Today, I sat with a friend who is dying. She has a rare, degenerative, fatal brain disease for which there is no cure and she's declining rapidly.
In our two hours together she sought desperately for words that she struggled to piece together in her mind, hoping they would be recognizable as they stuttered, detached, from her mouth; praying that on that short voyage she'd remember what she had intended to say to begin with. I sat, hanging onto every word, rooted, connected, eye to eye and soul to soul. I caressed her arm and told her I was in no hurry. I am here, I told her. I am here.
We talked about her boys, her caregiver, the stupid therapy that is totally pointless now because she's going to die, and about how many people her dear husband called when they got the prognosis so everyone could come and visit before it got too bad - she was her very own receiving line. She rolled her eyes at that and even laughed a couple of times.
I asked if I could bring some of our friends together, to which she looked away and shook her head. "I know you", she said. She wasn't saying it like, "I know who you are" but I KNOW you know you... and this was our time.
She has invited me into her disappearing; into her fear; and into the emptiness that she keeps grasping into to find whatever is left of herself inside of herself. She is reaching into darkness, into those shallow and deep pools of her brain and is so often coming up empty... words and thoughts slipping through her fingers like sand.
"I'm so scared. It's terrifying, really, and there is nothing I can do. I just didn't think I'd go out like this. I know it is done, so now we wait."
These few sentences took 25 minutes to construct, and the weight of them hit me hard.
I will continue to visit with my friend and hope to offer comfort when I do. I am so very present in the finality of things because she knows, and I know, and we all fucking know - so now, we wait.
In the meantime, do something for me. Answer me this:
Who would you want looking in your eyes as the very essence of you slipped away?
Whose breath would you want to feel on your ear as they kissed your cheek?
Who is it, that when everything feels like sandpaper, they are satin to the touch?
Whose fingers woven into yours assures you that we're in this together, for real?
Whose chest would you melt into because their heartbeat is the only thing that feels alive?
Whose voice will land most softly on your ears?
Who will laugh with you when laughing is the only medicine you can take?
Who do you want cupping your face in their hands and kissing your mouth because this may just be the last kiss in an eternity of forevers?
Who do you want to whisper to you when it's time and okay to let go?
I'll be finding my own answers to these questions. I hope you will too.
I Choose This
Thank God for choices.
I choose to run because I have to run and sweating feels good. I choose to take that call from a woman who needs me, even when I’m suffering, because it feels good. I choose to let the dream go because holding on hurts too much and what is waiting for me on the other side of surrender feels good. I choose not to be swallowed by grief but rather serve, eat a bit of dark chocolate and have late night calls with a friend, because service and chocolate, a kind voice feels good.
I choose “No”. I choose “Enough”. I choose “Light” – “light” and capital “L” light. I choose to love you. I choose to love me more. I choose to let it break my heart. I choose to walk away – even when I don’t want to. I choose to let it crack me wide open to make space for the new.
I choose all of everything. I choose heat and sex and sweat and grit and grace. I choose to walk through shadows and light – I choose ease and I choose to never be easy. I was not brought here for easy. I am here for so much more.
I choose to stand firm in the Divine Knowledge that everything is okay. I choose compassion and empathy. I choose forgiveness. I choose to broaden my scope when it feels dark and remember the light of my Faith, my God, my children, my tribe, my work (my vocation and my servant’s heart), my deep love, my strong body, my belly laugh, my wildly open heart – where I am seen and well-loved and valuable – where there is so much love - from me to you and back.
I get to choose – I’ll choose all of this.
I have been waiting for this.
She loved him.
She loved him with a fierce, fierce love. For all of his light and all of his dark and lovely pieces, for the fire he lit in her body and for every glorious desire he helped her remember, that she felt in her breath and her bones, for his voice in the night and for every whisper I Love You.
And it was love, and it was a healing, and it was real – but despite her deepest desire to make it so
he just could not be near enough for her.
And so she pointed her dream in another direction because she knows that somewhere there is a love who speaks, like her, in poetry and stardust.
Who tastes like nectar and salt and home.
Who loves her urgently because she is luminous, because she burns down and rises up and holds captive the pulse of the world.
A love who will stand in the center of the fire with her and not shrink back.
Who is not afraid to touch her too deeply for fear of staining his hands on her light and who wants to be inside her darkest everything.
A love whose hands are big enough to hold all of her.
And that lover, when she finds him,
will see her,
and know her,
and want her --
just as she is and just as she should be.
And he will say,
Yes. Yes, you. I will go there with you. I have been waiting for this.
~ Inspired by RebelleSociety, Freda Kahlo, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, and Hungry Moon
WHAT MEDITATION IS (REALLY) LIKE
Late last year I started a morning practice that went like this: soft alarm, stretch, let the dog out, and breathe in the morning air. I would then take a tablespoon of coconut oil to pull; find a meditation to set an intention for the day; and sit with my back straight and root chakra grounded with my eyes closed, palms up, and so very connected and spiritual and in-flow. My meditation would end gently, I would open my eyes, stretch again, and start my day.
I was bright and ripe and soft and really, really, a meditation badass!
Early summer started a series of events that slowly, slowly made my practice less of a priority. Not because I was doing stuff that was more fun. Not because I just woke up one day and said I wasn’t going to practice.
I didn’t plan it.
Instead, this past Tuesday I looked around and realized I was drowning in a sea of self-pity and oh, by the way, I had not meditated in like a month! So today I changed that.
Let me give you a peek under the tent of my guru worthy enlightenment by sharing, moment by moment, my gloriously awesome meditation from this morning. You ready? You’ll want to take notes.
I snoozed my loud “GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED” alarm every nine minutes for an hour, rolled onto the floor begrudgingly, and lay on the hardwood in child’s pose until I had to let the dog out (but only because he wouldn’t stop whining and nudging me with his wet nose). I took a tablespoon of coconut oil to pull, selected a beautiful 20 minute Devi Prayer/Hymn, and I sat, back straight, eyes closed, palms up.
And. This. Happened:
Oh, this is pretty. Breathe in, breathe out. Centered Kundalini rising. Yeeeessss. This is good…Shit, it’s hot in here. Where in the hell am I going to find a girls XL black bathing suit bottom by Saturday? Oh, hey—focus, breathe in, breathe out. Oh, this is pretty…Yeah, this is good. I’ve missed this so much…Kundalini rising baby!! I have to pee. I really should have peed before I sat down. I’m sweating under my left boob.
What the hell kind of scratching sound is the dog making over there! (left eye peeks open) Damn it! Focus, breathe in, and breathe out…Okay, this is pretty….The bottom of my foot is cold and numb. Weird. Maybe I should go for a run later. I’m sad Friday Night Lights is over. Gossip Girl is stupid. I should be watching documentaries and film noir. What the hell is wrong with me? Good thing my trip to Denver got cancelled…FUuuucccCK!!!
Read the full post here:
I ate my feelings
I’m not sure what my feelings were, but I just ate them…
I led my June Desire Map Workshop in Atlanta this weekend and it was gorgeous. Not even kidding. Like white Italian linen, vintage milk glass, 6 dozen roses in the Desire Map color pallet, spa water, deeply nourishing food, artisan jelly tea, beautiful floor pillow gorgeous.
(And look - the women especially and most of all are the WHOLE REASON we’re even here but that’s not what THIS post is about and you’ll get the beautifully soulful post later this week. With pictures.)
Anyway – It was AWESOME!
Today: I slept in; wrote some of the stuff I write; loved on Christina Vanvuren (the most “I got you” woman on my planet right now and my cherished assistant who made it literally possible for me to show up. I kiss you all over your face!!!); did some stuff with my kids; ate some dark chocolate; drew an Epsom salt bath and cranked some Motown tunes; had a solo dance party in front of the mirror to Midnight Train to Georgia; had my goodnight call with my person and closed my eyes.
Good day, right? Yup *sleepy sigh*
And I lay there for what seemed like twenty minutes but it was probably three...
I got up, went to the kitchen and ate Salt and Vinegar chips and Chicago Corn (which is basically crack) and tried to eat some Cheetos but they were stale and after five, decided to throw them away and poured myself another bowl of crack. And I’m standing there thinking Fuck that green juice, organic mixed green nectarine salad shit I’ve been eating all weekend!
And the biggest toothy grin spread across by face and I started to giggle.
I am standing here in my white terrycloth robe and flip flops, in the dark, in the kitchen with orange cheesy fingers and laughing so hard at how funny I think I am.
I’m not sure what my feelings were, but I just ate them…
And it was AWESOME!
I will hold your pain
I was there with you as you slept,
as your breath hastened
and calmed throughout the night,
as your eyes opened this morning,
as the sun rose across the horizon
in pinks and violets
kissing the day,
as you boarded the plane
and flew East.
I am with you in your sadness.
I will hold your pain
in the palms of my hands,
close your eyes,
kiss your mouth
and share in the breath
that chokes you
so you can breathe more deeply.
I will give you
in the dark
of the night
because it's softer than the ache in your heart.
I will keep vigil
on the shores
of the sea
holding sacred presence
as you cleanse
in the deepest of waters.
And I will wrap you in a blanket of stars until it's time to navigate home.
They lay there, dusk upon them, legs and bodies intertwined.
He wrapped his arms around her, breathed her in and kissed her bare shoulder.
She settled into him, closed her eyes and her body softened as she began to doze. He gently found her wrist, baring the scars of decades before, and ever so carefully scaled their rise.
His touch a whisper so softly she almost didn't notice.
And then she did.
From deep within her rose a tenderness for him, her breath skipped and she knew - he was becoming the encyclopedia of her.
A single tear acknowledged her exposure - and his witness -
and then, she slept.
I'm in the goo
This morning, Marie Forleo posted a moving interview with Colleen Saidman along with a great blog post which posed the following question: If there’s one area of your body or life that would be well served by more presence, more attention, more love — what would it be?
Yeah. Can't answer that because everything in my life is in transition right now. Like seriously, not even kidding - EVERYTHING.
The chump is moving out this week. I'm facilitating an intimate women's workshop on June 19-20. I resigned from an 8-year job that I love to transfer to a WAY better opportunity on June 22. I am moving from in-town Atlanta up to the suburbs for my kids on July 6. And - I have a BIG love happening.
I read somewhere that in the cocoon, between caterpillar and butterfly, is goo. Just goo.
I'm in the goo.
It's not bad. It's big and full and - happening. It's just happening. So, I have a choice - belly up and float and let the rolling river just take me; or try to stand up in the rapids and be taken under.
So, here's what I'm doing to holistically take care of my awesomely gooey life:
I am praying and mediating every morning – including coconut oil pulling thank you very much.
I'm taking time to stop, snuggle and make eye contact with my kids.
I throw myself all the more into serving the women that I mentor. “The fruit of service is Peace.” ~ Mother Teresa
I am cradled in the Divine Wisdom of my 80 and 90 year old grandmothers. They tell me the Truth.
I move my body and sweat.
I'm on the NO train.
I'm not taking any shit.
I’m wearing my sacred True Desire Mala and I remind myself that my clarity is a beacon that helps Life find me— and sends me support. Life found me and I am, in fact, supported.
I chant my mantra: “Sacred, Nourished, Wildly Open, Ease”
I let myself lay broken on the floor sobbing when I need to sob. It cleanses me until it's time to release again.
If it doesn't feel good then I redirect. You CAN be in the goo and still feel good.
I am taking Epsom salt baths and listening to music that is nourishing to my soul - even if it's for 10 minutes before I go to bed.
I’m drinking lots of water and tea and trying to eat well – vegetarian diet and morning green juicing.
Okay, confession: I have been eating my feelings for the past three days and have consumed copious amounts of sugar in the form of cheap AND expensive chocolate and gluten free cookies. There, I said it. Now I can cut that shit out.
Colleen said, “Allow beauty and sadness to touch you. This is love, not fear.” I love that.
I am awake and in the goo and it's sad and it's beautiful. It’s breaking me open and touching me all over!
I had a breakthrough
I had a breakthrough. I shrank after I expanded. And now I’m listening closely…
I needed this article from Danielle LaPorte today in the best of ways because it explained what I couldn’t explain.
I had an unbelievable workshop in March. There were nine of us and I thought that was pretty rock star awesome out of the gate. It was beautiful, nourishing, perfect, expansive – so expansive and when I closed the doors and sat down, what I wanted to feel was elation in the sweetest, softest way. I wanted to take a bath and just nestle into the transformational work the women did and all the glorious gifts they left from the experience of the Desire Map gave them. And yet – that was not my experience at all. I kind of dropped off the map, judged my lack of feeling amazing, didn’t really capture our experience for the DM community, even registered for B-School which was great but it felt flat, and I got quiet.
If you’ve been following me you know that shit is happening – lots of letting go, freeing up, moving on, and an ass-load of full fuller fuller open open open -- I am breaking through – and I realize that getting quiet is what I needed. Ego can shut the fuck up. There’s no judgement here. I’ve spent the past two months in self-care, exercising hard, green juicing, developing a solid daily spiritual meditative practice, two Reiki sessions, a call with a psychic, and lots of late night calls with a friend who loves me.
I’m feeling solid and light and available to the world once more. Now I see and now I know and now I can get back to work.
What to do after you have a breakthrough. (You're going to shrink after you expand, so, listen closely.)
Easy to Love
I asked him to leave last November - I stopped lying to myself; stopped hoping, praying, wishing, pushing to make it work. I surrendered and let go, consciously moved away from the dream I had for us; I am moving toward something I want to feel more. I let go with generosity and compassion, giving him until the end of the school year to move out, in order to make it an easier transition for him and our children.
The other morning, just two days after being told how hard I am to love, I received the below private message on fb. Just about every year, around this time, I receive a similar sweet note. I had an interesting emotional response; I sat down and wept. We had a tender, secret romance, we were never lovers, not so much as a kiss. Our lips brushed once. I was 14.
I am reminded of how easy I am to love; you, ex-guy, just really suck at it.
Five of my favorite things: 1: beautiful aesthetic – think Italian linen, French laundry tables, three dozen sunset shades of peonies. . . / 2: the smell of my children’s heads / 3: gastronomy – the art of badass food / 4: earl grey tea with milk and honey / 5 : the Mediterranean Sea