A Brief Composition On My Current Decomposition

Hi friends – 

Three months, one full seasonal cycle ago, my marriage ended. 

Sometimes this is what three months feels like.

And sometimes, apparently, that is what twenty-one years looks like. 

Linear time is a funny thing – as we all have learned in profound ways in these last two and quarter years.

Linear time gives us a shape, illusionary though it often is. This sense of where we came from and where we are likely going, feeling life’s predictable rhythms and cycles can calm our system, offering a clearer container from which to move and feel where we are.

For most of my adult life thus far, the container of my marriage was a deeply settling place from which I moved and experienced life. It was never a high conflict relationship, or one filled with a blanket of tension for me. Rather, it was a place where I felt deeply and profoundly resourced by comfort, security, daily laughter, regular tears, sweet companionship, shared stories and language that only we know how to speak and understand. 

There were also, not surprisingly, some core challenges that we could not seem to navigate well enough, no matter how many ways we tried to. At the convergence of these stuck points, our roads diverged.

Letting things die has never been in my wheelhouse. Especially in fields with so much abundant thriving life afoot. But like a fallen tree that had, just moments before, been fully alive, rich and vibrant life sometimes suddenly dies and needs space to decay and reshape into new forms. 

Jeremy and I have committed to doing all we can to decompose as we composed, with magic and kindness and care for ourselves, one another and communities we’ve co-created. The idea of “all or nothing” is an illusion. The typical divorce narrative of choosing sides and falling into a contentious, spiteful battle of perspectives belongs to an antiquated way of moving in the world. It holds the same frequency that is responsible for so much of the suffering we are swimming in collectively at this moment.

We are discovering a version of reality available where we can be both truthful, boundaried and hurt, without being defensive, divided or spiteful. Deep love, friendship and support remains a possibility, even in the dissolution of our loving home as we knew it. 

I am beyond grateful that I had a husband, and now a “Wasband,” who shares these values with me and joins me in doing our imperfect best to navigate this dismantling with love. 

**(Our process was greatly supported by both our therapist, our communities and families and the book “Conscious Uncoupling” by Katherine Woodward. I highly recommend whether you are considering leaving a relationship, just leaving a relationship or are still processing a relationship that ended many moons ago. It’s countercultural and a powerful tonic whether both or just one of the couples in the uncoupling process desires to focus on post traumatic growth and forward movement, rather than staying stuck in bitterness and resentment.)

I’ve tried to write this letter many times, but the words could not keep up with my waves. My life now is demanding present time verbs, not fixed nouns. In a very novel way, my current creative process is not focused on one relationship with another person, a project, a passion or a place. I feel necessarily unfocused on anything other than reshaping myself and noticing what parts of me arise in relation to my current external realities. A walk through the dark parts of my own soul – slowly learning night vision while clearing out all the places that contorted and shaped around someone else’s rhythms or any outward expectations.

For nearly half my life now, I have held a sense of identity as a “we.” 

“Vanessa & Jeremy” became a familiar proper noun in the circles we danced in. 

For the very first time in my life, in a very literal and powerfully metaphoric way, I am not sharing a home space with any other human. I am not

“Vanessa and _____”

I am simply Vanessa. 

And in this space I am reclaiming old broken off branches of myself and discovering new sprouts, rising up from this rich compost of all the shit that went down. 

Without a partner to shape my life around, I have room to explore myself – to stretch without the edges of anyone else’s container confining me. In this space I’m feeling the novelty of my own pure self… my decorating style, my circadian rhythms, the shape of my days, my bisexuality, curisoity around untraditional relationship structures and ways of relating as a grown ass woman who knows, and doesn’t apologize for, what I desire.

On our wedding day, Jeremy turned to those gathered and said

 “We are all getting a little married here today.” 

 Indeed we were – and in these last few months, there has been an unmarrying of us all too. 

As a family unit, we had no children, and yet there is clear abundant offspring from our union and decades together. We gestated, birthed and nurtured sacred spaces in the form of homes, events, parties, performances and retreats. These spaces became places to rest, expand, heal and create –  not just for the two of us –  but for entire communities that we nurtured and grew together, including many of you reading this now. 

I trust new forms of these communities will continue to grow and evolve in the unknowable shapes that the future promises. 

There are many more words that have and will give shape to this process and I suspect I will continue to share them with you as they emerge. But for now, on this Independence Day weekend where I bow to both my independence and profound interdependence, I want to say thank you to Jeremy for twenty one magical years of dancing together – and to you all for all the ways you’ve held us and continue to hold us both as we move along on our own paths. 

I stand in awe of the painfully beautiful mysterious cycles, of death and rebirth, and look forward with hopeful curiosity to see all that emerges next. 

Vanessa

Mushrooms and Much Room.

Hi friends –

It’s been many months since I have written to you. Thank you so much for all the love and prayers you sent me during my surgery and recovery in December and January. The support I felt, so widely and deeply, is impossible to name with words other than, thank you.

I have started many letters this year since, but nothing quite landed to send.

2022 has been a period of dissolving illusions and structures that no longer served me. Something about the process of surrendering my gallbladder, opened up an ability to surrender and release my grasp on so much else I had been fighting for. The process has been rich, generative, blissful, confusing, clear and deeply painful. Sometimes all at the same moment.

There will be a time in the not so distant future, I believe, that I will share more details of this season. But for now, uncharacteristically to earlier versions of myself – the process is feeling necessarily more internal, and held by a smaller container of other souls that love me and know me intimately.

I’d been needing some kind of ritual that gave me an external sign of this process. Two days ago, that ritual happened.

Twenty three years ago I got a tattoo with a dear friend.. Unlike every other tattoo I got before or after, this one had been on a whim. She had a symbol picked out that was said to represent “forgiveness.” I picked out on the car ride over that said it meant “to see with the eyes of love.”

But when they drew it on my wrist, it scared me to have an eye staring back at me the rest of my life*, so in haste and fear I looked at the sheet and saw another one that said it meant “keeping peace.” Sure, I like peace. (*side note that I’m pretty sure my next tattoo is going to be that eye I wasn’t ready to face half my life ago.)

The peace tattoo didn’t heal well and for a multitude of reasons, I never liked it. For years I wanted to cover it, but didn’t. Because well… keeping the peace was easier.

Then a couple weeks ago it, along with so much these days, became clear it was time.

I no longer care about keeping the peace at the expense of truth.

Instead I want to invite a full surrender to the cycles of life in whatever mysterious, messy form they take. And it hit me…

Mushrooms!

As a child my entire family’s favorite vegetables were mushrooms. I know, I know – mushrooms are fungi, not vegetables, but my father liked so few actual vegetables, he said they counted. I agree.

Through my life I have continued to love to eat already foraged and observe wild mushrooms (haven’t yet mastered or mustered the courage to hunt). They have been nourishing my body and soul. Teaching me about the death and rebirth process like nothing else in nature does. They show up where there is death and dying, create the most fertile, rich, efficient and often beautiful and vivid decaying process that readys the matter into building blocks to regrow new life.

Today is Good Friday, a day that in my rich lineage was a day of honoring death – and all that is lossed and mourned – wrapped up in the larger Easter story, where the hope of resurrection is contained within the process of death.

So today feels like the right moment to share this. The vividly beautiful, resilient and medicinal Turkey Tails (versacolor, polypore) that I suspect will be with me until my entire actual body does its own final decaying process. Hopefully, if green burial is an accessible thing when I die, in an actual mushroom burial suit. (Look it up, they are so cool!)

There is much, much more to share about the deep regenerative and transformative process I am in. And I know the time to share is coming. But for now, as I did on so many Good Fridays growing up, I will allow the details of this time to remain quietly held in this holy space of silence.

Thank you for all of your love and support over the years and even over this time, when I have been less in touch with external communities I’ve created. Your presence is part of the wide and strong web of support, much like the mycelium that every forest system is held together with, and that has been allowing me to navigate dark days with more ease.

Until then – wishing you so much room, and the profound gift that mushrooms offer us.

Vanessa

(from “Mushrooms Dymystified” by David Arora

Portals and Prayers

(Originally published in December 2021)

Hi friends  – 

In a little less than a week I will transport my consciousness into a fog of anesthesia and consent to having my gallbladder, a cute little organ that has served me mostly quite well for the last 45 years, removed. As you may know if you follow these letters, this little sweetie has been collecting little stone treasures and keeping them in her sack. (Seriously, gallstones are surprisingly beautiful and can look a bit like they belong on the shelf of a local gem store). I often fill the spaces around me with pretty stones, so it’s no surprise really that I would fill a little sack within me with them too. 

Nevertheless, from time to time these stones slip out and cause a potentially very dangerous ruckus to my system. For the last year I’ve been attempting to gently dissolve them with a strict diet, supplements, healing treatments and visualization. Since doing this I’ve had no attacks and felt so much shifting in my system. But the ultrasound still shows some stones and if any one of them decides to take a journey down my digestive tract again, it could be very harmful. 

So, last month I surrendered. I blessed my body and willpower for the work well done and gave myself permission to rest and receive support from the healers dressed in scrubs. I am so grateful to have taken the time to try all I could and to find the surgeon and timing that feels more resonant for me. 

These stones have been teachers to every cell of my being. They have pointed me to find and feel my anger and to acknowledge and celebrate my needs. To throw off a lineage cloak of sexual shame and repression and fragmentation of spiritual and physical and awaken to the garden of delights that is my sensual self. The stones, and all the inherited stories they represent, are ready to be composted and liberated, making space for new, more aligned stories for myself and all I am threaded to. 

Forty-four years ago, when I was an infant, my young self needed medical help too. I had an enlarged thymus and pneumonia and there was a serious question about whether I would survive. I inherited lots of wounding in my ancestral line, but also so many clear strengths. One of them was that I had a family who believed in the power of prayer and community. The word went out about my condition and I had hundreds, maybe thousands, of prayers from all over the world infusing the cells of my little body with love, light and vitality.

 Trauma is not the only thing that gets remembered in your body – all the love and resourcing does as well.

Not only did I miraculously recover, I’ve felt that covering of love and support throughout my life since. No matter what emotional wave or challenging thought I was riding, I’m grateful to say that I’ve always felt a deep sense of interconnectedness to the fabric of all of creation and, after one sacred moment’s pause, I can usually quite easily connect to the divinity and soul radiance in every person I meet… including the one I see in the mirror. 

So, as my parents and extended family did many moons ago, I am asking for your prayers. Or whatever language (focused thoughts, healing energy, loving intentions, etc.) most freely brings you from your head to your heart. As you send love my way, I ask that you feel the preciousness of your own sweet body, tender heart and soul’s journey. You are not alone, walking the labyrinth of this time of dire beauty. And I am grateful to know that I am not either. With love and gratitude,

Vanessa

In Security

Hi friends, 

Recently a dear friend of mine was lovingly reflecting that she heard some insecurity within something I was sharing. She wondered if it were true and/or if it was okay she was pointing that out. Her words came in the form of a video message, so I paused the video and rewound in order to hear that word again. 

Insecurity.

In… security. 

I felt it through my whole body. My friend’s spot-on reflection helped me to feel the root of where my tender sharing was coming… from the very young part of me who’s primary need is safety. 

But my full grown self tells a more nuanced story about safety.  

When I am relaxed and grounded, I remember my nervous system’s innate intelligence and know that I can soften in this moment, because my sympathetic (fight, flight, freeze or appease) response will automatically activate when there actual imminent survival threats.

In this more grounded state, I can identify my needs and rest in my ability to do the necessary adulting to care for my basic needs (and beyond). 

And when adulting gets hard on my own, I remember and build the courage to ask for help from the network of friends and family who have my back and will show up for me at a moment’s notice. 

And I also hold the awareness that regardless of the amount of guards I consciously and unconsciously built up to keep myself “emotionally safe,” I will get hurt. No matter how strongly I hold to my beliefs, they will be challenged and change with time. And ultimately, even when I do so many things to keep my body vital and vibrant, I will die. 

My younger self, who has a strong developmental need for security, doesn’t know this yet. All little Nessy knows is that she wants to feel safe and sometimes she feels so alone and life just feels like too much to bear.

We all have many parts of ourselves, activated in different moments for different reasons. But watching over them all is a part of ourselves that I think of as our Soul awareness. This is the aspect of our consciousness that holds a wide lens of life and is able to observe and respond with curiosity, compassion and a deep trust that we will get through this, just as we have gotten through every other moment of our life, one way or another, thus far.

The fear rising up from my young self is like a stop sign, activating this larger awareness and knowing that I can use the tools I have. I can do the practices that help my nervous system reset to the awareness that I am safe. 

From here, I can take the little girl out of the driver’s seat of my thoughts and reactions, hold her, comfort her and reassure her that I’ve got this and she doesn’t need to figure anything out. 

This kind of inner parenting is a practice. Feeling scared, overwhelmed, out of control or even just a little insecure, isn’t a personal failing – it’s a predictable response to the stress of life and indication to slow down, widen our perspective and get support.

Children, including those that live inside of each of us, need safe spaces. But once grown, those of us who desire to be change makers in our life and in our world, must create and step into spaces where we ask ourselves and others to be brave. As we build our resilience for discomfort and unease, transformation, joy and freedom have space to unfold. 

Holding hands with little Nessy, who loves to play with you all, 

Vanessa


*There are many practices you can do to build this soul awareness and nervous system resilience. I share videos and worksheets for these practices weekly in our Soul Oriented Patreon community

On the Road, again

Hi friends – 

It’s been a minute. Over three months full of minutes actually, since I last wrote. 

For the last seven weeks, Jeremy and I have been road tripping around seeing (and hugging, laughing, crying and generally enjoying three dimensional, offline reality with) friends and family for the first time since  B.C. (Before Covid) times. 

Our six year old niece, who only knows her Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Nessy as mythical beings who land every now and then in her New York home for magical bursts of fun, as a “traveling family.” As someone who loves novelty, variety and adventure and identifies more as a resident of this planet, more than any particular address on it, I like this identity.

But I also love (and miss) being where my mail lands. I miss being where I have a closet full of clothes and cabinets full of dishes and walls full of art I’ve chosen and love. I long to be back in a place we have roots, literally in our yard with a year of actively creating and tending quarantine gardens and metaphorically all over the Bay Area after twenty years building chosen family, community and context. 

Today, for the first time since this traveling family of ours left California at the beginning of July, we will point our little car Westward, rather than East, and begin our journey back home. 

Or one home anyway. 

Because the truth is, this journey has brought back many pieces of home I’ve felt far from over the last disorienting year and half or so. 

Over the last seven weeks I’ve felt home return to me over and over again… 

…while holding my niece close, while she giggles in my face

…while walking with my nephew in an Indiana thunderstorm while he shares how complex it is to figure out who you are in this world 

….while laughing until my face hurts with my college friends who still live nearby our Massachusetts undergrad campus 

…while sitting around a piano that my uncle is playing, with many members of my extended family singing songs I’ve been harmonizing with since childhood 

…while sitting in my niece’s bunk bed/makeshift office for the day, opening up my laptop and seeing a client’s face who I’ve worked with for years 

…while crying and dancing and crying some more with my in-laws and friends when we were finally able to gather together to grieve and celebrate the life of my brother-in-law Jim who died earlier this year

…while sitting in our small car with my sweetie who even after driving for hours and hours and hours, and being together for two decades, still makes up little songs about me under his breath. 

…while I wake up in yet another new place and take a breath, long, slow, deep and intentional and feel my own body start to stretch and move and find her rhythm once more. 

All of these places, and moments outside of place, feel like home – even when the context and circumstances are swirling around in ways that leave me unsure of place or time. 

One of my life mottos, seen originally on a bumper sticker, is “If you lived in your body, you’d be home by now.” Perhaps, while I’m here, and maybe even, beyond, there’s always a chance to feel at home. 

What is connecting you to home these days I wonder?

Loving you,

Vanessa

Continuing Cultivation

Hi friends —

My last newsletter, sent around the Equinox, ended with:

“There are more mysteries to uncover, pain to be with and wounds to attend to individually and collectively…”

More mysteries and pain manifested in my own life a few days after sending the newsletter, with a gallbladder attack that took me to the hospital. This was the third time this had happened in two years; the latest opportunity to more deeply hear what my body is communicating. 

Because of the profound insights and dramatic relationship pattern shifts after the adventure of the first, and second, episodes, I felt hopeful that the stones would have dissolved along with the outdated beliefs that I sensed they represented. But alas, the body has it’s own wisdom – one that can not be forced to follow the desires of our heart and mind. 

*(As you may recall from earlier newsletter on the matter “The Gall of it All” https://souloriented.com/2019/02/04/the-gall-of-it-all/)

In listening this time around, I find myself noticing the following range:

  • Gratitude – That the stone passed without needing emergency surgery, giving me time to try alternative treatments and/or properly prepare my body to welcome the surgery if needed…. For my husband and all the many people who supported me through the worst of the pain and continue to support my healing efforts which are sometimes laborsome.
  • Shame – My well intentioned, but misguided, inner-shamer got busy with all sorts of angles attempting to find a narrative in which this was proof of my inadequacy. 

If I was “healthy” this wouldn’t have happened.. 

I should have made more changes after the first time…

What kind of a healer are you if you can’t heal yourself?…

Gallstones, as common as they are, still carried a stigma for me. 

Noting this limiting stigmatic belief, I can stay compassionate and curious about these thoughts rather than believing them….most of the time. 

  • Interconnectedness/Awe – At the hospital my first nurse was named Frances (my paternal grandmother’s name), my second nurse was named Vanessa and my attending physician was Dr. Miller (my maternal grandmother’s maiden name).  There were many more little and big synchronicities like this one – which I will perhaps write about in more detail another time. 
  • Empowerment/Surrender — I’ve taken my health into my hands in a whole new way and am doing a very specific diet and protocol of herbs, supplements, castor oil packs, etc. (I’m calling it “Operation #StonesToStardust” and invite you to join me in visualizing the dissolution of these little guys hanging out inside me.) 

Some moments I feel amazing and plug into the knowing that my body is capable of miraculous feats, despite the odds. Other moments it feels unsustainable to follow 100% or to really know what is even good for my body, let alone actually working to dissolve the stones. And even if I do all of the things impeccably for the next several months, I may still have to get the surgery. If that is the case, I will feel proud of myself for going with my intuitive hit to try this- and trust my body will be in a healthy, clear place to go forward with whatever is necessary.

  • Hopeful — 

Staying hopeful doesn’t mean I feel certain everything I wish for will come true – but rather that I can stay in a place of openness to see the infinite possibilities of every situation – and the potentiality for beauty, magic and grace to be woven through any circumstance. That’s certainly been the case so far, and I hope – or rather I trust – that it will continue to be so. 

Thank you for all your support dear friends. It’s such an honor to both hold space for you all and feel so held by you all at the same time. 

Loving you, 

Vanessa

Spring Emergence

Happy Equinox week friends, 

Today is the third day of Spring, and the air feels rich with hope. I’ve been sensing a turning point this last week, collectively and personally, with more spaciousness and potentiality available. 

Thank you to all who reached out with love and care around the loss of my brother-in-law Jim in early February… and then again with empathy when my Uncle Tim was very sick with Covid a couple weeks later. (Happy to report my uncle is home and well and mostly back to his energized extraverted ways.) 

Navigating life from a Soul Oriented perspective, means that moving forward is often not about advancing toward a goal. My somatic/spiritual compass often leads me in a direction without a fixed destination; moment by moment. At times in this past season, it felt like that compass was spinning beyond time and space. While I was in this state of spinning, I noted incredible access to states of awe, wonder and magic. Perhaps synchronicities abound during disorientation? 

During a solo hike in Marin last month, I veered off trail and found myself seemingly suddenly surrounded by six foot high coyote brush. I called my husband, who supported me in using the rather astonishing technology I held in my hand to call him, I could drop a pin and send the map to him. I used the phone compass to point me toward the main trail. I bushwhacked through thick brush for over an hour, losing my wallet and scarf and gaining, I later realized, a body full of poison oak. 

I made it out. And having literally touched so much wild earth, felt my feet land back on the ground. On this ground I would feel the discomfort of a body filled with weeping rashes… the pain of a heart weeping from loss…. the quiet of deep, unexplainable peace… the noise of deep, unexplainable confusion. 

And now, over a month later, I feel an emergence… thanks to time, rest, homemade body balms and kombu seaweed wraps, my skin is mostly healed… and my heart feels similarly soothed.

At the beginning of last Spring I was, with everyone else in the world, feeling the shock of being stopped in our tracks. This Spring, my feet are not just on the ground and my compass is starting to feel it’s way into new directions for the first time in a long time. There are more mysteries to uncover, pain be with, and wounds to attend to individually and collectively… but within that, in this moment, I am taking steps, light jogs, and occasional enthusiastic leaps forward.

How’s your compass these days? What is this Spring pointing you toward? 

With love, 

Vanessa

It’s All Love

“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”   
-James Baldwin

Hello friends,

Early on in lockdown I was texting with my seven year old sagacious niece, who is a real live magical fairy.  She and I began to chat online more often once quarantining started and her pictures, videos and messages are always a tonic for my soul. Gratefully, she’s dancing in the world of unfixed ideas, grammar included, so her messages are often threaded together in ways that end up delightfully poetic. ” In one recent message, when I told her I loved her, as we both always do, she replied with… 

“Love is how we are Aunt Nessy” 

This past year, more than ever, I’ve felt how every cell of our being is love – whatever doesn’t feel like love, is a cry for love – a desire to take off our masks and come back into resonance with our true nature. While so much has been stripped away this year so many more complexities and challenges have also been added. But ultimately underneath and above and beyond it all.. is love. 

The essence of who we are is not a state or a place…it is how we are, regardless of what masks we wear to protect ourselves and others. 

Less than two weeks ago, my husband and I were unexpectedly in Las Vegas where his brother was on life support after he had a sudden heart attack while on vacation. Through the unfolding of many miracles, even during these covid restrictive times, we were both somehow able to be directly at his hospital bedside. As they removed life support and he transitioned to the space beyond our comprehension or knowing, there was only pure, clear love. Nothing, including the N95 on my face, the respirator on his, any questions about what happened or prior complexities of relationship could disconnect me from the flow of love between us… through the family… the lineage… the cosmos. 

It was a death and somehow a birth too, and one of the most profound honors of my life, to share that sacred space.  

When the veil is thin, the masks come off and all the mind’s stories more easily dissolve so that only the essence of who we are… and how we are… is there.

I have been riding the waves of grief these last two weeks. With the pain there has been so much healing and revelation and so, so much love.

The driving to Las Vegas… love.

The stories of guilt, feeling like I could have done more… love. 

The gut wrenching sobs… love.

The feeling of unexplainable peace and contentment, sometimes sooner than I think I deserve to be feeling it… love.

The desire to know more about his life… love.

The regret I knew less… love. 

The numbness… love. 

The anger… love.

The gratitude.. love. 

The sorting through papers and settling his estate… love.

The yearning to know… love.

The surrender to all we can never know… love. 

On this heart focused day, may we each bring enough presence to our life that we see how every impulse, emotion, thought or action comes from love. It’s just how we are.

Love, 

Vanessa

New Years Newsletter

Hi Friends, 

One trillion lifetimes ago, on December 31, 2019, we had an NYE party at our home. I went all out in a hot dress, fishnet leggings, huge lightning bolt earrings, a red wig and an over the top make-up job done by a fabulous 12 year old boy whom I adore.

I experienced a powerful awakening in the months leading up to this, both personally and professionally, and I felt hopeful more was to come. So I filled my cup more than once with hard kombucha and toasted what I envisioned to be a year of speaking up and expanding out like never before. I went to bed with a full heart and expectant spirit.  

On New Years Day I woke up with no voice. Although I’m sure the debauchery, loud singing and laughing from the night before contributed, I felt something deeper. I spent the day in silence, meditating and opening up to the year ahead. The tarot card I drew that day for my 2020 messenger was “The Hermit.”  I was curious how this might play out, as my year ahead was already fully packed with travel plans, community gatherings, leading retreats & workshops and so much more that involved everything other than my understanding of this solitary archetype.

Little did I know, ten weeks later, this year would become a hermitage for us all.  

Or that we’d still be journeying on it, nearly ten months later.

On this journey I’ve learned, to my surprise, just how much I like being at home… and just how much presence and transformation can happen screen to screen….and that the feeling of “busy” often has more to do with my mindset than actual things I need to do or places I need to go.

But also of course, we have all grieved deeply this year, to varying degrees and over different things. Many have lost lives, livelihoods, food and housing security, and trust in leadership. We have almost all lost the calm that comes with having a general sense of what’s next. 

This year has asked us all to navigate the liminal space between the already and the not yet, where it’s often hard to differentiate between what is forever gone, what is forever reshaped and what may someday return. 

I’ve cried, danced and wailed more this year than the last several years combined. I’ve cursed and blessed this year, sometimes in the same breath. 

In that intensity, I’ve realized that being willing to say goodbye to things you love deeply, like one’s marriage for example, is sometimes just the medicine needed for it to come back stronger and more solid. 

So, for the first time that I can remember, I approach a new year with no resolutions to make. 

Instead I offer my fully broken open self for whatever is to be discovered or grieved, brought to life or brought to death. I lean not on my resolve, but on my resilience – found most fully in community – even if that community is on a screen, in a mask or way too many feet away from me. 

With love, in the midst of whatever comes, 

Vanessa

Longing for more soulful community — see postcards below! When I started my Patreon page in late 2019 it was to support my creative offerings. But what my soul MOST wants to create now is SACRED SPACE… so I’ve launched a new page and all who join the community at any level of support will have access to several community virtual events a month and the first small group 21 day meditation series starting January 11th … more details at this link.  

Hocus-Pocus Focus

Hi friends,

Election day in America is just a few short days away. Or, for many of us, a few excruciatingly long days – and potentially sleepless nights – away – with who knows how much time in front us of even more uncertainty.

I hope beyond hope that we are all voting. Whatever your level of trust in the system is, it’s the one we’ve got right now and we can use it, with all it’s imperfection, to align with a future of leadership SO MUCH BETTER than what we’ve got now. As Rebecca Solient beautifully said “I think of voting as a chess move, not a valentine.”  This moment is calling for clear levels of spiritual, intellectual and creative strategies to call forth a more equitable and congruent future for our collective. 

But voting doesn’t stop on the ballot. We vote every single day with our attention. Where you put your focus is your hocus-pocus (on this Blue Moon Halloween day and beyond). 

The information we take in, like food or anything we ingest, becomes the building blocks of our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual selves. 

What is your attention building within you? Is the way you are engaging with media, social and otherwise, leaving you energized, connected, clearer and inspired to take action or depleted, isolated and paralyzed with fear? How often are you taking breaks, and resting in order to integrate and digest the constant stream of new information?

Since our attention is the main commodity for most media sites, they are designed to grab our attention and keep it. 

These days I’ve been getting more curious about the votes my attention makes that don’t align with my deeper values or desires.

When I feel scared and unsettled, I sometimes sooth with information seeking that leads me down an internet rabbit hole. The latest culprit has been presidential polls. Yet, like the junk food, I usually leave feeling less connected and more depleted. Information like this, shallow and quick, is like a refined sugar rush. I sometimes feel a little better in the moment, but it’s nearly never enough to really soothe me. 

What happens in this election is not the end of any story or the final say on what is or is not possible for us. Whatever plays out, we will need to be clearer than ever about where and how we give our attention to support the continued unfolding of more equitable, aligned and harmonious collective life on this planet.

That’s gonna take a whole lot of hocus-pocus focus, for sure, but I have a vote of confidence in our power to do it. 

Vanessa

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