day self-study course Belonging is now available. It’s deep and you can access it in the comfort of your own home.

 

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A Touch of Soul, Here, on My Breath.

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reteachathingitslovelinessrosenoquote
“…for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness…”
Galway Kinnell
::

Witnessing my own unfolding

In looking back over the writing I’ve shared here over the past seven years, I see my own unfolding. Along the way, I’ve shared my experiences rather than using this as a platform to offer you ‘useful’ advice on ‘how-to’ or ‘how-not-to’. I’ve shared stories and insights. I’ve shared some of the most vulnerable moments of my journey. I can’t say that was my intention when I began. But, then how often do we know ahead of time what it is that is driving us? In the past few weeks, the unfolding has hastened. Things falling away left and right. Like a dog with a bone, I’ve followed every kernel of grace offered out to me. I cannot tell you ‘what’ it is that has happened, but I finally feel at home.

That is no small thing considering it’s been almost twenty years since I set out to find home. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt at home in this world, but I managed to avoid feeling the deeper feelings of not belonging and not being safe while married to my late-husband – until the early-morning hour when he died, suddenly. That’s when the journey began in earnest.

It was then, almost twenty years ago, that however my psyche had organized itself to help navigate the feeling of being unsafe here on earth, could no longer find a footing. In a matter of minutes after he died, I felt completely unmoored. He had been my love, my protector, my partner of 21 years.

It’s been a long journey to follow longing. A journey to find safety, not through another human being, but within myself. I didn’t know that was what I was looking for. Ultimately, it was really the journey to find love, the love that can only be found deep within oneself.

The push to get somewhere or something has been relentless. I could never settle. I could never feel like what was in my life was ‘enough’. All the while, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate to you these things. I know them now, in hindsight.

There is something new here.

A kind of softness, a trust, a faith in life.

A taste of earth, here, in my flesh.

A touch of Soul, here, on my breath.

 

Life guided me.

Life does this if we listen. Books fell unbidden from bookcases, guiding me to dance. People appeared as guides. Flowers called to me with their beauty, reflecting to me the light and beauty that is the soul of everything alive. And, my relationship came to an end when it was clear I had to find out who I am on my own – sovereign and whole.

The land called to me from different parts of our planet. I had to step foot on other parts of this earth to feel something that could only be felt there, in each place, to reawaken elements of earth that I’d tasted long before.

Nature called. Each day, I walk. Almost first thing in the morning, after tea. I hear birdsong. I feel wind. I take in the love of trees, offering it back to them with great appreciation. I have come to feel an unseen, but incredibly vibrant, relationship with life. I’ve come to know I belong.

John O’Donohue‘s words capture this feeling much more eloquently than I can.

“Essentially, we belong beautifully to nature. The body knows this belonging and desires it. It does not exile us either spiritually or emotionally. The human body is at home on the earth. It is probably a splinter in the mind that is the sore root of so much of our exile.”

I feel at home in my body. 

Another way to say this, is that my mind now trusts how my body feels at home. My mind trusts my body’s longing to be home. To not be held away, distant from itself, for my body is of the earth’s body. It is of the same clay.

This might surprise some of you who’ve read me for a while. It’s not like I haven’t been in my body. It’s not like I haven’t felt joy in my body. I have – often and much.

But that ‘splinter in the mind’ was always here. The splinter continued to tell me I wasn’t safe. It created a kind of vigilance, a hyper-vigilance. This kind of thinking, the circular questioning and the constant looking for safety, kept at bay what it was I was looking for. Of course it did. I was looking for love, but this small but insistent voice didn’t trust love.

As I read more of John O’Donohue’s words for the second time (I first read Anam Cara about eight years ago), in preparation for my writing course, I came across his description of how the body is in the soul, not the other way around. He writes,

“Your body is in the soul, and the soul suffuses you completely. Therefore, all around you there is a secret and beautiful soul-light.”

And, if the body is in the soul, then my body is held, and loved, and breathed into by Soul. My immediate breath is Soul breath. My senses first encounter the realm of my Soul. It is so close. Always.

This is what I had longed for – to know that love is this close. Complete and unconditional love, which Soul has for self. I had shut myself off to my own Soul, and I had to see that.

 

Necessary to reteach me of my loveliness.

As most of us do because we are taught to, I journeyed to find what I’d thought I lost out there somewhere. God is supposed to be up there, on high, somewhere. Right? And, I am supposed to find love in someone else to complete me. Right?

No. Soul is closer than my breath. Soul is closer than sound, taste, sight, touch. Soul is wrapping me in love. I turned away from Soul. I had to turn back to self to know Soul.

Splintering happens. For me, the splinter broke free when that portion of the mind could feel that it was held, and that what held it was safe. I watched it circle. I watched it look and question and wonder. I watched as it let go. I felt the softening in myself. I couldn’t make it let go, but I could hold the space for it to do it as it needed to. I could trust that it would set itself free.

And, one last thing…for now. I’ve written in the past of the ‘creative impulse’…of the beautiful desire that moves through us as human beings to express in this world of form. In my next post, I’ll write more about Soul, your body, and creativity.

 

For now, just know that God(dess) is decidedly sensuous. 

 

 

 

 

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The Red is Strong. Like Blood. Alive.

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ForestbyMoyanBrenn
 

Listen to the audio version:

 

I walk into the forest of me. Before I am very far in, I begin to lose my bearings, those bearings that have held the powerful sense of self I’ve had in place for most of my life.

The forest floor is soft and thick with a build-up of old-life-dying. My feet are bare as is the rest of me. Here in the forest of me, everything is shed. There are no illusions about who I make myself to be. They all fall away as I proceed further in. Except the red nail polish on my toes seems to still be here. Maybe it’s the power of the chemicals that keeps it in place, or maybe it’s the power of the red to remind me of something more alive than the old-life-dying beneath my feet.

The red stands out starkly against the decaying matter. 

Old skin, old beliefs, old stories. Old and dead. Shedding, sloughing, falling down to become part of the old-life-dying.

But my feet feel vibrant and alive. The toes spread out so that each one can feel the earth, can sense and grip and connect. As if they remember being part of paws feeling the vibrations ricocheting through the decaying matter, the soil, and the bedrock. Losing bearings and old skin can also be a finding again. Maybe of something new. Maybe something old. Maybe something outside of time and space. A place where I can taste the earth in my own body so clearly that I know I am from this earth, of this earth, will go back to this earth, and never can ever leave this earth. She and I are tied together, and not just through toes.

I find a place to lie down amidst this old-life-dying. It feels awfully comfortable. Soft and thick, and my bare bones sink into it as if to say, “We, too, will go one day. Go back into you, dear earth, marrow meeting molten core.”

Even now, alive with marrow, these bones taste the earth and know home.

My bare soft flesh fills the space between the bones and the old-life-dying. Flesh feels so freshly alive, and somehow also dead when I don’t want to feel it. When I believe I am only the flesh, I fear the old-life-dying. The flesh of my life, the things I call mine, fill the space around me so I can’t feel the bones meet the earth.

 

The bones are the bedrock. They know things. They hold me up, give me alignment and integrity, and teach me about laws such as gravity, laws that are always true, unlike some of the laws that exist out there, outside the forest of me. The flesh is sweet, yet too much and I can’t feel, too little and I don’t know home.

I found the opening into the forest of me when I really turned to look. Half-looking never works. Half-seeing doesn’t either.

It grows dark, here, yet the red is strong. Like blood. Alive. I follow the red. A light begins to shine. Like the sun at the center of everything.

When I know I am the flesh AND the light that illuminates this flesh, then I am home. 

 

*** Forest: image by Moyan Brenn under Creative Commons 2.0

 

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True Belonging – one of the most important things we must find in these times.

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On Belonging.

I’ve been immersed in this topic since last Fall when I was asked to speak at TEDxIsfeld in British Columbia. For whatever reason, it seemed to keep coming up in my mind. That seems to be how creativity works. Things arise out of that big dark void from which everything emerges. For me, it was around belonging and finding a way back to being a human being connected to the land.

At the time, I wrote about becoming indigenous again, or finding my way back to reverence for the land. I’ve never shared that writing. It was writing for only my eyes. I was longing for something. Longing to feel connected, longing to be wise enough to know how to be with the land. Longing to no longer think of just me, but to begin to consider how I can serve the land.

I squirmed writing those words, “becoming indigenous again”. Sometimes words just come out and then you wonder what they’re about.

I know I am not an indigenous person and totally respect those people who are and the difficulties they face. And, I know indigenous cultures have a reverence for the land, and know a deep responsibility to it that many of us who’ve lost our bearings of belonging don’t seem to live. (I will share much of that writing in my new course: Belonging – 21 Days to Find Your Way Home, because it’s at the heart of what it means to be a human being.) It’s taken some time to see that what started as a seed back in the Fall has begun to blossom as new work.

And what has blossomed from that early writing is an exploration into belonging.


::

Many of us were disconnected from the land of our ancestors. We’ve lost our connection to the land in a way the indigenous cultures have not. We’ve lost our connection to the matter, to the mother.

 

Many of us are displaced beings. Yet, we all belong to the earth. The earth is our mother. We are her children. 

Regardless of where we were born, regardless of where our ancestors came from, we all belong to the earth. And, I am coming to see that this is what gets us to the heart of being a human being – one who lives her humanity. Of course, I guess there are many interpretations of the nature of humanity. I know it can take dark forms…and I know we are moving to evolve toward a living of our light.

At the heart of coming to know a deeper relationship to earth is coming to know we belong.

I have come to see that one of the most important things we must do is come to remember that we belong. To ourselves, to each other, to the earth, and to all beings. Without remembering belonging, we drift aimlessly, believing someone else will take care of the very real responsibilities we have to life…and belonging helps us come to remember this forgotten imperative of relationship.

I hear from so many women that they don’t feel they belong, that they want to find the place where they feel safe and comfortable for being who they are, for living the values they hold dear.

Is this what belonging means to you? Finding a place where you are a natural part of the community, where when you are simply who you are and live what you hold dear, you feel safe and valued? Does it mean finding a place where you feel you are able to fully give of yourself, fully valued, wanted, and respected? Does it mean finally being able to be of service because you know that in relationship there is a shared give and take?

Isn’t that what any human being wants, to be valued, respected, and able to give something back, to be a part of a community?

We’ve devalued half of life’s qualities – the feminine half that exists in all of life, and we’ve devalued half of the population – women, and at the heart of it all, we’ve devalued, dominated, and controlled the material world, including the earth, animals, crops, air, water, etc. Everything that sustains us has been devalued and harmed, including the very vessels that bring human life forth – women’s bodies.

We don’t see the earth as a living being – we see her as material goods. 

In trying to find our way back, we begin to devalue the masculine. To find fault with it. When what is true is that we are woefully out of balance.

When we look at our culture and the values that seem to be linked to it, it’s no wonder we don’t feel like we belong. Our current cultural landscape is far from balanced, far from a reflection of the beauty we hold dear as women, from the capacity we know as women to nurture life itself.

In a culture that teaches you to conform, you can lose connection to your own values and needs. You slowly forget what matters to you most, and you begin to turn your attention to what will keep you connected to the culture, to what seems as if it will bring a sense of belonging. But this is not belonging. You will never feel you belong when you can’t be who you are. Never. And, somewhere we know this.

Belonging only comes when you are yourself and awake to what is real. Belonging can only happen when you are connected to the real world, to the world that has been here all along.

Our systemic devaluation of the feminine has a direct correlation to how much we feel we belong. When we lose connection to the mother, we lose our connection to matter.

When this devaluation pervades our culture and our internal radar is pointing to this culture for a sense of home, we’ll never find home. Patriarchy causes us to feel out of place because it is out of place. Patriarchy is out of place and alignment with the earth, our home, with the feminine, and with the masculine, and place is where we find belonging.

Everything seems to be coming out of the woodwork. So much violence. So much greed. So much sadness and grief. So much. How can we find our ground, our own ground amidst all of this? How can we touch into what is real when so much destruction is swirling around us?

How can you stay with your values when it seems as if the world that has a voice is telling you they are not valuable? How can you tap into what is real and true for you, when so much around us tries to convince us of what we should believe?

Through the body.
Through the land.
Through the connection with women.
Through the real world.
Through these we find our way back to our own connection between this female body and the earth. 

There is a ‘real world’ in which we exist. The earth and the stars, the sun and the moon, flowers and birds, animals and another’s warm hand. Nature. We are nature.

These are the elements of belonging. Knowing these in our everyday lives is what brings us back to here. And, here is the only place we can truly belong.

This is where we remember who we are, what we came into the world to do, the nature of our unique gifts, and our connection to a land that is not ours to own but rather ours to serve.

::

Please join me on April 1st: Belonging – 21 Days to Find Your Way Home. Finding our way to a true sense of belonging may be one of the most important things we can do in these times.

At this time, the course is only for women. I’ve had men ask if it would be for men, too. Perhaps after this first iteration. Let’s see what happens.

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Dancing On the Earth’s Skin

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“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength
that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing
in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes
after night, and spring after winter.” ~Rachel Carson

Happy first day of Spring.

As I write these words, the birdsong is especially loud outside my living room windows. Sometimes, I write seated on my living room sofa, so I can see look out onto the church garden directly across the street. There are at least a dozen three or four-year olds running around the garden shrieking with delight. So much joy!

Spring has its own particular feeling. It is a time of coming out, blossoming, and growing. We begin to come out into the world, out from our hibernation and into connection and growth.

The natural world calls to me. It soothes me. It enlivens me. It reminds me of what I am.

We are living in a time of deep transformation and the chaos and turbulence that transformation holds. I feel this in my body.

And, as I’ve learned from dancing chaos, if we surrender to it, if we receive what it offers, we are transformed and we release that which no longer serves. The old dies and the new is born.

Our healing lies in our remembrance of our relationship with nature. We are nature. We are not separate from it. And in this remembrance, our relationship with the earth is reawakened and enlivened.

I have become much, much more aware of how much I am given and how little I appreciate it. I can see how much I want, and how little I offer in return.

What does it mean to really live with gratitude for this life? How do we live when we live gratitude?

Look closely at the earth – she is teeming with life. Smell her fragrance. Walk with conscious feet. Maybe even go barefoot! Notice how when your feet kiss the earth, the earth kisses your feet. Touch her in many places, with wonder. Taste the succulence she offers.

Remember the wonder for the earth that you knew when you were a child. If you can’t remember, ask a child to reacquaint you.

It is through her, the earth, that we can finally come to know we belong here, that we are a part of her, a part of each other. Every choice we make impacts the well being of all of life on this precious planet.

My footprint has an impact, has consequences. How awake can my feet be? How much love can they show?

How will my feet dance on the earth’s skin when they offer, to her, what words cannot say?

 

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