Growing to Change

She’s making changes. She’s growing up. She’s fighting herself and has only ever fought herself.

The war is beginning to subside. She’s making changes. She’s growing up. It’s taking time. Sometimes she has to take time away to then come back and dig deeper.

Deeper and deeper and deeper she goes, into her own world, only to emerge as a bright ball of light into the world. Do you think you can handle the bursting of her light? Do you think you can handle the explosive power of her light? If not, that’s fine. Neither can she.

That being said, she’s making changes. She has to grow up. It’s time. It’s time to come out of the tightly wound cocoon. It’s time to unhinge herself from the maddening war. It’s time to disengage from the meaningless coasting-through-life phase. It’s time to amplify and step into the hot light. Not to be in the spotlight, but one cannot be authentic if they refuse to accept the light that lives inside them. Living is equal to thriving, as coasting is equal to dying.

The soul needs to engage with the heart. The heart needs to engage with the mind and the mind needs to engage with the body. The body must engage with the soul. It’s a circle of alignment. As this engaging happens then freedom, authenticity can be ignited. Then the light inside is channeled and we are able to be. We are able to live truthfully, thrive beautifully and be without fear, as God intended.

So, she’s making changes. She’s growing up because she has to. It’s time. The war must come to an end. The light inside has been squandered long enough. It has come to her attention that she’s the only one who can turn on the light. So, she’s decided to flip the switch. The light switch moves slowly from it’s dormant state to the “on” position. This will take some time. Thank you for your patience while she works out the kinks. Thank you for living the best you know how while she works out how to ground herself and how to balance the electrical system that lives inside her.

She’s making changes. She’s getting better. She’s afraid to be too much. She’s afraid to be too bright. She knows that those who love her with all their heart want to see how bright she can get. And those that can’t take it shouldn’t keep her down. It’s time to live. She can’t coast anymore. From cannon fire to a sunken ember her light has been all over the map. She’s tired. She feels inauthentic. She hasn’t been true to herself, to her friends, or to the world.

Time to live in balance. One step at a time. Down a rabbit hole of healing she goes. Here she goes…she’ll see you when she sees you.

Always Freeing, Never Freed

Always Freeing Beauty, never freed.

She grows and grows and grows. She gets better day by day. She does one thing a tiny bit better than she did the day before. Look at her grow!

Always Freeing Beauty, never freed.

Look at YOU grow and grow! Look at YOU getting better day by day. Delight in doing things a teeny tiny bit better than you did the day before. That is enough.

We’re always freeing something, always learning something. Nothing is ever freed, nothing is ever final because we grow as we go. We go, grow, rest, grow, and go again.

Always Freeing Beauty, never freed. Always freeing, never freed.

Mirror Friends

My friends. My true, honest, humble, grounded, steadfast, joyous, lovely, beautiful, and dear friends you are forever in my heart.

I don’t think I can ever stop giving gratitude for you, who you are, and your profound presence in my life. In fact, I think it is my duty to express my gratitude for you in whatever way I can until my last breath on this Earth. Perhaps that’s excessive, but not to me.

Here’s why I feel indebted to you for your friendship…

From a young age I squandered my days by trying to destroy myself so much that I never felt good in my own skin. I knew deep down that I had a bright soul. I wanted it to glow like the sun. I knew that my soul, my essence, could be as electrifying as a laser beam. I felt like a bright spark. I felt like a pop, a splash of color on a black canvas. I felt alive like fireworks on the 4th of July when I was by myself and listening to music. All I ever wanted was to share that with others. I wanted to share the beauty I saw and felt with others.

But soon those moments when I would listen to music behind closed doors were no longer thrilling, at least not in the same way. I stopped wanting to share with others. I thought no one would care how I saw the world and I felt very ugly. I began to not feel alive anymore. I no longer felt like fireworks. I became very afraid. I was afraid of everything. I struggled to see the beauty in things, especially in myself. Somewhere in my growing up I got scared to be me. I was afraid I would be too bright, or too much like the sun, or too colorful. I didn’t want to be too much and therefore unworthy of love. I unconsciously felt that there was not enough space in the world for many bright and colorful people. I thought that it was better for me to be not enough so that I wasn’t too much.

Despite that my soul felt loud, colorful, and bright, I very quickly got quiet, dark, and dim. I subdued myself as much as possible and from then on no one could see what I felt on the inside.

“No one would ever see it. No one will ever see my too much-ness. I should not be taking up too much space.” I thought, mostly unconsciously, “I don’t want to overpower anyone. Everyone already feels overpowering to me. It is better that I make myself scarce. Actually, I don’t think I should be taking up any space at all. I feel like nobody and everyone else seems to be so much more substantial than I am.” These were just some of my reoccurring thoughts.

Eventually I didn’t want to be in the world. Being in public was difficult and took a lot of energy. Everywhere I went I felt like a walking mistake. The light of day was hard to face each morning, especially as I began to keep myself awake.

When my family would go to sleep I would retreat into the darkness of the night and the house. I would simultaneously remove myself from life, make every effort to not have to face daybreak for as long as I could, and tried to get back in touch with my soul. So in the dimly lit or dark room I would slip my headphones on and fade away. For a while those moments when I would listen to music alone felt like a refuge. I felt safe behind closed doors, in the dark, and in the music to be as too much, too colorful, and completely myself as I wanted to be.

However by the time I reached college those nightly music binges became the kiss of death. I exhausted myself. I stopped sleeping. I stopped sleeping so much that morning hurt. My body ached and love felt too impossible to feel. Then I lost my appetite. I got so anxious and I was so exhausted that I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to do what I loved and I forgot what I loved. I was running in circles on empty and emotional adrenaline was all that really fueled me. Until eventually I didn’t want to live at all.

I thought people would be better off without me. I thought no one needed me or missed me. I thought I only cause discomfort, fear, anger, and exhaustion that an early death would be a sweet relief to those that knew me. Besides I was empty. I was nothing. I was useless, and insubstantial so why would anyone care if I was gone?

I wrestled with the boulders I created everyday for over a decade. I woke up everyday begging to be someone different or to just not be here at all. Somehow no matter how much I wrestled, fought with myself and hammered away at the boulders I was unable to completely sink. I wanted to sink and made an effort to drown by staying up late or all night. I stopped eating regular meals or anything at all sometimes. I tried to engulf myself in the dark, but I could never totally fall into my self-inflicted rabbit hole because like a gentle ray of light there was always a hand that would thrust into the dark and pull me out for a while. You, dear friends. You sat with me, talked with me, and I was glad to have the company. Unfortunately being in the light or even talking about light for too long made me nervous. So I always found a way to climb back into my hole and lock the door.

You amaze me, dear friends! Each moment there was always someone to sweetly hang out with me and gently hold up a mirror in the hole I created. You stayed in that dark hole with me but because you cared more about me then the dark you were not overcome by what I was convinced of. You stayed present. You continued to hold up a mirror and remind me that I have a bright soul. No matter how much I got angry, scared, or depressed by my reflection you were unfazed by my negative reactions.

You were stubborn and steadfast in showing me the light. You led by example by just going about your day, enjoying life, and being grateful each day you can take another breath. I admired your shining eyes that looked at me full of hope. I was humbled by your loving messages, but I struggled still when you would hold up that mirror.

I hated that mirror. I hated it so much I wanted to break it. I wanted to grab that damn mirror and throw it across the room. Sometimes I would get so angry at your efforts to keep the mirror steady that I tried to push you, dear friends. I tried to yell at you and what I saw in the mirror. Sometimes I would get angry and yell when you would leave and I knew no one was around.

Thank you for gluing your feet to the floor. Thank you for holding that mirror tightly and never giving in to my bouts of emotion. Thank you for knowing who you are, where love comes from, and loving my existence no matter how much I tried to hate it or extinguish it. This is why I feel indebted to you. This is why I want to give you the world. This is why I love you so much and will be forever grateful to call you a friend.

Many friends have left and stopped staying in touch. Perhaps I was too much for them or not enough. At this point I’ll never know. What I do know is that they had their own work to do and couldn’t wait for me to do mine. They may not have been able to see that among all my struggle that I was working. I broke my own back but no ego was going to keep me hidden for too long. You had this same conviction. That’s why you continued to hold up that clean, simple mirror. Each moment you held up that mirror it was as if you’d smile at me, your eyes would shine, your heart would glow, life would fill your lungs and you’d say, “I see you. I love you. Do you see what I see? Can you see past your ego? Don’t be afraid, my friend. I am here. Your light doesn’t scare me and when you’re ready you will see it too. I am here for you always.”

Though there were days we didn’t talk I never felt abandoned by you. And what’s more is you trusted the work I was doing, and you moved it along by staying present and continuing to love wholeheartedly, and unconditionally.

I did the work. I did my own work to belong to myself. I did my own work to understand love, but you stayed with me as I did the hard digging work to belong to myself. You never let go of that mirror, you stayed grounded in your own convictions of how you saw me, and never wavered in who you are. So while I did my work I strongly believe that I would not have made it this far without you, dear friends. Without you I would not have learned what I did and when I did from you. Without you I might still be trying to sink, instead I’m practicing how to float on my own. Without you I might still be internally begging for love and to be someone different, instead I’m grateful for the rich love I do have and glad to be who I am.

I did the work and I continue to do the work but you, my dear friends, made it possible. You helped me float while I was learning to float on my own. Now I not only practice how to float but also how to ground myself. For the first time I’m going to bed before midnight. I’m treating my skin with care. I’m drinking more water. I’m delighting in my body and exercising. I’m learning to eat good meals with lots of nutrients. For the first time in my life I’m digesting love, peace, joy and happiness. For the first time I know what it feels like to be truly full. Full without effort. Full, nourished, and satisfied. Full, taking up space, and unafraid.

While this new treatment and outlook to belong to myself feels wonderful this is all very new. So it takes work. Since I conditioned myself to not be and to try to disappear for so long it will take some time for me to make this new treatment a habit, and then a lifestyle, but I will get there.

It is not an easy thing to build someone up, but what you did for me feels special. You built me up not only when I was having a bad day, but on many bad days when I was purposely trying to sink. When I was trying to not be and figure out how to be at the same time there you were with your mirror and lungs full of life. That took energy and work. It took stamina to just be there even if you didn’t have the energy. Thank you.

So, dear friends, I love you and I’m grateful. I loved you then, but I love you even more now, and will love you forever. I look forward to creating new memories together. Ones where we can both be and be together. I look forward to being my own version of the sun and showing up with all my colors. From a laser beam to fireworks I will be myself, and unafraid because I know you can take it.

And as I belong to myself more each day I look forward to getting to be your friend. I am currently training and getting in shape to be a better friend. A solid, reliable, unwavering friend. I’ll be ready with a mirror, grounded and ready to show up for you one hundred percent.

I can’t wait! But for now, “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time” (Eccl. 3:11).

Crossing the Great Divide

There’s a bridge that intersects childhood and womanhood. For a while my body has been sitting on the womanhood side of the bridge. However it has taken my mind and heart a little while longer to cross the bridge. My body has been sitting on the other side waiting and waiting…and patiently waiting.

Mind and Heart stand on the opposite side. Heart clings to the railing of childhood. Mind stands behind her.

“I can’t do this!” Heart called to Body.

“Please just come!” Body yelled back, “I promise you’ll be okay.”

“It’s not safe.” Mind insisted

“Yes, it is safe!” I’ve been safely waiting over here for forever. Womanhood will not kill you. So get a grip!” Body said

“I do have a grip!” Heart shouted

“On the childhood side of the bridge.” Body scoffed

“Yes! Of course. The best side of the bridge.” Heart chuckled nervously, on the verge of tears.

“We can’t do this!” Mind hollered

“Yes, you can.” Body yelled, “You just cross the bridge. Childhood, teenage-hood will be in your memory but you cannot stay in the past. So please take a step forward! I need you!”

“You need me?” Mind inquired

“Yeah! I need you to make wise choices for me and for us.” Body said, “Choices about what we eat, when we sleep and the person we want to become. We are a complete being, but we cannot function if we don’t act like a unit.”

“Do you need ME?” Heart asked angrily, feeling jealous.

“Yes. Of course!” Body said, “You keep things going with your big dreams, and creativity. You pump life into the system. You are a big part of the unit, but you must cross the bridge into womanhood.”

Heart clung tightly to the railing of childhood, “Okay, but I don’t feel like a woman. Can I cross the bridge and still be a girl?”

“You could?” Body said, “But technically you’d be a woman. You actually already are a woman. For several years you’ve been a woman whether you feel like it or not. However I NEED you, you too, Mind, to cross the bridge. I can’t do this without you.”

“No, no, no, no, no!” Heart slammed on the railing, “I NEED to stay here!”

“Why?” Body insisted

“Uh, it’s not safe!” Mind repeated, “You see, the bridge is made of wood and if the wood breaks then we could fall through. Then we’d have to run and try to jump off the cliff to cross to the other side. That’s even more unsafe. So we’ll just stay here. Sorry!”

Body tensed, “Oh my gosh! If you cross the freaking bridge then you won’t have to jump across the cliff. So just cross the fucking bridge! The world is moving along. Life is moving along and I can’t wait for you losers anymore!”

“NO!” Heart screamed

“WHY!?” Body screamed back

“Because!” Heart yelled

“Because why?” Body hollered, “Why? Why can’t you just cross the bridge and help me out?”

“Because I’m not good enough! Ok? I’m not good enough to be a woman. I can’t do it! There’s too much expectation and underestimation. There’s too much responsibility, pain, heartache, and irrational hope. I’m just not ever pretty enough, hardworking enough, and in all other ways good enough to be a woman. So, no!” Heart faltered, tears streaming down, “I won’t cross the bridge. I can’t cross the bridge.”

The breeze swept up the leaves and woke up the trees. Heart still held the railing but she couldn’t stand anymore.

Body took a breath for Heart and herself. Now she understood. She took another breath, “It’s okay, Heart. You can be scared. I’m scared too. It’s scary being on this side without you, but I had no choice. It was just something I had to do, but I’m deeply malnourished, tired, and bored. I need your love, Heart! I’ve missed you so much. I miss you too, Mind. Please cross over.”

“Uh…I don’t know.” Mind hesitated, “I can’t leave Heart alone right now. I miss you too. It would be nice to be a unit, but I’m not unit material. I mean…I mean I could be, but I just can’t. I mean I…feel similar to Heart. I’m not smart enough to be a woman, confident enough, or fast enough. I’m just not cut out for it. I’m not fully equipped. I need to know so much, preferably everything, before I can think like a real woman. One who’s mature, who can make wise choices, one who doesn’t get flustered easily, or who cowers at love, life, and life itself. I’m sorry I’ll just never be able to live up to the standards of womanhood.”

Body sat motionless, staring blankly across the bridge. The water below sparkled and reflected pockets of light. The clouds rolled over the blue sky like a cartoon and the breeze continued to play with the trees.

Heart and Mind commiserated on the childhood side for a while. They had out grown this side of the bridge long ago, but they could not bare to cross the divide. So they wrestled with themselves and each other for years. Every once in a while calling across the bridge to Body to apologize.

“We’re sorry!” They’d say

Exasperated, Body would yell back, “Yeah! I bet you are!”

“We are!” Heart would say

“We just need more time!” Mind would add

“You said that 4 years ago!” Body clenched her fists, “You say that every damn year!”

“More time…please!” Heart said helplessly

“One day I will be dead.” Body said, “In fact I could drop dead anytime now. So by all means just stay stuck on the other side. It’s fine!”

At some point each year Mind would force Heart into a serious conversation. They’d look at Body on the other side, lying flat on her back, looking up at the sky, and motionless. This year the conversation was hard to ignore.

“Heart” Mind began, “Each year Body’s condition gets more serious. Her need for attention, wise, mature, balanced, loving attention becomes more evident. Life IS moving. It has been for a long time. Do we really want to keep coasting through the world like this?”

“No, I don’t.” Heart says reluctantly, “But…”

“But what?” Mind wonders

“But it’s just…”

“Just what?” Mind urges

“It’s too hard and scary and hard, and I just don’t want to.”

“But you do want to.” Mind says, “I know you want to. You’ve wanted to for a while.”

Heart heaved a sigh, “I want to appear less childish and more grown up to others. I want to feel and be authentic without feeling like it’s dumb, or that I’m small or that the space I take up in the world isn’t a waste. I want that so badly, but being a woman just feels wrong. It feels too big for me. It feels far fetched. The word itself just doesn’t sound right, or feel right coming out of our mouth.”

“I get that.” Mind says, “I can’t even think the word without cringing, but womanhood is here. According to our birth certificate we are well into…you know, womanhood.”

“Ugh…I know! I know. I know, but also no!” Heart exclaims, “It’s too much. It’s all too big. I know we’ve neglected Body for…years. I feel really badly about that but crossing the great divide could be a disaster. No, it’s just going to be a disaster!”

“Heart” Mind says, sitting close, “It’s already been pretty close to disastrous. I mean look at Body. She’s not doing so well. Feel Body. Get quiet for a second and feel Body. How does Body feel?”

After a moment Heart jumped up and started pacing, “She’s really hungry, unsatisfied and barely hanging on, but you know, somehow she seems to be kind of fine so let’s just go.”

“Go? What?” Mind says, anxiously, grabbing Heart, “Kind of fine? Is that what you just said? That’s not okay, Heart. She is not fine, alright? She’s not even kind of fine. And you know I’m not kind of fine either. I can’t even think straight I’m so tired. You are definitely not fine. You’ve been all over the place for years. You know now that I think about it I have no idea how we have survived this long! Some friends have said we’re strong but I don’t know anymore. How did this happen? How did we get here? Where are we exactly? Nothing makes any sense anymore!” Mind begins to cry

“Whoa.” Heart says, “Wow. You are tired. Why don’t you just sit down and watch this, and I will be right back.”

“Wait! Where are you going?” Mind says in distress, “Don’t leave me here alone!”

“I won’t. I mean, I’m not! I’ll be right back. You watch that movie and I’ll be back before it’s over.” Heart walks to the bridge.

She looks at the sparkling water, the sky, the clouds, the light that dances down below and Body looking haggard on the other side of the bridge. Heart sits down. She sits quietly for a while. She feels the weight of her emotions, of Mind’s many thoughts, and of Body’s exhaustion.

“I’m really sorry” she whispers, “I don’t know why I can’t get it together. I know lots of hearts that have managed to beat from childhood to adulthood with no problem. They may still get scared, but they seem to be able to do things without getting sucked into the dark. And if they do get sucked into the dark they are really good at not looking defeated.”

“How do you know that?” Body says, rolling over to face Heart across the bridge

Heart looks up and stares straight at Body from her side of the bridge, “It just feels that way. Everyone knows when I’m scared, or distressed, or uncomfortable. I make it so painfully obvious and I hate it. Other people seem to just mask how they feel. They paint a big smile on their face and tell me to be happy too. So I don’t want to cross the bridge if I have to fake it till I make it, or practice inauthenticity.”

“So don’t.” Body says, sitting up, “I like the way you beat. There’s nothing wrong with the way you are.”

“Thanks.” Heart says, shyly, “But I don’t know…there’s still so much more…that holds me back. I wonder if I’ll be strong enough to last through a full-time job for more then a few months, or take care of a future house, or even an apartment, and the bills, and make sure to get enough food, but not too much that it spoils. I wonder how to do all that and maintain relationships in life, especially when they are so far away. I wonder how every woman on screen, or actress on stage, or women in business find the strength to get up each day and go to work. How do they do it?”

“I don’t know.” Body says, “I guess they just really want it, or really need it, so they just do it. Sometimes you just have to do it. Like eating, for example, sometimes you just have to put some kind of meal together and eat it. Sometimes you just have to get in bed, close your eyes and sleep. You just do it.”

“Okay, okay, geez!” Heart snarls, “I get it. I’m really sorry I abandoned you for so long, but facing you, Body, meant having to cross the bridge. I just couldn’t do it. Sometimes I can’t even handle being a girl!”

“Would you rather be a boy?” Body asks, tentatively, “I mean, I guess…well it feels a little late for me, but I could get surgery if you wanted?”

“Oh, no! No. Whoa, no!” Heart urges, “Please don’t do that. That’s not necessary! Like at all! I like being a girl. You don’t have to change, Body. I mean, sometimes I wish you had slightly bigger breasts and that you weren’t so tall.”

“What’s the matter with small breasts and being tall?” Body observes herself, uncomfortably.

“I just don’t like it.”

“Heart!” Body scolds

“And sometimes I wish you didn’t have to go through a reproductive cycle.” Heart says genuinely

“Oh. Yeah. I wish that too.” Body says

Heart says, “But mostly I wish I wasn’t so embarrassed about it.”

“You’re embarrassed about it?” Body asks

“Yeah. I am. I’m embarrassed about how I’ve shown up so far and many other things. I wish I wasn’t and I wish I hadn’t been so childish, slow, and all over the place.” Heart sighs, “But I was and I can’t take any of it back. That sucks! It really sucks!”

“It does suck, but what are you going to do? What else can you do? You can’t go backwards.”

“I know!” Heart says, impatiently

Body didn’t take offense. She shrugged it off, “And you can’t stay where you are for too much longer. So where does that lead you?”

“F…fuuu…forward.” Heart says, cringing

“Yeah.” Body says, “Just one step. One step forward. That’s all it takes.”

My Oasis

Be here now. Why is it so hard?

There is peace all around me. The house, the world, the evening is peaceful and still. The dogs rest close by as I sit on the porch. The sun quietly sets giving off gentle hints of pink, purple and orange. The breeze moves slowly, barely tickling the trees and the next door farm animals talk amongst themselves.

So why is it so hard to be here now?

“Breathe.” whispers the breeze, “Breathe.”

“I must go” The sun says, “But have no fear, little one. A new day will dawn soon!”

So I breathe and enjoy the last moments of light. I take in the springtime air and the fading colors in the sky. The silhouetted trees stand royally around this peaceful oasis. This beautiful oasis that constantly reminds me of Divine Spirit and is a lovely painting of power, grace, and the beauty of Divine Soul.

Though my mind buzzes like an active hive as I fight with my past self it is only a moment in time. Restless and unhappy I stepped out on the porch. I sat down, looked out at where I’m privileged to currently reside, my oasis, and suddenly the hive inside rested. I found myself here, and well.

Grateful for my oasis. Now time for a new moment.