Her Invitation

Just a week ago a friend indicated that I was keeping myself a bit in the background with my work through Sacred Circle Retreats. Well, she more than indicated – she flat out said so. I could feel she was right, however replied that I’m not feeling called to lead any particular groups or bring something through that space as a guide myself. And I meant it.

Within about three days time, that all came to a screeching HALT! Very little of what felt like actual effort occurred, although some very powerful, Sacred-Feminine-infused conversations transpired and Viola! – I’m now preparing to lead my first ever ‘event.’ My mind, that old recording we all have, wants to keep butting in: ‘Ahem, shouldn’t you be nervous? Do you really think you have something to say about this? Are you even going to be able to keep your thoughts and your self together? You’re terrified of your own voice. Seriously?!’ Nothing happens. No freak out, no physical response from my body to include heart palpitations, sweating in my armpits – NOTHING. She cannot and does not validate that old story. Because it’s no longer true.

'Spiritually Centered' by Karen Zima
‘Spiritually Centered’ by Karen Zima

What IS true is that I’m very excited about this. As soon as I said yes to Her invitation to step out, to speak up, to let my heart’s whispers take the lead, there was a very clear guiding path laid out before me. I could see and feel Her so clearly, illuminating from the center of my soul.

As part of the Awakening Woman series that has been so much of my vision for several years now, I’ll be joining this gorgeous group of five women (now six) and the stories and gifts they have to share. Not only will my senses be stirred through each one of them, but I will bring that inner stirring to those who are present and taking part. The focus for my session is (uhuh, you guessed it) sensuality. And the deeper I delve into this truth through my own body’s wisdom and ancient knowing, the more I discover this is NOT about sex. For too long, sensuality has become synonymous with ‘dirty’ sexuality. I was shocked and disgusted to find these definitions of sensual on Dictionary.com:

sen·su·al

adjective

1. pertaining to, inclined to, or preoccupied with the gratification of the senses or appetites; carnal;fleshly.
2. lacking in moral restraints; lewd or unchaste.
3. arousing or exciting the senses or appetites.
4. worldly; materialistic; irreligious.

 
The most accurate description here is #3, and even that does the true essence of sensual very little justice. It’s time for us to speak up in favor of what our hearts, our souls, our bodies know to be true. Sensuality is not a dirty word. There is a fire and a beauty intermingling in my being around this conversation, and I’m very much looking forward to radiating on Her behalf in my upcoming session: Invoking HER Sensuality.

All are welcome to join, if you feel so called. I’m elated to be offering this series and my own personal contribution. Our world needs to remember, we need to dissolve the programming we feel from the patriarchal energies–both within and without. It’s our time, Beloveds. It’s our time….

Details on Awakening Woman:
Crossing the Drawbridge article posted today
Awakening Woman Event Page 

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Whispers in Reflection

I truly had no idea how dark this year has felt for me. Oh, I’ve moved along with each crisis, celebration and life event. And yet–I somehow stepped out of a sacred space, immersed more and more into the physical reality that swirled around me. The details don’t matter because my focus here is really the journey back into myself. My beloved soul companion Joss Burnel articulated it perfectly in saying that we each have times in our lives where our lives demand much of us and we exist in a different space. But when we come back into the quiet, the serenity, we feel before us a newness of ourselves and an opportunity in which to determine what pieces of our former life we will take forward. There is an energy of discovery in this new way of being that Life Herself has ushered us into.

DSC01356The whispers are returning, sweet friends. Those heart whispers that allow me to close my eyes and feel the Grace move through–those whispers that indeed allow each one of us to do that in our own unique ways. It’s not that we’ve been disconnected, only that for a period of time our attention and energy were needed elsewhere. It’s the ebb and Flow of our lives, though, isn’t it? It certainly has been for mine. I’m not sure I can recall a period of time in which so much has occurred in such a short space in my life. And I must admit I did find myself feeling it was absurd for all of this to be in MY life!? How on earth did this come to be? I don’t live this way. All those silly, false truths floated their way to the surface. And in reflection I see that I am human as are you–we each have these times in our lives and we are each given the gifts that reveal themselves as the dark veils begin to lift.

Our Sacred Circle gathering today was centered around the following passage from Circle of Stones. Upon reading it, I could sense the relevance to other times in my life, but it wasn’t until I sat in the beautiful, sacred circle of women I love that I really felt the truth of the darkness in my life so recently. It didn’t the look the way one might expect. I remembered to find consciousness through it. But that’s very different from moving into a deeply sacred, soulfully present space. THAT is the space I so love and find myself longing for. And that, my dear friends is the space we share here together. Thank you for bringing your presence into this extraordinary virtual sanctuary that is ours. We revel in the light of Divine Presence, and isn’t that, in truth, the space from which even the darkness originates?

From today’s event:

“How might your life have been different, if, as a young woman, there had been a place for you, a place where you could go to be among women… a place for you when you had feelings of darkness? And, if there had been another woman, somewhat older, to be with you in your darkness, to be with you until you spoke… spoke out your pain and anger and sorrow.

And, if you had spoken until you had understood the sense of your feelings, how they reflected your own nature, your own deepest nature, crying out of the darkness, struggling to be heard.

And, what if, after that, every time you had feelings of darkness, you knew that the woman would come to be with you? And would sit quietly by as you went into your darkness to listen to your feelings and bring them to birth… So that, over the years, companioned by the woman, you learned to no longer fear your darkness, but to trust it… to trust it as the place where you could meet your own deepest nature and give it voice.

How might your life be different if you could trust your darkness… could trust your own darkness?” ~ Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk 

The Art of Allowing

Oh my, it feels as though I have so much to say after not writing here for quite some time. I always know it’s time to return–when I’m having conversations with you all in my mind.

I wonder if you feel what I do at just this time–a great shifting in how Life experiences you, and in turn how you experience it–but in the most subtle of ways. Undoubtedly many of us are continuing to move through the spiral of our own journey, unearthing pieces of ourselves, dismantling layers of beliefs and barriers no longer needed. But what has occurred for me over the last couple of months feels quite extraordinary, in the most simple of ways.

Gorgeous Beach Roses, overlooking the marsh at Moody, Maine.
Gorgeous Beach Roses, overlooking the marsh at Moody, Maine.

It’s the first time–EVER–I was on my own for a few weeks this summer, and it was extraordinary. My husband’s father passed away three years ago, and his mother just this January. That leaves my husband as the ‘elder’ in his family, which in itself is quite surreal. There were two properties to be managed – her home to be sorted through, cleaned out and put on the market to sell – and a family cottage on the coast of Maine to be transferred into our ownership and oversight as it’s also a rental property. A friend and I traveled together up to New England and spent a week cleaning, packing, making repairs in the home to be sold. Our time together was filled with laughter, lots of dust and we even managed to get in a few nights out on the town. She then went on to visit family in Canada and I spent the next week by myself at the beach cottage.

I don’t quite have all the words to describe this experience, but I know it changed me in ways I’m not yet aware. When I met my husband nearly 22 years ago, we fell in love and married within less than a year. I moved from my parents’ home to his. So being in this sacred place I love so much and having it all to myself as the energetic shift in ownership occurred was a beautiful gift. I loved every minute. My dear friend Joss unknowingly spoke what’s true in my heart – Moody Beach is a healing space for me. In years past, it has felt very much in my awareness. This year, it was much more as though I was simply allowing myself to love each moment for what it was. There wasn’t anything BIG or earth-shattering that I felt or recognized inwardly. The movement has been subtle, beautiful, gentle. And I feel that is the energy currently settling into our consciousness as the old paradigm of fear and ‘doing the right thing’ march silently out of focus.

There’s so much I could say, but I do tend to write long posts already, so will try to simplify. I have witnessed the delicate grace having a similar impact on several occasions–moving my spirit when I wasn’t even aware it was happening. First, after a week by myself, I was uncertain if I was ready for my family to arrive. We return to Moody Beach each summer – sometimes just my husband and I, other times the kids will go with us; this year everyone journeyed north. They would fly in on Tuesday, but Sunday evening and even a bit on Monday morning I was concerned I might not be so happy to see them. A gentle breeze of grace shifted my feelings as Monday went on – and I felt a bit lonely accompanied by a longing to connect with my family. When they landed on Tuesday, my heart leapt with joy to see these amazing beings who chose me for their wife and mother.  I felt – and still do – quite amazed with how my emotions and heart moved just as was needed in those moments.

On a brilliantly warm and sunny Friday afternoon, I walked to the nearby marsh to find a large flock of geese enjoying the high tide. They reminded me....'you do not have to be good.'
On a brilliantly warm and sunny Friday afternoon, I walked to the nearby marsh to find a large flock of geese enjoying the high tide. They reminded me….’you do not have to be good.’

Similar experiences happened when it was time for the kids to go, for us to come home from the beach and most recently with my work. My husband and I would spend the remaining week together in New England, and although I so looked forward to that, I felt pangs of grief as I watched my children walk towards their gate for the flight home. When we traveled back home to Atlanta over two days’ journey, I wasn’t so sure coming ‘home’ would be welcome. Halfway through day two, I sensed the shift and desire to be in my beautiful Atlanta HOME once again. And with Sacred Circle Retreats – upon leaving closing out our Spring Program in May, I felt burnt out, unsure about continuing this forward. That feeling of uncertainty seemed to increase as my distance from the work and community did. Just a few weeks ago I wondered if I would be canceling the Fall Program because my heart was no longer in it. My friend and mentor Fay Hart is always talking about miracles and how they are everywhere. I’m convinced a miracle occurred because the passion for this work, for our Fall Program and the women with whom I’m so honored to work has only grown immensely over the last few weeks and I’m elated to launch our new series of events this evening.

Two quotes come to me in closing. The first I read just this morning and shared on the Sacred Circle Retreats FB page, which then led me to write this post (finally!):

Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe. Through it, consciousness (spirit) is freed from its imprisonment in form. ~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

The second seems to sum up my summer retreat (because for me it WAS a retreat, they come in many forms, my friends):

You do not have to be good…..
You have only to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. ~ Mary Oliver, Wild Geese poem

Generosity of Spirit

We’re doing something very special over at Sacred Circle Retreats. Twelve days of gifts from the Guides….generosity at her finest. I was inspired to facilitate this project through Robin Rice’s teleconference ‘7 Things You Must Do To Love Your Life.‘ As she talked about giving back, her message stood out loud and clear: Generosity tells the Universe ‘I am a good conduit for what you’re going to give me.’ Indeed, I am. I know this, but it’s time to put it into action in ways that expand our comfort zone, our ‘usual’ way of living and to move beyond what is expected and into the extraordinary. xoxo

Mystical Highways

There are moments when I think about our ability to connect with one another that it moves me to tears. For me personally, intimate connection is so important. It can be a struggle at times to interact on a surface level. 

Just contemplating how easily we can reach out and touch one another, how quickly information is shared, bringing us close together in the space of our hearts–it’s quite moving isn’t it? I’m elated to be alive in this time and space, to have a relationship to the energies that move beneath what looks like Facebook, Twitter, teleconferences, texting, etc. These are part of our ‘mundane’ world, but looking through the lens of the mystical, these are in fact energetic frequencies through which we can choose to heal and empower ourselves and others, or not. For me, they carry a means of joining heart to heart, in the space of a second. If we tune in to that energy field, we find there is much waiting to embrace us there. 

In in awe, really. In awe of the healing, the emotional release and soul companionship I’ve witnessed and experienced as I’ve learned and worked with social media and the internet. Imagine if you will, these exchanges as medians of light, highways on which we meet one another and exchange inner truths. It’s as though we are traveling an alternate reality, formed of our heart-centered connection. Words escape me, but the feeling is immense. It warms me from the core of my being as I feel the expansion of what is possible. Never in our written history have the ‘records’ and communication lines of connecting and sharing been so openly accessible. 

That’s what it’s about, isn’t it, my friends? Allowing ourselves to open, to flower from the inside out rather than depend on something in our outer world to mold us. On these invisible roadways, we are not our physical selves, but spiritual beings coming together to heal, to grow in our own truth and to honor one another. I’m feeling the fullness of that truth in my heart today. And if you’re reading this, you’re part of my circle, we’ve met somewhere on these paths of energy. I bow to you as we pass one another, or perhaps stop and share a moment of time with one another. As I close my eyes and look around this circle we’ve created together, my heart is warmed with the love  and grace that pool in its center. I say to each of you….thank you, thank you, thank you. xo 

If you haven’t yet, I invite you to visit Sacred Circle Retreats, where soul connection is offered through the mystical highway of internet. ; ) 

 

 

‘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 

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