My He(ART)-Full Life



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I believe in magic

  “You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.

 After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.
That’s what I believe.

The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” It just happens.

These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.” 
                                                                      -Robert McCammon, Boy's Life
 I came across this sterling piece of truth last week and have been reading it over and over again. It resonates with me on every level so I printed it up and pinned it on my studio wall. I always want to be reminded of the magic that lives inside of us...to harness this magic, revel in it and claim it as my birthright. I want Tara to always know her magic...deep and true...on every level of her precious being. I see how my magic (as for so many of us) has been lost, discarded and devalued as we stepping into other people's ideas of who we should be, of how we should act, live and exist.  

And so...we are practicing living in magic...breathing it, painting it, reading it and believing in it. Magic is what we are made of, I am deeply convinced. It is that thing called courage + spirit + hope all mixed in together with our stories to create the deepest parts of who we are.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

start where you are

 "The road of change is before you always: the only line stitching this world's scattered parts."
                  - Ghalib
 There have been so many changes around here lately (both internally and externally) that it's so easy to get overwhelmed...and I have been. With Tara starting school full time...we have all had to do some major adjusting, changing... recalibrating. I am starting to discover who I am now, present day, and...who I want to be. I have been journaling, going on photowalks, painting + reading, reigniting my love of cooking + poetry...healing the deepest parts of my broken self and facing truth without flinching. There has been immense pain, vulnerability, tenderness and anger...and it is all liberating me, strengthening me. To share my truths, to forge my journey and to continue on this journey of soul mending and truthtelling. Of thriving + blooming. Of reaching for my best self while accepting all of mySELF. I am giving mySELF permission to change, evolve + grow...what a beautiful thing!!! Not to say that it isn't terrifying and painful...this casting off of old selves and skins...this shedding of untruths that you were forced to claim and accept as your own...this  writing of your own stories. This standing at the chasm of your past + your future...bridging the self you were with the self yet to be birthed. It's terrifying + exhilarating all at once. "I wouldn't give nothing for my journey now".

And when I falter + fail and become afraid...as I often do...I remind myself of these truths: Once you start seeing, you can't "unsee". Once you open your eyes to the beauty, gifts + frailty that lie within...you can't ignore them or throw them away. Once you embark on the journey...you can't turn back for even if you do...you are already a changed person. Start where you are, I hear. And I am listening dear friends...I'm listening. With a wide open heart claiming all of my humanness.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

changes around here

 There have been so many changes around here lately...Tara started full day school and it has been a huge adjustment for our family. I am so lost without my girl. Ever since she was born I have spent all my days with her and while I realize how very fortunate I am for that time...things simply aren't the same. The house is so empty and quiet without her...the hours stretch out before me and there are reminders of my sweet girl everywhere. But she is thriving and blooming and full of energy, curiosity and spunk ...and that makes me ever so happy. So much of parenting is about letting go...in tiny steps...while remaining grounded in loving support as she ventures out into the world. I am treasuring all these moments...every single step of the way.

I am slowly getting back to painting...this is my latest art journal I'm working on. In the meanwhile I wanted to share some awesomeness with you. Things I think are wonderful, amazing and brimming with goodness.

*This article by the brilliant, witty and hilarious Anne Lamott that had me both laughing + crying at the same time. Spilling over with truth, insight and wisdom....I am going to print it out and re-read it often. Absolutely resonates with me right now in this fragile time of healing, truthtelling ...deconstructing and reconstructing mySELF.
* This TED talk right here by Aimee Mullins about redefining adversity, what constitutes a sexy body and her 12 pairs of legs!!! This lady is straight up amazing, inspiring and the freakin' boss!! What more can I say...just watch her!

* I just received this book a few days ago and dived right in....absolutely love her philosophy of creating an environment for children to create, fail, experiment...thrive!!! Love, love + love...and ever so grateful for the ongoing work of Julia Cameron.

* these construction paper crayons. I bought some for Tara and she loves them...vibrant colors that are so fun.Going to try them out in my art journal!
And my girl a few days ago...telling her toys (and me) a story about a dragon, some eggs and a red bird. Absolutely love her expressiveness, her creativity, her ability to take bits and pieces of her world and weave them into fantastical stories. She takes her storytelling very seriously:) xxx

Saturday, August 16, 2014

my experiments in minimalism

 "This is today! What will tomorrow bring? Life arrives and departs on it's own schedule, not ours, it's time to travel light, and be ready to go wherever it takes us." -Meg Wolfe
It's been about 4-5 months since I decided to head toward minimalism (truthfully...I can't quite remember when I made this decision) and about 3 months since I took the challenge not to purchase anything new! Not for me, Tara or our home (ahem...of course...books are excluded from this list!). When I first started reading up on minimalism and this 3 month challenge it seemed quite impossible! I mean...to buy nothing new at all for 3 months??? But the more I began reading stories of how it changed people's lives, the lessons learned and the truths uncovered...I made the decision to try it. I mean...I can do anything for 3 months, right??  The most difficult part??  Not buying anything new for Tara:) The first month was the most difficult...every time I saw something cute...I really had to make a conscious decision (and exercise a lot of discipline!) to not purchase it by telling myself if I really wanted it I could always buy it later on. And now that I am at the tail end of my challenge...I feel utterly transformed with so many gifts gained..And what bountiful gifts they have been!!!.
*Note to self: Tara doesn't want more stuff

 “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” -Thich Nhat Hanh.
  Okay...so the first month or so was utterly and impossibly difficult...and I had to keep reminding myself that I am not my stuff (This mantra was on auto repeat quite a lot! ) . To fully know, understand and live this truth is an invaluable gift I can give to myself...and to my daughter. But the more I stuck with it...the easier it became. Then when Tim had his major surgery a month ago...I saw the tangible effects of minimalism...because everything came down to the bare bones truth of what's really important in life. And for me...I suspect for us all...it's time spent loving and talking and hugging and dancing...it's about living life! In a deeply meaningful way of authenticity + connection. It's about what gives us joy and purpose. It's about caring less about what I own and caring more about living. Now...to be clear...I love and enjoy beautiful things...and it's not about giving away everything! It was simply about changing my focus + perspective.
 And so...there has been more time for huggles and snuggles:) More time for reading stories under shady trees, eating Popsicles and running barefoot in grass. More time for impromptu picnics and evening photowalks.  More time for reading, singing, dancing and listening to music...more time to experience life rather than cleaning up or figuring out what to wear in the morning. More of simply..being. 

“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.”-Harold Kushner
Another invaluable gift that has emerged  has been this...the focus has now been turned inward  rather than outward. So...instead of looking outside of myself for happiness, peace or connection... instead of  buying something new, distracting myself with busyness or thinking something "out there' was going to fulfill me...I turned inward. To healing and journaling, to feeling my feelings, to deeply meaningful conversations and truths. And it has made all the difference! I feel stronger, more authentic, more fulfilled...happier!
Grateful, grateful + grateful!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

notes from the journey

 “You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.”-Jiddu Krishnamurti
 I have been dealing with some hard truths lately...changing entire paradigms.And it has been difficult... physically and emotionally draining. But so so necessary; a gift. And what has been sustaining me is love, art, poetry, truth, journaling, reading, trees, wide open skies, courage, friendship, kindness, self care, green grass, music, tears, letting go.I am leaning into faith and surrender more than ever. Trusting the process, trusting mySELF, trusting truth. I am allowing...no judgements, expectations or burdens to bear. It's difficult. And I have to continually remind myself...it's not meant to be otherwise. It's giving me the opportunity to lean into my wiser self and to strengthen parts of mySELF that have been hidden. It's the portal through which I can expand the possibilities of who I am and heal all the brokenness. It's soul medicine.

 "Though her soul requires seeing, the culture around her requires sightlessness. Though her soul wishes to speak it's truth, she is pressured to be silent." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes, WWRWW


To fellow travelers on the journey... xxx

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

journeying into the light


"We have stories to tell, stories that provide wisdom about the journey of life. What more have we to give one another than our 'truth' about our human adventure as honestly and as openly as we know how?" - Rabbi Saul Rubin
 I've been sorting through all of Tara's pics lately and came across this one right here...when she was about 5 months old. The thing is...I remember ever single aspect of this day...this very moment and it really does seem like yesterday. We, none of us, can fathom the mysteries of time...only that it passes. And passes. and passes. Here I was ...all of 40 years old...but still a very new mother. Blissed out, exhausted, unsure of myself, learning to trust my instincts while stumbling + falling every step of the way. And completely cocooned in the world of new motherhood. What I didn't know at the time was the transformation that lay ahead for me...the utter and complete dissolution of who I had been up to that point...and the (often slow) rebuilding of mySELF. This little girl right here birthed me more than I did her. She came into my life and ushered me into the light. Every time I faltered and stumbled...it was her precious spirit that lifted me up and carried me to a stronger place. A place where I could grow, bloom, thrive...a place where I could seek out all of the precious jewels within mySELF and wear them proudly. I had to begin to come to terms with my extremely abusive and highly dysfunctional childhood, I had to lift myself out of denial...and  really see the truth about my past with deep courage and insight...I had to do a lot of letting go, a lot of restructuring...a lot of crying and coming to terms with things as they really were...not as I would have liked them to be. Most importantly...I had to see the truth about mySELF. I had to begin the journey of becoming fully human; compassionate, joyful, brave, truthful, vulnerable...I started walking into the light. At first...it was terrifying, blinding, uncomfortable. I wanted to turn back to the safety and familiarity of the darkness...of course I did! But with each baby step...I went on and on and on. There was no map. I got lost. I stumbled along, I fell...I fell again.And again...and again.  And what happened was this: each time I  questioned my journey, each time I wanted to turn back or give up altogether...I was met with grace. Nothing short of sheer grace.


And here we are...just a few days ago...and this sweet, beautiful girl continues to lead me. She lives in the light..it's who she is. She teaches me how to be present, how to love with a wide open heart without fear or hesitation. She teaches me how to be authentic, strong, joyful. She teaches me how to claim all of my gifts with apology or negation...she teaches me how to live. And so we continue to journey together...into the light.

****************************************************************************
And Tim and I just celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary. We have grown so much together over these years...meeting each other in all of our places. We've had our ups and downs like everyone else...but we have come through on the other side more in love with each other. Truly...I wouldn't be the woman I am today without him.Grateful.  xxx

Saturday, July 19, 2014

something like...grace

 “I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” - Anne Lamott
 
This past week has been an absolute roller coaster of emotions. Tim had major surgery this week and even though we have known about it for months and had been preparing ourselves in every possible way...the flood of emotions that overtook us all came as a surprise. Honestly...It was the whole bag!! Fear, gratitude, exhaustion, love...and something like...grace. Within the span of a few days, I felt layers and layers just peel off of me. I grew up in a family that was very secretive about illnesses. There was am airtight seal of denial, pretense and a whole lot of shame that always accompanied any sort of illness. As a child I couldn't make any sense of it ...it was really quite bizarre and very unhealthy. There was an unspoken rule about not being allowed to be vulnerable...not being able to ask for and seek help. In reality...not being allowed to be human. In this past week...all of that came crumbling down for me. I was ever so grateful for community and truth-telling...for being able to lean on someone and cry. For being able to ask for what I needed and...actually receive it! For allowing myself to feel all of my emotions and release them, for being weak when I was and strong when I was. The layers all just peeled off. It allowed me to be present for Tim and Tara...as well as myself. Grateful, grateful + grateful. This entire experience taught me to lean into my strengths, give voice to my vulnerabilities and be in the now. Gifts...all.

And what really showed up was a truer version of mySELF...a closer version to the person I want to be. It has all been something like...grace.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

feeding my soul

 A few things that I am crushing out on lately...some things that have been feeding my soul as I am on this path of healing mySELF, deconstructing and reconstructing mySELF and realigning to the truest of trues. I have been leaning into faith + surrender in a huge way. Something that would have been completely impossible for me a few short years ago but now...I am becoming more comfortable with it  (most times!). There's simply so much in life that is beyond our control...so I am choosing to view these as life lessons and be very grateful for the ways in which I am transforming. For the ways in which I am expanding the possibilities of who I am...and of who I can be...of who I want to be. For the fears and insecurities  that come, ugly and uninvited, that have lessons to teach me also. For the joys and abundance I am receiving that are teaching me invaluable lessons also... I am worthy,  I am enough (as is, right now). I am grateful.

 *every single morning I am starting the day with kindness. And it all begins right here...with me. Looking at mySELF with infinite compassion, love and non-judgement. So easy to say...so difficult to do. But when I spend 5-10 mins practicing this simple act...it aligns me to all that is good inside of me and my day goes more smoothly. It reminds me to make higher choices (large + small) throughout the day to treat mySELF with love. And it all starts with me.
 
*Photowalks!! I took the Be Your Own Beloved class last year with Miss Vivienne and I have carried this practice with me since then. Whenever I'm stressed, out of sorts, caught in the depths of despair...I go for a quick photowalk and can I tell you how it soothes my soul? Sometimes I go alone...in the evenings or Tara and I go together. Whatever the magic of this act is...it binds me to all that is beautiful in the world. It takes me outside of myself and releases my negative self talk, my fears and gremlins into the air. And what takes it's place is a simple quiet...a peace...a sense of joy and well being that I am grateful for.

*I first came across Caroline Myss about 15 + years ago...and honestly...at that time I seriously had no idea what she was talking about!!! I listened to her many times but nothing made any sense to me at all and ...I thought she was a bit delusional. Fast forward to now and her work absolutely resonates with me on a deep and soulful level. Her work on archetypes has me clinging onto every bit of truth and wisdom...aha moments galore!! Okay...now it all makes sense!!! She talks about our Sacred Contracts, Energetic Anatomy and how we lose our power. At the heart of her teaching is this simple truth...be here now. In the present moment is where we can feel the most fully alive, authentic and powerful.

*loved reading this article on making time for creativity. It was chock full of truths and made me laugh out loud. Anne Lamott rocks...big time! And her Twitter and FB accounts are full of wisdom nuggets, humor and wit. Love this lady! 
* I started reading this book and I couldn't be more grateful. Dr.  Tsabari has written a (parenting) book that is truly revolutionary and it has entered my life at just the perfect time. Can you say grateful??
*picked up this book again... I had read it years ago but it's calling me now in an entirely different way. Love that!!
*journaling, morning pages, therapy...whatever you want to call it...I've been doing it every day and it has been cathartic, insightful and healing. There's something about the act of writing things down that accesses our deepest memories, emotions and thoughts and gives it voice + validation. So much is coming to light and with each sentence...with each page I feel myself getting stronger, more whole...more mySELF. It's a time I can carve out to sit and be present to all that emerges on the page. So very grateful for this practice.

And of course...when I fall and fail and become untethered...that is an opportunity as well. The path is not smooth or easy or straight and when I have "one of those days" (which I frequently do)...this quote reminds me that...I can get some rest and try again tomorrow.The reminder that courage isn't always some huge grand act but often...it's the quiet resolve of putting one foot in front of another.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

around here lately: unintended journeys + opening pathways

The thing I love most about unintended journeys is that they are exactly what we need ...when we need it!! The journey I'm talking about is the inner one...the one that is sometimes (but not always) facilitated by outer ones. I think when we travel in the physical world...we get out of our routines, regular lives, the hum drum of it all and see things with new eyes + ideas. I feel so much freer to deconstruct and reconstruct mySELF...every day or every moment. Trying on different things as they suit me. The thing is...for the past couple of months or so...I've been feeling extremely lost, anxious, insecure, untethered in so many ways and ...in large part because Tara starts full time Kinder. There is a huge sense of loss with my baby going out into the world. There is a huge sense of "what am I going to do with my days" because the last 5+ years have been entirely taken up with being a full time mommy. And while I know that her going off into the world is exactly the way it should be...exactly what she needs ...it had left me very much unbalanced. But strangely enough...on our recent trip to the East Coast...I saw the faint lights of  opening pathways. There are going to be some big changes around here...I can feel it!
The first part of our trip was all about the beach...waking up with the sun and walking down to the ocean outside our doorstep. Oh!!! Bliss. There was a whole lot of watching the waves, squealing and walks and building sand castles. Tara is a complete ocean girl BTW...just like her daddy. Tim is a military trained deep sea diver (fearless) and I, on the other hand, having grown up in S. Africa (home of great whites that you can see from the shore!!) am petrified of deep ocean water. Tara is an absolute water baby, though, and I love seeing her adventurous spirit.
I've been re-reading Dr. Angelou's classic I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I read it so many years ago in my first years of college and (with her recent passing) felt called to read it again with my 45 year old self rather than my 18 year old perspective. I felt deeply honored and in awe of her truthtelling. Of the way she pulled me into her world with such ease and grace. Another funny thing that happened is that on my trip...I must have seen about 10 other people randomly reading the very same book...a person at the airport, another while we were eating lunch etc. It was a bit startling but synchronicity at work...a note from the Universe (I deeply believe) telling me I'm on the right path.
*P.S. I made this collage inspired by Susannah Conway's recent collage making goodness. I got out all of these old mags, a pair of scissors and glue and Tara and I had so much fun doing our own thing while chatting and laughing. Fun, fun + fun!!  Totally going to do more of this!

The second part of our journey was much more fast paced...a few heavily touristed sites, up to Baltimore (one of my very fave places!!) and we spent 2 full days at the Smithsonian. We had only planned for one day there but Tara was so enamored at the Museum of Natural History that she insisted we go back there a second time!!!She loved all the larger than life animal exhibitions, the dinosaurs were a fabulous hit and of course...she loved leading and teaching us all about...well, everything. I adore that Tara is so brilliantly curious and excited about learning. It  makes me happy. One of the most important takeaways from being in D.C. though is that while we thought we may want to move back there...we decided that the traffic was unbearable!!! I guess if you live there you simply grow accustomed to it?? Also the cost of living is through the roof crazy. We lived in that area over 6 years ago (before Tara was born) and either we have become used to the minimal traffic in Colorado or...it has become that much worst over the past few years. While I would love to live in that part of the country with all of the opportunities it presents for my family...sigh...back to the drawing board.  


And I must say that even though I absolutely love travel...it makes me so happy to be back home. I love waking up in the quiet of the morning with the sunshine streaming through the windows...my morning coffee and journaling. And what I am realizing is that, as I get older...I love and need my routines as much as I do stepping out of them!!! Ying and yang...both are equally important, don't you think??

And I serendipitously came across this quote flipping through old mags during my collage making. It totally resonates with me at this time in my life. I have been doing a lot of healing, journaling, soul-mending work and while it is entirely necessary...it has also been extremely difficult.I have had to make an extra effort to be kind and nurturing to mySELF . To make a safe place where I can witness and experience the many emotions this work is bringing to the surface. Emotions and memories I have shut away and not allowed mySELF to feel since ...forever. And truthfully...it's been ...pretty messy and muddled and painful and exhausting . It's brought up so many feelings of deep rage + shame + fears + deep sadness...all of those very messy feelings I would so much rather not deal with. But now is the time. And I have to continually remind myself that ...it's not meant to be easy. Deep breath. So to find this quote was nothing short of a tiny miracle. Now I can turn my heart toward hope...and even though I am far from where I would like to be...I am heading that way...one tiny breath at a time. With each tiny intention and choice...I am marching toward hope. With faith and surrender...I am heading that way. 

With this opening path...I feel so many many changes coming along. I am thinking about transitioning to a vegan diet. Not sure if this is practical for me but...toying with the idea. In my early twenties (ahem...while dating a beautifully spirited Rastaman) I was vegan for a year but it became a bit tedious and impractical for me after a while. I was also a vegetarian for some years but that didn't work for me either...too heavy on the carbs with my tastes for all things pasta. Stepping out of my comfort zone ...I am changing and growing and becoming. Maybe it's a midlife awakening. More than ever ...I am truly grateful for the journey.  And this pic from yesterday...can you tell...we are glad to be back home. xxx