Liberating Ourselves from the Pervasive Bind of Being Reasonable and Logical

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I remember their faces, a little stern and adult-like-condescending, as I tried to tell them of my willow tree and how much she loved me. Sitting under her was my delight, and I think her’s, too. But they couldn’t understand. Too far removed from childhood, everything now had to be reasonable and logical. The mystical and the sacred were now seemingly too far out of reach — seemingly.

And so, they would sternly correct me when I spoke of her love and the love I saw in everything around me, which included them but I didn’t know how to speak of that to them. I could only show them through my eyes the love I had for them. The girl that I was felt like a stranger in a world gone mad with reason, a world that had forgotten that play and love and divine curiosity were the magic we can know here on Earth.

I’ve struggled with this myself as an adult. The one so imaginal, light, joyful, and free; the one who loves the process much more than the finished piece; the one who revels in watching it all unfold, revels in the anticipation of touch when skin meets skin for the first time after letting desire blossom and fruit into ripeness — judged, criticized, and silenced by that voice inside, the adult voice that somewhere along the way became ‘my voice’. That voice thinks this is all fluff, weakness, and something no one will respect because it is not logical, practical, nor does it utilize the ‘brilliance of mind’.

I, like my parents, have a good mind. A strong mind. One that loves math and coding and understanding how things works. And that love is a pure love for these things. But that is not who I am. I am not logical. I am one who can utilize logic when it is helpful and let it go when logic is not the right tool for the job.

Here’s the thing — the thing that now saves me every time I sit down to work and create…

We are not logical creatures. We never have been. We are imaginal beings, sacred to the core, mystical beings appearing as real live people, here to awaken love, here to find delight and joy in living, here to not turn away from ourselves or each other when we forget what we are.

While the loss of connection to love can be too great to hold and feel in our hearts during our early years, the delighted one who dreamed up worlds where trees are loved for the magic they are, where everyone knows the truth about flowers — that they are just a mere breath away from Source — is still very much present and this delighted one now must be freed.

We free this one, this imaginal delightful one, together, in community, in circle, held in love, always in love. For it is only love that liberates. It is only love that transforms. It is only love that frees us from the inner captivity of our own making. We, who are not captive in the outer world, we who are free to move and speak, we who have the means and have the privilege to effect real change, can and must.

This world is not what we’ve come to believe it is. It is a realm of love in a multitude of forms.

Love is spread out before us in everything and we do not see it.

The way back to knowing this is by seeing with the heart, allowing the mind to be held in the heart so that it can rest and come to know itself as love, too.
For all is love.


I offer you this meditation to help guide your beautiful mind down into your heart to be held, your heart down into your pelvic bowl so that the mind and heart are held, and your pelvic bowl down into our great Mother Earth so that your whole being can be held by the Mother.

Come join me in Writing Raw or my new course Flourish. We will find this one who knows, who imagines, who hungers and thirsts for what she knows is real and whole and beautiful.

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On Being Human

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“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world,
an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control.”

~ Martha Nussbaum

I’ve been talking with a friend lately about being human. How do we do it? and do it well?

It seems like a funny thing to talk about, but when you start to see how often we bumble things up –  get things ‘wrong’, say the wrong things – being human can feel like walking through a quagmire.

We seem to be funny creatures – not just my friend and me (yes, WE are) – but all of us human beings. Sometimes, it just feels really hard to be here on Earth – vulnerable, soft-soul creatures walking around in fleshy human bodies.

Especially now. We’re living in amazingly turbulent times. The rate of change makes my head spin. And I feel great grief with the direction we are headed as a species.

So how do we cultivate an openness to this world that feels so beyond our control?

We have to develop a practical, embodied relationship with the unknown nature of Life and we do this by becoming aware of and skilled in the expression of our own internal creative Source. We do so by becoming aware of our unique creative process and how to take action by being in direct relationship with this Source.

“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the human condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from its fragility.” ~ M Nussbaum

When you are rooted in the firm foundation of your creative Source, you can trust in the uncertain and have this willingness to be exposed.

I like Nussbaum’s analogy of being like a plant – or a flower – “something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from its fragility.”

This is what I’ve been writing about for years here at UnabashedlyFemale. This beauty. This fragility. This tender softness of our human souls. To be human is to be flesh and soul. It is vulnerable.

And yet, this vulnerability is so much stronger than we think, because the main qualities of our creativity – our sacred nature – are strength, will, joy, intuition, love, compassion, generosity, caring, and power. Consider these qualities. The more we will our vulnerable, soul-soft, felshy selves, the more these qualities come to the fore.

When we live in a dynamic relationship with our own creative Source, we become reacquainted with these qualities of Being that we have mostly lost touch with from living out of fear and self-protection. It is by entering into this direct relationship and living it in the world that we remember these qualities – that we remember who we are and what we are made of.

Trust is the very important piece here. We have to learn how to trust again. And what is it we must learn to trust? Ourselves. The uncertain and unknown. And our capacity to meet whatever comes. We must relearn how to trust our relationship with Life, and with that comes relearning how to trust our relationship with other human beings – and really humanity itself.

Nussbaum writes that “Being a human means accepting promises from other people and trusting that other people will be good to you.”

But, if we no longer trust other humans (and ultimately ourselves, meaning our relationship with the unknown) then our life “is not a human life any longer.”

Here’s the part where it gets dicey. There are people in this world, right now, who wish to do us harm. How do we stay human in a world where other humans want to destroy life? How do we be a human being in today’s world where so many humans are violently against each other, and against Life? My answer leads me right into the unknown because “I don’t know.” And, I do know we have to find our way back to our humanity or we will not survive.

[Edited to add: And I do know we must see the highest in every human being, meaning we must see the Source that is within them, even though we meet their actions with our own appropriate action.]

I can honestly say that trusting the unknown has been one of the greatest challenges of my own life. I’ve fought it. Yet, I am completely in love with the mystery, with the creative process. I think I am not alone in this dilemma. We love adventure but we also do not like to lose control. Yes, we are funny creatures.

I agree with Charlotte Du Cann who writes,

“I realise we are not in a political crisis; we are in a spiritual crisis, an existential crisis. We don’t know what it means to be human anymore. We have lost contact with the meaning of time, our presence here. “

If our fear of each other is causing us to lose our humanity, then you can bet this is a spiritual crisis, an existential crisis. Our being human is directly tied to our spirituality. To be human we must be in direct relationship with the Source that gives us life, the Source of our creativity. We must be in dialogue with the Source of this great mystery, which means trusting the mystery – out there in the world, inside within ourselves, and within every other living being.

It’s all really very practical. The unknown is a fact of life. It is when we deny the facts of life that we’ve lost touch with the real.

If we are going to be agents of love and change, then we have to trust that which IS love and that which is the source of change.

 

***

Just next week, I open registration for my new course R I S E. This course is the culmination of my teaching over the past decade plus. The core of the course is the curriculum I teach at Stanford, and the same curriculum I taught when I worked with families directly affected by 9/11 and people directly affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy. It is the work I teach in companies. Originally offered to MBA students at Stanford for 25 years, it is powerful work.

I’ve named it R I S E because it is time to rise up. It is time to bring all of our knowledge, experience, and purposeful intent to create a more humane world. The beauty of R I S E is that it offers a practical and potent container to support YOUR work in the world. It gives you the interactive experiences, tools, and practices to come to know your own creative source so you can meet any challenge you face as you R I S E in this new year. We truly are facing a time of challenge, but at the same time we are facing a time of possibility – pure possibility.

When we R I S E to meet our challenges, we discover who we really are, we discover the vision we hold inside, and we discover the deep capacities we’ve been gifted with. R I S E will give you an amazing foundation from which to meet any challenge and opportunity, and living our challenges is how we discover who we are and what we are capable of.

Registration opens the second week of January. Sign-up for my newsletter to be notified.

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A Walk Can Be a Question

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Detail of wooden gate on Divisadero St.

 

Sometimes, when I feel the nudge, I take a walk here in the city over from my place to Divisadero Street and then walk down Divisadero toward Market Street. As I walk this section of Divisadero, I thoroughly enjoy the feeling in this part of the city. There’s a lot going on. I find inspiration everywhere: in the people, in the diversity in general, and in the architecture and design of things. Like the gate above, the color, the creativity, the craftsmanship.

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afternoon light

There’s a cafe I love. The people are friendly enough, but also have that hip edge. They combine the love of coffee and bread, baking the bread fresh there so the smells fill the space. The windows and high ceilings offer amazing light to work in. They play music is from a phonograph and records (and often the music of my teenage years). And the customers are hip in a design kind of way.

I walk, sometimes stop in the cafe, and generally just soak it all in. And, I find that when I return home, I am inspired to dive into and work on what has been sitting on my desk waiting for my return.

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Victorian detail

The inspiration fuels my creativity. Diversity in people and in all things does that. It feeds and nourishes us and our own essential expression.

When we’re working hard or perhaps even struggling with something that we don’t quite know how to move forward on, it can be helpful to remember that we aren’t separate from the world. Often, this idea is seen as a kind of esoteric, spiritual idea – you know, like the idea of Oneness in that we aren’t separate from each other. But, it is a practical understanding, too. When we venture into the world in a state of amazement and wonder, following the thread of the things that spark our interest in the things we intrinsically love, we stimulate our creativity. We become aware of ways things can bridge together. We become aware of ideas and insights that can be just the thing to spark what is waiting on our ‘desk’ for our return.

Our creativity is fed by what is present here, right now. Life responds to the questions we ask, even when the question we are asking is something as simple as a walk down Divisadero Street.

Yes, a walk can be a question if we are open and attentive, and listening deeply for the answers life is offering.

Life is a creative process, so any walk, activity can be such.

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Red light overhead

And, when you are deep in a current process, actively strategizing within the incubation phase of this process, activities you consciously engage in to stimulate responses, knowings, and cross-pollination become rich sources of inspiration for that wonderful AHA! moment you are working toward.

When I take a walk down Divisadero Street, paying attention to all that appears before me as I go, I come into direct relationship with the answers life is offering to my question. I am stimulated by life, by the things that inspire me.

A practice for you.

If you’re working within a creative process right now – and I am sure you are as just about everything we do is in some way a creative act – make time to explore. Take a walk down a street or path, or to a place that inspires you, that calls to you. It might be in nature, but it can just as well be in a part of town that stimulates you. On your walk, pay attention to everything. Look for a particular color, or a particular shape, or a particular anything that gets you to really look at your surroundings in a way that is brand new. Then, watch what happens.

Fair warning:
This can cause you to be happy, feel alive and grateful, and unleash your creative joy into the world!

 

 

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A Vivid Life. A Creative Life.

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A Vivid Life. A Creative Life.


“Don’t scorn your life just because it’s not dramatic, or it’s impoverished, or it looks dull, or it’s workaday. Don’t scorn it. It is where poetry is taking place if you’ve got the sensitivity to see it, if your eyes are open.” ~ Philip Levine (1928-2015)

 

Yesterday, just before sitting down to prepare my monthly newsletter, I made a great chicken, kale, and bok choy curry for lunch. As I was thinking about what to share in my newsletter, the colors of the curry stood out at me as truly beautiful. I was so aware of the colors and how the vibrant greens reflected the intense nutrition of the food. I was aware of the mix of flavors, of savoring my food, truly savoring it as I ate. And, then my mind went to how beautiful life is when we are sensitive to the richness of vivid experiences felt in the heart.

In the courses I teach on Creativity, I often do an exercise during the third week when I teach about how to observe life keenly. In the exercise, we use all of our senses, slowing each one down, to truly taste – usually chocolate. Each time I lead the class, this very simple exercise brings forth a sensitivity to see, feel, and taste life. In our world, with everything going so fast, and so much time spent with technology, to stop and take time to feel your life is often a gift we rush past, a gift we do not give ourselves (and often) nor our children.

As Philip Levine wrote so beautifully, our lives are where poetry is taking place IF we have the eyes to see it, the ears to hear it, and the sensitivity to really touch what is happening. Somehow, somewhere, someone decided the everyday qualities of earthly existence were non-important and that instead we should focus on the spiritual. But, there is no separation between matter and the sacred.

Everything here is alive, and it is that very aliveness that is the sacred.

For me, as long as I’ve looked for something to be better, to find something better, to hope for days when things would be a certain way, I’ve continued to miss the beauty right in front of my face. It is only here, right here, where we can know what it is to be truly alive, to know the poetry that is taking place before our eyes.

As if to punctuate this vividness for me, as I took a break from working on my newsletter, I stood up and looked outside and the most amazing sunset was breaking over San Francisco. I grabbed my phone, went down to the porch of the building I live in and walked into this magnificent sight – the moon appearing, surrounded by billowing pink clouds. It took my breath away.

It was poetry in the sky.

In April, I’m going to be a grandmother for the FIFTH time. I can always count on my grandchildren to bring me present to this vivid life. Every. Single. Time. They are so real. They remind me to stop, listen, and pay attention.

Take a look around you. Really look, listen, touch, feel. Everything you can encounter is alive with radiance. Pay beautiful attention to this world as if you were a child again. Imagine you’ve just landed on earth for the very first time. Sit down to a meal and use all of your senses as you eat each bite. Notice that you are taking in nourishment. Note that the food came out of the earth so that your body can continue to function. Notice if in doing so, you come more deeply into relationship with life.

This relationship with life is the same relationship you have to your creativity. Our capacity to take in life, to receive what life is offering, is the same capacity we have to bring forth our creativity. And it requires us to pay attention to what is here, to what is being offered and shown to us.

Life is reflecting your countenance back to you. What you see is the radiance you are. 

 

 

WritingRawPinSpring01The Spring Writing Raw circle begins on March 4th, and March 5th. Each week, for six weeks, we hold two calls, one on Wednesdays at 9:00 am PT and the second on Thursdays at 5:00 pm PT.

Here, in the circle, we listen for the poetry of life to express itself through us. We each go into our own inner temple and listen for the voice that has always been here, always waiting to be known.

We listen, we write, and we read.

A beautiful circle of women is gathering. If you feel the pull to join, please do. Writing Raw is a deeply transformational process. Writing Raw can wake you up to your own soul and what your soul is asking of you. Writing Raw offers the opportunity to know yourself, as you are, with acceptance and love.

Read more and register here.

 

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