Archive | September, 2016

Black Lilith Moon, The Waiting, and Stuff

My friend, Theresa, writes these posts on Facebook that she calls ‘Chewy Thought Thingys.’ It’s a great title and I’m going to steal it tonight. Although, this is not really a chewy thought thingy- it’s just some stuff I am pondering, tossing back and forth in my mind.

Come sit by the fire with me and let’s chat. Let’s chew these ideas until we find nourishment, or get drunk on ideas + laughter + love.

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

The next 24 hours (or so) are the energetic movement of the Black or Lilith Moon. It’s the second new moon of September and has some big ideas attached to it. I love Lilith of course, original rebel that she was, and the ideas inside this new moon.

Intentions and Energies of the Black Moon:

  • restart
  • final endings
  • new beginnings
  • relationship intentions
  • healing
  • big change
  • second chances
  • look at partnerships
  • choose love
  • follow your heart

Currently, all of those things are true for me. What a day it’s been.

Lisa Lister wrote today:

So why did I call in Lilith? 
Because Lilith is a badass.
She’s hypnotic + she’s magnetic.
She’s the goddess of sexual energy, creativity, rebellion + SHE power.
She’s a symbol of divine matriarchal energy that refuses to be dominated or controlled. 

She’s the one you need when you want to see where you’re being taking advantage of, where you’re letting others make decisions for you, where you need to get super clear about what’s necessary + what’s not + to see all the places where you’re not acting from a place of power. 

This month has been a tough one for me. Seeing where I’m not taking responsibility for myself + my actions, having to call out people who were taking advantage of me, having to be compassionate to myself for letting it happen, having to be firm in my decisions when people wanted to use guilt + blame to make me feel bad for those decisions, seeing where I’ve allowed people to tell me what to do about the things I care about + having to act in a way that might mean people won’t like me + then having to be okay with that.

Sit still, close your eyes + ask Lilith to show you (like she has been for me this month, sometimes more painfully than I’d have liked if I’m honest) where you’re not taking responsibility, where you’re handing your power over to someone else + ask for what you need in order to really begin to trust your inner authority, your body wisdom, flow + SHE.

That’s some powerful medicine right there. You see why I want to sit by the fire with you and chew that thought, right?

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

This is from Sue Monk Kidd’s When The Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions.

“One morning, in my study, I looked up the word clinging. I discovered…that it meant ‘shrink.’ An undeniable connection exists between clinging and shrinking…

…now I was beginning to understand its effect on the spiritual life. Clinging creates a shrinking within the soul, a shrinking of possibility and growth.

When we’re caught in the diapause (the in-between stages of growth), we’re desperate to shrink away from change. Like Alice in Wonderland, when the growing season comes and our head and elbows begin to press against the small inner rooms in which we’ve lived, we want to shrink ourselves. The need to cling to ‘how it was’ can be overpowering.

We try and try to let go, only to find ourselves clinging again. So what do we do? We begin by recognizing the reality of our diapause, the naturalness as well as the power of it.

Then we enter the relinquishment process. Thomas Kelly wrote, “The will must be subjected bit by bit, piecemeal and progressively, to the divine Will.”

Kelly spoke of four steps in the process of self-abandonment (releasing the ego). First, pry open your eyes to the ‘flaming vision of the wonder of such a life.’ Second, begin where you are and begin now. Third, if you stumble and ‘assert your old proud self’, don’t waste a lot of time with regret and self-accusation. Just begin again. These three steps involve self-initiatives, things we’re more or less able to control and do ourselves. 

The fourth step, however, moves in a completely different direction: “Don’t grit your teeth and clench your fists and say, ‘I will! I will!’ Relax. Take hands off. Submit yourselves to god…let Life be willed through you.”

We stop struggling, stop saying, “I will let go, I will, I will.” Instead, having done all we can, we allow God to work directly on the more secret and deeply ingrained attachments we have to self. We allow God to release us through the experiences, encounters, and events that come to us…

In waiting, we’re also called to enter into the night that empties us of our clinging. We’re called to let go even our letting go. We need to quit forcing things and enter into the darkness of true liberty, where we give up self-efforts and allow god to intercede and draw us to our moment of readiness.

“In human beings courage is necessary to make being and becoming possible,” wrote Rollo May. It take courage to let go and yield yourself to the changes that take place in the chrysalis. It takes courage to become who you are. Merton said it was cowardice that kept us ‘double-minded’ and hesitating between the world of self and God. 

The opposite of courage isn’t only fear but security. Go, sell your security. Stop clinging. Let go and launch out into the deep of yourself. This is what it mans to tap life eternal. 

…security was a denial of life. I suppose that’s true in the sense that total security eliminates all risk. And where there’s no risk, there’s no becoming; and where there’s no becoming, there’s no real life. The real spiritual sojourners-the ones who touch the edges of life as well as the center-are people who risk, who let go.”

If you take out the Christian language and the references to God, I’m down with this. At least I think I’m down with this. I remember living like this, with faith in all things, when I was a good ‘Bible thumper’ in high school. Faith feels much more complicated as an adult; I am less likely to believe it without testing it. I’m trying to live this right now, and it is complex and painful- and I’m not sure whether it’s going to be good or not. Still, I practice.

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

Lastly, these lyrics keep playing in my head. I think they belong in this chewy thought thingy.

“Heathens” by twenty one pilots

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

Welcome to the room of people
Who have rooms of people that they loved one day
Locked away
Just because we check the guns at the door
Doesn’t mean our brains will change from hand grenades
You’re lovin’ on the psychopath sitting next to you
You’re lovin’ on the murderer sitting next to you
You’ll think, how’d I get here, sitting next to you?
But after all I’ve said, please don’t forget

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

We don’t deal with outsiders very well
They say newcomers have a certain smell
Yeah, I got trust issues, not to mention
They say they can smell your intentions
You’re lovin’ on the freakshow sitting next to you
You’ll have some weird people sitting next to you
You’ll think “how did I get here, sitting next to you?”
But after all I’ve said, please don’t forget
(Watch it, watch it)

(Watch it)
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
(Watch it)
Wait for them to ask you who you know
(Watch it)
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
(Watch it)
Wait for them to ask you who you know

Why’d you come, you knew you should have stayed
I tried to warn you just to stay away
And now they’re outside ready to bust
It looks like you might be one of us

 ::: ::: ::: :::

What say you, fellow travelers? Thoughts? Thingys? Let me know. I’m anxious to hear. I’m over-thinking tonight and looking for someone to pull me in.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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It’s the small things

Fellow travelers, I am sorry I did not drop any photo love for you while I was gone. I didn’t even journal and I barely meditated while I was in Seattle. You know what I did instead? I lived.

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

It’s the little things that make a difference sometimes.

 

queen-anne-meriwether

 

Like running up a real hill in Seattle. [The backside of Queen Anne in Seattle. I zig-zagged my ass up that hill twice. :o)]
I forgot what it takes to do that.
It felt fantastic.

Inhaling the smell of Puget Sound as I walked around outside.
The sea and the salt; soft but intense.

Seeing familiar plants and weeds that don’t grow in New England.
I know what they taste like and how they stain your fingers.

People who use their turn signal. And look over their shoulder first.

Always hearing ‘excuse me’ when we bumped into each other.

Watching men watch my tattoos in the airport.

Dancing and dancing and dancing the night away.
And the cute young DJ who sidled up to me a few times.
[Because a music lover is always a friend, no matter age.]

The polite wave when I make space for someone to merge.

A cup of coffee after two long, long flights.

A 5 am dog-walk and good conversation with a friend.

Being validated by someone who’s been there.
[Broken hearts and healed hearts hold one another.]

The joy and sensuality of this trip were over the top for me. And while I didn’t get enough time out in nature, the time I spent with people was amazing and nourishing and everything I love about this city and its people.

 

seattle-skyline-spiritual

 

The best part, of course, was the wedding I officiated.

And it was the little things there, as well. 

I have now presided over 25 marriages in 10 years. And these days I can tell who’s going to make it and who’s not (with one exception). I used to have funny feelings about some couples – something was off. Years later I would find out, they had divorced. The couples who have made it- it’s evident in the small things.

The way they look at each other.

The words they use to talk about each other.

What they say and how they say it when they talk about their story.

What they want to tell about themselves and their story in their ceremony.

The hopes they have for each other.

The promises they make- not just how heartfelt they are, but the actual promises. Some people understand what it takes to succeed in long-term relationships.

How involved they each are and how they use (or abuse) each other’s strengths and weaknesses as they get through the wedding issues.

There are telltale details.

And this couple is going to make it- and joyfully so. They have all the skills they need and – most importantly – the willingness and capacity to develop more, if necessary.

 

One kind man at the wedding made it his job to take care of me and he chatted with me for a good long time. He’d been recently married- after waiting 9 years for his love. His now wife dated him for a year, left him for several more, and then returned to date and marry him. He knew he was going to marry her and that’s why he waited. He gave me hope.

And yet, as our conversation went on, it was clear there were already cracks. The amount of love given from each of them is not equal. Not even close, I think. He is far more giving and loving and interested than she. Could it work? Of course. But I think it is equally possible that he will be devastated at some point. It’s the little things that tell the story- and suggest how the path may go.

And it was the little things I learned while I was gone that suggested my path, as well.

 

mystic-feet-grounded

 

I learned to do a very small thing: not hit the ‘send’ button.

I’m learning my boundaries as a healer and as a human. And I am learning to let the emotions run through me, to feel them, and to decide what to do about them a few days later (or weeks).

Encouragement and support and love are my superpowers, and it’s hard for me not to share them. But with some people I have a very low batting average (like 2 out of 14, whatever that is). Try as I might, we don’t connect. And I am learning to express myself as needed (Pinterest is sometimes helpful, but nothing there is ever quite exact enough), but not hit the ‘send’ button without thinking long and hard about it.

It’s the little things.

As I take time to get through jet lag today, I’m holding on to little things from the trip. So often, we come back from an experience like that and we feel different so we want things to be different. And usually that motivation to hold those new pieces of us runs out after a while.

So I’m taking a couple of small things from the trip and trying to hold them for the long haul. A better sense of boundaries and where and how to love and encourage. And a sense of nourishment deep inside me. That’s what makes Seattle my soul home– how it nourishes me spiritually and emotionally. And I want to hold on to that- a little bit more each day.

That’s the story, morning glory.

And if you’re a 90s person, here’s one last picture for you.
(If you can name the singer and the song from this picture, I’ll buy you a beer.)

 

23rd-jackson-seattle

 

 

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While I’m in the air…

…a little something for you, fellow travelers.

 

I want to own you, use you. I want to fuck you, I want to teach you things. You ruin your life by desensitizing yourself. We are all afraid to say too much, to feel too deeply, to let people know what they mean to us. Caring is not synonymous with crazy. Expressing to someone how special they are to you will make you vulnerable. There is no denying that. However, that is nothing to be ashamed of. There is something breathtakingly beautiful in the moments of smaller magic that occur when you strip down and are honest with those who are important to you. Let that girl know that she inspires you. Tell your mother you love her in front of your friends. Express, express, express. Open yourself up, do not harden yourself to the world, and be bold in who, and how you love. There is courage in that.

| Bianca Sparacino |

 

To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.

| Frederico Garcia Lorca |

 

Sometimes life is very much about riding the wave of emotions and feelings, not unlike riding the sensations that lead to climax in sex. Back and forth, old territory, new territory, building the energy that leads to feeling the most alive.

Don’t keep quiet about what brings you alive, what and who you love. Feel it, tell it, love it out loud. Can you even admit to what you want most? Feel that in your heart and guts and clit and let it guide you. Let it set you free.

See you soon, beloveds.
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Wild Heart

So, this is a long one. Grab a cup of tea. :o) And, I wanted to write it last week, but then Elizabeth Gilbert happened. And I was like a maniac this last Thursday and Friday- I could not shut up. Full moon had me buzzin’.

Elizabeth Peru says today is the day to finally drop the habits and stuff that drags us down- to begin to value ourselves and let go of what doesn’t help us be our best. So, here we are. Come sit next to me and look out the window while I tell you about something new.

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

I wrote about how on Tuesday I will take off for Seattle. But over the last 2 weeks or so, I have already travelled to a new land inside myself. It’s a place I call ‘Wild Heart.’

I created a Pinterest board to help understand the feel of what Wild Heart is to me. Of course, this is a bit inadequate for you, because the pictures and words represent my feelings and you probably don’t feel the same about them. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will try to tell you about Wild Heart and what it means to me.

 

Wild Heart is a feeling, I suppose. But feelings open the path to actions, so it is also a way of living. Wild Heart is how I am, if that makes sense.

It started as a clean, white room within myself. Nothing inside it. Clean and clear of anyone else. The window was open and a soft, white curtain blew in the breeze.

I stood inside this place inside myself for days and just admired that it was clean and open and free.

“I could put anything in here,” I thought.
And so I began to choose, very carefully, what went into this new psycho-emotional space.

Music that felt right. Some loud, some soft. The songs carried my Wild Heart and strengthened it.

Small things that I love. Small glass vases with wild flowers. Red paintings. A meditating frog. The mattress is on the floor with my down quilt. Each thing touched my heart and filled it with Wild when I looked at it.

I felt, inside myself, that I could rest here and be only myself and be free.

And it became a place of radical self-acceptance and self-confirmation.

 

Wild Heart is a place where I accept all of who I am. Dark and light. Love and hatred. Growth and death. Delight and silliness and then frustration and fatigue. Whatever I discover, I welcome. I rarely choose to act from difficult emotions (I want to choose from the best of who I am), but I accept all of them. And, damn, if that does not feel good.

 

The Wild Heart is a place where I feel I have completed a huge amount of emotional work and healing, and now I can enjoy the fruits of that labor. I do not react out of my 6 or 12 or 17 or 28 year-old self. I am fully 41 and I feel like a 41 year-old woman. A grown woman. I certainly still have thoughts and emotions that are immature, but I don’t let them carry me nearly as often or nearly as far.

The Wild Heart is the place where I confirm myself. As Nayyirah Waheed writes, “I am my own, before I am anyone else’s.” This has become a mantra to me in the Wild Heart. As much as I feel that I have always been my own, I see now how many things took up space inside of me. Capitalism and its call for perfection. Patriarchy and the way it warps the Feminine to its desires. Even the needs of my children and husband and friends were inside of me, begging for time. But now there is this space. And it is my own. And I start from there first.

I am quite sure I could not have reached this place were it not for the fact that my kids are now 12 and 9 years old. The first 5 years of a child’s life you spend utterly dedicated to it- creating what will be ‘normal’ for them and trying not to wreck their deepest, wordless psyche. But once they grow…oh, there is space. They are their own people now and I can pull back a bit and guide more than create or show. It’s still work, but not the physically exhausting kind. It’s fucking fabulous, honestly. And their growth leaves me freedom, which I just pour back into their growth, but with enthusiasm and joy.

 

The Wild Heart is the place where I notice what I want first. Do I like that painting? (I don’t ask him what he thinks first.) That dress, is it a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ when I feel inside my deepest self? What do I love on the menu (not what is vegetable-y and ‘good for me’)? I listen to my own thoughts and feelings and desires first. There are people who I wish to have confirmation from sometimes- my husband, a couple of elders I look up to, one teacher- but it also does not crush me if they don’t confirm me. I am my own before I am anyone else’s.

 

As I have inhabited this feeling and psychological space, interesting things have happened.

 

I am accepting of the depth and breadth of my sexuality and sensuality.

wild-heart-joanna

| what’s wrong with being confident? |

 

When I was going through the Sex Surge I felt like a feral cat. I could wear the sexy black lingerie and the thigh high pantyhose and make your wildest sexual dreams come true. And I absolutely needed to feel that and experience it in my body. I needed to be the wild woman in the bedroom- the control, the creativity, the expression (instead of repression).

But in the Wild Heart I’m just as likely to be the koala bear of love- soft, cuddly, and make such slow, sweet love that is like the embers of a long fire warming your whole body. You’re gonna feel just as good (and so is the climax), but it’s a completely different experience and part of myself.

And there are a thousand different flavors and experiences between these two sides of myself. In fact, I don’t even like to think of it as ‘sides’ anymore- I am a well, a pool of sensuality and I make magic from everything inside of me.

 

The Wild Heart woman also dresses a bit differently than I usually do. My style is based heavily on the 90s- jeans and boots and fitted t-shirts with short skirts thrown in for good measure. I only own four pairs of work pants, people (blue, gray, brown, and black: practical!). I have owned them for 10 years- they are cut well for my body, quality made, and I take good care of them. I’m not for fads.

skinny-jeans-wild

| new. improved. wild. |

 

But, the Wild Heart woman wanted a pair of skinny jeans! My old self was thinking, “oh, hell no!” I have what is kindly described as a ‘meaty’ ass and I have cyclists (read: thick) thighs. Skinny jeans seem rather faddish to me, as well. They are not for me. Except for this one pair. This one pair is totally and utterly the Wild Heart and I feel like a million bucks in them. (And please, feel free to steal my style while you create your own. Just don’t steal my tattoo artist, that’s a little too weird.)

The Wild Heart woman has a new way to be. And it’s my job (and my joy) to follow that with curiosity and devotion.

 

wonderwoman-cuffs-joanna

| everything old is new again. wisdom in action. |

 

Wild Heart woman is also reclaiming things from my past. I used to wear wrist cuffs all the time. My favorite watch is attached to a thick, black leather cuff and I look (and feel) like a badass in it. Wild Heart wants those back. They make her feel like Superwoman. No- they remind her of her power, that I am already Superwoman.

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

 

And as much as there are new actions and clothes and the inclusion of old pieces, the place of the Wild Heart is also intensely more myself. I care about people and their growth and their souls so much. I want all of us to be healed and loved and seen for who we are. The deepest human wound is to hide parts of ourself so we can be loved- I don’t want that anymore. I want us to be who we are and be loved for it, completely. Because that’s how we heal. The Wild Heart also knows that some people don’t want to heal- and it’s a safe space for me to grieve that. Because grief is also welcome.

I am honing in on my gifts in Wild Heart. And giving those gifts to people who need and want them. I’m an amazing friend and guide and I am accepting how rare and precious that is. I’m worth a lot and I didn’t understand that before the Wild Heart space existed.

I suppose the ultimate example of what I have become is the fact that I went to see Bad Moms with a mom friend on Friday and then, immediately after, did a moon ritual for the Harvest full moon. That is the essence of Wild Heart to me.

 

In making space for the Wild Heart within me, I have also had to let go. That is the way of things- we build up one area by letting go of another. We make our way forward by letting go of what was behind. I have been crossing the monkey bars.

What got me here, what I’ve been struggling to let go of these last six months, was an old connection that existed outside of my marriage.

If you do even the slightest bit of research, you’ll figure out that the intermittent emotional rewards of extramarital interactions are exactly the same psychological pathways as addiction. Add the ‘love hormone’ of oxytocin to that mix and it makes those connections very potent- and very addictive. And then, when you try to leave, it feels like absolute hell. Even if you know it’s not healthy, you stay because it calms your brain down to stay. To break free is a hormonal, intellectual, and emotional rollercoaster ride of epic proportions. Add spiritual connection to the equation- as I did- and it takes it that much deeper. The only way out is hard work. Even then, it’s two steps forward, one step back.

I am a woman who grew a second heart. And I learned how to both let go of and also actively kill love. It goes against my beliefs in some ways, but it was also the right thing to do. It was the dark and the light and I hold the wisdom of both inside of me.

But what this years-long path got me to was self-confirmation and self love. And that is worth everything. Because now I have a Wild Heart.

I am really proud of who I have become in this process. I love being Wild Heart, and I cannot wait to see where else she takes me. Although, for a while, I hope to just stay within this space and enjoy it. I’ve worked so hard to get here, I deserve that. I just want to sit in confirmation of how amazing and good I am and how much good I can do in the world from here. In my skinny jeans, with my wrist cuffs, drinking milk stout, and being real. Love me or leave me- this is who I am.

Onwards, Wild Heart.

 

 

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Full moon in Pisces

I don’t know what to write tonight, beloveds. But this is on my mind. Everyone I seek guidance from (Bhairavee, Marybeth, Elizabeth)- they all say the same thing.

Truth is coming like a rocket.
Do not stand in its way.

Truth may have already arrived.
Live it.

Emotions are intense now, and so is the truth behind them. Dare to speak the truth, and then to live it. Do not back down from truth.

I told the truth recently.
That I loved.      /I did not want to use that word./
More than I should have.
Certainly far more than was deserved.
Often it was a feeble love, but I always gave the best I had.
And it was the darkest, most potentially destructive thing I have ever held within myself, this love.

I said this to my heart and soul.
I owned it, finally.
And my body ripped in half at the words.
And my chest melted from the inside out.

For a while I was dead.
The truth will have its way with you. Always.

But then I began to breathe again. And blink into the sun.
And because of the brokenness and the holes, the light could find its way in.
I could see what needed to be made.

The love became wisdom.
The truth became wisdom.
I was born again.

So tell your truth.
Whether it is dark or light.
Whoever it hurts, tell the truth.
Do not lie to yourself about your motives or desires or cruelties anymore.
Get off your lazy psycho-spiritual-emotional ass and exercise the truth muscle.

Because love and truth are the only things that are going to get you out of the shit.
And this full moon will light your way.
Let it lift you into who you really are.

/ Your truth is only your truth. No one else has to carry it for you. Nor should you force them to. And I don’t believe the truth seeks to manipulate. Manipulation is inherently untruthful. And that is why I do my emotional work alone- because I, too, am a mess and a hypocrite sometimes. /

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

Here we go. Something more useful than me spouting off. Astrological advice for Friday, 16 Sept 2016.

This is the third and final eclipse of the season and will be felt the most intensely. In the build up to this Full Moon, the hours prior may have you feeling like you are about to burst. You could find that your crown chakra is filled with energy, like an apex. If this happens to you, ride it out, as just after the eclipse…you will likely feel amazing, clean, and clear. Energy is heightened worldwide over the next 48 hours and eclipses can bring on physical stress. This eclipse family last occurred back in 1998, so indeed we are releasing old patterns. Surprising events could take place. Keep on your toes and be flexible to make the most of this cosmic opportunity. Let go of control and allow the Universe to deliver its gifts to you.

Opportunities will present to you, so be ready to jump. Focus on being flexible, as your old ways get ready to shift.

The Moon is full, saturating us with the reflected light of the Sun and is accompanied by the second and final penumbral eclipse of the season. This eclipse is often the one which brings the most change, so be ready for interesting offers to appear.

Uranus is also influencing us to take bold chances, be daring and live in the moment. Watch your self esteem rise and drop the old habits which tie you down.

Mars is calling us to take assertive action under this Full Moon eclipse. As the Moon becomes dark, we claim our power and wisdom. Soul urges you to act with authority and determination over the next 24 hours. Rise in stature as you do so.

From Elizabeth Peru. This chick is always on the money for me. Find someone who hits the right notes for you and follow them- if you like playing with astrology. :o)

 

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