Archive | light

Getting Naked Is Good For Your Soul

I was going to title this post, “Get Naked With Me,” which would have been enticing enough, but probably not exactly fulfilling, because I’m not getting skin-naked.

I mean, it’s certainly quite vulnerable to take off all our clothes and show our body to someone else, especially if it’s not ‘perfect’ by social standards. But that’s not the kind of naked I’m interested in today.

Today I’m interested in the kind of ‘naked’ that bares our heart and soul. It is the kind of ‘naked’ that comes from telling the truth.

I started this blog as a place to tell my truth. I was going through the Sex Surge at the time, trying to make sense of it, trying to understand how I could be attracted to other people besides my husband, trying to deal with my sexual and sensual energy, and other musings about how I see the world and what I believe and I how I live on a day-to-day basis. It’s been a place where I can be completely open about myself + who I am + what I think because I don’t have to defend myself if I don’t want to (I hate getting in fights. Hate.).

I’ve talked about what it’s like to be lost.

How many of us speak ‘trauma’ as native language.

Growing into the truth of my Wild Heart.

The difficulty and beauty of letting go.

Learning to accept my own desire (a hard-won truth!).

[And sometimes just the truth of what’s on my iPod and why.]

And getting naked in this way – telling my truth – has always been good for my soul.

When we tell the truth, it gives us space inside our minds and hearts. We are free because we are clear. There is no lugging the truth around, hidden behind us, anymore. It feels good.

This is not to say that telling the truth isn’t difficult or ugly. Sometimes the truth is ugly. Sometimes the truth is difficult to say.

I think of the truths we have to say in intimate relationships that are ugly or difficult.

I think of the truths that have been said about racism, sexism, and systemic oppressions of all sorts- terribly ugly and difficult, but so very necessary.

I think of the truths so many of us have told about our families, truths which distance us from them forever.

I think of the truths so many of us have not even admitted to ourselves- about what we truly think or feel- and how that keeps our soul in the shadow.

Some of us run from other truths that might bring us joy, because they will first mean ugliness and difficulty, perhaps destruction. But that makes them no less true, and not telling them leaves us no better off.

 

Photo by Jason Schjerven on Unsplash

 

I am a big fan of telling the truth, of going naked with our heart and soul. Because, even if it is ugly or difficult, I have only seen good come from it in the end.

For instance, when I read the truth of BIWOC online, and I see my part in their pain, it’s not fun (I feel like the most spiritually ugly person there is when I realize how I have participated in the oppression of many others), but it has always lead to me trying to do better, to be better. I know it has been healing for these same women to share their truths (for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is finding community and support by doing so).

When I have told the ugly truth to a friend who can listen with love, I have always felt better. When I am the one to listen, I always feel it is a great honor to witness someone else’s truth. Because I have chosen to tell the truth about my own darkness, it is so much easier to hold that space for others- I really don’t mind listening to your darkness.

By the same token, when I have told joyful truth, when I have heard joyful truth from others it is always a beautiful thing. When someone speaks their truth about what is in their heart, that is a miracle- like a bird set free, in its proper place in the world.

Of course, getting naked like this takes practice. Takes courage. Takes having a safe place to do it. Sometimes that’s the arms of a friend, sometimes that’s just standing by the ocean, screaming our truth into the waves. But telling the truth has always been a boon for me and those I know.

Telling your truth, getting naked with your heart, is good for the soul. I promise.

May you have a safe place to tell your truth, to get heart-naked.
Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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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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[Almost] Everything Has A Use

For the last year or so I have really come to see, perhaps because of my affinity for learning from Life, that everything has a use. It’s one of the things I want to talk about before I leave for my ‘goodbye experiment.’

I don’t necessarily believe that everything happens for a reason. I sort of believe the quote by Kierkegaard (I think it was him?) that we can only understand life backward, but we must live it forward. We can see the thread of our life and how things connect, but I’m not sure that means it all happened for a reason. We may reach certain places or have certain experiences that lead us to other moments, experiences, and places, but…I’m not sure that means they all have a reason. It’s very tempting to look backwards and say, “Ah, X had to happen so I could reach Y,” but I really don’t believe that’s true. It’s just the choices we made along the way.

We like to tell stories about our lives, to find meaning (it is, I believe, a very necessary part of human existence and culture)- so looking back and connecting the dots in a way that is meaningful to us is highly valuable (it’s also highly valuable to notice what we tell of our story and how we tell it). But also, sometimes shit just happens in our life and we have to deal with it. Of course, how we deal with it sometimes determines where our life goes, but, again, that doesn’t mean there is a reason for all (or any) of it.

That said, I still believe that everything has a use. Every bit of our life has a use. Every bit of the Universe has a use. Everything that exists has a use.

Our emotions show us the truth of our heart and our experience.
Sadness shows us when we miss the mark for our desires.
Anger shows us when our values have been ignored or dismissed.
Joy shows us when we have received what we desire.
Love shows us the best of our desires and wishes for self and others.
They all have a use.

It’s easy to see where good things have a use. Houses, cars, stores, roads, telephone towers, forks, shrubbery. But ‘bad’ things also have their uses. Although, I will say that ‘bad’ things often only have one use.

Violence is sometimes necessary to topple dictators, Nazis, and other oppressors.
Hatred is useful because it shows us where we fear.
Intolerance is useful on the intolerant. (See ‘The paradox of tolerance.’)
Breaking promises is useful when our truth changes.
Lies are sometimes necessary to create safety. (See your local domestic violence shelter.)

There is one set of ‘things’ that are never useful, though. And those are the ‘-isms.’ The outcomes of unfairness and oppression and ranking differences judged from things we cannot change.

Racism.
Sexism.
Homophobism.
Transphobism.
Ageism.
Sizeism/Fatphobia.
Classism.
Ableism.
Religious oppression.

There is no use for any of them. In any case, those who participate in oppressing are only showing what they hate, and thereby, what they fear. (We can say that perhaps these things are useful because they show us exactly where others fear, which can help us educate them. Again, this may be the only useful thing about them. And I’m not sure it’s worth having them around for this particular type of ‘useful.’ I’d much rather we didn’t have them at all.)

In my life, everything has had a use.

My fear.
My pain.
My desire.
My perspective.
My ego deaths.
My joy.
My creativity.
My hope.
My love.
My truth.
My choices.
My mistakes.

It’s not that everything, every moment, of my life has been useful. It’s that there is always something useful in what’s going on in my life.

The most important part of coming to understand this, for me, is that it has helped me accept myself and the world as it is. This doesn’t mean the world isn’t a mess (it does need changing). But to change anything we have to see it clearly and accept where we it is/we are at this moment in time. And the understanding that everything has a use has helped me accept what’s going on- even (perhaps especially) when things are rough. There is something useful here, inside this difficulty, for my life, for my growth, for my understanding of the world.

As I said at the beginning of this post, perhaps I hold this view because I believe in learning from my life and changing because of what I learn. I suppose if someone refuses to learn then this viewpoint is moot. But I don’t personally know another way to think of the world or how to live. Life presents each of us with repeated lessons, with unique opportunities, with stories we want to break free from. And I believe the only thing we can do with those experiences is learn from them. That’s how we become who we are, who we want to be; it’s how we make the world a better place.

I believe everything is useful on this strange, human journey.

Thanks for being here with me, fellow travelers.
All my love,
Joanna :: xoxo

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

If you need a pop culture reference to go along with this, here you go.

Thank U | Alanis Morissette

How ’bout getting off these antibiotics
How ’bout stopping eating when I’m full up
How ’bout them transparent dangling carrots
How ’bout that ever elusive kudo

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

How ’bout me not blaming you for everything
How ’bout me enjoying the moment for once
How ’bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
How ’bout grieving it all one at a time

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

The moment I let go of it was the moment
I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it
Was the moment I touched down

How ’bout no longer being masochistic
How ’bout remembering your divinity
How ’bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How ’bout not equating death with stopping

Thank you India
Thank you providence
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you thank you silence

 

 

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Sunday Prayers

Hello, fellow spiritual travelers, my broken-but-working-on-it peeps. Life has been changing and things are delightfully good, and I’m so glad to be who I am, the age I am, and where I am (holy shit, yes!). And I am going to sink deep into this feeling, because it doesn’t come around often.

Where my heart is at these past few days…

 

“Tantra says sex is very deep because it is life. But you can be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons. Do not be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons, and then you will not feel that Tantra is dangerous. Then Tantra is life-transforming…

It has been asked, ‘what is the central subject matter of Tantra?’ The answer is you! You are the central subject matter of Tantra: what you are right now and what is hidden in you that can grow, what you are and what you can be. Right now you are a sex unit and unless this unit is understood deeply you cannot become a spirit, you cannot become a spiritual unit. Sexuality and spirituality are the two ends of one energy.”

Osho

| I’m not sure that I’d agree with all of this, because I believe our sexuality and spirituality nourish each other- that’s been my experience. But, yes, you are the central subject matter of Tantra. |

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

“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.”

Terry Tempest Williams

| This is how to have faith, and also to be alive. I think being alive is its own act of faith. |

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

Life on Earth

Wild Horses

A Youth Written in Fire

| Snow Patrol’s new album is really different. And I like it. Gary Lightbody – former priest and current poet – hits some very deep places in his own psyche. It’s quite beautiful to listen to. |

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

Images from my ‘beautiful’ board are inspiring me and keeping me grounded lately. Summer’s passion is finding it’s way into old frescoes and fields of poppies. When the humidity rests atop my skin, I pull my hair up from my neck, sweat with a smile in the shade, and dream of Paris in the Fall.

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

Big love from this gorgeous, hot day and my happy heart,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Summer Solstice :: Sensual Treasures

[[ There are so many things I want to write about right now. I have posts about beer + baths, the sensuality of safety and the sin of beliefs sitting in my head. They will find their way out. I’ve been so angry and full of despair these past few days, so I am sitting on my bed writing this instead. With a packet of Pez and a Mike’s Hard Lemonade at my side (because there is a part of me that is still 12 with the ability to buy alcohol). I am also remembering that today is a very special day our house {personal thing} and I am delving into the joy of that to keep my spirit afloat. I hope you are well, fellow travelers.]]

 

Photo by Max LaRochelle on Unsplash

 

Happy Summer Solstice to my Northern hemisphere peeps! (And Happy Winter Solstice to my Southern hemisphere peeps!) Today is the longest day of the year- the day with the most light. Which means it is also the day before we begin turning towards the dark again. I always find this kind of strange because summer seems so full of light, and yet we are losing 7 minutes of it each day as the summer meanders along. Human perception is so weird sometimes. In any case, these are the things I’m looking forward to enjoying this summer. [And here’s the list of what I was hoping to enjoy at the Spring Equinox.]

the first jump into a cold pool
late nights by the fire with friends
popsicles (orange!)
the blessing of central air
the smell of tanned skin + salty hair
chubby babies in swim diapers
nights so hot you sleep with no covers
the taste of salty skin, the smell of his sweat
the scent of campfire smoke in hair
s’mores
laying back, closing your eyes, and feeling the heat of the sun on your skin
walks on the beach
library days
adventures with the kids
the sweet anticipation of The Big Vacation
the sting of burnt skin in the shower (I burned the shit out of my shoulders this week)
the feel of cold, cold water down your throat, on your skin, after hard work
sitting under the trees, listening
watching the crew team from my friend’s house on the water
sparklers
the feeling of wrapping up in a towel at night because that’s all you’ve got
drive-in theaters
how the heat smells
sweet corn (with lime juice and salt)
the first cool wind in August
ripe strawberries (and real whipped cream)

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

What sensual pleasures are you waiting to enjoy this summer, fellow travelers? Today is the doorway to summer fun- run through it like it’s 95 degrees and the sprinkler is on full blast.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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