And Then He Kissed Me

It’s our usual morning routine before my love leaves for work – a kiss, sometimes accompanied by embrace. Usual. Normal. Routine.

Today it felt different. As my husband leaned in to kiss me, I felt him. I felt in that one short moment an overwhelming wave of all the love we share and are together, I felt my heart melt with the touch of his lips, I felt all the adoration he has for me–for us. The kiss was ‘small,’ short–the impact was deep, tunneling its way into the crevices of my being that most needed to feel such tenderness. Instantly tears filled my eyes without warning.

Much of 2015 has been this way for me–routine moments resulting in an eruption of my heart. Sometimes it comes as heartache, others as beauty and immense appreciation of what is real and true in my world. At times, it feels unnerving; the mind wanting to define it all, perhaps as depressed or disconnected. It’s how we’ve come to ‘diagnose’ and subsequently do our best to ‘fix’ what’s ‘wrong’ with us–simply because we feel too deeply.

kiss umbrellaEmotions are highly intimate and possess the power of Sacred Feminine wisdom. Have we forgotten this truth? Our ability to feel so profoundly serves as a gateway to expansion of the heart, awareness of beauty, inspiration for our creativity, honoring of ourselves, opening to more love. As I sat with myself following the kiss of my husband this morning, I felt an enormous surge of love welling up inside me. It reached to my toes, fingertips and deep inside my body with a tingling, soothing, calming, tender sensation. I felt the years and perhaps lifetimes of our love, through all its ups and downs, infused into our kiss, the meeting of our lips together. And the love I feel for him became even more immense.

It’s not easy to feel continually vulnerable, to weep with the simplicity of a morning kiss or a heartfelt text from a friend you have loved intimately. Our natural response is to resist it, talk ourselves out of it. The magic happens when we become the vulnerability, giving ourselves to it completely, trusting on some cosmic level in its companioned presence. This has been my practice of late; quietly, gently allowing myself to be drawn into the beauty and sometimes the sadness of my emotions.

It’s a challenge at times, my friends, I can tell you that. So many barriers we have against it–even something as simple as wearing contacts. Because contacts are ruined if you cry in them. So rather than ruining them, repeatedly putting in a new pair, costing extra dollars–just don’t cry too much, unless you’re prepared. How does one ‘prepare’ to feel deeply, to surrender into the love swelling in your tear ducts and spilling over your cheekbones? We can’t possibly. I can’t.

So I’m feeling. Fully. Deeply. And with that allowance comes not only the beautiful, uplifting, warm and comfortable moments, but the unseen and unknown heartaches held within too. The truth is, it’s all beautiful. We’re just unaccustomed to feeling and honoring it as so. Heartache, at its core, IS love. Our heartache arises out of our love for something or someone. There is a continual movement and ebb/flow to our lives as highly emotional human beings. The emotions are a vital part of our soul’s evolution. So feel. Feel the depth of love that you are, that you need, that you give into this world and that our world needs desperately for you to be. Cry and weep your way through all that comes to and through you, trusting and knowing all the while you are the very embodiment of pure, pulsating and heart breaking love, understanding that you are being drawn in by a very holy and sacred kiss. xx

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Passion Underlying Envy

For many years, jealousy and I were best friends. My older sister is radiantly beautiful, as is my younger sister. (As am I, but we’ll come back to that later.) I was painfully jealous of my older sister Lisa, of her ability to socialize with such finesse, of how much all the guys always wanted her, of her quick witted strength and ability to respond without hesitation, of her confidence in who she is. The energy had such a hold on me, I continually tried to ‘get over it’ and even wrote my high school graduation speech on contentment, centering on this childhood jealousy and desperately hoping something would change after this. It did – but only for a short while. Because in reality – we cannot FORCE our way through emotions that run deep in our cells. We must FEEL them fully, sink deep into the space of marinating in the energy so that the drops of love, of wisdom, of truth can find their way to our lips.

Following up on The Beautiful Truth About the Green Eyed Monster, I see even more clearly today into the layers of our envious nature. Because this has been so present for me, I have NEEDED to understand envy at its depths, to transform how it plays into my heart, my soul and to turn off its power over my thoughts. As I began to feel into ENVY today, this is what I felt/experienced:

soul reflectionWhen we are feeling envious of another, we become empty inside. Not the kind of empty that awaits the Beloved filling us with Love, but the kind of empty that depletes our authentic power. We are in essence, trampling who we ARE. Because envy is derived from placing our eyes, our heart on another person, on their gifts, their beauty, wisdom, grace, wealth, love, health – you name it. We are no longer able to SEE ourselves because all we see is THEM. We effectively tell ourselves we are small, others are big and what we feel, carry, witness, know as our truth no longer holds our gaze.

Now, in a moment of fiery envy, of feeling so empty, small, ‘nothing’ – take a moment and breathe. Turn your gaze back to the beauty staring back at you from the mirror. Breathe HER in. See HER. Close your eyes and feel for your inner power. Let your passion begin whispering to you, touching you, arousing you. Let your interior grace pour itself over you, heating every inch of flesh. FEEL WHO YOU ARE.

This, my loves, this is the beckoning that lies beneath your envy. As long as my eyes were on my sister, Lisa would always be a beautiful Goddess and I would be dark and invisible. She remains a beautiful Goddess, as does my younger sister Lydia. In present time, I not only know, but can FEEL the GODDESS I AM. And what matters most to me, what fills me up so completely is allowing myself to own that truth rather than passing it off to someone else to hold for me. I AM A BEAUTIFUL GODDESS, filled with a richness, with a fiery passion that ignites even the blackest of nights. I know who I am. And that is the breath envy needed to be released.

Holiday Moms ~ Unconditional Love

Love LaurenQuite unexpectedly, I’ve felt a calling from within my being. It wasn’t until a beloved and respected Facebook friend, Robin Rice made a post on her page. She was seeking moms of LGBTQ children to take part in a holiday project. Our oldest daughter Lauren is gay and part of this community. Immediately I sent Robin an email and asked how I could help.

Your Holiday Mom is a website sharing letters, videos and audio messages from 40 mothers (and some fathers too) for 40 days between Thanksgiving and New Years. To take part in this project, to be one of those 40 moms–has felt like an immense honor. Being Lauren’s mom has taught me so much about how people are all the same, we’re all gifted with an ability to love and a fear that we might not BE loved. Lauren is proud of who she is, and in the year and a half since she graduated high school especially, we’ve watched her blossom into this amazing being SO filled with a huge heart and unconditional love. Would I say she’s different? Absolutely – because she is – in many ways. Listening to Sally Field talk about her son being gay today lent validation to my belief that it seems there’s almost something so much more open, vulnerable, unconditional in how these ‘special’ beings inspire us to love.

Learning my letter would be shared on Christmas day brought tears to my eyes. Since I connected with this project, I’ve become deeply aware of a growing desire to be there for people who struggle with feeling ok about who they are, who they love and how they experience life from a different perspective. I’m not sure where this all leads me, but I’m going to be finding ways of connecting locally in my own community. And as I watch Lauren with her first real girlfriend, who doesn’t feel so loved and accepted, I’m feeling the call to just hold space and BE love for these young people – and some who are my age and older. Our world needs love around this community. They’re the same as us, and I intend to share that message with all who are willing to hear.

Here’s my letter….of love…and of loving Lauren. I hope you’ll take some time to read the other Mom letters, and some of the comments left from those who read our messages. It will break your heart and give you hope all at once. Much love to you, my friends. xo

 

Seeing Through Grace

It’s not an easy thing to let go of what seems obvious, especially when it stirs those emotions deep within us. I was given an opportunity to do so last night and this morning following a very unpleasant experience. Our son is home from college, and while visiting with family at our home after dinner last night, proceeded to answer my brother’s question “how are things going with your friend and his dog?’ ‘Oh, well, he went away and locked the dog in the bathroom for the entire weekend, she destroyed it, ripped up tile and chewed on stuff (the dog is a puppy), so he took her out in the woods and left her.’ Ugh. Ouch. Oh, my dear friends, I still feel my heart break as I type this. There was an audible gasp in the room by all who were present, and then an onslaught of disbelief, anger, heartache all directed toward our son. He’d been quite flat in telling us, as though it was of little consequence. Our older daughter is one who will become very passionate and at times quite aggressive in advocating for something she believes in. The heat quickly rose and all that warm family-all-together energy dissipated into heaviness. My brother walked out. He was too angry and hurt to say anything. I finally stepped in and told the two older kids that was enough. There’s no point arguing about it and pointing fingers at one another. 

It was quiet as I struggled to maintain composure while cleaning up the kitchen. I couldn’t do my usual dance of trying to smooth it over without being confrontational. Generally, I can honor both sides and allow them to speak whatever they have and not be too swayed. Not this time. Too close to my heart, and I’ve moved too far away from the ‘usual dance.’ Instead I came upstairs and let the tears come. I could feel my own anger at our son for not having more compassion, not doing something, not at least feeling as heartbroken as I was. Surely from the outside, it looked to everyone in that room that he was cold and didn’t care at all. It definitely felt that way to me. 

When I woke this morning and began writing about it, it became crystal clear. It’s not at all that he’s cold. He’s still the same boy who was terribly disturbed over his friend’s parents happily watching a chipmunk drown in a barrel of water because it had torn up their yard. The difference is that he lives out in the real world now, and has yet to find his own center. He has no idea just how to stand firm in what his heart tells him. Not only is he young, but he’s a male and that makes it ever so harder when it comes to expectations for how to be. We are coming out of a time when men were forbidden to have hearts. My husband’s father told him to stop crying at baseball – there was nothing to cry about. It wasn’t ok. It still isn’t in some environments. At college, away from home and security, trying to just survive, it isn’t ok to have a heart and speak up for an animal who is being mistreated–at least in his perspective at the time. Whether my son knew it or not, that was the defense. He was protecting his own need to survive, to be accepted and be ok. 

It would have been so easy to let my emotions decide how to be with our son, to be angry with him because my spirit was so pained. That would only have served to become a power struggle. My way, my truth pitted against his. Instead, it felt right to share with him how it made me feel and to ease into letting him know I understand how difficult it must be for him to make it at college. He’s been quite homesick over the last several weeks. His whole reality has shifted in a way we sometimes forget occurs when our children leave home. To the world, it may look like an exciting time to get out on your own and have new experiences. But to some of our children, it’s empty, frightening and uncertain. It’s a natural thing to seek the best way to survive and get through it, and I know that’s what he’s been doing. To have responded with harsh judgment would only have created friction between us and deepened the inner turmoil I know is there beneath the self protection. Letting him know I understand what he was feeling and I still love him seemed to allow him to put down his internal weapons and consider some alternate scenarios. 

GRACE is what allowed me to shift my vision. She whispered through my pen, letting me ‘see’ the truth of what his energy was saying. GRACE. A mystical substance with the power to alter our reality. And, I believe, with the power to heal. So I’ll continue to heal my own cracks and wounds, while channeling grace to all animals who are in the way of harm, and to all beings who seek to become whole. This is my prayer. xo 

Radiantly Flawless

‘I understand the nature of illusion and see that I do not, nor have ever possessed any defects.’ ~ Step 6 of the Steps

I sat down to write on Sunday morning and felt the truth of this statement sink deep into my being: I do NOT, nor have EVER possessed any defects. The Universe conspires with our souls to bring the most profound healing and enlightenment to us, to enable us to release and move forward with purpose in who we are. And so we began…

Recently three people have resurfaced in my life–three people, that is, by whom I was hurt deeply many years ago. These are individuals, from different times and places. One goes all the way back to the year I graduated high school. I’ve felt much of the pain from these experiences melt away as I’ve grown and healed, but as one by one my interactions in present time began to trigger those old experiences, I have realized they’ve come back around to allow me to continue to heal and release. It was actually unsettling as with each one I felt myself wanting to say things I didn’t dare say when the original encounters occurred. I had no idea how to stand up for myself back then–and I also walked away from each scenario with full willingness to own my part. I could see how in each situation I had contributed to the undoing of our relationships, and so rather than point my finger at them, I held myself accountable for what was mine. That meant it wasn’t right to make a fuss about what they had done ‘to me.’ 

I captured this photo while we were visiting the Georgia Guidestones on Saturday. Drawn in by the mockingbird, it’s quite apparent by the radiant orb at the bottom of the photo there was a beautiful energy present. Radiantly Flawless indeed.

That’s the old story. The new story was written as I sat down on Sunday morning to sort out some of what I was feeling around the triggers. Feelings of being wrong, inadequate, undesirable, too outspoken, too ‘good’ have all swirled around inside of me since reconnecting with each of these people. But when I began writing, I realized: I’m having some of the same feelings, but without being able to see anything I’d done ‘wrong’ to create the current unpleasantness. I couldn’t turn and point the finger at me this time. There wasn’t anything I felt badly about, no shame, no poor choices, no lack of self esteem in how I encountered each one. Yet, those emotions were still coming up. 

Something began to shift. If I’m being who I am today–and getting the same results as I did years ago when I made choices I wouldn’t make today–then it’s not about what I did or didn’t do. It’s not about how I contributed to the situation. It’s not about that I need to own my choices. It’s not about looking back and owning how I created part of the problem. And so Step 6 began to weave her way into my thoughts. She’d been embedded into my bodies through last week’s class and processing, but now she was standing as my truth. I do not now, nor have ever possessed any defects. No defects. I wasn’t defective all those years ago, in each of those relationships. It’s not that I was wrong–because I’m not and have never been defective! 

There is an enormous magnitude of healing and release in this truth, my friends. I am not – YOU are not – defective. We are perfectly whole. Radiantly flawless. We are as we were mean to be. I was being myself then, as I am being myself now. My intention wasn’t ever to contribute to anyone’s suffering, especially my own. I was just being Jackie. As she was. As she is. Unbroken. Not defective. Seeing with clarity the illusion I’ve lived under for far too long. 

I feel and see myself in a whole different light. Layers of guilt and self judgment are dissolving away. There’s immense power in this awareness of myself: I am NOT defective. I was not–ever. There aren’t any defects, nothing to find or fix or try to own or make better. NOT defective. 

I am radiantly flawless. As are you. 

As part of our processing for Step 6, Fay guided us in a beautiful processing meditation. It was very profound for me personally, and I’m sharing it here with you. Thank you to Fay Hart for the ease and grace with which she assists our consciousness through these steps, and for allowing us all to process at will using this meditation as our guide. 

Authentic: With Emotions on the Floor

Being authentic. Deep in the core of my being, I’m desperate to live in that space. And yet, as I continue to move through my own journey and look inward at the truth of my whole self, the power of the mind becomes increasingly clear. It occurred to me suddenly that in my desire to be authentic, my cleverness has found a way to define what that should look like. (Feeling like I want to say something like ‘AHA–caught you!’ here.)

Authenticity doesn’t have an image. She carries no labels. You won’t find in her purse or wallet a list of rules to remember to live by. There wasn’t any formal training on the proper etiquette, being politically correct, attaining success, dressing in designer clothing or even being a good parent. Authenticity just IS.

One of the best words I found in the thesaurus for authentic is ‘genuine.’ GENUINE. Not ‘pretty, attractive, proper, kind, conscious, organized, generous’ or any of those other words we get ourselves caught up in. GENUINE. To be genuine is to be true to who you are, what you feel; to honor the moment for what it is rather than what someone else or your this-is-how-it-should-look-or-feel mind pulls it together. 

Captured this beautiful image while walking on the greenway nearby. Feels like love shining through.

I found myself in an authentic moment recently, and not the kind that makes one feel a swell of pride in who you are. In a moment of overwhelm–physical and emotional overload, my mouth spoke before my mind caught up with the words. They were out and there was not a thing I could do to bring them back. It wasn’t the words themselves, but the scorn with which they were laced. It was ugly–at least to me. And I felt horrible about it for a while. That voice inside myself went into overdrive trying to bring it all back into order. I apologized, I talked with my life coach about it, I was open with those close to me in my family. Guilt, angst, horror at the way I lost control of myself…all set in. 

But here’s what’s true my friends: being authentic is just that. I was fully authentic in that moment. If you’re reading this, then you’re likely someone who practices your beliefs, who takes seriously this spiritual journey, who craves connection to the sacred. We value consciousness. We strive to live with respect for all Life, to tap into BEing all of who we are. And we sometimes lose focus of what is true. We are all emotional beings. We will experience times in our lives when we feel turned upside down, when we don’t have the level of awareness we might have in another moment, when we simply CANNOT pull ourselves together. We forget: this is part of our authenticity too. It’s not just the ‘nice’ parts. 

I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry the strings wrapped so beautifully around my desire to live more consciously loosened enough to let Jackie’s feeling spill onto the floor in front of everyone. And like you–I’m not always ‘ok.’ I don’t have to be. But what is always true, is that beneath all that – is a space to which I can return where everything IS Divinely beautiful, sacred and at peace. I would love to say I live there, and I can say I am able more and more to get balanced and be in that space. Yet, I continue to be a human being whose job it is to live on this planet and experience the fullness of what She offers. As I allow myself to do so, I invite the sacred to enter more deeply into my being. I awaken my soul to the healing needed, I meet those whom I love on the plane that is this earth. 

This planet is our earth school. In school there are things to learn, ways to grow, relationships to navigate. Each one offers to us a mirror through which to see our full selves. We can either look deeply into the reflection, or we can close our eyes and see ourselves as we wish to see. 

I’m walking forward with eyes wide open. And when I walk into walls anyway, I’ll simply get up and take another step. Love to each of you. xo 

*I would also like to share with you a newly created space: Sacred Circle Retreats. Our first virtual retreat/soul workshop ‘Through the Looking Glass’ will be Sunday, September 23. We invite you to visit us on Facebook and through our website

Love or Survival?

I’m working on the choice to love. It sounds so cliche’ doesn’t it? The ‘l’ word is thrown around all too easily in our ‘evolving consciousness’ culture. But it’s true, my friends, I am. Sometimes it’s a real challenge, too. And I’m not taking this commitment on lightly. 

Recently, in the midst of some angst around and within myself, I’ve had an AHA! moment that comes repeatedly, but not the kind of AHA! I’m used to. There’s no light bulb going off that awakens me to some deeper realization. And yet – the depth and reality are there. It’s as though I’ve suddenly woken up to find myself in some alternate reality where what was once true within my psyche no longer is. 

What is occurring is that my ‘survivor self’ is taking less and less control of my responses and natural reactions to situations. The AHA! comes when a voice inside recognizes that surprisingly – I’m not feeling jealous, frustrated, angry, resentful over experiences that at one time would have certainly ruffled my feathers. It’s almost like I’m shocked to check in and not find the old emotions there, lingering, waiting to be felt. And a couple of times I really did go on a search for them, checking every room, every crevice, every cell of my being–‘are you sure? Really? There’s no electric charge to get us fired up over this? How can that be?’ Each time the reconnaissance team comes back empty handed. 

Our survival team, through years of professional experience, has learned how to rescue us from something unpleasant. Sort of like that ‘fight or flight’ response, only different. This team’s job is to seek out any alternate route to FEELING out of sorts, even if that means defensive posture and feeling angry, resentful, etc. But the key, my dear friends, to releasing those emotions is moving THROUGH them. We cannot sidestep what is true, or what we are believing as truth, while in the heat of it. The survival team has such skill, that we don’t even recognize what they’re up to until we’re deep in the heat of defending ourselves, or sometimes not at all.

I choose to meet this team head on, to assist in creating a new strategy for the work they are here to do. ‘Please alert me when the temperature’s rising in there. Let me know when you are feeling you need to arm yourselves and prepare for battle–be it loud and boisterous or silent, but deadly.’ Most of all, I’m asking them to step aside sometimes and allow my heart to respond instead.  

The results are miraculous. It’s been an absolute delight to take a quick scan and find ‘nope, nothing here. We’re all ok!’ How strange is it that I’m shocked to, at times, find things at rest within my being! By no means am I saying I’ve arrived, it’s complete. There’s still work to do. Choosing to love instead of survive means releasing the need to understand; letting go of the need to hold someone accountable, to point fingers, to divert the energy elsewhere. It doesn’t mean I take it all on as my own, nor that I ignore everything and am immune to being present and feeling emotion. What it means, my dear friends, is that I have chosen to step out of the fear of the what if, howcome, who, when questions, to put aside my desire for answers, for responsibility to lie SOMEwhere–and to instead tune into my own truth. 

Amazingly, it’s not as though this has been a hard and arduous step of my journey. What it is is a breaking down of old patterns. Opening to a new paradigm and way of reading my inner truth and the world around me. My survival team has an important job–alert me when the troops are moving toward the weapons room. Far too many of these battles haven’t needed to be fought. I think often of Gandhi and his peaceful means of achieving change. The survival team can assist me in that intention. We can work together rather than me being enslaved to their whims. 

And I must tell you, my sweet friends, the shift is a refreshing change of pace! I’m absolutely in awe as a neutral witness to myself. I choose love. And with that I release the need to know why, to secure accountability and retribution. I choose love. She has plenty of beautiful, Divine power to effect the changes I desire from within. ~ xo