Archive | October, 2015

What is your Voldemort?

Happy Halloween from your favorite witch! I hope you are all enjoying the trickster energy of this day as well as having a few adventures with the thinning of the veil between our world and the next.

I dig this holiday- so much magic!

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Talking with a client last week, I was reminded of how dark our desires can feel sometimes. They may feel almost evil…which reminded me of the character, Voldemort.

For those of you that don’t know, Voldemort is the antagonist in the Harry Potter series. To say ‘antagonist’ doesn’t really do him justice, though. He’s the embodiment of pure evil and greed for power. He’s a nasty bit of work.

Voldemort cultivated a gang of followers, called ‘Death Eaters,’ who performed unspeakable curses, and hurt, killed, and controlled others. [The only living member known today is Martin Shkreli. Actually, Mr. Shkreli does have a sacred purpose; poor dude just has a shit-ton of karma to work off.]

In the Harry Potter series, the characters cannot even say the name Voldemort out loud. Instead they say, “He Who Must Not Be Named.” Voldemort has such power that even to say his name brings great fear. And precisely because they cannot say his name, his power – and his evil – remain unchallenged.

lower half of face and neck of a woman in shadows

For many of us, our desires are our Voldemort(s).

This has certainly been true for me.

My sexual desire for someone who was not my husband. (I mean, let’s just get straight to it.)
My desire for particular kinds of sex.
My desire for greater sexual expression.
My desire to flirt with others, even.
My desire to live sensually.
My desire to be alone.
My desire to leave sometimes.
My desire to be fulfilled (because it might hurt others).

I could feel these desires within myself, but to admit to them? No. Not ever.
Not gonna do that.
Because it would make a giant mess.

Or so I thought.

The thing is, just like Voldemort, the more I did not admit to these desires, the more power they had over me.

I had to hide everything, even from myself.
I worried.
I hated myself.
I was frightened of the desires; they seemed so overwhelming.
I wanted them to go away.
I was angry because I had to handle all this on top of everything else.

It was only when I admitted to having desires that I could begin to see how large my desires actually were- and then begin to handle them.

It was only when I admitted to them that I could examine them and see if they actually were awful, hurtful, fearsome. Many of them were not.

It was only when I admitted to my desires that I could make peace with them.

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What I know these days is that desires are not bad.
Only how we act upon them might be bad. (And also might not.)

Desires are a natural part of life.

We just have to be aware of them, acknowledge them, so we can see how to use them in our life.

Desire can create many beautiful things in our life.
Even the ‘bad’ desires.

But to find the gift of our desires, first we have to be willing to name them.
When we name our desires, we unlock the power that was over us, and turn it into power within us.

 

 

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How we build emotional capacity :: for grief

A dear friend of mine called to tell me one of her soulmates had died.

[Soul mate: one who helps our soul grow or heal. Not necessarily a lover. Often abrupt or explosive in nature. But sometimes lasting a long time, indeed.]

My friend understands death, but she asked, “How does Pema Chodron do it?” – referring to how big and intense her own grief is.
[Pema Chodron is a famous Buddhist teacher. She is renowned for her ability to articulate emotions and how to deal with them, including grief. See her book, When Things Fall Apart.]

Pema Chodron does it like this: she welcomes her emotions and accepts them for whatever they may be.
Including their size or intensity.

One of the things we forget about life is that we are here to live.
And to live is to feel.

Feeling can be very uncomfortable, especially such difficult things as grief, fear, greed, or even love.
But the more we do it, the better we get.

So, this is how Pema Chodron does it: she feels her grief.
She makes space within herself for it.
She does not judge it (good, bad, ‘I am stupid for feeling this,’ etc.).
She simply lets it live.
She sits with it.
Lets it be accepted within herself.

Grief can be big – like an elephant sitting on our chest.
Or it can be small- like a drop of rain, a little ‘plink’ of a reminder.

We build the ability to deal with great emotions by also dealing with small emotions.
We build the ability to deal with intense emotions by also dealing with less intense emotions.

And every time we feel an emotion we build our capacity to feel more.
When we feel the rain drop, we are building the capacity to feel a teaspoon.
When we feel the elephant, we are building the capacity to feel two of them.
Every time we feel something bigger or more intense than before, we make room for more.

This, of course, does not make it any easier.
To accommodate more means to stretch and grow.
And the stretching can sometimes hurt.
It can leave us feeling naked and raw to sit with such emotions.

It is this way with most emotions. And, in my experience, with desire.
Opening to new depths of emotion is raw and uncharted territory.
It is tough and frightening.
It may make you feel like your skin is on fire or you will die from intensity without release.

We think we are not capable of making space because of the hurt, because of the intensity.
But the hurt is exactly how we build capacity.
And the hurt and the stretching are also the path to healing.
The more we accept, the less raw we feel.

We build capacity for grief – or anything else – precisely by living through it.
And we live through it by having patience for ourselves.
By greeting ourselves with compassion.
By offering ourselves gentle care (and not a little chocolate or a good, stiff drink once in a while).
And by reaching out for support.

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Autumn is the season of grief and letting go.

If we have grief or sadness around anything, this is the perfect time to talk a long, windy walk and let our grief flow through us and pour from us. Let it wash down our hearts and into the ground, where it can be recycled and renewed.

The more we feel, the more we grow.
And when we give ourselves the space to feel, we heal as well.

 

 

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None of us is just one thing.

archetypal-path

 

None of us is just one thing. We are not mono dimensional creatures; we are rich combinations of the infinitely varied archetypes. Each of us is part heroine or hero and part coward; part parent and part child; part saint and part thief. It is in learning how to identify these great archetypal motifs within ourselves, learning to honor each one as a legitimate human trait, learning to live out the energy of each in a constructive way, that we make inner work a great odyssey of the spirit.

Robert A. Johnson

 

 

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Being seen.

I have longed to be seen, really seen, deeply seen for a long time. I get some of that desire filled by friends, my husband, and kids. But today, I sat down and went through some old emails and FB chats and found that I have been seen. I just needed to collect all of the love and let it fill me.

She said…thank you for your courage and conviction.

She said…I love that you put real photos of yourself, not half-hidden, owning what you’re doing.

She said…thanks for listening; there is no need to disguise or hold back with you.

She said…you are a wonderful, informative, and thoughtful speaker.

He said…it seems to me that you have found or created the only things worth having in life.

She said…you are very powerful.

She said…THANK  YOU!

She said…Grateful for you!

She said…I value your down-to-Earth approach to healing.

She said…You rock!

She said…you have the perfect blend.

He said…in the long run you will be much happier.

She said…I am so proud of you.

She said…I love you.

He said…I couldn’t have gotten through that without your help.

She said…you’re flawless.

She said…you have a really different perspective; I’m glad for new ideas.

She said…I always trust you with my creative side.

She said…you’re the one I tell first.

heart-love-seen

She said…hearing your story really helped me.

She said…I could not have healed this much with you.

She said…doing that helped me heal.

She said…thank you for not judging.

They said…this weekend changed my life.

She said…you are amazing.

She said…I see your gentle rock-and-roll soul.

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What a gift it is to be seen. My heart is so full.

Thank you, you beautiful soul tribe. I am so grateful to serve you and know that this is how it looks and feels to you. Thank you for reflecting it back to me.

 

 

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This ring is too big. And just right.

wedding ring

This is my engagement ring (and wedding band- but look at the engagement ring, k?).

I was thinking of it because tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary. And also because we were at the Wachusett Applefest yesterday and there were just…a whole lotta engagement rings to notice. [Seriously, they were built to be noticed. Very large.]

You’re probably noticing a few unique things about this engagement ring.
It’s got pearls, not diamonds.
It’s rather simple.
It doesn’t match the wedding band.
I’m wearing it closer to the hand (the engagement ring is usually closer to the knuckle).

What you can’t necessarily see is that this ring is also too big.

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I found this ring four years after I got married.

I really, really never wanted a diamond engagement ring.
My heroine, Anne of Green Gables, asked for pearls in her engagement ring because they symbolize tears. And she wanted all kinds of tears in her life and her marriage. Happy tears and sad ones. I loved this idea.

So, when we got engaged, I told my then-boyfriend that I didn’t want a diamond.
I think he was secretly relieved about this.

We looked for several months but never found anything that worked with our rings.
We went ahead and got married with no engagement ring, much to my mother’s chagrin. (She wanted diamonds so. very. badly. #sorrynotsorry)

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Four years later we were in a market stall in Brighton, England and there was this ring.

I immediately fell in love with it.

I cannot tell you exactly why. Other than I noticed it immediately, I kept coming back to it, and it made me smile insanely every time I put it on.

I bought it for £14.
Which really, is like getting your engagement ring for free, isn’t it?

The ring is too big, and I’ve never had it sized.
I wear it close to the hand because I like how it looks, I’m not much on convention, and it would fall off if I didn’t have the wedding band to hold it on.

I really, really love this ring.

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It is worth waiting to have what you most want.

I never found quite what I wanted in the ring department, so I waited.
I waited until I found the exact right one.
And it was so worth it.

The thing you most want- it exists out there somewhere. Wait for it.
And when you find it, be prepared to make the sacrifice, take the leap, offer the money [or your heart], or reach out from your own fear and go after it.

Also be prepared for it to be a little different than you expected.
Maybe the packaging is a little big.
Maybe it’s a different color or shape than you expected.

But when it’s right, it’s right.
And Life only offers a few chances to take those things.

We spend plenty of time with Life asking us to learn things we don’t necessarily want to learn.
So when that thing comes that you want- keep stepping forward to make it happen.
Say ‘no’ to the ‘almost.’

It really is worth it.
Because it feels so good.

 

 

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