‘Un-contained’

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret – are you ready? This has been an incredible year of transformation, healing and opening up for me. I pride myself on being someone who is true to what she believes, able to stand in it fully and not live a ‘double’ life behind what is shown to the world. And this year has certainly brought with it an excavation of places where that hasn’t worked, isn’t happening–or just simply can no longer exist. 

The secret? I’m not guilty that our children are growing up and leaving home. I’m not worried that they won’t be ok, nor am I feeling empty with two children gone off to college. I’ve started a new venture, and I don’t feel afraid of how it might turn out. What I have realized I AM worried about is saying these things out loud. So much of what is ‘right’ or ‘supposed to be’ has been stripped away this year. 

From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a
container already built for us to fit inside: A social security
number, a gender, a race, a profession or an I.Q. I ponder
if we are more defined by the container we are in, rather than
what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could
expand beyond our bodies? Would we still be able to exist
if we were authentically ‘un-contained’?
‘Expansion’ sculpture & quote by Paige Bradley

Our son struggled to get through his last year of high school, feeling he was ready to be independent, to move on and to make all his own decisions. I, in turn, struggled terribly with how to let go of trying to parent responsibly and force him to do it ‘our way.’ That’s what a ‘good parent’ would do. She wouldn’t leave it up to a senior in high school to determine how much of the usual ‘recreational activities’ he can manage for himself. A ‘good mother’ wouldn’t allow him to come and go all hours of the night as he chooses. The battle within myself was to try to figure out how on earth to get a handle on this situation before it railed out of control in all directions that fear could throw in our path. ‘What if’ and ‘what will people think?’ I had to let go of those fears. Mine was to step OUT of what I believed to be societal conformities and INTO what I have said is my truth: There is purpose to everything. With our son – even if those ‘what if’s’ came to pass – wasn’t the Universe still infusing purpose into each experience? Yes. So be still and know, Jackie. He is intuitive, intelligent and connected to something greater than ME. How on earth can I say at this stage in the game I’m the ONE who knows what’s best? So much of that was about ME, not him and his journey. 

It comes around again, now in a whole new way. As my vision for this next venture projects into the future in ways that amaze me, I find myself needing to step out of worrying how it will be perceived. Oh, yes, it’s ok to share it, to be excited about it, to open up to it fully in my ‘safe space.’ But now the call comes to allow the crossover. Some of the pieces of my personal, interior life are becoming larger and larger pathways of my exterior, more public life. Somehow, even now, it’s easier to tell you about what’s happened with my son than to claim out loud how much I believe in this work. To let it be known across a vast audience that I am fully behind this work. 

You see, I’ve very neatly kept my writing in this space and on its allocated FB share page. Rarely do I allow it to crossover to my actual personal FB page. Some of those people actually know me from different times in my life. What on earth are they going to think? Jackie the party girl gone all spiritual? HA! They’ll laugh me right off the page. Or perhaps, someone thinks I’m full of fluff – and what if I offend them? Oh gosh, doesn’t it even sound silly to say OUT LOUD? 

Well – here’s what’s true. As uncomfortable as it may be initially – I’m DONE with all that. I’m living OUT LOUD now. I am who I am. If 2011 was my year to own that truth, 2012 is my year to LIVE that truth…OUT LOUD. I’ve mastered it in my own private, safe spaces. (Well, perhaps ‘mastered’ is a strong word, but I’ve found a synergy with living it on an interior level.) No more ‘secrets.’ This is me. You can approve or not. That’s ok. I’m not my past, I’m not someone else’s opinions and I’m not what my own fear suggests I become. I hear clearly my own inner guidance, and THAT, my friends will be my compass. Up until now, it’s not been a conflict within myself to keep some of these pieces separate. But I don’t feel at peace with that anymore. Time to integrate, to be fully me – no apologies or ‘holdbacks.’ 

And let me just tell you – it feels so LIBERATING! (I have another story to tell you on this note, but that’s for next time.) It feels like twirling around in a field – like Maria von Trapp in the opening scene of The Sound of Music. The box has fallen apart…and no longer will I choose to live ‘contained.’ Bit by bit, the pieces have fallen away….and continue to do so. I’m answering the call that comes so clearly – I’m choosing to live ‘UN-CONTAINED.’ 

I invite you to join me, let it all go, share your truest, purest self. The desires, the loves, the fears, the dreams, the visions that define the way you’re living your life. Let’s come together in a voice that speaks OUT LOUD!

I’ll be sharing more here about the new energy in my life–Sacred Circle Retreats. Here’s just a short preview of the work we’re doing there: http://sacredcircleretreats.com/calendar-of-events/. Would love for you to join us for one of our events, sign up for our newsletter, or just stop in and say hello. xo 

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Miracles & Moments ~ No Comfort Zone Challenge Week 4

I’m loving reading everyone’s movement and opening as we all go through this ‘challenge’ together. Ironic, isn’t it–that we’ve actually NAMED something meant to be part of our every day life journey and experience. S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G beyond our own comfort zone and into the space of the sacred. We are consciously choosing to go into the center of ourselves, allow our souls to guide us. For it’s true, friends, that even when we have human language for it and it looks like we are engaging solely on the level of being earthlings, it is indeed our inner voice that beckons and drives us onward, deeper and deeper into who we are.

Twice the call came. First as an ‘oh, yes, that sounds nice’ when Janece shared that she was writing less on her blog, but more in her journal which had been silent for some time. And then last week when Marge shared that her decision to step outside her comfort zone was to change up her morning routine, part of which included writing in her journal. I have books and books of journals from when I wrote every day–so filled with emotion, awe and downloads of ME that I went on for pages in one sitting. And then, something shifted. I stopped writing in my journal so much, eventually writing more and more here, in plain sight.

A ritual I set for myself years ago was to get up early, in the darkness of morning and write. There was something incredibly sacred in that time of day for me. The stillness of a household not yet awakened. Quiet hush over all of nature until that first bird begins her chirping song. The Divine seemed more tangible and alive somehow. So after reading Marge talk about the beauty of the morning hours and the enveloping grace they exude, I decided I would get up early again this last week and write in my journal.

There wasn’t anything profound, in fact it was different than those years ago, in how it fed my soul to commune with the sacred–then & now. At that time, I could say it was as though I was a new recruit to the convent, come in with exuberant passion for this journey, for the connection to something so much greater than I. In this time and place, there is a calm within myself. A settled knowing of who and what I am, and in turn an understanding of the permeating presence of Divine energy throughout my entire day. What I found instead, wasn’t so much the joy of journaling once again, but the pause to whisper ‘Good morning, Ms. Jackie’ and then to allow myself to begin preparing for this day in my home. ‘This’ being any given day. After a space of writing, I felt myself infusing a loving warmth into each task I was doing: making coffee for my husband, feeding the cats, organizing the kitchen in order to make lunches. There was a different kind of sacred hush. Just a quiet knowing, calm, peacefulness. Morning was more like a glow of love greeting me.

It doesn’t sound uncomfortable, though, does it? And in truth, it wasn’t horribly so. But on half of those mornings, as I rolled over to quiet my alarm, I found myself thinking it would be much more comfortable to stay cuddled up next to my husband, in the warm embrace of our bodies resting together. To instead get up and greet the cool air of winter–let me assure you–was not so comfortable. The beauty: downstairs a cozy blanket awaited me. Sacred morning moments.

I love the unexpected–and this week’s experience certainly was that, in a very gentle and nurturing way. Miracles often come to us in the quiet of our interior, and in ways we least expect. Before closing, I’d like to quickly (well, as quickly as possible, we ARE writers after all!) share two notes on miracles and healing. Since our ‘walk-out’ visit to the vet last week, Snuggles’ symptoms of concern stopped completely! If that isn’t a resounding YES! to the truth of my own inner voice, I don’t know what is. I’m still amazed that it was so simple. When he first came to us, Snuggles was dreadfully afraid of humans. We couldn’t ever touch him. It’s been three years now and he will actually talk to me and ask to be loved and touched. He’s still unsure sometimes, but that boy has come a long way. It’s crystal clear that he has come into our lives–my life–to teach TRUST, and last week was one of the biggest lessons yet.

The conflict with my son has also begun to dissolve after my own conscious awareness and choice to just LOVE. Let go and love him. It has served to liberate us both. I have no illusions we’ll be flitting about the clouds with blind happiness for the remainder of our lives, but I do see how choosing to allow ourselves to move THROUGH what we feel, emerge on the other side with an energy of surrender and just give in to the call of our hearts–in my case to LOVE–will reorder our interior truth. I’m grateful for the healing in our home this last week, for the trust and love we are allowing to flourish as we grow together.

I’m actually quite clear on what next week’s challenge is for myself. Paint. I have inner visions of fluid strokes, colors, energies coming together on the ‘canvas.’ Voices of doubt have kept me from exploring, and I’m feeling very succinctly the call to honor my inner creativity. So I’ll be letting go in a whole new way as I explore the art of painting….however it may come to be over the next week. As a prompt and added inspiration for myself, I’ve attached a photo of the mug I painted to honor my 40th birthday. How on earth I’ve let nearly two months go by without letting this creativity express herself, I cannot say. Next week….that changes!

Love’s Post-A-Day

I think I could write a post a day on all the properties, experiences, lessons, joys, heartbreak, inspiration (you get the idea) of love. She comes to us in so many forms, not the least of which is through the cracks in our hearts. Today’s Lesson: Moving past the frustration, through the heartbreak and into the space of love’s purity. 

So often I hear Rumi’s word in my heart: the crack, the wound is where the light shines through. As I laid on my pillow letting tears flow last night, recognizing for the first time with great clarity a deep heart pain, I nearly smiled with the truth of it. Amidst all of this, there is radiant light beginning to seep into through the jagged edges of heartbreak. I know the words, all too well. I’ve watched my mom go through ‘letting go’ of her five children as we grew into adults. Perhaps with little enough appreciation and definitely void of any understanding of what was really occurring in the deepest space of her heart. We give them birth, feeling even then our heartspace cracking wide open with a love we didn’t know was possible. As our children grow, we revel in our ability to provide their needs, nurture their spirit, honor their individuality. Without even giving a thought to the day when they DON’T need us; when we cease to be the center of their world. When the careful work we have done to let them make choices and be who they are suddenly becomes the impetus to a disengagement from their dependence on us. And truthfully my friends – I would have been the last one to expect this of myself, but I must tell you – it hurts like hell. 

I wasn’t prepared – at all – for the level of heartbreak I’m recognizing in myself. Nope, not me. I’ve done deep pain release, letting it all go in cries that come from the darkest places of our insides. I’m good. Ready to go forward with a happy excitement for the next chapter of our lives. I THOUGHT. I was wrong. NOTHING in me was ready for this–for the realization that I’m holding on so tightly I’m creating conflict. I’ve forgotten that I want to LOVE, unconditionally. The pain became the lead, so quietly, covertly–converting into frustration and the belief that I was doing what was ‘best.’ But what I learned a few years back to do with my husband is just what I need to connect with as a mother: just love. Stop waiting for them to become what I see would be good, better, best for them. Stop wanting them to be what they are not. For gosh sakes, Jackie, stop trying to bend the situation to YOUR will. Love. Love them because YOU want to, not because they’re asking, not because they appreciate it–do it for the greatest reason there is: because YOU want to. Because I want to. 

 

Surrender. Let go. Once again, I find myself sitting deep in the center of these words. Follow the truth I believe in wholeheartedly and let this child go. Surrender their well-being to the Universe, who of course is much more qualified than you. Ugh. Dearest friends, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t find this truth amongst the hurt overlaid with frustration. But I’m feeling it…and finding more peace as the day goes on and it settles in. 

And yet….I know in the core of my being – this is his path. He is fully held in the arms of grace. I’ve said it so many times, haven’t I? Do you believe it Jackie? Yes, yes, I do. Then LET go. 

And love. Just love. I know this harmony so well. Being able to view the situation with a bit more clarity, to release the frustration, to feel the heartbreak….I can find my way into the power of love. SHE will be our guide, now that I’m getting out of the way.

I’m grateful for the gift of clarity, of seeing this situation from a new perspective and reconnecting to a truth I can emulate: BE love. Love because YOU want to….because your heart longs to. xo 

 

Healing A Mother’s Heart

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.

Letting go. Releasing. Transformation. Shifting. Rebirth. Such familiar words, aren’t they? And yet, we can’t quite grasp the reality of each one unless we are personally in the midst of our own life change. That is exactly where I find myself.

Emotions run deep as I am realizing just what it’s like to be a mom who is ‘letting go’ of her growing children. In truth, they aren’t even ‘children’ anymore, but young adults moving quickly into the space of becoming fully independent. Only recently have I become aware of the process required to ‘let go’ of these magnificent beings for whom I have taken total responsibility on so many levels for the entirety of their life. And it’s not even that it’s simply about them not ‘needing’ their mom, in fact it’s likely very little about that. I’m not certain I can yet say all of what it’s about, only that there is a very healing process in coming to this space and sharing these inner movements of my being.

Photo by Gabriela Staebler

It’s an old cliche’ isn’t it–that we will love our children only to grow them up and watch them leave. It’s not the physical leaving so much as the emotional disconnect that occurs along side that. We’ve raised our children to have significant freedoms in choosing how they wish to think, act, believe and interact with their daily lives. As they enter the world of young adulthood, they are now ready to wholly take on that freedom in a much different way. And we are left with sideline seats as they step into the wholeness of who they are–at least who they are in this place of life.

And so what I find grieving within is that loss of being their MOM who can cuddle up on the couch, who can squeeze them tight at any moment, who can share her concerns and still be able to protect them. This is not something my spirit–my heart–knows how to navigate. In this place all there is for me to do is love, even when loving mom back isn’t ‘cool’ anymore. How does a mom move away from these sweet ‘children’ being her babies still? I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know, is that it is indeed time to let go; time to allow these three of my greatest loves to step forward into their own journeys as young adults; time to trust that while Earth mom is fading into the background for a bit, their Divine Mother will always be with them.

The wound is the place where the light enters you. ~ Rumi

The beauty of this space is that while my heart breaks, my mind understands there is something magical blossoming simultaneously. This is a new chapter of my life too. One in which I focus once again on the wife I am, on the individual I am, on the purpose and joys that my heart will follow next. Thank you for sharing, my friends. Love to each…xo