August 21, 2017

... never more sweet a gift

I'll cherish most from us the reflection of myself that I was able to see through you, in you, from the vantage point of you... and my love, yours has been my most favorite. 

I love the way you loved me. 

The way you you touched my face as your eyes took me all in, like you were seeing the most beautiful thing in the world. 

I love the way you saw the rainbow of color of my bright shining soul, and your want to hear the stories that led me there. 

The way you'd smile as you watched me playing in a park, like you were overcome with so much love and gratitude seeing me wild and free and so incredibly in love. 

I love the way your energy would shift when I looked at you. 

The way you'd look at me as I spoke about my spirituality and belief in all-the-things, especially the super natural, and then ask questions to illicit an even further opening of myself. 

I love the way you saw my hidden fears and called me on them. 

The way you invited me to show up in my truth, all of it. 

I love the way your face softened when I'd smile. 

The way you'd reach for my hand, breathe into my neck, and pull me so close, like you needed to feel as much of me against you as you could. 

I love the way you craved me. 

The way you loved my body; every curve, every scar, every dimple, every wiggle, and how you spoke both so sweetly and so passionately about it so often with me. 

I love the sadness I saw reflecting in your eyes, the pain I felt around your heart, the fear that shackled your soul; for they were mine, and through you I saw how immensely beautiful and holy and timed I am. 

The way your entire being leaned into my touch. 

And I love that your eyes lit up so very bright the moment I saw you across that Starbucks parking lot. 

Ooh, sweetness, I was able to fall in love with myself so much deeper through you; through your eyes, the reflections you showed me, the way you loved me. 

Thank you, my love. Never more sweet a gift.
Farewell, you 💫

March 1, 2017

Sweet Surrender

This past weekend was full of naked vulnerability, in every possible way.

I busted out of my cocoon last year, and felt the sun warm my wings. My entire perspective continues to heighten & widen in such a way that I catch myself standing in jaw dropped disbelief so very often. Fuck; life is beautiful. All of it. Every pain and every joy.

This past weekend, circled with a group of sisters that each touched my heart in such profound ways, I reflected. I feel such a detachment from everything that isn't here. Isn't now. Isn't this moment. But there is a history there even if it doesn't necessarily feel like mine anymore. Maybe it's not mine. Maybe it never was. The illusion of reality, of time, of space. The disillusion of our perspectives. And then the pure oneness of *all... at the very least that history, that past, it belongs to us all. It is interesting, though, to dig back in my mind's archives and recall bits and pieces that so beautifully highlight my bloom. 

From a time in my early 20's when I experienced such paralyzing depression and anxiety. Leaving my house wasn't something I did. Ever. Truly, ever. To this past weekend where I packed up my camping gear and headed out, alone, to circle up with a group of women I'd never met before... and without a second thought, even. I wanted to go, so I went. A simplicity that I didn't even consider being so incredibly beautiful until I reflected on the contrast. 

From a time where I had such walls up and rejected anything spiritual as my perspective had it all boxed up with religion, and I, with heels dug in, "didn't believe in religion", to the undeniable experiences that have awakened me to see, feel, and honor the spiritual being that I am, have always been, for all of eternity. Choosing to nourish and continue intertwining my spiritual consciousness with my human experience more intimately through this weekend's Shamanic retreat. Soul work; oneness, delicious ascent. 

From a time where the stories planted in my head rang so incredibly loud with warnings about women, how they can't be trusted, ever, ever, and the validation that those stories were hungry to grab at when infidelity entered my marriage... again and again. To feeling so completely safe within this tribe of women before ever even arriving on the property. And moreso, feeling so fully safe and held in the larger global tribe of women. My sisters. My tribe. Reflections of myself. 

This past weekend we held each other, we lifted each other, we celebrated each other, we laughed, we cried, we cooked, we crafted, we danced, we chanted, we connected, and we sweat. A LOT. The physical manifestation of every thing we were ready to shed. The power of united release vibrated through my entire being; ripples of which are still physically being felt within me, days later. Will continue to be felt within, I'm sure, until forever.

Such Sweet Surrender.

December 3, 2016

i'm okay with not being okay

Okay, so that title is a little dramatic.

I'm okay with that, too.

We're leaving this driveway soon. We know that. Warmth, among other things.
The anxiety spikes of driving this rig, while towing our breaking van, are intense.
We don't know where we're going. Where we belong. Where we fit.

I'm feeling painfully vulnerable.
Abandoned and displaced.
Alone. So completely alone.

More then 6 months ago, my husband walked out on us. Again. As painful as it was, it was actually the absence of passionate emotion that rang the loudest. This time, without ever "thinking" about it, I knew I was done. I've said it before, and I really did believe myself all of those times. This time, however, there were no thoughts. No lists. No struggle with feelings. No words. Nothing extraordinary. Looking back, I can guess that that was because I wasn't trying to convince myself of being done. I wasn't manipulating myself into feeling emotions that weren't yet ready to surface. I wasn't ignoring, ridiculing, or dis-validating myself by trying to strong-arm the "right" emotions in me. This time I just held myself, allowed the pain to flow through, and I knew. I knew I was done holding on to, and being responsible for someone else's trauma.

6 months ago.

He stayed close-ish by for the kids, so travel days, as daunting as they were for me, were still wrapped in a (thin) layer of bubbly cushion. I knew I wasn't alone out there on the open road. With an RV that has had numerous engine problems, among other things. And an older salvaged van, that he picked out, that has proven to be a money sucking pit of anxiety for me. That thin layer was very comforting

6 months ago.

It's been nearly 6 weeks now since he decided to move out of state.

And so, as my two younger boys and I prepare to leave the sanctuary of a friends driveway, and head South to, well, we really don't know ... that layer of bubble wrap that I had to land on, if I needed, has been popped.

And so many emotions are resurfacing over and over and OVER again.

Some days it's hard. And really heavy.
And some days it's empowering. And beautifully light.

The road trip (in just our van - the RV stayed back) that the boys and I recently went on, to Niagara - through Canada - to Milwaukee - and back, was that empowerment manifested. He was leaving that week, and I wanted to be gone for that. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do this alone. I could be out there, on the open road, sometimes driving through cities where we knew no one, with children to take care of, and we'd be okay. We'd be more then okay! The kids and I would rock this... together.

And we did!
It was amazing!
I felt strong. And capable. And hopeful. And excited.
And safe. And held. And so very much in love with our life.

And then we were on the "and back" part of our trip, and our van started slowly dying.

She's continued her slow death since. As much as it's empowering to learn some mechanical skills as we go; I am having a really hard time with the anxiety of putting my babies in a car that may or may not get us to where we are going. May or may not have us broken down on the side of the road for hours as we work to fix her. May or may not end up being fixable. May or may not leave us stranded.

Left alone.

And... we're getting ready to leave here. Driving a giant RV that's engine may or may not be fixed. Towing a van that I don't trust once we get to wherever we're going. Potentially being in a place with no-one to call if and when that abandonment happens.

It's hard. And painful.
And all of that empowerment that I worked to obtain feels, some days, so so far away.

That's the thing with growth.
You'll be given plenty of opportunities to continue to validate and strengthen it. To validate the strong. And the capable. And the hopeful. And the excited. And the love. And bigger yet... the safe and the held. Always always held, as one, all-one. Plenty of opportunities, because until you've truly peeled back all of those layers of healing (is there even an ending layer?), obstacles will seem to continuously pop up, laying way for you to practice these re-kindled gifts of self love and trust. And sometimes you'll fail. You'll stare an obstacle in the face, and drop to your knees. Crying inconsolably. Doubting yourself. Victimizing your life. Giving up. And projecting your pain in hurtful ways.

I'm in the trenches right now.
Some days are sunny.
Some oh so cloudy.

As we prepare to leave here I'm being given the opportunity to practice my empowerment, my self love, my trust ... OFTEN.

And I'm not always hitting that mark.

And... mostly, when I pull back and gain perspective, I'm okay with that.
Because life isn't a straight line.
It's a crazy beautiful jagged ascent full of peaks and valleys.

An ascent.

I *am rising.
even while I'm on my knees crying; right now.


***but I'd still like a newer car ;-)

November 9, 2016

i choose love

As so many of us are working to make sense of the outcome of this presidential election, I, too, am turning to the written word as my outlet.

There was a time in my life that I would have been Angry. Disgusted. Vulnerable. Helpless. And I would have taken those powerful emotions, and turned them into blame. I would have blamed those that didn't vote. I would have blamed those that voted third party. I would have blamed those with so much hate in their heart, and greed in their veins, that they would willing choose to support someone like Trump.

I would have blamed, and cried, and blamed, and cried.

I would have turned to the written word to call-out each and every one of them. Expose them. Shame them. Expect answers. Expect apologies. Expect.

Going into this election, I would have been driven by fear. I would have been working tirelessly to prevent what I didn't want. And in the end, I would have berated myself for not doing more to prevent this. For seeing hindsight so clearly, and being so naive to not take "the right" action(s) sooner. I would have victimized my own perceived shortcomings. I would have blamed myself. Outed myself. Shamed myself. Publicly. Privately. I would have let this define me in this moment.

I haven't said much publicly about this election. But I did write this yesterday ...

  • "I may have been quiet about it (shocker 😉), but yes, I did vote. It was a struggle for me. I've mostly shielded myself from social (or otherwise) media platforms in regards to this election, but the bits that have leaked through indicate this struggle was/is widely felt. I've always held the (strong!) belief that our votes are sacred and ought to be used wisely. The dominant two party system we have in place ensures the guarantee that either the republican or the democratic nominee will win. You may not like either of them, and there may be a third party nominee that you more closely align with, but you must use your vote wisely. Pie in the sky antics will at best be a wasted vote, at worst be the equivalent of a vote for the "other" side. The scarier side. The "oh hell no" side. I've written blog posts about this belief. There was no one that could reason me out of it. And then... this election. There has been so much fearful energy circulating. Even through the protective bubble I set up, my empath soul was feeling SO incredibly heavy with it, from every direction. Causing my head to race; and confusion set in. I breathed. I meditated. I walked. I danced. And the fog lifted. My heart, this time, not allowing me to make choices based on, or out of fear. I choose love. It's all we have. We may not see the *direct results of that this election, but as our global consciousness continues to re-awaken, however slowly, love will eventually triumph over fear. Thats what I live. That's what I choose. That's what I vote.  #election2016 #chooselove #notfear  #loverising#wevegotthis #bethechange #love"

I choose love. I chose it yesterday when I voted. I chose it last night as I watched the results coming in. I chose it as I woke this morning to the check mark indicating that Trump, did in fact, win this election.

I cried.
and I chose love.

My gut feels like it's been punched. My muscles sore from universal tension. My skin aching to even hold on. My eyes blurry and trying to "wake up". And yet, I understand this outcome. I don't agree with it. But I understand it.

As a whole, our people are fed up. We are all so completely fed up with our current political system. I share that opinion wholeheartedly. And while I choose to act, react, and express my utter dissatisfaction in very different ways, the message, when you get right down to bare bones, is the same. We're DONE! We want change!

And because I know just how easy it was for me in the past to launch myself into the blame pit when something as seemingly big as an election not only didn't go in my favor, but instead favored the side that I was working SO hard against. The side that I was sure was "wrong". That I was sure was "ignorant". That I was sure was going to damn us all to hell, and corrupt our planet, and kill our neighbors, and fuck our kids over. The side that was "my enemy". Because I know how strong those feelings can be, needing to get them out, put them somewhere, anywhere, I understand the uprising of someone like Trump. We are a nation of Fed Up people, many, right where I used to be, ready to blame and shame and out, and he gave us many targets. If you didn't like or share the opinion of one target, there was another just around the bend that might grab you. Not that one either? Not to worry, there's another. And another.

Fed Up people.
blaming and shaming and trying to make sense.

We acted and reacted in very different ways.
Different pieces of our hearts, our egos, our perceptions were triggered.
We all hold lights and shadows inside of us.
Fear and Blame surfaced in some.
Love and Unity surfaced in others.
All in the name in change.
We're ready for it.
We want it.
And this election proved that we are now demanding it... even if very poorly executed.

Common Ground, it's there, even if you have to dig really, really deep to feel it.

I choose love.

I'm not naive, or lacking in compassion for the real fear that so many of my brothers and sisters in this country are feeling today. Felt yesterday. Are prepared to feel tomorrow. Have felt for generations. Those wounds passed down. Healing so desperately needed. Begged for. I can't fully to my depth understand just how deep and blood stained those rivers run. I feel you. My heart so deeply feels you. I'm not a christian, and I have a vagina ... but the whiteness of my skin grants me many protections in this country. I know that. My sexual orientation and gender based identity grants me more as well. I know that. Being a Mama to just boys grants me certain safety and calm. I know that, too. I can be disgusted that that kind of privilege exists, but that doesn't erase it. This election threw a giant spotlight on just how indisputable and far reaching our fear based separations still go as a nation. And I cannot fathom the depth of it for you. But I can extend love. I am safe to do that. And you, my brothers and sisters, are safe with me.

I choose love.

We have been given the opportunity to open our eyes to the extreme depth of darkness, fear, and separation that still runs rampant in our nation. And we can shine our lights on it.

The power resides in the people; not the establishment. Somewhere a long the way we gave that power away, and we are now demanding it back. Lets start with that common thread, build from that common ground. 

Fear will not win.
Not for me. 
won't let it.

I choose love.

In love we will rise up.
In love we will overcome.
In love we are all one.

I choose love.

August 8, 2016

i don't want to fight a deer

We did it. We're out here. On the Appalachian Trail. In a hut. Just me and the kids. With four other random hikers. It's smelly in here. And cold. And quiet. So quiet I didn't want to disturb our early to slumber bunk mates, so I opted out of blowing up my sleeping pad. As the minutes tick by, I'm realizing just how HARD and COLD the hut flooring is. We hiked 3 miles today. And while that may not sound impressive; it really was.

We got a late start. Very late. We left the house around the time we expected to stop for the night! We were preoccupied watching a black bear all morning. Up in an apple tree. Munching away. For hours. I don't know which was more of a feat... that he could eat apples for hours, or that we could remain completely captivated, watching him eat apples for hours. As such, it took up our entire morning. On to yoga, smoothies, clean-up, fill pack water, and we expected to be set. We flew through the first three, but that last one stopped us in our tracks. Holy Hell! Our heavy, but still pretty easily managed packs became solid bricks. Unmovable. Temperamental. A couple more hours flew by as we adjusted, changed packs, adjusted more, changed packs back, safety pinned, hoisted, rearranged, complained, and then decided to eat a very late lunch.

Fuck packs. Fuck water. Fuck hiking.

We ate. And complained. And ate some more. And after laughing at all of our ridiculousness, we loaded our packs in the van. We're doing this whether they fit or not! One last long, emotional conversation with Nick, and we were finally off!

At 4:30pm.
With an hours drive to our drop off point

Since it was already so late in the day, we picked a drop off point different then what we originally planned. It added a few more overall miles to our trip, but positioned us closer to reaching a hut for the night. It also brought us a mile from Hawksbill Summit, the highest point in Shenandoah NP at just over 4000ft.

We side-trailed up the STEEP summit to check the view. And I do mean STEEP! For us! Shit! Legs were on fire almost immediately. Lungs pumping. Breath labored. Backs aching. Shoulders chaffing. What have we gotten ourselves into?! For crying out loud... we're actually CHOOSING to do this?! For fun?! Why?!

The mile long accent felt more like five!

But at the top... Oooh, it was glorious. The expansive 360 view was nothing short of breath-taking. The sweetest breeze blowing through cooled our sweaty skin. And the adrenaline high we were all riding for having conquered such a formidable (1 mile) beast was empowering.

We soaked in that bliss for a bit, and then decided we really needed to hit the trails to get to our hut, another 1.5 - 2 miles away, before night fall. Nick walked with us up to the summit. Parting is hard, even now. We're apart, separated, heading for divorce - but it is still hard to physically walk away from him. To experience life and form memories without him. To move on. It's hard.

After a few tearful goodbyes, we were back on the trail. We walked 0.7 miles on Salamander trail, a side trail trek that was pretty level and easy going. It felt SO good after that steep accent. We CAN do this! And then there she was. The white blazes of the Appalachian. We all squealed and whooped and roared, and then... walked on. One of us exclaiming, every 20ft, how amazing the level trail felt. Praising ourselves for our decision to hike up to the summit right out of the gate. Now, everything will feel like gravy! We're a bunch of geniuses. And so modest, too.

As we got closer to the hut, we all hoped it would be empty. At least until we settled in and acquainted ourselves with hut life. A slow, calm, conscious breathing in of the experience. With a busy morning, we were looking forward to a slow evening. We rounded the corner, saw the hut, squealed again, and then saw people peering around the building. It was already occupied. Well, there goes that settling in in solitude ... switch gears to party mode. We sauntered up, exchanged hellos, dropped our packs, and hit the ground. Exhausted. Sweaty. Out of breath.

After just 3 miles.

And so began our first hut experience.

The four other hikers filled up the bottom floor (who knew there was a bunking system in these huts?!). They were all either finished with, or finishing up dinner & bedtime routines by the time we descended upon camp. It was obvious camp "lights" were about to go out. We quickly got our dinner prepared. Soup; homemade & dehydrated, then re-hydrated and heated on our new butane stoves. The picnic table was full, so we squatted on the ground, near the fire pit, probably looking like shifty eyed squirrels as we devoured our rather bland (note to self, add more spices next time), yet triumphant soup. We then hurriedly packed away dinner equipment, stowed our food in the bear canister (again, who knew?), took a potty break, and finally brushed teeth.

The moment bristles hit teeth, a young buck emerged from the woods about 20 ft away. We stared at each other for a moment, his ears twitching, eyes fixed. Skittishly, he began walking toward us. I mean ... RIGHT toward us. No more then 2 ft away at this point. I could have reached out my hand and touched him. His warm, musty scent swirling in the air. My calm, loving, peaceful bliss bubble about sharing space with this beautiful animal quickly turned into a low grade panic as scenes from "Are We There Yet" played through my head. Do we seem threatening? Should we retreat? Will that startle him more? Is he going to charge? Those smaller antlers were looking bigger and bigger by the second. I don't want to fight a deer! But he just looked. Deep and soulful. Right into my eyes. And then, just like that, he scampered off.

The sun set, and our roomies were already snug in their bags. We hoisted our gear up to the top bunk (there are no ladders in these bunking units). Working to be quiet, considerate. I can tell you right now, there is NO way to quietly hoist packs and selves onto top bunks in hollow, echo-ey wilderness huts. There is even less way to roll out sleeping bags and arrange selves & stuff quietly. I was warm at that point, and the bunk flooring didn't feel too uncomfortable, so in a gesture of good hut etiquette, I made the decision to forego unpacking and blowing up my sleeping pad. A decision I regretted almost instantly.

With no insulation on the bottom of my sleeping bag (hello, that's where the pad is supposed to go), my body temperature was dropping rapidly. I was shivering within 5 minutes. My hips and shoulder bones (I'm a side/stomach sleeper) rattling against the cold, hard floor. I slowly, quietly tossed and turned for hours. And I had to pee. Bad! Just then Rylan whispered that he had to use the bathroom, too. Shit! We're on the top. People sprawled out all below us. It's pitch black out there. Hold it! Lets just hold it! Another hour later and I'm about to burst. Rylan working so very hard to forget he is, too.

Fuck it. Move over, roomies, we're coming down. We tried to position our bright ass headlamps away from the hut, out into the wild, but we still lit up the entire shack. Our quiet, considerate decent from the bunks produced much bouncing and thudding, praying we'd miss landing on body parts splayed out. No time, or noise allotment to find our shoes, so we ditched our socks, and tiptoed, barefoot, up the cold, damp path to the privy.

Oooh My God!
Instantaneous bladder relief.
Thank the heavens!

We tiptoed back. Gingerly shimmied our way back up to our bunk (and did I mention it was pretty high? With no ladders?). Rocking the entire hut with each shimmy. Waking every one up. Who then, one by one, crept up to use the bathroom, too (using their infrared light setting on their headlamps. Noted for next time!). I took the middle of the night pee-fest opportunity to pull out my sleeping pad, and blow a few puffs into it.

An empty bladder. A cushioned pad. A warming body. Now, now I can sleep restfully.

And then ...the snoring started. From below.
It's going to be a loooong night.

But ...
We're out here. We're doing it. We're hiking the Appalachian Trail. Fears and barriers be damned.

And it lasted until midday the next day (as opposed to the week we had planned) ;-) . We hiked 5 miles in 3 hours the next morning, which we were boogieing down about in our funky celebratory way. But Owens pack wasn't fitting him well enough around the waist. Causing a constant shifting and wiggle. Blisters were already starting to form. He pushed it as long and hard as possible, but with our support (and bit of Mama encouragement) he ultimately made the hard decision to put our distance hiking adventure on hold until we found him a better fitting pack.

1 day instead of 7.
But we did it.
We hiked the Appalachian Trail.
Together, just the three of us.
A gaggle of badasses.

March 18, 2015

Public Healing

Why am I so public with my story?
Well, for healing.

Sharing my story is a release. There is a weightless freedom that comes when I am open. The ability to turn into words all that is spinning inside of me is a powerful detox. And the potential for my journey to reach others who may be silently suffering is so very healing to me. We are all connected. One heart. One beat. One pulse. One rhythm. And this story is not just mine. It is all of ours. To learn from. Grow from. Gain strength and passion and wisdom from.

I have shared so much of this story throughout the years. The tone of which has morphed over time as my perception has morphed. Always drawn to a public release. Trusting and Knowing that it belonged out here, among all of us. But I also kept pieces of this story hidden. So very hidden. So much shame. So much self hate. So much fear.

I was afraid of everything. But mostly; I was afraid of judgement. I was already judging myself so harshly, for all of it. For staying in a relationship that caused me so much pain. For my own codependency and misdirected guilt over causing him to cause me pain in the first place. For my want to "fix everything" and find our happy; happy with the least amount of baggage; the least amount of judgement. And more then anything, I was so very harshly judging my Mama'ing. I couldn't bare to hear any of that validated by others. And I couldn't bare to hear the judgements that others may feel about Nick, either. I didn't... still don't want to hear people talk badly about my husband. Or ex husband, if that's the path we decide to take. And the comments on my Mama'ing, ooooh boy, those ones are the toughest for me to absorb. Even the comments that are expressed so very gently, and from a place of obvious love, even those ones feel as though someone has just punched me in the throat and all of the air is escaping my lungs. Fear has let that be enough to stay quiet. Deal with all of this silently. And alone.

I expressed this to a friend recently, and I realized that I still feel that fear of judgement. It's there. Strong. Really strong. Twisting my stomach into a knot. And causing my thoughts to return to erratic and angry. But I am stronger then that fear. So much stronger. And I am finding my breath. And my light. And my truth. And my village full of gentle, kind, love based words that I am learning to accept and embrace; rather then shield and block. So it's taking less and less time for the knots in my stomach to loosen. And for my mind to slow. And for my heart to remember that I am lights love. I am no longer willing to let that fear of judgement prevent me from stepping into my light, and sharing my heart. I’m no longer willing to be tethered to my own judgements. Part of this process is owning my reactions. My triggers. And really, that's all that judgement is. Reacting to a situation based on a past experience; a trigger. And I can choose to create separateness, rather then become entangled. Ask myself “where is this thought or belief coming from”. I can sit with that question, free of judgement and cynicism, and trace the belief back to it’s root. I can feel that root. And I can determine whether or not that root is serving my light. My life. I can release the roots that were never mine; as well as the ones that used to be mine, but are no longer relevant. I can create a new experience; a new perspective; a new root

Judgement … the very thing that was keeping me silent is helping me to open fully into my being. I can make a different choice. I can see through fear based actions and lean into the love that is at the core of me. The core of all of us. And I can release THAT out into the world for us all to learn from. Grow from. Gain strength and passion and wisdom from.

For us all to heal from.

And that's why I do it.

March 17, 2015

Breathe Into the Waves

Oooh Mama Ocean; you teach me so much. The strong emotions of grief, of trauma, behave very much like you. Your waves. Coming in slowly at first. Calm. Steady. Gradually the pressure builds. Intensity increases. You rise up higher and higher. Fierce. Intimidating. Darkness with no end in sight. Ultimately you reach your highest point and ... you recede. There is calm again. And light.

When we're caught up in emotional reactions, it can feel so crushing. Permanent. Fight or/and Flight is our instinct. Our body arms itself with everything it needs for protection from this seemingly endless darkness. Our muscles become tight. Or breathing turns shallow. Our judgement irrational. But if we can remember to just breathe. Deep. Create some separateness between this reaction and our reality. Feel the sensations of the darkness. The emptiness. The hurt. Telling ourselves that these sensations will pass. The light is still shining. Behind a storm cloud, perhaps, but that storm will pass, and the light will be felt again. Love, not fear, is at the center of us all. We just need to breathe. Breathe into the storm. Breathe into the waves. Rise up. Strong and Powerful. The calm is just beyond this crest. And the light is shining bright. Always. 

March 13, 2015

Peeling Back the Layers ... Abuse

This recent instagram photo led me to write ...

"I've been ashamed of pieces of my story for far too long. A story that includes enduring abuse and infidelity and abandonment. Feelings of shame, of embarrassment, of misplaced guilt & self blame left me feeling powerless and alone. I am slowly peeling back the layers and exposing these dark, hidden, scared places within. I am strong. I am brave. I am opening. "

I had plans to write a blog post that day and link to it in the instagram photo, but that short little exert into my heart proved to be enough. In fact, it felt like too much. I unraveled after releasing it, and spent the next two days in a haze. Going through the daily motions of Mama-hood. And also crying. There was so much crying. And yelling at trees. And throwing rocks and lettuce ends, with all of my might, into oblivion. And being full of so so SO much anger. More then I knew I was capable of. I tapped into some really deep, raw, vulnerable pieces inside of me, and I was feeling the effects in every cell of my body. And even though it felt like "too much", there was also a sense of calm within, telling me I was okay. I was ready. I was ready to dig into the darkest of the dark, the scariest of the scary, and find my way through it. I cursed that calm. And argued with it. And insulted it. And when I found myself late last night sitting in a dirt pit down the trail from my home, sobbing into the tall grass, and nearly dislocating my shoulder from the force with which I was chucking rocks, I decided to lean into that calm within; and ... it caught me in such a soft embrace. The anger I was feeling immediately dissipated. And the recurring vision that had been haunting my daytime suddenly had more depth, more softness, more ... love.

And so today, as the last bruise from our latest encounter fades, and the sun is shining bright and warm, and the sounds of woodpeckers and morning doves fill my spirit, I am feeling the air around me begin to thin. Lighten. I am breathing easier, again. My heart feeling more open, again. Options, rather then "have to's", are becoming clearer, again. And I find myself stepping into my center and wanting to peel back a few more layers. I am safe and I am ready.

Abuse is not a word I throw around carelessly or dramatically. I grew up in an environment where abuse was prevalent. Abuse perpetuated on me from numerous adults in my life, but today I'm talking about the abuse I witnessed my Mama enduring from the men in her life. So much pain, on every level, to include the big, scary, nearly killing her (often) kind of physical abuse that you see in Lifetime movies. And I was the one calling the police. And screaming for him to stop. And trying to pull him off of her. And getting thrown into the wall. Sex, and Drugs, and extreme Domestic Abuse made up much of my childhood.

When physical abuse entered my own marriage; I knew immediately what it was. I knew immediately that it was wrong. I knew immediately how to defend and protect myself... and boy did I, with gusto. But I also had such a strong point of reference when it came to physical abuse, and the contrast between what I grew up witnessing, and what I myself had just endured, was so stark. So, so very different. I eventually convinced myself that while it WAS abuse, it was a different kind of abuse, and it would be okay. I could help him work through the fear that drives him to see me as the enemy. The enemy from which he must escape, by any means necessary, even when those means were literally bulldozing & trampling over me on his way out. He wasn't evil. He wasn't out to hurt me. HE was hurting. I could feel his hurt. I could relate to his hurt. I wanted to help him. I wanted to take his hurt away. I wanted to make him feel okay, and loved, and safe. And in turn, that would make US okay and loved and safe. I was convinced I could do it. And it was all going to be okay.

And then it happened again. The same bulldoze & trample kind of abuse. Police were involved this time. And my children blurry witnesses. And my whole body shook with rage and fear and sadness over what my children had just endured. The difference between my own childhood and now theirs was seeming less and less stark. In fact, it was looking identical in that heightened adrenaline moment, and with that vision, something in me snapped. My guilt grew to an unbearable size. How I could I have let this happen. How could I have given them the exact environment I was still healing from. How could I do this to them. And then ... how could I have let him down like this. I told him I would help him. I told him I would be here for him, I told him it was going to be okay, and I failed. How could I let myself fail. No! No! I would NOT let his fear win. Or the military win. Or the goddamned fucking war win. No! I would just work harder!

And then it happened again. Bulldoze & Trample, again. And it involved police, again. And my children were witness, again. And this time ... it put me in the hospital. I knew I couldn't help him alone. I knew it was bigger then me. Or him. He needed so much more then I was capable of. I didn't want to be his support anymore. But reinforcements weren't coming. He pushed everyone else out of his life; and they went. And then cancer came. He had cancer. And he had noone. I felt a sense of obligation. Of responsibility. My husband, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, the thought of leaving him when he was so desperately in need of support made me sick. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to help. I didn't know where to turn. I grieved for Tony. My sweet Tony. After my Mama left her string of abusive husbands and boyfriends, she started dating Tony. A man with his own set of demons, but oh so gentle and loving and kind. He was so special to me. So important in my life and so so loved. He killed himself after my Mama left him. I was mad at him at the time; wasn't even speaking to him. So mad that he and my Mama were fighting again. So mad that he wasn't getting help for his demons. So mad that he may have just ruined his last chance with her, and I'd never see him again. I figured I'd stay mad for a while. Not speak to him so he would REALLY understand just how mad I was. Fully feel the absence. And then I would reach out. Only it was too late. He was all alone; and then he was gone. And it was too late for me to reach out. To remind him of my love. To lend support and help. It was just ... too late.

No! I wouldn't let that happen again. It wasn't too late for Nick. I wouldn't make that same mistake. Not to Nick. Not to myself. Not to my children. This cancer, thyroid, likely played a huge role in his lack of self control and emotional turmoil. It gave me answers to the Whys. And comfort to the guilt. It was cancer. I could blame cancer. And it was tangible. It was something that we could see. And feel. And FIGHT! And so I rallied. Again. And spun myself inside out looking for different resources and support for him. Staying up until the wee hours of every night researching new techniques. Booking appointments, and making calendars, and setting alarms, and driving to and from drs, and therapists, and acupuncturists, and, and, and. Going toe to toe with the military big wigs when they tried and tried again to kick Nick out, dishonorable, with no financial compensation. All the while having a deep fear of him. Scared to be alone with him. Scared to talk with him. And he felt that fear, causing him pain, and then anger. Which caused me to be more afraid, with more walls. Round and Round.

Those 3 incidents all happened within a year or so; it's been almost 6 years since that 3rd one. And then it happened again. Just over a week ago. We'd already been separated a month. We thought maybe we could work together on this separation with the goal of reconciliation at some point. Him seeking some serious alternative healing options; and me lighting up the home front while he was away focusing on him. A happy reunion at some point in our future. But he couldn't figure out the steps to take to get there. And I was no longer in a place to want to map that out for him. So then; fear won.

I still see the love inside of him. The light. The kindness.
And I still see the fear, not evil, that drives him to act out of a war based mentality.

But ... Abuse IS abuse, different as it may look, or seem, or feel.
And abuse is bigger then me.
It's bigger then any of us alone.

I can still see the love inside of me. The light. The kindness.
And I now see the fear and guilt that drove me to fall into a very unhealthy codependent role.

I can't see what our future holds;
but I am seeing our past more clearly,
and that, I know, is my salvation.
My light.
And I'm going to keep leaning into it.
Open and Safe.

March 8, 2015

Sunday Songbird ... Gunpowder & Lead

Yoga is my lover. Hand in hand, together, we find Peace. Breath. Center. Calm. Balance. Strength. Foundation. Open. We find Self. Yes, yoga is my sweet, sweet lover. But super angry chick music is my best friend. A friend that so passionately sums up everything I am feeling. Offering rhythms, words, and energy that I can blast. And scream sing with. And pump my fists with. And dance out everything that is raging inside with.

I'm not a huge country fan. Nor a big fan of "hit music". Also, guns, I'm pretty sure you people know just where I stand on those. But this one. Oooh this one. Right here. Right now.

On a travel day. As the kids and I prep everything that needs prepping. And we doing it so well. And fast. I knew it could be done fast. And I'm feeling determined. And then a plan needs to be made. And I realize I've been holding my breath this whole time. Busying my mind. Intentionally not thinking of the logistics of this next step. And I lose it. I scream and cry and fall apart. And then anger washes over me for being put in this position. After what I've been through at the hands of a man; I just want to be in pieces right now. Not strong. Not holding it together. Not packing up and driving this fucking house by myself. I want to be held. And comforted. And taken care of. And I cry some more. And scream some more. And then get mad some more for feeling like a victim. And then I blow my nose. And wipe my eyes. And I yoga back to whole. And I hook the truck up by myself for the first time. And high fives fly all around me in celebration. And I feel empowered. And then my best friend shows up with a lyrical version of the best whiskey I've ever tasted. And I know I've got this. I've got this so hard!

"I'm gonna show him what little girls are made of"

And while, no, I have nothing to show him.
I am sure going to show myself!

Oh hell yea!!!

Gunpowder & Lead ~Miranda Lambert
County road 233, under my feet
Nothin' on this white rock but little ole me
I've got two miles 'til, he makes bail
And if I'm right we're headed straight for hell

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead

It's half past ten, another six pack in
And I can feel the rumble like a cold black wind
He pulls in the drive, the gravel flies
He don't know what's waiting here this time

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead

His fist is big but my gun's bigger
He'll find out when I pull the trigger

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and, gunpowder and lead

Gunpowder and lead

February 17, 2015

i've had these wings all along

and then suddenly I realize I've had these wings all along

February 15, 2015

We Loved

my heart • my soul • my breath • my blood 
my sun • my stars • my moon • my tide
my light • my path • my road • my beacon
my strength • my calm • my power • my love

I woke to a canvas that these three sweet boys used to create a patchwork mountain painting from all of them. And my heart exploded. So tender; these boys. Filled with such an inspiring amount of empathy and compassion and love. We held space for our grief on this Valentine's Day, a day made hard not because of the commercial implications, but because 17 yrs ago today our family's heart came alive, by a conception surprise, when Larson decided he was ready and we were the lucky ones to carry his soul, and the memories of where we were, colliding with the reality of where we are, is heavy. And sad. We honored that. But mostly, oooh mostly we loved. We laughed. We loved. We let go. We loved. With everything we have. At the beach. Together.