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the adventure of the first, and second, episodes, I felt hopeful that the stones would have dissolved along with the outdated beliefs that I sensed they represented.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

Out of an Orange Colored Sky

Hello friends,

Pre-dawn has always been my favorite time of day. The daytime hustle is still hushed, while most non-nocturnal animals, humans included, remain asleep. It is when I love to sip my matcha tea, explore waking dreams in front of my altar and present a water offering to my garden. During these rituals, the sky often slowly wakes up with an orange, foggy tint; which breaks the dense darkness of the night. 

Earlier this month, for many of us in Northern California, dawn never arrived. With a dark orange hue, the night stayed all day. 

Our cell phone cameras weren’t quite capturing it, so we turned them around to use as  flashlights, navigating the dark daytime skies with a mix of apocalyptic dread and awe filled curiosity. 

At this moment in our collective reality, it’s no real surprise when a new fresh kind of hell lands on the day.

 But this felt different to me; I had a reverent sense all day that Mama was putting us in our place.

I felt her encouraging us, in a dark orange voice, to really pause and feel…  to be with the knowing that nothing is guaranteed and anything is possible. To keep choosing hope, over and over again, regardless of circumstances. 

I am dedicated to a practice of hope now more than ever. Not because I’m blind to the atrocious realities of this moment or because I don’t fear the further horrors that could come. My head stays out of the sand and as fully engaged as possible through the times when the sun doesn’t come up, metaphorically or literally. 

As Mariame Kaba, an incredible modern day activist and prison abolitionist, says, “Hope is a discipline.”

Consciously choosing hope as a daily act of rebellion in a sea of despair, allows us to be with what is. It also energizes us to participate in the infinite number of new realities that could be. We have been, and will continue to be, disappointed when what we hoped for does not land as we wished it would, and that’s okay.

The most hopeful people are not those who are ignorant to what is, but rather those who can be so fully with the pain of what is, that they are inspired to dream up something new. Darkness is where we do our best dreaming. 

In mid-February this year I held an in-person Soul Oriented retreat. Sixteen souls cozily rested and healed together in a glorious vacation home in San Rafael. On our final evening together we shared a night of “Soul & Tell.” This is one of the richest parts of the retreat, when each person comes up front to share a little piece of themselves (a song, poem, story, piece of art, etc.) as a gift to the group. 

My dear friend Maia, who’s soul thrives when growing things in the dirt, shared the symbolism of seeds in her life and then presented each of us with a little packet of some she’d collected. With a few simple instructions, she encouraged us all to sprout them at our homes as reminders of the weekend. 

No one knew at that moment, when we were happily unmasked and unaware of the number of feet between us, what would be coming just a few weeks later. 

This spring and summer I received regular photos from retreat participants sharing their excitement at how easily Maia’s arugula, lettuces and poppies were thriving.

My seeds were planted in our garden too. Strangely, and amazingly, on that day when the light of day never came, all the plants had a significant growth spurt… 

Upward and onward,

Vanessa

*During these times, one of the things that has been sustaining me creatively, emotionally and financially is the amazing support of my Patreon community. If you feel called to offer around a dollar or more each month to support this newsletter and other creations of my soul, I’d be so grateful.

In return, depending on your support level, you’ll receive downloads of songs and guided meditations, a handmade postcard in the mail each month and more. My vision is to have 20 more supporters (50 total) by the end of 2020. Thank you so much for considering being one of them!

Learn more here:

www.patreon.com/vanessaverlee

A New Kind of Resilience

“Resilience” is defined as… 

  1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

Hi friends – 

I write this while breathing in smoky air from yet another devastating string of wildfires and thinking about how this year, perhaps more than any other, has had our resiliency tested in such intense, profound ways. 

With the above, traditional understanding of resiliency, at best I am left in the shape I started in, but tougher.

But this understanding falls short for me and I’ve been wondering about what resiliency looks like without simply hardening in order to survive something.  While I am all for elasticity and strengthening my ability to recover from challenges, I also want to invite into my resiliency a sense of softness and tenderness that can better allow a new shape to emerge.

By now, it’s nearly cliche, but no less true, that the idea of “going back to normal” is a fantasy. Not because all is lost – but because hard things change us.  At our best, challenges shape us into a version of ourselves sensitized to loss and therefore able to show up with more humility, compassion and creativity. 

Nothing is likely to make this time in our history easy — reckoning with imbalances never is — but there are tools to build a deeper type of resilience – one that allows life to happen WITH you, rather than TO you.  

Firstly, PRESENCE. Simply placing yourself in the moment that is at hand is the fastest way I know to slow down a spinning mind. Our minds were designed to scan our environments for potential danger. When we don’t pause and allow our actual physical senses to do so, our thoughts take over and begin weaving an infinite number of tales around what might go wrong.  

When you notice this happening, stop, slow down your breath – counting in for three and out for five –  and then begin naming everything you see, hear, smell, taste and feel right in the moment. Count your pulse out loud until you get to 25 and then, again breathe in for three counts and out for five counts a few times.  

When there is a real and imminent threat in your immediate surroundings, your fight or flight instinct will take over and act. When there is not (and if you are actually even considering trying this exercise, then likely, there is not) then simply getting present should help the body to calm. 

Secondly, CONNECTION.

When we isolate ourselves, our bodies struggle physically, emotionally and spiritually. Resiliency thrives in the context of relationships. These days, connection requires more creativity. Some attempts at connection leave us drained or triggered. Others leave us feeling more energized, compassionate and open to new perspectives. Get curious about the former and more committed to the latter.

Finally, AUTHENTIC EXPRESSION.  Trying to hold it all together, when parts of us are falling apart, can leave us anxious, numb or exhausted. Often the most relieving and rejuvenating thing to do is to just feel your feels. 

Take time to pause and give yourself permission to cry, pound a pillow, shake your body, scream or just laugh at how ridiculous it all is. Simply acknowledging the thing you thought you weren’t allowed to feel, is often the permission your body needs to release it and move forward. 

Emotions are meant to be in motion.

Presence, connection and authentic expression are three ingredients to a kind of resilience that allows you to not just get through something – but to let that something get through to you. 

In this with you all,  

Vanessa

Discomfort… Growth’s Essential Worker

Hi friends,

Whatever your 2020 vision might have been on January 1st, this year has been a doozy no one could have predicted.

The full range of emotions have been pounding through our collective and individual bodies like waves, bringing the debris from the depths of the waters onto shore to be reckoned with. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been doing a whole lot of reckoning…

Regardless of how much confidence and clarity I previously had about my soul’s mission on this planet – since quarantining, without the flow and structures I’ve built my life around, I’ve often questioned my identity, purpose and floundered about many days unfocused and unsure how to give my gifts meaningfully.

Despite how much I’ve dedicated my life to healing injustices or bringing dignity to all people – or to how “woke” I may have fancied myself to be, over the last couple of months, it’s been painfully clear just how much more I have to learn, how much I’ve benefited from and how complicit I continue to be in the systems of oppression our white bodied supremacy society was built to perpetuate.

And although uncertainty and injustice are hardly new or unique to these times – both are taking center stage in ways that makes it increasingly challenging to stay comfortably numb and disengaged.

Discomfort, when welcomed in, is an essential worker in the transformational process. It is here to show us where we have contorted, contracted and/or disconnected. When we lean into places of discomfort, we feel the edges of our current capacity and have a roadmap for growth. With practice, our nervous system and sense of self can be with more and more before freezing, collapsing or defending. Eventually this process of growth makes it possible for us to be present and connected to a wider range of emotions, circumstances and people who have a different experience or lens of life than we do.

If you, like me, find yourself in a place of privilege (with access to opportunities and a presumption of relative safety and belonging in mainstream society based on your race, gender, class, etc.) then this discomfort may be taking the shape of more guilt, shame, indignation, outrage and/or confusion than usual. These are all appropriate emotions for the realities of our world and demand a new level of responsibility.

Taking responsibility doesn’t mean swooping in saving those who are “less fortunate,” or thinking we can solve the injustices of the world or letting guilt paralyze us. But I believe it does mean doing what’s necessary to hone our response – abilities.  If we keep our own nervous systems as  resourced as possible then we can listen, learn, transform and respond in more congruent and just ways. And when we don’t, we can ask own our shortcomings, readjust and keep going.

We can resource ourselves with breath, movement, rest, compassion, honesty, vulnerability, curiosity, humility, education and listening to voices that are different than our own so that we might respond with our gifts more effectively and sustainably.

Self-care is a revolutionary act. And this, like all truths, holds an important paradox to acknowledge. The culture that needs transforming, is the same culture that allows someone like me, a white, middle class, cisgendered woman, the access and social permission to more easily honor and care for my body and soul, than many of my fellow humans can not easily do.

It seems like we are at a tipping point in our world and the energy for envisioning a new reality is ripe.  This is not the time to go back to sleep.. nor is it sustainable to work all night long. This is not the time to have all the answers… or the time to give up in hopelessness.

To re-envision a future we desire, we must be able to sit with what we could not sit with before and let it change us, inspire us and fuel us to keep moving forward.

With fierce love and welcome discomfort,

Vanessa

listening.

listeningHi friends,

Sending you each so much love as we navigate this particularly important – and hopefully – tipping point in history. I do not sense this is the moment to share my particular framing of reality, as a white person. So I’m using the platform I have here this month to pass on some specific resources that have been passed on to me… to listen, learn, be challenged, show up, hold safe space for and love in more meaningful ways.

If you want to have a conversation about this, and/or if you have witnessed blindspots in me, I’m here and open to hear and grow.

In solidarity, humility, grief and hope,

Vanessa

 CONTINUALLY UPDATED RESOURCE LISTS:

*Anti-Racist Resource Guide

*Black Lives Matter Library, Teaching,
Activism and Community Resource List 

SOME ORGANIZATIONS THAT SUPPORT
BLACK THRIVING T0 CONTRIBUTE MONEY/TIME TO:

The Cross Cultural Solidarity History Education Project

Campaign Zero: Working To End Police Violence

BEAM: Nonprofit supporting Black
emotional and mental health

CLASSES TO TAKE TO SUPPORT
DISMANTLING RACISM/RACIAL TRUMA HEALING:

Resmaa Menakem Courses on Racialized Trauma
(also his book “My Grandmother’s Hands)

Spiritual Activism 101 (And 102) by Rachel Ricketts

ETC.

*My yoga teacher colleague, Saeeda Hafiz (many of you on this list that have taken classes with her over the years) released this book. Buy your copy here.

“In this memoir of upward mobility through the unexpected route of yoga, a young African American woman signs up for lessons in yoga and clean eating as a sign that she has now entered the middle class. The Healing is Saeeda Hafiz’s personal, painfully honest account of facing the inner demons fed by the domestic violence, addiction, and poverty she witnessed as a child.”

*Joel St. Julien, just released his latest album “Moral Monsters” today and all the proceeds from album sales today will go to BEAM, a nonprofit serving mental and emotional needs of Black people. Buy it here – today if you can!  I’ve been listening to it all morning, and it’s lovely. Joel produced my 2011 album and is a genius of experimental sound. Here’s the quote which his album was named for:

“I’m terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the heart, which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves for so long that they really don’t think I’m human. I base this on their conduct, not on what they say. And this means that they have become, in themselves, moral monsters.” – James Baldwin

SOME NOTES

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I am just passing on a few highlights of things that have been passed on to me and I’ve found helpful and/or compelled to donate to or purchase in support of dismantling white supremacy and amplifying black voices. If you want to talk more specifically any of the books, courses, organizations listed here, and/or send along other resources that aren’t, feel free.

An additional note if you are reading this and also white:

It’s okay to be uncomfortable, not know what to do or say, or feel inadequate. Listen and learn.

It’s okay to honor your need for rest and integration and not to engage with everything on this or any list at one time. Rest, digest and show up resourced.

Spiritual bypassing and performative allyship are direct roadblocks to true healing.

Take a breath, move… feel the feels… acknowledge our privilege – including what we see and all the privilege that remains, by it’s nature, unseen… own our shadows and blindspots… resource ourselves… welcome the knowing we have more to learn regardless of how much work we’ve done… get curious about defenses… keep showing up and learn how to do better, fail better and love better.

Same Storm, Different Boats

different boats

 

Hi friends,

In my last “Healing In Place” newsletter, in late March, I shared how it’s never been more obvious that we are ultimately all one, not “the only one” struggling or isolated in our pain. This new pandemically human experience has touched just about every aspect of life on earth.  But it is also personal and we are each moving with specific challenges and circumstances. As I’ve heard it said a few times now through this…

“Same storm, different boats.”

My list of all that I am grateful for in my current boat is long. But my days aren’t without seasickness. I still have many moments of fear, exhaustion, grief.  I sometimes feel so deeply lonely, even with a loving partner and network of friends. I miss life before the storm and worry about life after. I feel the weight of loss of a world where physical human connection felt generally safe and easy.

But at times of massive change, our body is designed to experience such emotions. They are the responses of our wise systems, doing it’s best to adapt to new realities. So, my conscious mind is continuing the practice of making space for the emotions, acknowledging them as they come, and letting my body move and emote as it needs to in order to create more peace and less sticky thoughts.

But some thoughts do stick.

Sometimes they are in the form of  “seriously, people?” kind of judgements about how others are navigating these current realities. In these moments it feels a little like being in a group project in work or school and feeling like others are dropping the ball or have a vision that feels incompatible with mine.  When I catch myself here, I try to take a deep breath (as deep as I can with a mask on anyway) and do my best to move from my head to my heart and remember… different boats.

Other times the sticky thoughts are in the form of projected dystopian realities that are void of the in person touch and social gatherings that my life has always been so fueled by. When this dark cloud comes, I try to pause and be with the fear and grief underneath… making space for my powerful imagination to start conjuring up futures that I want to be a part of co-creating.

From here I remember that life is happening with us… even for us… not to us.  And, with our trusty old friend impermanence, we know that “this too shall pass,”

The current construction of our boats –  like our thoughts… roles… identities…this current storm…and even our bodies… won’t be here forever. So we carry on, and do our best to be present here, right now, with whatever gifts are available for us.

Sending love to each of you, with at least six to eight feet of physical distance, but fully connected in our hearts, regardless of which boat we are navigating life from right now.

Vanessa

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