Your True Colors

Today my heart is feeling like this song:

You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize
Its hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then
Don’t be unhappy, can’t remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there

And I’ll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow

If this world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there

And I’ll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors

True colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow 

| True Colors by  Cyndi Lauper |

::: ::: ::: :::

Today I’m thinking of the heartbroken, the grieving, those who have lost friends or family to suicide, those who are figuring out their marriages and relationships aren’t working, those who are remembering lost friends, those who wish they could reach out (you can, and you should try), those who are wondering, those who are hurting, those who are wrestling with the old question (again).

One of the things I know I am here on Earth to do is heal people. I have always fallen for the beauty inside of the broken. Things and people that are broken have always made my heart open wider. It is inside the compassion that I find it easy to reach out, to stay, to hold the battered and bloody hearts and souls. So, I heal people by loving them, accepting them, and helping them see the truth about themselves- both where they are and where they want to be, who they want to be. And I help them get there.

Today I’m thinking of those who are sitting in their brokenness, feeling consumed by it, or just feeling the hard edges of it (whatever it is that makes them uncomfortable). Know that I see you. Know that you are loved. Know that you deserve what your heart wishes for. Know that you are worthy. I’m thinking of you today and wishing you healing.

Big love, always,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Happy New Year’s Eve!

It’s Halloween, or Samhain (please, say “sow-in”- that’s how it’s pronounced in the original Gaelic), and it marks the end of the year for pagans.

I haven’t danced much this year in the new house, I realized today as I was struck by a song on the radio and stood there, still and calm. It was “Breathe (2 AM)” by Anna Nalick and I closed my eyes as I listened. The sun came out and I turned towards it and felt the heat on my face and how it looks like your eye lids are all lit up when the sun comes through them while your eyes are closed. I was not dancing, but it was magic nonetheless.

When the song was done, I went to meditate. I lit the candles and got the sage smoking (that’s not a euphemism) and prayed to my ancestors. Both sets of great grandparents, now long dead. My Papa, who died a few years ago, but it still feels like I saw him last week. And to a newly dead great uncle- a very loving man who raised very loving sons and made the world a better place with his smile and corny jokes. The veil being thin this time of year, I thanked them for how their lives brought me forth and for the ways in which their spirits guide me every day.

I thought about the year past. Mostly it was difficult things I thought of. How I felt ridiculous and immature and incapable and not ready for so many things that happened. But also how I felt glad that I’d taken risks and been stupid and learned things about myself and my life and what I want to be and become.

That is probably what I like best about this ‘end of year’ versus the traditional New Year’s Eve: we recognize and celebrate the darkness in ourselves. We let it out to play. The part of us that might murder, the vengeful place inside our hearts, the seductress, the cruel one, the clown, the dead parts of ourselves- they all come out as Halloween costumes and we celebrate them. We reward them with candy, even! I think it’s incredibly valuable to recognize these parts of ourselves during this celebration and love them up, because magic doesn’t come from being good, it comes from being whole.

So, I sat at my altar and felt all the things: how feeling ridiculous is exactly like when I hit my funny bone in my elbow, but spread throughout my whole body. How I’d given bits of myself away and began calling them back. How it felt to remember things from long ago- painful things- and letting my heart hurt again. Regret. Regret sits like a mask atop my eyes but also drops down into my heart. I’m glad to have regret instead of wondering, even if it does feel like a weight. The various other feelings that needed space to be recognized and felt stopped by, too. It was sort of an ego death* parade.

I also took a few moments to send good wishes to those who had helped me in some way this past year- helped me learn, grow, understand. Even those who helped me feel regret or ridiculous- because they helped me know myself better.

And then I asked my ancestors to speak to me. The veil between the worlds is thin today and the next few days, so I believe their energy and messages come through to us living folks more easily, if we are open to them.

After it was all done, I took a very long, very hot shower. Not as a means of cleansing, but as a way of stewing in all of those things I felt. Today isn’t the day for getting all pretty and clean and free- it’s the day to recognize how dirty and broken and deliciously fucked up we are, and celebrate it anyway.

It turned out that the song I listened to was exactly right for today. “Just breathe,” she sings. Whatever comes, we accept it. And we breathe. Today I let all the ugly come up, watched the year march through me, and accepted all of it. Tonight I will celebrate it.

Much love to you, fellow travelers. I hope your Halloween is full of fright and fun- and I hope you get to be yourself, your whole self.

Joanna :: xoxo

 

Photo by Kento Iemoto on Unsplash

 

* Ego death is not what Jason Silva talks about on Facebook. Ego death is when we realize that something we’ve been attached to or believed strongly in (usually something that defines us) is either not true (as in, it’s actually a lie) or is no longer true for us. Examples:

  • I am a good person.
  • My marriage is safe.
  • There is a heaven.
  • I can have what I want.
  • I’m not broken.
  • I have a long life ahead of me.
  • God is only masculine.
  • If I am good, I will get what I want.

When we have an ego death, it’s a usually a horrible surprise: something we didn’t expect to be true, is. And it shocks us into a new reality. A reality where what we wanted or needed to believe is clearly no longer true. The part of our ego that was attached to that, that really, really wanted it to be true, has to die in that moment of understanding. So, ego death is the shock that opens us up to greater truth (even, probably especially, when we don’t like it or want it). It’s an incredibly valuable process. It’s better to seek it out than avoid it, if you ask me.

 

 

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A Lifetime of Love.

1997 :: 1996 :: 2014 :: 2017

 

Today we have been married for 21 years. If we had a kid the day we were married, that kid would be able to legally drink today. It’s an entire lifetime. And I want four more with him, this time around. And then I want four other lifetimes with him after this one has ended.

This has been a year of serious growth for me and my beloved and we are reaping all the benefits of our hard work, dedication, and love. I am incredibly happy with me, us, and where we are together. Like, fantastically happy. Contentedly happy.

I’ve been thinking about what it takes to be in a long-term relationship; I often do around this time of year. And I realized this year that there comes a point when you have to decide what kind of relationship you want to be in, long term. Because there are several different options to choose from. You can be in a relationship that never changes and stick with it, if that’s what both people want. He always mows the lawn, she always does the holiday decorating; nothing ever changes. You can be in a relationship with someone for a very long time and not care about them or the relationship. It’s horrible, but plenty of people do it. You can be in a growth-oriented relationship. You can be in a relationship that only grows during hardship or difficulty like a sickness or a family issue. There are many options.

For me, though, there is only one kind of relationship: growth-oriented.

Because I’m deeply interested in my own healing and growth, I am also interested in healing and growth in my most intimate relationships.

All of the times we have decided to make a shift in our relationship have been about growth. Our growths as individuals and our growth as a couple. For growth-oriented couples, the growth is their strength. At least, it has been for us.

It took us probably 5-7 years to figure out that we were growth-oriented. And then it took us another 4-5 years to understand our particular pattern of growth. Exploring this and understanding it is how we’ve been so wildly successful, why we still like and love each other, why we still have great sex (although, that is not the be all-end all of a relationship).

We tell the truth. We made a pact, at one point, to tell the truth, even if it hurt the other person. Because telling the truth leaves no room for doubt. Yes, we need to clarify sometimes, but we always tell the truth. Because how else are we supposed to fully understand another human if we don’t?

We work through the hurt. When one of us feels hurt, we work through it. One of our big issues (that it took years to fully work through) was money. We both grew up in families with weird money issues and what was ‘normal’ to me felt oppressive to him and vice versa. When I felt hurt by some of his actions with money we learned to work through it, even if there was pain. He stopped his behaviors. I looked at why they were so frustrating to me (I had to do my own healing so that we could heal). We both looked at what was our responsibility in this fight. Mine was to heal some old stories about money. His responsibility was to deal with some old patterns from his family of origin. It wasn’t fun. It took years. It bounced around a lot. And we had to deal with a fair amount of personal pain and create new habits. But we always work through the hurt until no one hurts anymore and until each of us feels loved and heard.

We really like the other person and want to be with them. Even when some of our habits annoy the the fuck out of other person. Even when we don’t look as sexy as we did 20 years ago. Even when we didn’t have sex very often (there are times when someone is sick or in pain and you can’t, and that may last for a while). Even when we are both bogged down with work, kids, and the daily grind. We still really dig each other as people and we know we want to be together.

We support each other’s dreams. He wrote two books. I am writing one. He wanted to study in England. I wanted to live in a particular house. He got his PhD and is a full professor. I wanted kids and did my Master’s. I needed more sex. He delivered. We both love to travel. We support each other in big and small dreams. And that draws us together as a team. And inside ‘being a team’ we practice loving each other.

I still think my husband is a really cool person I want to spend time with. And, for us, that happens because we grow as individuals and as a couple.

That’s not how it works for everyone, obviously. There are lots of ways to have long term relationships. And lots of ways to be happy in long term relationships. You just have to make sure you’re in the kind of relationship that suits you best, and so is your partner.

Feels like I’ve written this before; I probably have. Oh, well.

Happy Anniversary to my beloved. May we have many more ahead of us.

Joanna :: xoxo

::: ::: ::: :::

[FYI:because I keep getting articles about “letting go” on social media. Letting go of someone we loved or cared for (or still do) is some of the hardest work of being a human. It’s something we have to do, but you can have compassion for yourself as you go through it. It took me a long time to learn that. And I don’t particularly subscribe to the idea of soul mates or twin flames, but there are people who teach our souls things. Some teach us how we don’t want to be treated. Some teach us how we do want to be treated. These are soul lessons. But no one that loves you will treat you like shit. That’s not what love is. That’s not what love does. Love can cause us pain (see above), but real love also takes care of us and helps us heal.]

 

 

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Believe Us

 

A bloody, red background with the words "believe women, believe brown people, believe black people, believe poor people, believe disabled people' across it

[Did you really think I would not say anything about the news this last week?]

 

And for all the white men who read this, particularly you mediocre motherfuckers:

You have the least prohibitions on you.
You are not fettered or hurdled by the things the folks listed above are.
You have very few forms of systemic oppression limiting you and your choices.

Your life is 99% your own.

If you don’t like where you’re at: that is on you.

No one is your savior.
No one is your excuse.
No one is your reason.
Not me, not anyone.

Where you are is a result of your choices.

You choose to be influenced? That is on you.
You choose to behave poorly? That is on you.
You choose to listen or not listen? That is on you.
You choose to be a coward? That is on you.
You choose to blame others? That is on you.
You choose to be an asshole? That is on you.
You made a life you don’t like? That is on you.
And so are all the consequences and outcomes.

Everything is a choice. Everything.
[You are free to choose to do or not do anything, including breathe. There are consequences for choices, including falling unconscious and having your vital systems force you to breathe. But you choose everything. Everything.]

So if you don’t like what you have, that is not my problem or anyone else’s.
You are your own damn problem.
And you have the most freedom to change.

STFU and change if you don’t like where you’re at.
I am tired of white men’s bullshit, especially you mediocre motherfuckers.
And I have no time for it anymore.

Believe women.
Believe brown people.
Believe black people.
Believe poor people.
Believe disabled people.
Believe LGBTQIA people.

 

 

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New Moon in Virgo :: The Goodbye Experiment

Tonight is a new moon, a dark moon, in Virgo. It’s a moon for cleaning out, letting go, and sort of cleaning house in the way one does when we’re getting ready for another year of school. You clear out the old papers, archive what might be useful later, and just clear things out so new things can begin. That’s what’s up for your life and your soul this next week or so.

I’m not going to share a lot of other people’s perceptions on the new moon. Just one or two. Because you all know where I like to get my info from (type ‘new moon’ and ‘full moon’ in the search bar, if you’ve not been here before). And it’s time for you to find your own way, find the people who speak to your soul’s journey.

Saltwater Stars writes:

on or just after the moon is new is the time to begin fresh practices, projects, and experiments. with neptune in pisces will be opposite the new moon, you’ll get better results if you infuse all your operations with a trust that the multiverse wants to work with you. you don’t have to be or do all the things. if saturn retrograde since april taught us anything, it’s that we literally, actually can’t without a cost. 

with saturn direct, there is something of this feeling of…what’s next? what is the next project? what’s the next plan? what’s the next move? what do we need to optimize, capitalize, or execute right now? these are powerful, ambitious questions. they are important for us to be able to make the most of the time, energy, and resources we have. each moment is a reason to be grateful and that deserves to be honored. 

this moment before the new moon is an invitation to be with those questions without urgency. trust the answers that time brings, trust what you have already accomplished. take inventory – not just of what you’ve done but of what principles are supporting your work ethic. virgo, as an observer of intricate process and interconnectivity, wants us to seed intentions that honor sustainability. because capitalism, urgency, and individualism are killing us. everyday.

saturn helps us create structures of support so we can not just perform accountability, integrity, or responsibility, but actually embody it. saturn retrograde was a reminder that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. not because of some kind of self-hatred, scarcity, or punishment model. but because our relationships, our bodies, our communities need us to be response-able. our relationships, our bodies, our communities need us to be committed to something other than personal ambitions or feel-goodness. our relationships, our bodies, our communities need us. 

I think that’s all you need to know for this new moon.

::: ::: ::: :::

I’ve been listening to George Michael for the last couple of days. I really, really miss him. “Father Figure,” “One More Try,” the entire Older and Songs from the Last Century albums. Bittersweet is my favorite emotion and I’ve been indulging myself. I’m sure it’s part grief. Grief for leaving whatever this site has been to me. Knowing I’m different now. Not sure if I’ll be back. (Don’t worry, the site will stay.) I’m stepping into the ‘in between’ space. It’s a sacred place, I know that. Leaving what’s been and stepping towards something that hasn’t yet shown itself. It is a place of peace and potential. And the only way through is self acceptance and planting seeds…and enjoying the waiting. I’ll dance and read and dream my way through.

There are two pictures that I think capture where I am now and where I’m headed and what I’ve learned here.

 

 

I was doing some art journalling with a friend this weekend. Ripping out pictures and pages that called to me and seeing how the pieces fit together. And there was this: “Quiet naughty on your side.” When I saw the words and the images together it felt like something inside myself fit together like a puzzle, like some missing piece had come home to me.

I know I’m sensual now.
I know I’m sexually expressive now.
And I know it’s all sacred now.
I know I’m not ‘dirty,’ but that I am naughty in the best way.

I also know I’m not super outwardly visible about this. I really reserve my sensuality and my sexual expressiveness for those I deem worthy.

Aaaaaand, I’ve also come to understand that when someone wants you they will pursue you. And I’m happier when I wait for the pursuit. It’s fun to wait behind the door in my silky dress and know that whoever knocks is ready to walk through the doorway into my realm. Because I’m at my best, sensually and otherwise, when I feel safe. (As are most women.)

I know that I will be attracted to other people throughout my life. And I know better how to handle it. (Although, at the moment, I’m really in love with my life and my husband and I’m enjoying the fuck out of that.)

I’m on my own side.
My sensuality is on my side.
My quiet is here to serve and save me.
I’m breathing the fresh, mountain air of self-acceptance.

This is the journey I’ve made in this space. And I’m so grateful for it. All of it.

::: ::: ::: :::

 

 

This is what my altar looks like at the moment. Everything has been put away, because it’s time for a careful selection of what needs and wants to be there now. What is sacred to us changes with time. For many years, Jesus was sacred to me. These days my life, my family, my work, beauty and sensuality are sacred to me. I know there are goddesses waiting to be revered on this altar. But it needs a new shape, new items, new space to reflect what is sacred to me now, after all I’ve learned and become.

There also has to be room for the dark here. Because that’s part of being human. And that’s part of any goddess or god, as well. And it’s part of me, I know now, too. I’m not always hope and learning and light. I will hurt you with words if you cross me too many times. I will bring you down from the inside. And I will leave in such a way that you no longer exist in my world or my heart. I can be unkind. Sometimes I’m cruel. I have darkness within me. But this is part of self-acceptance and knowing that everything is useful, in some way or another. It’s also part of being human. Maybe what I’ve learned here is how to be a human Joanna, instead of a perfect one.

::: ::: ::: :::

This site has been a kind of chapel to me, I think. A place I could go to pray, to talk to god, to talk to other humans, to share my journey, to preach. I have loved it. And I love it still. So, as I leave, I want to offer you some of my favorite prayers. If you ever hear them, you’ll find me inside them. I pray them all the time.

Mysterious Ways | U2

Johnny take a walk
With your sister the moon
Let her pale light in
To fill up your room

You’ve been living underground
Eating from a can
You’ve been running away
From what you don’t understand
Love

She’s slippy
You’re sliding down
She’ll be there
When you hit the ground

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways

Johnny take a dive
With your sister in the rain
Let her talk about the things
You can’t explain
To touch is to heal
To hurt is to steal
If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel (on your knees boy!)

She’s the wave
She turns the tide
She sees the man inside the child, yeah

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Lift my days, light up my nights

One day you’ll look back
And when you see
Where you were held
Down by this love
While you could stand there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways

Ah oh oh ah huh
Move, move, move, move
She moves with it
She moves me like
Lift my days and light up my nights
Love

::: ::: ::: :::

Still | Alanis Morissette

I am the harm that you inflict
I am your brilliance and frustration
I’m the nuclear bombs if they´re to hit
I am your immaturity and your indignance

I am your misfits and your praises
I am your doubt and your conviction
I am your charity and your rape
I am your grasping and expectation

I see you averting your glances
I see you cheering on the war
I see you ignoring your children

And I love you still
And I love you still

I am your joy and your regret
I am your fury and your elation
I am your yearning and your sweat
I am your faithless and your religion

I see you altering history
I see you abusing the land
I see you and your selective amnesia

And I love you still
And I love you still

I am your tragedy and your fortune
I am your crisis and delight
I am your profits and your prophets
I am your art I am your bytes

I am your death and your decisions
I am your passion and your plights
I am your sickness and convalescence
I am your weapons and your light

I see you holding your grudges
I see you gunning them down
I see you silencing your sisters

And I love you still
And I love you still

I see you lie to your country
I see you forcing them out
I see you blaming each other

And I love you still
And I love you still

::: ::: ::: :::

Looking Through Patient Eyes | P.M. Dawn

Whatever it is I do, I try to think about you.
I have a love for you that nothing hides.
Whatever it is I do, I’m always thinking of you.
I hope you look at me through patient eyes.

I’ve become amused.
I’ve become blind.
I’ve become what I know not breathes.
You seem illiterate to all my emotions.
I stand corrected, how well you read.

You speak the truth, you speak the me.
You feel the love I have yet to find.
I know it’s there, I know it’s there.
But I let the sandcastles kill my mind.

Pathetic me, I long to be you.
They think I’m close but i stand so fat.
The turbulent one sheds a turbulent tear.

I’m Mr. Love only ’cause they starve.
Oil and water, lust and sympathy.
I’ll life and death my way through the sun.
Where originates all the pain that leaves.
My memory a traumatic sponge and sings to you.

Well define my love and attitude.
Open up your mind and it will sing to you.
You can always tell.
But I know remorse so well.
I left reality early due to the lack of love… reason.

Whatever I do, I try to think about you.
I seek the sympathy and I can’t lie.
Whatever it is I do, I’m always thinking of you.
I hope you look at me through patient eyes.

The channel, a professional liar.
How I long to contradict those vibes.
Joni help me, I think I’m falling.
It’s not the love and I quest the why.

I don’t know, If I’m right, I’m right.
But if I’m wrong then show me I’m wrong.
The fear of pity is always awake.
But infinite sympathy completely gone.

It’s the windows, the doors, the passageway to the truth.
Oh my god, it echoes the mind.
In total recall as wild as the deuce.

It’s so deceiving is the clouded heart.
So superficial is the open wound.
I caress the infinite light.
That even at night, overshadows the moon and sings to you.

Well, define my love, that lives with you.
Even when I die, it will still sing to you.
You can always tell if remorse has done you well…
They misconstrued my answers due to the
Lack of love…reason.

Whatever it is I do, I try to think about you.
I seek the sympathy and I can’t lie.
Whatever it is I do, I’m always thinking of you.
I hope you look at me through patient eyes.

::: ::: ::: :::

So, my beloveds. Thank you for taking this trip with me. It’s been fun. It’s been painful. It’s been whatever truth I had to give. And that is also where you will always find me: inside truth, love, and health. Those are my guideposts. I hope you know yours and can live by them.

I don’t know what happens next. Maybe I will be back. Maybe I won’t. But thank you so much for being here, for reading, for following along, and for loving me with your words and support. Whatever the flip side, is I’ll see you there. I love you.

Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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