Freedom:  It's an Inside Job!

Freedom: It's an Inside Job!

In letting go we are free.  Its that simple and that difficult all at once. The issue of bondage is in the head.  We become attached to ideas, thoughts, people and places and when it is time to move on, we tenaciously cling. This is where the suffering begins, but the good news is, it is where the healing begins as well.  

Freedom begins the moment we let go of our limiting beliefs and the thoughts and ideas that no longer serve us.  

It sounds easy, but it’s an intense discipline that takes continuous practice.  In the book of Romans, Paul writes: “do not conform to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” When I first read that, I memorized and used it as a touchstone to remind me how to find freedom and transformation.  We move beyond the patterns of suffering by training the mind.  This idea is reinforced in the yoga sutras when they explain the two wings of the spiritual journey of yoking or integrating mind, body and Spirit as abhyasa(practice), and vairagya (renunciation –letting go).  It has taken me countless years of practice and letting go to experience a taste of freedom.  It is the sort of freedom that is worth fighting for.  

I recently hit a rough patch in my journey.  Although I was teaching about freedom and letting go, inside I was suffering.  When I feel overwhelmed, sometimes I just put myself to bed in hopes of rebooting the system.  I fell into a deep and restorative sleep instantly.  When my alarm sounded an hour later, I awoke with the words of my wise teacher in my head.  “As long as you cling, you will suffer.”  I had to turn in and scan my mind, body, and heart for the clenched fist, only to find I had grabbed onto my college aged son with two hands.  Although I sent him away to college and let go 2 months prior, I keep trying to hold tightly to the reigns of control and guide him from afar.  It is not working and so…. I suffer.  I relinquish control and ahhh I am free.  He is on a journey and my job is to love and trust and let go… moment by moment and breath by precious breath.

 

Called to more

Comment

Called to more

In his hand was placed a trowel and on his rear a swift kick that said “Go! Survive, kid!”  At the ripe and tender age of 18, my husband, Kevin, was on his own.  Shortly after he graduated High School, he had to find an apartment and get to work.  For most kids his age, it was a summer of careless freedom and profound expansion.  Kevin was forced to grow up too soon.  He was shackled with responsibility and a desperate need to survive.

 Kevin got a job laboring for a masonry restoration company during the day, and he went to school in the evening.  He dreamed of being an architect and building something from the pile of rubble that he had been given.  He was determined to rise above his circumstances and be successful.  He trudged away at his education for years, like building something one brick at a time.  After we got married and had our second child, the financial strain and need for his presence at home after work was too great.  He decided to put his education on hold and start his own business.  He built a successful masonry company from a guy in a pick up truck doing side jobs to a corporation with employees to lead.  He flourished and loved being able to provide.  He did so well, that I was able to quit my teaching job and stay home to raise our four children.  In my eyes, he was a huge success. 

Kevin knew he was capable of so much more.  A sense of discontent was growing in him as he watched me engage in meaningful work and ministry.  He said, “You help people!  All I do is make money and provide.”  This nagging feeling that there must be something more for him kept him wrestling and wondering.  One day he declared that he was taking the winter off and going back to school to finish up his degree.  In just two semesters, he earned his bachelor’s degree and applied for grad school.  He studied relentlessly for the GRE in hopes of getting his Masters in Counseling so he could help the fatherless.  He knew his calling was connected to his own story of father absence and neglect, but he didn’t know exactly how he was supposed to make a difference in this area. 

After not getting in to the graduate program of his choice, Kevin got discouraged and began to question if this was the best next step.  It was at this time that he began training for the “Dad’s Honor Ride.” This three-week long bike ride went from Boston to Chicago and focused on raising awareness and funds for father absence.  In his training and over the course of the one week of the ride that he was able to participate in, Kevin began to accept that now is not the right time to get his master’s degree.  As he stepped away from the daily grind, he began to hear a call coming from another direction.  Through the process of prayer and discernment, he has decided to focus on mind/body/Spirit health and integration.  He registered for an on-line personal training program to study and learn how to help people achieve better holistic health.

Shortly after he made this decision, a friend reached out to him about the possibility of helping to open a faith based gym in this area.  The thought of doing something that he was passionate about infused Kevin with hope and joy.  For the first time in his life, he was following his heart’s desire rather than muscling through a major life decision.  Together, we are standing at a crossroads in awe of God’s provision and leadership.  We are humbly surrendering and seeking His will.  We are resting in the truth that He is a God of second chances and He is also a good father who has a plan to prosper Kevin and use every ounce of his pain of father absence for the Glory of His kingdom.  We don’t know the end of the story, but we are so thankful to be on this journey.

In his hand he holds possibility and by his side he has a tribe of people that love and believe in him.  This man has come so far and we wait expectantly as God turns the tables and helps him navigate from a place of survival to a place where he can thrive and make a difference.  

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Comment

Be Quiet

Be Quiet

"In silence we leave the many and return to the One." Mama Maggie Gobran

Silence is a state of mind.  It is a choice that I make regardless of my circumstances.  It is a reservoir deep within my being.  A soft and comfy landing that always awaits my return.  It feels like home and I have worn the path to its door countless times, sometimes gently strolling while other times running for my life.  The more I turn in and visit this inner place of peace and power the more easily accessible it is in the midst of daily challenges.  Finding the silence within my heart has not always been and is still not always easy.  It is a discipline and has taken years of practice to hone the skill of returning to the stillness of my soul and quieting my swirling mind.

I began meditating regularly when my 4th child was a baby; 10 years ago.  I felt as if my life depended on it and I was terrible at it.  I struggled and wrestled with every moment of it and the judgmental voice within me was brutal.  Instead of gaining a calm respite from my chaotic reality, it felt like going into a boxing ring with Rambo who bludgeoned and mocked me with every breath.  I clung tenaciously to my new tools that I had learned and eagerly anticipated the sound of the harp on my telephone which excused me from my time of torture/ training.  For some reason, I kept coming back for more, like a glutton for punishment.  

I remember praying that God’s peace would be in me.  I remember catching moments and glimpses of this glistening stillness pregnant with possibility and then like a pin prick on a bubble it was gone.  I would search desperately to find the quiet and it alluded me.  The peace that was as strong as a river one moment evaporated in the very next and I was back to my agitated reactionary self that I was trying desperately to take out with the trash.  There were impatient and reactive places in me that were as real as the nose on my face.  The more I tried to erase them the stronger they got.

This game of sitting and tasting stillness that was fleeting went on for years.  I am not sure when the shift happened, but it did.  One day I tasted a banquet of the peace that transcends human understanding in my quiet time, but the real gift was the fact that this stillness stayed with me as I got off my cushion and stepped into the world.  As I made breakfast and lunches for the kids and the familiar chaos and noise began to kick up dust and press my buttons, I returned to the stillness of my heart.  I breathed deeply and hummed a tune in my heart "I got peace like a river in my soul..." I have moments of forgetting every single day, but I have learned to be kind to myself in this lifelong journey toward abiding in the presence of God.  He is ever present awaiting my return.  Some days I need to turn back to him moment by moment and breath by breath and other times, His presence is so strong and steady that I couldn't miss him if I tried.  My hope in telling you this is to encourage you to stick with it as long as it takes, because the quality of life anchored in this stillness is worthy of the wait.

Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, turned water into wine. He was a very busy man and yet he made stillness and quiet a priority. He retreated regularly to be alone with his father.  This is meditation, and we are called to follow him.  I have made excuses and have heard every excuse in the book as to why people can’t or won’t meditate.  I challenge you today to begin.  Start small; a minute or two will do.  Set your phone timer, close your eyes and turn your attention to your breath.  Just begin to notice the breath entering and exiting the nose.  Let all of your attention rest on your life giving breath.  Breath translates as Spirit.  When you meditate in this way you are choosing to connect to the Holy Spirit that is within and all around you.  With each inhale, breathe in and invite the Light.  Soften to receive it.  With each exhale, let go.  Release the tension and the stress you are carrying in the form of thought, fear, control, bitterness, and pain in the body. There is a Chinese proverb that says “stress is who you think you are and relaxation is who you really are.”  Just BE in God’s peace!


 

Resistance to Care

Resistance to Care

Every time the flight attendant on the airplane instructs me to put the oxygen mask over my own face before tending to my children, it reminds me of the importance of self care.  This tendency to take care of ourselves first somehow gets lost in the daily acts of caring for all those around us.  It seems selfish and counter intuitive to do things for yourself.  Self care or asking for care is taboo in our culture.   Most of us are over-functioning and running on empty feeling exhausted and depleted and proud of the way we are getting it all done.  We are moving so quickly and don’t realize we have a need until we are broken down on the side of the road with no idea of how we got there.  This resistance to care is familiar to most human beings and it is the very thing we at SOW that… hope to eradicate.  When every person in the world takes better care of themselves, every person in the world will feel better taken care of.  Then, and only then, will we finally be able to take better care of others.  Caring for others begins with putting your oxygen mask on first!

How do you take care of you?  The first step is to “Be still and know.” When we enter the quiet and push pause on all activity, we learn the importance of being present and begin to experience the peace that is always there.  When you give yourself time to simply be, you begin to realize that you are enough as you are and that you are worthy of care.  Once you return to this simple truth, a profound paradigm shift happens and you are able to allow yourself to receive again. 

Why is it so hard to receive?  Brene Brown said that if you have a hard time receiving, you have unwittingly bound shame to need.  This is where the work begins!  The work of mining your story for the place where the vows were made and your heart turned to self preservation.  I remember being small and powerless.  I remember wanting much more and not having any ability to change that reality and so I cut out the need and the desire at the root.  Growing up in a household with 11 children created a bit of a scarcity complex and at the time, the vow I made to never need anything was good and helpful, but today it is not.  The work in identifying where the vow was made requires for you to enter the grief of the story.  To acknowledge what was hard and painful is to clear away debris so the light can enter again.  Where my heart once held despair and grief, it now has been enlarged to hold hope and desire.  This is not an easy task and with it comes much resistance.  We often want the end result of greater intimacy and freedom, but there seems to be a ten-foot brick wall between us and what we long for.  Our deepest desire in community is to be seen and loved, but for some reason, we hide and resist the love that’s extended.  Once you realize that you are blocking the flow of connection and love, you can finally begin to lay down your arms and humbly receive.

Name and acknowledge the resistance:  How do you feel about taking time for yourself or asking for care?

We invite you to join us for a night of self care where you will engage your body mind and Soul for the sake of integration, healing, and deep connection.  Click on "Classes" to learn about and sign up for our next connection night and our Mini Retreat coming up in June.  

LOVE YOURSELF

Comment

LOVE YOURSELF

You are a child

Worthy of love

You have been chosen

By the father above

 

You are supported

Surrender the fear

You Belong

The community is here

 

You are forgiven

Whatever the crime

You are free

Now is your time

 

You are healthy

Mind, body, Soul

You are calm

Already whole

 

You are strong

Ready to soar

You are healed

Walk through the door

 

You are beautiful

Broken and bruised

You are restored

What will you do?

 

 

Comment

Comment

Such a time as this...

And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this.
— Esther 4:14

When I entered my story for the first time I did so reluctantly and found myself quickly overwhelmed and under attack.  I tried desperately to flee and find my way back to safety and security, to the comfort of not knowing.  I didn’t want to see what I saw and yet I wanted nothing more than to see clearly.  When I first checked in at the lay leader training for grief and trauma my leader asked “why are you here?”  I said, “I want to see clearly, so that I can help others see clearly.”  Although this was my true heart’s desire, it seemed like an impossible task, because I spent my entire life shrinking back and hiding.  When I was small, I saw too much too soon and the things that I was exposed to caused me great harm.  I was extremely sensitive and didn’t have the tools to discern and process, I just took it all in.  In an effort to self-preserve, I learned very young to cover my eyes, divert my gaze, turn inward, and disassociate from the chaos and violence around me.  Although this was a helpful and necessary tool that protected me as I child, I began to realize all the ways it was causing me harm in my grown up world.

Mothers need to be fully tuned in and engaged so that they can protect and care for their young.  As I began waking up to the truth of my story and the ways in which God was inviting me to heal and redeem my story, it was like the scales fell off my eyes and I saw all the ways I was escaping my difficult reality.  Through the narrative therapy and telling my story in the context of a loving and caring community, my brain began to heal and it significantly affected my ability to stay present in the chaos and challenges of parenting four children of my own.  It has significantly impacted all of my relationships and for that I am so grateful.  This alone would be enough for me, but God continues to use the work he has done in me for his glory.


 This summer, I had the opportunity to serve at the Royal Family Kids Camp with my 17 year old son, Jeremy.  The camp serves kids age 6-12 who are a part of the foster care system.  These are children who know pain and suffering, they know what it feels like to be dismissed and abandoned.  They have seen too much for their young minds to process and their small hearts to feel.  I was given the roll of “Dean” which allowed me a unique opportunity to serve both the 100 kids that were there and also the 100 counselors and support staff who were serving them.  The role felt overwhelming and I was bombarded with anxiety as the camp approached.  I doubted my skills and began to think that maybe I was no different than those kids.  I felt way too broken and damaged to be ministering to 200 people in such a tender space.  Faithfully, I stepped over the fear and I showed up at camp with a heart burning with desire to be used for the kingdom, to serve “the least of these,” and to whisper God’s truth into their broken hearts.  I was committed to stay present to see the needs of God’s people.  It was one of the best weeks of my life.  The highlight was the last night when I was given an opportunity to share a part of my story with the young girls around the camp fire.


When the director asked if I would be willing the day prior, I felt honored and terrified.  I had no idea what to share as I hadn’t prepared.  I told him I would pray about it and if God revealed something to me that I would do it.  I went to bed that night praying and when I awoke, I had a discrete memory of hiding underneath my bed as a little girl.  This is a story in which I had run away and nobody even noticed my absence.  I felt invisible! It lead me to the story of Sarai’s housemaid Hagar in the book of Genesis.  I had already claimed this story as a part of my own because in it, Hagar runs away, just like I did.  What struck me anew as I prepared to share with these kids and counselors was this:  “The angel of the Lord found her by a stream in the wilderness, he called her by name and asked: Where have you been and where are you going?” 16:7-8My story of hiding and being provided for, pursued and redeemed by a loving God intersected with a larger story of the gospel and the story of these children who could identify with the pain of being used or mistreated, they knew about hiding and running away from problems.  My own story that I wish I didn’t have to suffer became a beacon of hope to kids in the midst of the wilderness.  I was able to encourage them to remember this camp like a stream in the wilderness.  A place where God chose them and brought them to provision and abundant care, but also to look forward to where they were going.  Just like Sarai they needed to return home and submit.  They have been chosen and called to shine light and to trust in Gods provision and care in the midst of the wilderness.

God is faithful to rewrite and use the broken bits of our stories to heal and redeem his kingdom.  I wonder where God is inviting you to step out in faith and be used for a moment such as this.

Comment

Comment

Mirror Mirror

What do you see when you look in the mirror?  The evil queen in snow white went to the mirror to get affirmation.  She needed to be told that she was beautiful.  When she didn’t get the desired response of being the fairest of all, she turned wicked with envy and wanted to get rid of her competition.

    
 When I was young, I don’t remember thinking that I was very beautiful.  I didn’t spend much time looking into mirrors. I would rather be running around barefoot and making mud pies.  Yet there was a time I was gazing into a mirror in the bathroom behind a locked door.  It was my brother who usually caused me to escape into the bathroom so he wouldn’t get into trouble for making me cry.  I gazed right into the mirror.  I noticed my bright red nose and my tear soaked cheeks. But what calmed me every time was looking into my eyes.  I saw no evil in my eyes but something about them put a stop to the sobbing and soothed my pain.  I felt the presence of God and I didn’t even know His name.  This makes me sad on one hand and incredibly grateful on the other.


 Our good and gracious God gave me access to him.  I found safety from the storm that was raging around me as I perched on the bathroom sink staring into my own brown eyes.  This is amazing to me!  I discovered the sweet innocence and simplicity of my little girl.  I found the presence of God dwelling in my eyes.


The other day, we were playing a game called “Mirror Mirror” at kids’ yoga.  Children began by leading and following one another childlike motor movements.  They laughed and delighted while getting swept up in the movement and music.  This reminded me of the ways that I learned to follow God.  As a child I lived my life without any real awareness or concern of Him.  He, like a patient father, followed closely behind.  He picked me up and dusted me off each time I fell, assessing the damages and making sure I didn’t cause too much harm.  He was calling to me and guiding me even in my fierce independence and ignorance.

This is what I noticed as the children practiced leading and following.  They became connected and were moving together in synchronicity.  There was surrender as the children danced.  They were caught up in the flow of the Spirit.  They were free to experience and enjoy the fullness of life.  The same life that is promised to all who believe. 


Now as an adult woman I want to reflect the love, grace, mercy and beauty of   God. I see it in the dance of children…I see it in their eyes.  It has been rich for me to recapture the goodness of my childlike brown eyes.  I remember the girl behind those eyes and the God who was present with her always.  Yes, she has grown up to so much more from and for Him.  The wicked witch has no foothold in my mirror as I capture the beauty of God’s presence.  My hope is that she has no place in your mirror as well.  Take a look and see the goodness God is reflecting in your own eyes.

Comment

Comment

It is Better Together

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down one can help the other up.
— Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

If growth is necessary and good, why does it hurt so much?  I am on the growth edge; and it feels like death at times.  It feels like the best place in the world only moments later.  My heart is tender and dangerously exposed as I dare to dream and step toward the vision relentlessly.  When I try to understand what feels so terrifying about stepping into my calling, fear overwhelms me and the “what-ifs” chime in.  There is a voice that criticizes and mocks my brave stepping.  I know that it is not the voice of truth, because there is no kindness or love.  If I listen to this voice too long, I start to believe the lies and get paralyzed.

 
Every step I take toward the light and beauty of the vision feels extremely risky.  I want to shrink back, hide and find my way to the comfort zone of what is known. The pain and confusion that swirl in the dangerous places of growth feel like more than I can bear.  One critical step on the journey toward growth and stepping out in faith to move toward calling is to show up even when I feel like withdrawing because I am “messy.”  It feels dangerous to bring my face to the table when it is covered in tears or shame and yet it is the only way to become all that I am meant to be.  We are harmed and healed in community.


This week, when I went for a bike ride with my friend Kelly, she asked good questions and helped me see more of the big picture than I could see from my limited perspective.  I shared with her my hearts desire which is to be wildly successful, she asked me what that looked like and I answered in metaphor:

Like a tree…
Rooted and established in Gods love
Firm and stable, present and engaged with my family and community
Reaching out my branches to provide comfort and care for those in need
Bearing much fruit
Calm and still through the changing seasons and storms of life
Willing to release my leaves and trust the winter
Allowing the natural rhythms of growth and change
Celebrating and giving thanks for the sun and the people that make life possible

Later that day as I was thinking about the tree, I remembered the forest.  Just that week I invited my students to stand in a circle facing one another and practice tree pose in isolation.  Next I invited them to outstretch their arms and become a forest of trees.  After feeling the relief and comfort of connection I ask which feels better and the forest always wins.  Then in unison we say, “It is better together… EVERY TIME!”


To be human is to connect.  The best way to handle the growth edge or any other tricky spot on your journey is with community.  Practice reaching out and asking for what you need.  Share your heart and your dream and let wise and loving people breathe life into your vision.  Experience the gift of being held and supported as you become for one another the body of Christ.  Using each unique gift and talent to support each another in the becoming is a holy place to be. 

Comment

Comment

Valley Freedom

My mind races and I have the undeniable urge to run out of the room.  I grip the arms of my chair to make sure that I don’t.   I am about to share a painful valley experience with a group of near strangers who are all staring at me expectantly.   I have willingly agreed to do this but now it seems like a careless, almost reckless thing to do.  Something akin to how I might feel if I went grocery shopping naked.  Come to think of it, I would welcome perusing the produce aisle in the buff over this right about now.    Why would I choose to look back at such a painful time in my life and then willingly share it with others?  Was I crazy?  It seems so counter intuitive to everything I have been taught by my parents, by the church and by well-meaning friends.   As a society, it seems we are encouraged to put the past behind us and press onwards and upwards. “What’s done is done” and “don’t cry over spilt milk” are two refrains I’ve heard over and over again.  Even Paul in his book to the Philippians tells us to forget what is behind and strain towards what is ahead pressing on to the prize that is in Christ.    Yet, my spiritual walk had become anything but joyful and hope filled.   Instead, I feel weary, run down and just getting by with a low grade numbness invading the crevices of my soul.   Could it actually be possible that Jesus is asking us to enter some of the more painful areas of our lives that we would much rather keep sealed off never to be opened again?  What if maybe, just maybe, Jesus is really behind us too, wooing and calling us to our valleys so that we can find redemption from the pain, patterns and debris of our past that potentially keep us from experiencing the abundant life that we are promised as believers?


I had recently finished Dan Allender’s book To Be Told and it resonated deeply.  He states;   “Our own story is the thing that most influences and shapes our outlook, our tendencies, our choices and our decisions.  It is the force that orients us toward the future, and yet we don’t give it a second thought, much less careful examination.  It’s time we listen to our own story.” 
I guess it is my time.

 
My voice falters as I begin but slowly I gain momentum and start to recall specific details of my valley like the Bee Gee song that was playing on the radio and how the hot sting of the August sun felt on my adolescent skin.  We had been instructed by our leader not to narrate our stories as if bystanders casually observing the action from a safe distance, but instead to get back down in the dirt of the story.  So I was consciously using my senses to kick up the dust as I walk back through it.  I continue on and evoke the images of the characters involved and the feeling of my young heart beating so fast that I could hear it reverberating in my ears.  I keep sharing this way and as I do my jaw clenches and I feel a knot in pit of my stomach just as I did all those years ago.  The flush of shame rises in my body as I recount the intense feelings of powerlessness and betrayal that marked me in this particular valley.  Before I know it, I am once again walking in the valley of the shadow of death and it feels like hell.  Waves of grief come as I experience the pain and agony of this particular time in my life afresh.  I somehow finish but the sorrow is deep and the tears continue to flow.  After what seems like eternity, I catch my breath and gather the courage to look up cautiously making eye contact with my fellow story sojourners who have just witnessed my intense valley walk.  Their faces are brimming with tears.  Many of them seem to be as shaken as I am. 


There is a deafening silence and then something remarkable happens.  They begin speaking in to my sad and grief filled soul with curiosity, kindness and compassion.  They start making holy observations and pointing out beautiful truths that I had never had eyes to see before.  They ask insightful questions and we explore my story more in depth and then, through shared eyes, God starts to reveal himself to me; to us.  This stunning care towards me and my story starts to shake loose a new way of seeing and an unbelievable freedom is being born in its wake.  Through this process, I break strong-holds that my past had on me that I didn’t even know existed.  Jesus begins sewing a torn piece of me back up again.

 
I feel a shiver of joy rush through me and a lightness of being that I still can’t quite explain. 
Since that first time re-walking a valley experience, I have pondered, written and shared other stories from my past and have cried many tears in the process.  Each time, I am newly amazed at the transformation that happens when I re-enter my stories in this way.  It is in and through the valley that I have found freedom from some deep seeded wounds and vows that were keeping me from experiencing God’s full redeeming love.


Is it time for you to enter a valley and kick up some dust of your own?  It is hard, but God will meet you there.  He longs to hold you as you weep and patiently waits for you to join Him in re-narrating the painful parts of your story with His eyes and His healing insights. 
So come, spend a little time in your valleys-- the beautiful majestic mountains are just on the on the other side. 

Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.
— Billy Graham

Comment

Comment

Birthing

This month feels like the culmination of the birthing process.  Not the birth of a child, but the birth of a dream.  Laurie and I began with a seed of a vision and we dreamed together and apart. We collaborated, researched, studied and committed ourselves to pray and open ourselves up to God’s calling for the next step of our journey.  The product of all this dreaming and hard work is coming to life this month as we launch SOW that… into the world in faith, hope, and love.  We believe the world needs communities of care and SOW that is our attempt to be the change we hope to see in the world.  So as we nurture and care for this tiny dream and help it grow and flourish into the fullness of our calling, we invite you to do the same.  Open your beautiful heart, acknowledge your truth and your deepest desire, and step out in faith!  If you feel stuck and don’t know which way to step, we can help.  Please sign up today for a free 30-minute consultation.

When we birth our dreams it is important that we have the safety of an authentic community.  I have made the mistake of over sharing in a way that was not honoring to my story.  One night, after playing Bunco and having too many drinks, when everyone was preparing to leave, a random guest, who was subbing for one of the regulars asked about our stories of birthing our babies.  It was so inappropriate given the time of night and the lack of prior relationship, but because of the cocktails, we went there.  We continued to talk for another hour, sharing way too many details of one of the most vulnerable pieces of our stories.  I wish that I could say it was holy, but it wasn’t.  It was just wrong. 

We all desire intimacy at the core of our beings.  It is who we are.  To be human is to connect.  In the African culture, there is a word Ubuntu which means me-we, or “I am what I am because of who we all are”.  Individuals are inextricably bound to the whole of humanity whether they acknowledge it or not.  When you pull on a thread of my story, it somehow impacts the larger tapestry.   Held within this desire is a dilemma.  People crave the depths, but they often can’t handle them, so they choose to swim numbingly across the surface in disappointed wonder.  Why am I not more fulfilled?  There must be something more!

I believe the solution to our cultural epidemic of disconnection is community.  Not just any community, but real and authentic community where you can take off your masks and stop pretending.  To see and be seen, to know and be known is what we are made for, but unfortunately many of us bare wounds that have not been healed in relation to our ability to connect and trust another authentically.  When you suffer harm, it is your natural reflex to fight, take flight, are freeze.  The last thing you want to do in places of pain is to open your heart and feel deeply.  To bring your tears and your precious heart’s desire to another is risky business.  But it is critical if you would like the freedom and abundance of life that you were created for.

When you open up your story to an individual or group that hasn’t earned your trust or are not capable of being with you in the valley, you may suffer more harm than healing. For this reason, it is critical that you choose your community wisely and allow a facilitator to help guide you in listening and to put some basic parameters around the space. Listening is a fine art and needs to be treated with reverence.  When you open up your story to another, it is like pulling back the curtain to reveal the inner sanctuary.  It is holy ground.  Take off your shoes, breathe deeply, bow reverently and open up your precious heart to receive the blessing.

I wonder what one step you could take today to move closer to the birth of your dream…

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a JOY.
— Rumi

Comment