On Behalf of Humanity, I am So Sorry

On behalf of humanity, I am so sorry to my fellow brothers and sisters. I am sorry that everyday we are hit with a barrage of injustices that seem out of control. I am sorry on behalf of Americans we put our need to BE RIGHT over WHAT is right.

I am sorry that material things seem to have higher status that relationships. I am sorry that our lack of connection to one another causes more people to choose violence in order to be seen and heard. That children reach for an assault rifle because they feel that will get them noticed.

I am sorry that Natives we’re so forcefully pushed off of their land only to watch Mother Earth pillaged for her resources and sold off to the highest bidders. I am sorry that along with the pain of being forced from what they considered sacred, many others have lost a connection to the sacredness of nature and forces we do not understand- the trust in truth only found within and in quietude.

I am sorry to Africans whose ancestors were brought against their will to this country, with those stories of trauma filtered down through generation after generation and not being acknowledged that, yes, that did happen and it was atrocious.

I am sorry that women are still undervalued and criticized in large leading tech companies for their management styles when a man would be praised for his “drive”.

I am sorry that people who struggle with addictions, mental illness or disabilities are thought of as “crazy” rather than prized for their uniqueness. That they are considered, in some circles, less than capable of adding light to the world.

I am sorry that men and masculinity are being demonized as though they must all be dethroned and stoned in the village square.

Most of all I am sorry for all of the things that lead humans to dehumanize one another. This is a human problem, a spiritual problem, core problem. One that we have all added to in some way or another, maybe through silence or awkwardly laughing at a poor taste joke. We are all responsible. I am so, so, sorry.

I will honor my truths more fully that ever before and help birth a new way in every small way I can. I will honor my sacredness for my time on earth, and I honor yours. The God or Goddess in you is who I will look for, because as much as we are all a part of the problem, we are also ALL part of the solution.

Our interconnectedness to each other, to the planet, to animals and to the truth, lay within our soul. It is here that our oneness is limitless and divine. Let us honor trauma and heal it together.

“Trauma happens in relationships and it heals in relationships” Gabor Mate

“To practice courage, compassion and connection is to look at life and the people around us, and say, ‘I’m all in.'” Brene Brown

“Our stories have power because through them we embrace our collective vulnerability and worthiness- when you share your pain and resilience, and I share mine, we become one.” Tererai Trent

Brothers and sisters, Iam so sorry for the pain you have endured. I see you.

Let us be ALL IN, together, for the sake of humanity and generations after us.

The Feminine Essence


We are fighters. We may sting, we may bite, we can hunt and we can fight. We are protectors. Our voices are never silenced for long, for miles you can here our song. We are in the soul of every human, every creature. Our culture, our love, our stories can last for generations. Mother Earth is earth, air, fire, and water all the same time. We are fire, we are air, we are water and we are earth. We are the cells in your body and the love in your hearts. We are the fire in your belly and the compassion for your neighbor. You can feel us beat in your chest when you know the truth of all things.


We are nurturers. We are healers. We are lovers and warriors. We are the matriarchal societies fueled by empathy and an urge to protect our species. We are the lifegivers. We birth new generations and new ideas. We are the feminine water that runs through the veins of every human being. You see us in herds of  Elephants, pods of Orcas, and prides of hunting lionesses. Bonds are embraced, nurtured and protected. Our power does not reduce the power of the masculine, it complements it. Our emboldened stance gives human civilizations promise for a more secure future. Our warriors battle the toxic masculine that takes what it wants and rapes our earth and our species.


We are the feminine. We will love you no matter how much you hate us. We stand tall no matter how many times you kick us down. We do not grow bitter because we accept what is and work with our moments. We do not always have the answers. But we know LOVE. We know relationships. We know about the interconnectedness on our planet and between our souls. We know in our hearts what is right, because we have learned to listen mindfully. We are not all women. We are the feminine. We are the creators of joy and passion. We are the idea that grabs hold and whispers in your ear until you give us life. We are a smile or a warm hug. We are the moments of overwhelming gratitude that turn into large flowing tears.

We are not money or greed. We are not Twitter feeds or Facebook posts. We are not isolation, fear or exclusion. We are not anger or hate.

You know us when you feel us.

We are magic. We are love.

The Madam and the Mistress


What’s next? Her mind asks her seductively

Penelope refuses to give attention to the thought. “No! Focus” she sharply whispers outloud. She’s starring at her computer screen, atleast twenty tabs are open, multiple apps running and several desktops on her MacBook. “What was I doing?” She thought. “Oh right, homework.”

Nothing is happening fast enough. Look at Etsy or Pinterest. The sultry voice now a little incredulous.

“I know. I need to put more on my calendar, to stay on track” she thinks to pacify the voice that is so rudely interrupting her unproductive work. Penelope opens her calendar, records assignment due dates and milestones, texts a few friends, makes some plans and feels more on track. But it’s been two hours. Instead of crossing things off her list, she’s put more on it.

Idiot. That’s why you never get anything done. Planning. Planning. Planning. Always dreaming, rarely doing. Stupid girl. You’ll fail. You always do. 

The mistress hands the mic to a Madam in a geisha house. As if trying to keep a new girl in line.

“No! I hear you. I don’t believe you. I can do this. I can do everything I’m trying to do. My homework, my business, my life. I can do this.” 

Sure you can. Keep telling yourself that. Afterall you’re getting so much done right now. The mistress injects her patronizing words through Penelopes grey matter like a parasitic worm, overpowering any positive  affirmations she can muster.

She has some lunch. Takes a nap. Takes a walk. Calls a couple friends. The day passes. Nothing on her list done. A week goes by. Each day, a similar pattern.

“Why did I think I could do all this. I’m so far behind…on everything. Dammit. I’m failing at everything.” Penelope begins to cry.

I told you. You’re worthless. Insignificant. Going nowhere. You should be more focused at work. You should do that favor for your mom. You aren’t spending anytime with people that need you. Terrible employee. Terrible friend. 

Now she’s in a full blown sob…an ugly cry. 

Nothing will ever be happen fast enough because you aren’t good enough. Always making it about you.

The voice is no longer the sultry mistress trying to seduce her into narrow alleys of guilt. Nor is she the Madame, whipping her into submission, to succumb to the needs of others. Now it’s her ex husbands voice, every lost friend and every critic she’s ever encountered. 

The tears stop flowing. The hyperventilating ceases. A stronger voice, a nurturing voice, her own voice and only hers…

I love you. I’ve got your back. You’re right where you’re supposed to be. Don’t let the Madam or the Mistress lead you astray. They get a tad jealous. Their master is Ego.

She feels a warmth envelope her like a nurturing hug from a parent. Penelope laughs out loud at the rediculous mess of her own brain.

“Oh hell no. It’s never been all about me. And when it is about me then I really need it. I know you- you’re my biggest critic. I’m better than you. I don’t need to cross things off my list to know I’m worthy. I just am. I will fail at some of these things. Then I’ll get up and do it again. Better. Stronger. 

Penelope didn’t turn in the paper. She cancelled every social engagement for the next week. She changed some big plans that no longer fit. She went to yoga. She danced to music. She did everything not on the damn list. And she’s didn’t feel bad, she didn’t feel guilty. She just felt joy. For several days…no past, or future. Only the present.

We all know this battle. The battle where we are are only fighting ourselves. When we start a track but our priorities change, or our lives shift. Or we simply need to let ourselves fail. Sometimes it can feel like failing is not an option, but failing is just as important as succeeding. Sometimes we need to let go, rip up the to do list, throw it in the air and let pieces fall where they may. ūüíú

 

Love and Compassion WINS. Fear and Hate LOSES.

 

Hate is a quick and easy, cheap shot. We see it in the news with incidents like Sandy Hook or the nightclub in Orlando. Do you think those shooters were happy? Do you think they felt whole and lived a balanced life? These events are symptoms of a deeper disease in our culture. How do we stop these kinds of atrocities from strangling the love and life out of our communities? Is it with gun control? Is it immigration?

No.

We see hate on a personal level when we lose a friend and never speak to them again. Maybe it’s our choice, maybe it’s theirs. We see hate when a partner cheats on us with no remorse. We see hate with murder, rape and lack of forgiveness. It comes in many forms. And it’s not just in America, it’s alive and well in plenty westernized countries.

MLK quote

If you go to the doctor with a painfully swollen lymph node…

Would it be better for the doctor to give you pain meds and tell you to not eat anything that may increase inflammation OR would it better if they run a bunch of tests to diagnose before they treat? After all, it may be cancer. One treats the symptom and one looks for a cure to the underlying problem.

Hate is our societies’ swollen lymph node while¬†mental illness, disconnection, discontent, sorrow and resentment are our cancer. Fear¬†is our cancer.¬†Fear of what we don’t understand, fear of difference. As a society we are more disconnected, more intolerant, more competitive, more judgemental, more resentful, more angry, more divided and more medicated. Why? Maybe because there are more people, because greed has become accepted as “success” and everything is more expensive while wages haven’t changed. Maybe it’s healthcare. Maybe it’s gun control. There are a million reasons that we have become as we are. The truth is we have forgotten what LOVE is. Not romantic love but true love. The truest love is acceptance and forgiveness. It’s saying “hi” to your neighbor with a genuine smile on your face when they always seem annoyed. It’s understanding that the waiter who gave you bad service may be going through¬†a really shitty day divorce. It may be offering to help someone when you have nothing to give but a hug and a listening ear.

Acceptance

When we accept someone for who they are, we fully see them. When we accept someone, rather than judge them, we are no longer victims of our own emotions. We are simply allowing ourselves to see what we see. It’s up to each of us to decide what we want and don’t want in our lives. Just because we accept who they are doesn’t mean we need to practice the same lifestyle. It simply means we aren’t judging theirs. When we practice acceptance, without judgement, we begin to accept more of ourselves. As we practice acceptance we become more tolerant of things we may disagree with, more authentic and honest about who we are and less hateful. It’s the foundation for forgiveness.

Forgiveness

You can only forgive when you have accepted something as it is. Forgiveness is acceptance and ownership of a judgement you’ve made. It’s acceptance of your own feelings about a specific event and choosing to let it go. It has nothing to do with telling someone else what they did was right or good. You can forgive without thinking something was right. It has to do with acknowledging your pain or hatred and setting it free. When you’re free from anger, resentment and hate you can be more open to LOVE.

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. ~Buddha

Whole-hearted

If you look at whole-hearted families, communities, organizations and countries you will find genuine happiness and tolerance with different lifestyles and religions. They foster an environment of acceptance, authenticity, ownership, respect, connection with others and embrace love over hate. The cure for hate is love.

Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther Kind Jr, Mother Theresa are classic examples of change makers that chose love over hate. That faced criticism, violence, pain and suffering with an attitude of acceptance and forgiveness. These are some of the most notable examples of strength and bravery. Why? Because no matter what happened, they chose love over hate. Conquered fear is the birthplace of courage.

Today you can find this type of courage in researchers, authors, musicians and politicians. But hate is more popular, more prevalent, more accepted and easier. These people openly speak about fear and shame versus love and connection.¬†Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, India Arie, Marianne Williamson, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Shonda Rhimes and Amanda Palmer. Are a few that speak up for love, they make connection, truth and authenticity a priority. They don’t say what people want to hear, that say what they feel is right, with love, gratitude, acceptance and forgiveness.

Change Makers

Our culture and society doesn’t shift because politicians change laws. Shift happens when we accept that the 15yr old girl feels more like a boy than a girl, so we call her Sam rather than Samantha and allow him to use whichever damn bathroom he wants. It happens when we say hello and smile to the woman wearing a hijab without assuming she’s a terrorist. Or we tell someone we love, that while we aren’t ok with something they did, we don’t think they are a bad person. Change happens when parents ask their teenage daughters about a breakup and listen, even though they worked all day and may think it pales in comparison to their day. It happens when a father tells his son that he’s sorry he yelled at him but he was worried he might get hurt. It happens when a mother explains to her child why being a bully creates shame rather than punishing her without teaching her what is right.

It starts in our small circles.¬†It’s saying “thank you¬†for being clear” to someone who respectfully asked you to do or NOT to do something. It’s asking “what do you mean by that?” when someone is being¬†passive aggressive. It’s sending your mother flowers on mothers day even though you’re pissed¬†at her. You can love people AND dislike their behavior. You can love people AND have boundaries. You can wholeheartedly and courageously LOVE with hopeless abandon rather than ignorantly and fearfully embrace hatred. Hatred is our disease. Courageous love is our cure.

We must BE the change we wish to see in the world. ~Ghandi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Women Don’t Have Curves…

Or maybe they do, but it certainly, one hundred percent, undeniably, does not define a real woman.

Real women have Badassery.

I recently read Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes, which is mainly – in a very oversimplified kind of way – about being open to change and finding where you are happiest.¬†As a highly successful entrepreneur and writer, she reminds the reader¬†of something exceedingly important that many of us women in western culture forget…it’s incredibly powerful to be vulnerable. Similar to Shonda, I live in Califonia, where the weather is beautiful and so are the people. Everyone seems to regularly attend yoga, do crossfit and be training for marathons or tough mudders. I wear a size 16, and while I can do many of those activities and consider myself pretty, the fact is, I’m not as noticed as the active size 2 woman. I’m just not. We have an obsession in California with beauty and the rise of stars like Melissa Mcarthy and Adele seem to bring back statements like “big and beautiful” or “real women have curves”. The truth is, thick or thin, our shapes or looks shouldn’t be defining who we are. Our character should define who we are.

The Badass Lady

(You will find links to badass ladies in this paragraph)

She¬†may have curves or she¬†may be curveless. She¬†may be the overweight woman in yoga class or the perfectly fit¬†woman in line at the grocery store. She may be neither. She may be this mother, or this one. She may run a company. She may be a doctor. She may be a lesbian. She may be happily single and childless. She may be married. She may be divorced. She may be full of hearty advice.¬†She may be Furiously Happy, yet, depressed. She may be you. A¬†real woman is not defined by what she looks like, ever. She is defined by her level of integrity. Above all else, she is authentic and vulnerable, as often as possible, because she’s still human.

authenticity                                         integrity

A real woman will tell you when you’re wrong, but with compassion. She will admit when she has made a mistake.¬†A real woman will have boundaries, she knows herself well enough to be clear on what she’s okay with and what she’s not. A real woman will stand up for what’s important to her with confidence, grace and tact. She will not shrink or puff up, but stand tall and strong in the face of adversity. A real woman loves with her whole heart. She gives only what she is comfortable giving and not an ounce more, yet she is more generous than most and never¬†resentful. Well, maybe sometimes… sometimes, she’s resentful. But she knows¬†she is in charge of feeling that way, or not. She takes ownership of her feelings and her behavior. A real woman isn’t perfect, she’s human.

A real woman is vulnerable

A real woman is clear about who she is. Her healthy boundaries help her to decide if you belong in her life, or not. Her loyalty runs deep, but she is not a doormat. She won’t give you guilt trips. Well, maybe sometimes… sometimes, she¬†gives guilt trips. After all, she’s human and perfectly imperfect. She asks for what she wants, understanding that you are just as capable of saying no as she has learned to be. A real woman won’t keep you in her life because she’s afraid of being alone. She will nurture a¬†friendship or relationship because she cares, deeply, and¬†values the connection she has with you.

I once saw a girlfriend build a trailer to attach to her Honda Civic so she could move her bed and dresser 300 miles away. All because her mother asked her if she was going to ask her ex boyfriend. Badassery.

Another girlfriend doesn’t own a car but wanted to see one of her closest friends graduate 600 miles away. She took a bus, spent the night and then took the bus back the next day. Badassery.

I recently had a friend ask for help during an emotional breakdown. I’ve known her 9 years and she has never been that vulnerable. I was with her in two hours and have checked in almost every day this week. That’s the friend I am and that’s MY¬†badassery.

I have had an incredible amount of badassery in my life. Women that have stood by my side, told me when I was wrong, applauded my accomplishments and listened to my hardships. They have been there when others have judged me, they have called me to the mat when everyone else was intimidated. They have come in every package. Old, young, black, white, heavy, thin, gorgeous, average, straight and lesbian. Some were curvy, some weren’t. Some were¬†gear heads and some were¬†girly girls. It didn’t matter.

They are badasses and that supersedes any superficial quality that our society values and objectifies.

When were you a badass recently?

(Men have badassery too, that is a different post ūüôā )

Embracing Self-Love and Boundaries

I love all of me: My huge feet, my eclectic style, my writing, my playlists, my sometimes shitty artwork, the books I read, the books I keep saying I’ll read, my chapstick, my sometimes-too-often-ice cream, my current healthy eating, my coffee, my tea, my flu symptoms that encouraged me to write, my scarf I never wear accept when I’m playing dress up in front of the mirror, my lovely new daydream mug (score!) that I found for a $1 at Goodwill, and all my change that-is-oh-so-precious-because-I’m-oh-so-damn-broke. I almost through one of my cats in but he wouldn’t stay still and I don’t exactly love either of them right now…tolerate, that’s a much better word for them.

Self-love  vs  Self-absorbed 

Self-love is not the same as¬†self-absorbed. Self-love changes the inner dialogue from “I’m such an idiot” to “ok, it would probably be wise¬†not to do that again, but live and learn”. It’s about changing¬†negative self talk to¬†counseling yourself with the utmost care and respect. No one can ever be your best friend more than you are, no one will ever know your whole story better than you do¬†and no one will ever pick you up like you can. So, loving yourself is not about me, me, me or¬†degrading yourself to accomplish goals, it’s about treating yourself with compassion, and learning to love who you are so that you can give that love away to others. You cannot love anyone else wholeheartedly until you have mastered loving yourself, especially when you screw up.

How you motivate and counsel yourself will be how you motivate and counsel those you love.

Boundaries with yourself

Sometimes we need to light a fire under ourselves, like those of us are procrastinators. Ahem. Personally I need to Drill Sergeant myself sometimes. That is not a license¬†to bully ourselves. It’s never good to tell ourselves we are bad people, unless you are, but even then the true bad ones-like sociopaths- don’t exactly have negative self talk, they’re pretty grandiose…So, where was I? Oh, boundaries… Set a boundary with yourself to begin recognizing negative self talk rather than allowing it to run amok. Most of our¬†emotions, including an amygdala hijack, can be traced back to thoughts and beliefs we are telling ourselves so it’s healthy to become self aware.

Boundaries with co-workers or roomates

Everyone desperately needs boundaries and we do ourselves a disservice when we aren’t clear with other people about what’s okay and what isn’t. Let’s say you usually let a co-worker borrow just about anything on your desk but now they have stopped asking and go into your drawers whenever they need something. If it bothers you then this would be a moment to set a boundary. You could say “I’m¬†usually fine with you using things but I would like you to ask and not go through my drawers” politely the first time you notice it happening. If you wait and say it weeks or months later you may end up saying it in a passive aggressive way because you feel walked on. This will take some time getting used to but the more you do it the more clear your boundaries will become. It will help you to not harbor any resentment and your co-workers will respect your honesty. But it will take time if you aren’t already doing this. Be prepared for them to begin setting their own boundaries as well.

The same goes for roommates, but because it’s also where you relax¬†you may need to pick your battles more carefully. Maybe they took your clothes out of the washer to do a load of laundry and it really aggravated you. If you left it in there for a couple days, well then, that’s your bad. If, on the other hand, they did it the moment it finished it may be worth a conversation like this “I completely understand that sometimes we need to get laundry done right away,¬†would it be helpful to have designated laundry times for each of us?”.

If you don’t typically set boundaries, expect pushback.

Some people will simply never take responsibility for their behavior. That’s ok. They don’t have to. Some people will challenge you just for the sake of challenging you. Sometimes they will think your boundary is “rude”. You always get to decide what behaviors and responses are ok with you. When you set boundaries for how you want to be treated you will be happier and have very little resentment.

It’s totally NOT easy

Boundaries are difficult to set, especially when people are not used to you setting them or when YOU aren’t used to setting them. Just remember, boundaries are very healthy.

Boundaries with family and partners

We build many, many, many you have unspoken contracts with the people we care about. The most common is between partners¬†that you will be connected to someone no matter their behavior. When you voice what’s ok and what’s not ok, with LOVE and grounded confidence,¬†you will begin to decipher who really belongs in our life. You will lose friends, you will become estranged from some family members.The ones that stay will help you grow. When you set appropriate boundaries with family and significant others your message will become clear “this is how I want to be treated, this is how I will treat you back. If that’s not okay with you then I wont make space for you in my life”. You will begin to hold one another to higher standards, love bigger and forgive more often. This is the area that will flourish the most when you marry self-love with firm boundaries. Your circle will likely change, maybe a little, maybe alot. When you set boundaries through the lens of love and compassion you realize it’s ok if some people go, because you may just need to let them go in order to grow.

My Response Matters: Love, Patience and Happiness Without Shaving My Head And Becoming a Buddhist


I might be going about this wrong…


The Moment

We all know those moments when it feels like our patience is being tested. Those moments when it seems like nothing good we’ve ever done has mattered and we are only being tested on that particular scenario. Time stands still and a crossroads unfolds before us. If we are evolved enough we will have multiple response options available in our minds within a hair of a second. We could choose the higher road of grace and peace. While other responses may be snarky, sarcastic, combative or defensive. Further still, we could walk away or not engage.

I’m not talking about the moments that you choose the road of grace, or you let it go and walk away. I’m talking about the moments when you really, really, REALLY feel like you want to snap back at someone. 

Don’t shrink or puff up, just stand your Sacred Ground – Brene Brown

My Response Matters

I’ve written a post about letting someone go, which was inspired by a post about fear and standing your sacred ground but that’s different. Those two are more about not shrinking and not running away. The flight of fight or flight. They were about standing up for your values, especially if someone is verbally attacking. 

This post is more about the fight part of fight or flight. That urge we have to hurl a bag of nickels at someone for a rude comment or passive aggressive statement. The more often you see them or the closer you are to them, the more likely a snarky, off-handed comment can immediately throw you in the ring. Sometimes walking away or taking a deep breathe can stop a knee jerk response, other times it can simple give you more time to calculate an equally disrespectful comment.

As an adult, in order to not launch into full attack mode, I trained myself to be less reactionary. That also meant I could harbor resentment or not set clear boundaries. So, I’ve become pretty versed in not shrinking and in standing my sacred ground. I’m not so good at resisting a well-flung-shit comment when someone else started it. Or atleast that’s my justification-they started it. I’m really good at squaring off and standing my ground. I’m really good at snarling back at someone or even holding a grudge (if it’s a setting where I can’t snap back) IF I felt they were wrong. That default served me well in my younger years, when I was surrounded by a different group of people. People that I had to puff up around, appearing bigger and badder than the predators. It was effective. But those were very very different people.

Now I’m around intellectuals, academics and emotionally intelligent individuals…that sometimes have a bad day, or a shitty moment. It’s very rare that I have a situation or interaction that pushes this button I forgot I had. In passing they can give me their shitty moment, which I’m usually pretty self aware enough to know has little to do with me. But sometimes they say just the right thing to hit the mother load. My old beliefs kick in-puff up to be safe, take no crap, don’t be walked on. But these people aren’t testing me, they aren’t doing it to get a response. It’s simply a shitty comment to reflect something going on inside their own head. This one I took personal but thought…

My Response Matters

This person doesn’t always have bad days

This isn’t about me

My Response will reflect who Iam becoming

My Response Matters

I repeated it to myself until I was no longer internally seething. I didn’t say anything I needed to apologize for and I didn’t bury it deep down as a resentful grudge. I examined it, listened to it and realized…Just because I strive to be my best authentic self with love, patience, and happiness it doesn’t mean I’m always happy and I damn sure don’t plan on shaving my fucking head to be a Buddhist. But I will talk about it. I will understand how I feel, explain it if I need to and know that Iam responsible for my beliefs, emotions and behavior. Sweet relief. No arguing ensued and I was still able to cross a big personal milestone. ūüíúūüėĆ


Totally not my picture. I have no idea who did it but this was how it felt to let go of the need to respond and engage. After looking at my strong response to the off handed comment I realized it had way more to do with leaving toxicity behind. Ready to move forward.  ūüíúūüíĖ

The Metamorphosis of Bella and Kane

magenta-butterfly
Bella
Blue moth
Kane

“There’s no telling how it will affect you. Just know that it will.” ~unknown

An allegory about love, loss and transformation.

Bella

Bella was a beautiful young Kenna caterpillar . She was bright purple with teal spots, but beauty is subjective, and in the Kenna community, you were only beautiful if you were green. The brighter the green, the prettier. She was soft and kind, but not considered attractive.  She would see the beauty in everyone she met which made her vulnerable to hardship. She would be lied to, taken advantage of and remained naive to the games caterpillars played. Insecurities ran high with her. She wanted connection.

Kane

She found a dark, fuzzy Tomeo caterpillar that understood, for he was the same. Kane¬†left the Tomeo’s¬†because that’s what they all did, but he still yearned for connection. He was wiser to the world, being solitary he had to learn who to trust more carefully. A bird may try to lure you to its nest, a spider to its web, another caterpillar may be poisonous if you touch them. He knew the latter all too well because the tips of his hairs were poisonous to some species if he was startled. He became her best friend, her teacher, her mentor, her life partner. She didn’t know if she was immune to his poison but since Kane was always calm with her it didn’t seem to matter.

Their Shared Cocoon

They built a cocoon, ever so carefully. It took longer than others because they¬†were building it for both of them. It was strong and flexible, safe and comforting. Through the building of both their cocoon and their friendship, she learned to be more careful, more selective. Both metaphorically with who she trusted and in the building materials, because it would need to hold both their weight. Kane’s coat was soft and he now had more control over the poison on it, being able to protect them both from predators. He learned to see more beauty and have more faith that good things could happen.

When it was finished, they crawled inside, excited to soon fly together. For the next two weeks, their bodies liquified in order to take on its new shape. They would still become what they were meant to be but they would take on parts of each other since they were transforming in the same cocoon. Typically, they would have done this independently, but¬†Bella didn’t know how to build one and Kane was afraid of predators in order to gather supplies. They needed each other. They were connected.

The Transformation

They emerged a month later. It took longer since both of them transformed together. There was more for mother nature to sort through in order for everything to be as she planned. The correct wings had to be placed with Kane and correct coloring with Bella, for this, was pre-determined.

Bella became a beautiful magenta butterfly, built for basking on bright flowers in the sunshine. She felt confident in her new self and eagerly awaited Kane. Kane emerged dark and fuzzy with blue iridescence…but…he was moth, built to flutter through the darkness of nightfall. Their hearts sank. They knew it meant their lives were headed in different directions. They tried to learn to fly together anyway, but either way, one was left wanting. Kane began flying at night and Bella bathed in sunlight while mustering up the courage to practice more. She was afraid to practice without Kane. In the following days Kane found a female moth that could show him the ropes and Bella knew it was time to find other butterflies that could do the same for her. The sinking feeling was back and heavy like an anchor.

Mother Earth 

As Bella cried from¬†the treetops for Kane she heard Mother Earth whisper gently from the willow tree “my sweet girl, all is right in your plan. I know you miss your friend, but you have different destinies. You will find another that enjoys the sun as much as you.”

For a moment, Bella felt the folds of Mother Earth’s great nurturing power soothe her pain. She breathed in the crisp mountain air. The relief was short lived.

“But Mother! Why couldn’t you make us the same! Since we took on parts of each other, why aren’t we both half moth and half butterfly??” she cried. “My dear, you were made as you were meant to be.¬†Kane’s transformation gave you safety and healed your insecurities. Your transformation gave him optimism. Courage is now a part of your genetics. Only now can you truly fly.”

She cried instead. She didn’t want to fly without Kane. What if she fell and got hurt? What if no one accepted her, just like before? What if she was alone forever? The questions were endless. The tears were big. Then she slipped off a branch and had to flap her wings or come face to face with the forest floor.

So fly she did. On her own, because she had to. She felt the courage Mother Earth spoke of, traveling through her veins like the warmth of a mothers love. With the wind carrying her she began to enjoy the vantage points and everything she was able to see in the daylight. The more she flew, the less she thought of Kane and the more she was able to appreciate the lessons she had learned from him. Some days she missed his company more than other days. She missed him when she made a new friend or flew by a spot where they shared a good laugh. She knew he was always a part of her and she would always be a part of him, it was their genetics. She felt connection which gave her the confidence to be who she needed to be.

Sometimes connection to another person affects¬†us in such a profound way that we are never the same again. There will be good and bad parts. Some stay and some are meant to move on.¬†We experience it, we learn from it and we grow from it. When we allow our perception of the past to be balanced, accepting the good and bad memories, we give ourselves permission to move forward. It’s ok to be sad then happy, angry then sad, then happy again. When our connections to people shift it can be difficult to accept. Especially with love. It’s hard to let go of what was when everything seemed right. But things change. The world changes. People grow together and people grow apart. Connection is valuable. We learn many of life’s most important lessons through connection. Life is more emotionally charged because of it. Connection makes us feel alive. Connection makes us human.

Friendship, love and expectations 


Strangers

I’ve been trying to make the most of my common interactions with people. Whether it’s striking up a conversation with the rental car person that picked me up when my car was in the shop or just smiling at a cashier and making them laugh. I find those moments tend to have the least expectations attached. You get a snapshot of who that person is and a brief moment to bring joy into their life. Most of us don’t take the time to connect when we are running errands or getting things done.

But what if we did take the time? What if we saw every interaction as a valuable moment for connection? What if we looked at each other as unique creatures brimming with different strengths, different experiences and different lessons? The world we be a whole lot more interesting. 

Acquaintances and Casual Friends 

These are the friends you consistently share one (or several) common interest(s) with. Maybe you like to hike together. Maybe you’re both into a particular subject. Maybe you can always laugh with each other. They might be your neighbors or co-workers. You see each other enough to be more than strangers but not close enough to know each other’s whole story. Maybe you choose to keep it there and maybe they do. Either way, they add variety and richness to you life that you wouldn’t have without them.

Family & True friends

Family is is not always what we are born into. These are the people that know you. I mean, really know you. The ones that know your story, that honor who you are. The ones that raise the bar, that hold you accountable, love you unconditionally and you can call 6 months or a year later to simply pick up where you left off. These people are your tribe. Time stands still with them. You have things in common but more importantly you understand each other’s souls. You know what’s important and how to connect with one another. You can laugh or talk about your day, it doesn’t matter because there is an unspoken commitment that you are there, each of you, always, in the background. You’ve always been wholeheartedly connected. You’re not afraid of losing them because you know you have a bond. They’re family.

Love is in gratitude. Be grateful for your tribe. Be grateful for your acquaintances. Be grateful that you have connection. ūüíĖ

Sometimes Love Means Letting Go

Brene Brown Quote about Integrity

As an ode to a beautifully inspiring post¬†by Dr. Andrea Dinardo I have borrowed a¬†phrase…

Stand your Sacred Ground.

Stand your Sacred Ground.

Stand your Sacred Ground.

My intuition kept whispering to me…

You’ve had this argument before.

You know this is fear and resistance speaking from the other end of this conversation.

Walk away before you add fuel.

So I did. I have before, but this time was different. This time, rather than defending my integrity, and making my points, I spoke my truths and walked away with my integrity in tact. I simply gave¬†them a hug¬†and stopped¬†giving a reason to resist. It was not the comfortable choice, it won’t be the easy choice to live with right now. But it will be the choice I will be proud of later.

I’m fiercely loyal and passionately curious about the human condition. I have a strong circle of relationships around me that share those qualities and usually join me in the darkest vulnerable places in order to see the bright meadow on the other side. I’m so very grateful to have my tribe. Then there are the relationships that no matter what you do it’s never enough, or it’s too much. You drift apart. I always try to real it back in, be more attentive, more honest, more curious, more loving. That has always done well for me. Not because it works, but because sometimes it doesn’t . For me,¬†the greatest emotional pain lies in¬†letting go of people.¬†Not just any people. The ones that know me. The ones I’ve laughed with, struggled with, cried with, shared stories and experiences with.

My fear bellowed from the depths…

Maybe they never really knew me.

Maybe they did but didn’t want to anymore.

Maybe it was me.

But my herculean spirit was stronger…

Stand your Sacred Ground.

Know your truth.

Trust your light.

For many of us, the brave road is to fight through something, to work through it. I value that. Through conflict and struggle our cards are on the table and our warrior inside revealed. We learn what we’re made of, where to set boundaries and when to push through difficulties.¬†But other times, we learn when we’re fighting a losing battle. When we have¬†to love ourselves and our values MORE than loving another person. There’s a very fine line between enabling someone to treat you poorly and allowing them to feel however they need to feel. When you become the object of their resentment or the target for their blame it may be time to lovingly walk away. It’s not healthy, nor is loving what you expect them to be. We all deserved to be loved exactly as we are. Sometimes that means letting go. Sometimes that’s the best kind of love we can give someone.

ac5f1d63cac89db64819696ae4a18584                                                                    Brene Brown, PhD