headlines… heartlines

headlines to heartlinesdear friend,

these days it’s all too common for the day’s headlines to make it hard to breathe. this week in california, that reality has been felt as every inhale has contained literal particles of the most recent devastation.

the reality, so true that it can feel cliche to acknowledge – is that when tragedy actually hits, it inevitably opens our hearts wide and reminds us that we are one. what happens to one of us, reverberates through all of us.

when a community is rattled by a natural disaster or human orchestrated atrocity, the most common responses are those of extreme generosity, heroism, selfless service and expressions of solidarity beyond any previous illusion of otherness. in times immediately following these massive traumas, people often report feeling more connected, grateful and inspired than ever before. when our collective hearts break open, it’s much easier to see the content of our pure, unconditional love and oneness – our true nature. shock sends us out of the constructs of our little minds and into one of two places: survival or service — often both simultaneously.  

the human body is designed to survive. the human spirit is designed to serve. we are both the vessel and the offering poured out from it. to be up to the task of birthing a new world, it is more imperative than ever to focus on both our physical and spiritual health,.

first –

surviving/thriving: do the things each day that help you feel rooted, safe and vibrant. find time to move your body, destimulate your mind and, as much as you are able, acknowledge and feel your emotions. (at the bottom of this newsletter, i’ve included some tools to help you with this!) these are intense times for our nervous systems, it is imperative that we prioritize the care of your body and be intentionally discerning about what we allow “in.” this is not about shutting the world out, but being constantly glued to every piece of news is a mental addiction that often exacerbates the pain, rather than serving to support change. a tired, malnourished, overstimulated and stressed nervous system naturally leads to a reactionary, isolated and fearful responses to the world.

next –

serve: it’s not about what you do, because your essence is the gift. regardless of how capable, articulate or accomplished you feel or don’t feel – you have an infinite amount of love to offer the world. imagine how different life could feel if you led every encounter with each person (family, friend or stranger) with the question – “how can i make this person’s day just a little better right now?” practice this enough, and soon this becomes a habitual way of living.

the selfish hidden secret is that serving others, serves you. we are biochemically rewarded for acting in open hearted ways. this is not about doing what you think you “should do” to be a “good” person, this is about showing up as often as you remember in an awake and present version of YOU, with as little pretense or defense possible, and seeing what flows from there.  

where you put your focus becomes the world you live in – and this open hearted way of living does not have to be reserved for moments after a crisis. the reality is, when we are serving from a connected, present place, rather than out of obligation, it is energizing, not draining. and every act of connected service brings us closer to the tipping point of a new and more congruent collective consciousness.

each day, we have the choice to look into each other’s eye’s more often than we look down at our phones… to trust that we can both thrive personally and serve abundantly… to know that even in our fear, we can love… that we can strengthen ourselves and each other by building heartlines, rather than becoming paralyzed by headlines.  

you are so much more powerful, beautiful and amazing than you likely realize, and NOW is your soul’s time to offer the beautiful gifts you were created to share.
with love,

vanessa

home sweet… migration

greetings friends,
september newsletter image

around five years ago, i got a strong intuitive hit that my partner and i were going to buy a home in the bay area. it felt like a download – a pure (and utterly illogical) download – from the universe. we had a rent controlled apartment that we loved, and our income levels, as self-employed artists, did not match the seemingly loud and clear reality of what it takes to be bay area homeowners. but somehow, in that moment, i just knew it would be and the flame was lit.

over the next year we took on the nearly full time job of searching for our home. we toured every single piece of property, no matter what the condition, that was listed in our limited price range. after six months of our hopes deflating and the marking inflating, there was nothing left in our price range.  determined to make the impossible a reality, we stretched beyond convention and drafted a personal letter sharing who we were and the dream we had. we then went through public records at title company and sent hundreds of letters to the homeowners we found who had very small homes that hadn’t been on the market for at least five years and weren’t currently for sale.

then we waited.

a few weeks later we heard back from a couple who owned a small investment home in brisbane. it was a town we barely knew, but it bordered san francisco and seemed, from what we saw, to be a hidden gem. for various reasons, the couple were at a point of wanting a fresh start and although they hadn’t necessarily planned to sell the home, when they got our letter, the wife said she had her own “download” and knew this was a match. a few months, and twists and turns, later this magical little fairy cottage on san bruno mountain very miraculously became ours.

and then, while we were in escrow for the home, as if on cue, i became pregnant. another miraculous dream come true!

but shortly before we moved in, i miscarried. and once we moved in, the reality of being out of the city and near SFO, with daily jet engine roars overhead, long commutes on the highway and distance from our community in the city, took tolls on our nervous systems and spirits in ways we hadn’t expected.

as beyond grateful we were to have manifested this beautiful space, so much of what our minds envisioned for our home was dissolving.

despite that, four years later, we loved the home and town surrounding it in so many ways. but having done all in our power to adjust to the challenges, ultimately we’ve realized that living indefinitely with them wasn’t worth it.  and so – four months ago – we followed another hit from the universe, to trust that something even better was awaiting us and to set the house, and all we imagined would happen there in our lives, free.

within a few weeks, we had packed up and put the home on the market. this last friday we passed on our keys to the new owners – neighbors of ours, a wonderful couple who loves the home as much as we do and, after renting in brisbane for years, have come to know the location is perfect for them.

we are staying with dear friends, back in san francisco, and taking some deep exhales – pausing as we integrate and reorganize our lives to this new reality.

when i look back on this wild journey, and forward into all the possibilities, i feel open, grateful, surprised, disoriented, unsure and trusting. i am also deeply unsettled, but in the way a bird unsettles herself from her nest to migrate… or leaves unsettle themselves from the limbs and fall gracefully back to the soil.

i am often reminded of a favorite bumper sticker of mine… “if you lived in your body, you’d be home by now”  … and i know i am never more than one breath from feeling home.

our souls are always in migration, asked each moment to embrace the flight and to hold all our best laid plans with open hands and adaptable minds. some dreams, like relationships, come in for a season and a purpose, far different than our minds could have ever comprehended. i am often most in awe, while on life’s detours.

may autumns energy allow us to surrender yesterday’s dreams and enjoy the ride into tomorrow’s, knowing that when we stay connected to our bodies, and accept of the flow of life, we are always home.

with love,

vanessa

totally eclipsed

eclipse.JPGgreetings friends,
in just over a week, millions of people will be in view to experience what’s being called the “great american eclipse.” in a path that spans across our entire country, the sun’s illumination will be fully concealed for one to three minutes, leaving all in the “path of totality” in total darkness.
the metaphors aren’t hard to find, especially in this particular moment of our country’s life, of standing collectively in the shadow.  i was particularly struck, however, with observing just how willing, ready and excited people are to rearrange their lives, travel great distances and purchase the perfect viewing equipment in order to be fully in it. tens of millions of people are expected to be in eclipse’s path, for the chance to fully un-illuminated for a brief moment.
what if we responded to all of our own eclipses this way? when a dark emotion comes and threatens to overtake our being, what if we created sacred space, pausing our life, and even our thoughts, to simply let it?

our nervous systems are so brilliantly designed. emotions are chemical responses that help move energy in the body, so that all the many experiences we move through in a day won’t get “stuck” within us.

emotions are literally “e” (energy) in motion. when we allow ourselves to feel any emotion unjudged, without a story, rule or criticism, it will, biochemically, last between 15 and 90 seconds – and then it’s done. when we get our thoughts in the mix, it slows down, fully stops, or puts the emotion on loop, like a wave hitting up against a dam – always feeling the pressure of it, but never really feeling it. but when we find a safe space to undam –  to cry, scream, shake, punch a pillow, laugh, moan, snot and/or grunt our way through it’s short lifespan, we typically feel more spacious and peaceful afterward, and with more access to thoughtfully respond to, rather than react about, what we are facing in our life. like all truth, it’s paradoxical – the more fully we allow ourselves to feel something, the sooner the feeling passes. the energy of the emotions is meant to eclipse the strength of our minds just long enough to set us free.

perhaps the droves of people journeying to the darkness next monday is part of the ritualistic healing that we are in desperate need of collectively and individually at this point in history. to go toward, not away from, the shadows. to actually pause our lives and our stories, and simply stand with full reverent presence, letting our entire beings be showered in darkness without interruption, until, a minute or two later, the experience of the light returns.

standing with you in light, when fully revealed and when totally eclipsed,

vanessa

freedom with, not from

freedom

 

greetings friends –

this week marked both the fourth of july and the continuation of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the summer of love. so no surprise … i’ve had freedom on my mind.

is freedom really just another word for nothing left to lose, as the inimitable janis joplin sang? what if there was nothing, no part of us, that could be truly lost?

most of my life i’ve considered what i want to be free of (negative thoughts, addictive patterns, hard emotions, clutter, excess weight, worry, physical pain, etc.). i have pursued treatments and methods to get rid of these things, in hopes of inhabiting a freer version of myself. but i’ve learned again and again that what i resist, persists. even if i break the habit or quiet the pain… lose the weight or calm the emotion  – if i haven’t connected with the underlying part of me that was judging, participating in or even creating the challenge, then it’s only a matter of time before the expression of that part reemerges. to try to push pain away without being present with, is to live in bondage to it.

i’ve been wondering instead what it could mean to be free with these parts of myself, rather than free from them. and it turns out there is surprising liberation that comes when welcoming whatever comfortable and uncomfortable sensation, pleasant and unpleasant emotion, preferable and unpreferable situation, helpful and unhelpful thought to simply be there.  attempts to “free myself of” something are impossible arguments with what is in the moment.

the key for me is where the vantage point of my awareness lies. when i’m solely in my judging mind, nothing is ever really settled. in this seat, i always sense the way things *should* be happening and the way things *should not* be happening. here i will always see things in relationship to how they fit, or don’t fit, with the expectations formed by my models and concepts of the world. i am reminded of a line by one of my other favorite musicians, greg brown from his song “dream on”

“…the world ain’t what you think it is, it’s just what it is”

the only place i can sit and see life from this angle, is the seat of my soul. from this place, i can view life – my life, other’s lives, the world – with compassion and spaciousness. in this place i experience the sense of being sweetly wrapped up and held in the mysterious tapestry of the universe. my grief can remind me of how deeply i have been able to love…  my anger can point out where i have betrayed parts of myself… my fear and worry do their best to keep me safe.. my physical pain can act as calls out to bring even more presence, compassion and care to my physical self.

perhaps freedom comes when we realize that we are unbroken and whole just as we are, always have been and always will be. that every challenge or pain, as well as each celebration and pleasant sensation, are all expressions of life, free to be lived.

wishing us all a summer of love and freedom, like we’ve never known it before,

vanessa

fearlessness not required.

know fear illustrationdear friends,

this morning the moon shone at it’s fullest point in this cycle, doing what full moons do…. arousing emotions, illuminating all that has been in the dark lately and reminding us that there is a design and a rhythm beyond our ability to control or, really, to even comprehend.

this particular full moon shines her light onto a moment of my life that is feeling a bit like a shaken snow globe. after months of quiet promptings, growing frustrations and unmistakable downloads from the divine, i am taking steps forward in my life (the specifics of which will be revealed in a future letter) in ways that are pulling me out my known reality and onto a trust walk guided by the same forces that conduct the moon through her phases.

in a season where all of us are already in a collective experience of massive uncertainty, it’s been even harder to make choices that would, by design, intentionally intensify the instability and uncertainty in my life.  my nervous system has been ranging from small whispers of…

“uh… what’s going on here, vanessa? you know things are basically fine as they are, right?”

all the way to outright screams of –

“danger! danger! change direction and return to the known comfortable reality as quickly as possible to avoid further possible pain!”

thankfully, i’ve done enough work with myself and other people’s nervous systems over the years to know that while fear is the wise response of the body when we our life may actually be in danger  – it’s not the most qualified inner consultant to turn to for life expansion. the part of ourselves that’s in the business of survival cannot be concerned with personal growth, achieving dreams or living an extraordinary life.

“ordinary is just fine, so long as we don’t die,” says our reptilian brains.

the more stressed out we are, the louder this survivor voice feels like she must scream.

when my life isn’t being obviously threatened in the next 60 seconds, the better choices to put in a leadership position for my life include my creative mind, trusting heart and intuitive soul. from these vantage points i keep running into synchronicities, flow and whispers of “yes! or “not here” or “not yet.”

these parts don’t have any more certainty about the future than any other part of me, but often there is clarity about what is needed in the present and for the next step forward.

these parts, like loving and wise parents, have a sense of what’s best for me right now, in support of all that my soul desires to experience and express. these parts also know that giving into the demands of tantrums thrown by a stressed out younger part of me, won’t lead me to what i really desire either.

i can hold the place of loving and compassionate witness to this freaked out part of me – hear her, soothe her, love her and give her what this aspect of myself really needs – assurance that i am safe and loved – a promise that, no matter what happens, i won’t leave her. then she can rest, tucked in with a blankie on her metaphoric car seat, drifting back into sweet rest.

the more resourceful parts can then take the wheel, or more appropriately, sit in the driver’s seat of the self-driving vehicle that is my life, and cruise down this new road and into the universe’s wild unknown.

there will most certainly be many bumps in the road, and at these points the fearful part will likely wake up screaming and crying with terror. once again i will hear her, create a safe environment for her, and soothe her back to sleep. over time, she’ll get more and more trained to sleep through the turbulence, trusting that she’s not the one who needs to navigate.

today, with the support of the moon, may we each take the time to witness which parts of us are behind the wheel of our lives. may we nourish, soothe and rest our bodies, so that our survivor parts can stay sweetly in dreamland – the rest of us can do what it takes to follow our dreams and sit back and see what unfolds.

with love,

vanessa

what may be

dear friends,

it’s may!

MAY

mā/

verb

1. expressing possibility.

2. expressing permission.

i love that the very definition of this month’s name encourages the expression of possibility and permission. the linguistic container for these 31 days has the power to act as a portal; a doorway of freedom and options.

in these especially uncertain times there is no denying that every moment holds potential for infinite expressions of what may be. nothing beyond this moment is settled, ever. perhaps this moment, or what we perceive to have come before this moment, are never even settled. this realization can leave us frightened, overwhelmed, excited and liberated. sometimes all at once.

we can’t control the circumstances of life, and frankly i find this quite relieving. none of us wear the weight of the world on my shoulders all so well. we can however, shift how our attention lands upon life’s circumstances. when we take a little space to hold the place of witness to “what’s happening” and all the many thoughts subsequently arising from there, we may begin to view life beyond a limited, two dimensional understanding. instead of a clear “it’s this”or “it’s that”, what it may be, may be revealed.

as a child my mother would often correct my use of “can” with “may” when i was asking for permission. as much as i disliked her grammar policing at the time, she had a point. i wasn’t asking if i was capable, i was asking if i had permission.

the amazing, and sometimes terrifying, realization is that as an adult, i don’t need to ask her (or anyone else’s) permission. capable or no, it’s me who makes the choices for my life. i am not alone, or ultimately even in charge…but i am, consciously and unconsciously, setting forward directorial cues for every moment of my life. whether i can is yet to be revealed… but whether i may try, is my choice.

are there ways in which you’ve been giving your authority over to other people… or outdated rules, stories and expectations that leave you exhausted, burdened and stuck? are there parts of yourself that you’ve deemed unacceptable to even acknowledge?

this month practice saying, “no, you may no longer rule me” to those stories and “yes, i am listening” to more of yourself. this month may we all pause long enough to see our lives and our world not as fixed, or even needing to be fixed, but as a gold mine of all that may be.

just maybe?

vanessa

reality beyond the realistic

a6d570dd-fdc6-49a0-bfc8-f1d21727da11-1.jpggreetings friends –

i’m writing to you from the very sunny state of colorado, where i’m participating this weekend in a healing retreat with dr. donny epstein.

as some of you may know donny is a masterful and magical teacher, and the creator of my main modality, somato respiratory integration (SRI), among many other revoluntionary healing technologies. i have come to many retreats and trainings with donny over the last seven years, which have been profoundly life changing for me. this particular weekend feels even more amazing, however, because i am here alongside both my mother and father who joined me for the retreat.

honestly, i did not expect my parents to agree to join. both beautifully open hearted and open minded people, this has been part of my world, not theirs. when i heard about this particular weekend, i immediately had an intuitive hit to invite them along. this sense was then nearly as immediately followed by all of the stories of why they wouldn’t come.

all the “they’d never come” statements went something like this... it’s too expensive… it’s too far out of their comfort zone… mom’s too busy… dad loves his routine too much…. blah, blah, blah, excuse, limiting story, etc… 

then, thanks to a lot of the tools and healing i’ve received at these very retreats, i asked myself this question…

“what would I do right now if i didn’t have these stories?”

the answer was clear… i’d invite them to join. so I started this text to them..

“hey – i know this is not your thing and probably won’t work but….”

(scratch. try again.)

“hey there – it’s expensive and will require travel but…”

(delete. again, what if i didn’t have these stories?)

“hey folks – i’m feeling called to go to a healing retreat with donny in april and would love to have you there with me. interested?”

boom. sent.

the text bubbles of my dad’s response started forming nearly instantaneously and a moment later i read this from him:

“sure! sounds like a good growth experience. i’ll talk to your mom about it.”

by that night, they had sent in their registration forms.

(woah.)

and here we are, sharing what is already proving to be one of the most powerful experiences i’ve ever had with them.

perhaps what we believe is “realistic” is elastic – and what we call ‘reality’ (conditioned by what we focus on and the stories we tell about what that) has infinite possibilities.

when i get curious about my stories… i can more easily notice what those defeatist, limiting or cynical stories are protecting. i can be present with the numbness, fear, disappointment, anger, etc, that was beneath them. i can then choose a more spacious story or simply surrender all of my mind’s stories and act on a deeper knowing. it is in these moments that an abundance of synchronicity, support and surprise seem to miraculously fill my life. all the “supporting evidence” i’d built to defend my stories melts, and magic takes it place.

even if my parents had declined coming this weekend… and even if it was for all the reasons my mind was creating… the sheer act of asking the question without the conditioning opened up a new space between us and within me. it facilitated an upgrade to a more courageous version of myself, trusting that the risk of disappointment is worth the reward of living congruent with my heart.

telling better stories or even acting beyond the stories is different than turning a blind eye to what is happening in the world and in our personal lives. when the eyes of our heart and soul are open, we know there is more to know than what our mind thinks it knows.

do you feel stuck in a narrative that leaves you in an unsatisfying relationship with your life and the world? who would you be without those stories? what would you do differently TODAY if those stories weren’t ruling your actions?

with love, possibilities and the willingness to expand reality beyond what’s realistic,

vanessa

resource full

resource full image.jpg

greetings dear ones,

as we continue to move through ever changing realities, i’ve been reflecting on what it means to be resourceful.

my experience is that our wellbeing has less to do with our circumstances, and more to do with the amount of energy we can access to move through our circumstances.

in times of challenge, how do we best fuel up?

we are all born with abundant resources within us. time and traumas can create disconnections and defenses that keep the energy from flowing freely.

to be more “resourceful” we must return to the source. regardless of how you may understand “source energy,” if you are reading this, then there is a power flowing through you. the energy that keeps you alive is the same energy that keeps the galaxies afloat. this energy is infinitely available, but the amount we feel depends on what outlets we are plugged into. some outlets give us just enough to survive –  others allow us to be an abundant source of light and love for ourselves and everyone who comes into contact with us.

our physical survival is evidence that we are resourcing an intelligence that brilliantly animates our cells. but only in the most dire situations is simply staying alive a very energizing goal for us humans. when our survival is not being immediately threatened, and we hold “just making it through the day” as our highest goal, we are not likely to feel all that resourceful. how much more resourced could we feel if we tapped into our body’s unbelievable potential and refused to accept simply surviving?

another resource comes in the form of our emotions (e, or energy, in motion). recently, i heard my colleague dr. stephanie bridwell say “emotions are medicine.” so true! when i cry or moan my sadness, fear and grief… when i scream, grunt or punch pillows through my disappointment, frustration and anger… or when i dance, yelp or laugh my joy, glee and excitement, i feel rejuvenated.

in the brilliant design of our physiology, a fully felt wave of emotion will last no more than 90 seconds. we can feel slightly annoyed for a decade and never feel free of our anger or give ourselves permission in a safe place to express and move pure rage for a minute and feel liberated. when we try to manage, explain, attach credit or blame to emotions (our own or other people’s), we often are stopping ourselves from feeling or getting the energy from the emotion. when we connect and express, the energy flows quickly and we feel more energized to face and respond to the challenges of life.

another energy source (or drain) comes from the stories we are plugging  into. when we tell ourselves the same defeating, limited, blaming stories that other exhausted people keep telling, we fizzle out quickly. but accepting what is does not necessarily mean accepting the collective story about what is. there are always more expansive, creative stories to tell and breathe new life into any circumstance.

here are some stories that currently resource me…  

*life is happening for us, not to us.

*every single thread is woven into a larger story that my rational mind can’t comprehend.

*i always have a choice.

*no person or situation is static or beyond the possibility of reorganization.

*we were created to create.

*separation is an illusion… all is interconnected.

*only love is real… all that is not congruent with love is an illusion that will eventually dissolve.

when i feel unresourceful, it’s safe to assume i have disconnected from the source, which is always full. in these moments i can move my body, emote and curiously explore new stories to tell.

each of our lives are filled with outlets that plug us back into source. if you aren’t sure where they are, think back what you loved doing as a child, before you learned what you were “supposed” to be spending your time doing.

from the time i was young, the outlets that plugged me in have been: dancing, time with dear friends, making up stories, drawing, listening to and creating music, writing, speaking truth to authority, creating loving and safe spaces for others to heal, being in supportive communities, gazing at the moon… or a tree… or the ocean… of the night sky… or into someone else’s eyes. the most direct outlets for me are the ones let me get out of my rational mind and into a more expansive reality.

our judging mind may try to veto our emotions, activities or new stories, but play with them anyway. it’s hard to argue when we feel SO MUCH BETTER. when i allow myself to connect to these power sources, i feel more open, trusting of what is and energized to serve others and create a better world.

would love to hear from you on how you plug in and let out the source energy in your life these days.

with gratitude and resource fullness,

vanessa

the augur

the augur.jpg

greetings dear ones,

the root word of inauguration (something that’s been on all our minds this week) is “augur.” the augur was the diviner or prophet and the person who, in ancient rome, would watch the movements of the birds for omens concerning the incoming leadership. apparently, the augur would call for a new direction or leader if the bird’s movement proved it auspicious to do so. these days it’s been hard to miss the actual and metaphoric birds whose omens have never been more clear.

this weekend I joined an estimated five million people around the world who gathered together to decipher the movement of the birds…to illuminate the shadows… to inaugurate the world we stand for, rather than accepting the one we fear. as i marched down market street, i held a bundle of sage and a candle, sensing they communicated more of what my heart was feeling than any sign i could think of (although there were some pretty amazing signs). it was cold and pouring down rain, but even without an umbrella, the sage and the candle stayed lit. the light shone… the sage cleansed… the rain and the love poured.

i ended the day feeling bolstered and inspired – remembering that at the darkest moments in history, courageous people’s lights shine the brightest. that when things feel most barren, there is the possibility for creative, ingenious, resourcefulness. that when women organize, things are generally peaceful and focused on collective good.  i sensed that we are in a unique place in history where the threat to all the progress already made by our foremothers and forefathers is serving as a catalyst for each of us evolve that movement even further. sometimes evolution requires a revolution.

my understanding of revolution involves a readiness to risk comfort and safety to speak truth, empowered, to power. it also means being clear and focused about doing what we can to bring forth our best self on a daily basis. this weekend inspired me to become clear about which aspects of myself will support that intention.

in this light, i hereby inaugurate the following aspects to be the collective presidents for the united states of vanessa:

*augur – is paying attention to the omens and speaking truth to the current governing bodies*nurturer and protector – nourishes, soothes and guides. knows how to keep appropriate boundaries when necessary

*open hearted listener – offers her attention, rather than her opinion

*active creator – patiently gestates and births creations, surrendering to the perfect timing and innate wisdom of whatever is desiring to be created through me

*priestess – helps find and follow the highest truth in each situation

*witch – dances in the realms beyond the physical senses and trusts her ability to intentionally participate in these realms with prayers, spells, intentions. the part who knows that where she puts her focus is her hocus pocus

*adapter – flows with what is – expanding and contracting as life calls for, without rigid attachment to how things “should be”

*aware and awakened one – has eyes open to the injustices still very much at play in our current climate. that acknowledges the privilege i was born into as a cisgendered, white, middle class person in a hetero sexual relationship, and therefore am not privy to the direct experience of many of these injustices

*emotive one – honors the transformative power of feeling a full range of energy in motion (e*motion)
 
*collectively focused one – recognizes that what is happening to any of us is happening to all of us… that life focused solely on myself has a short fuse, but life focused on service is regenerative

*worthy one – knows her worth is not dependent on perfection or being right and can consider challenging feedback without blame or guilt

*forgiver – knows how to forgive both herself and others, creating

possibilities for new realities to arise*passionate, playful and wild one – knows that letting loose is how we are all freed – that boundaries are simply temporary containers that must eventually be expanded beyond

*truster – has infinite trust, regardless of circumstances, that a larger story is being played out for our individual and collective healing

*friend/ally –  knows that relationships are the key to everything, and can relate lovingly and openly to every being on my path, appreciating and learning from their unique life experience

*wise one – discerns and organizes information and thoughts easily and ultimately trusts her deepest intuitive knowing

*resourcer –  knows how to find abundant tools in even the most barren places 

*allower and acceptor –  allows and accepts that all the above parts may take vacations and temporarily appoint less noble parts to fill inwhich aspects of yourself do you want to inaugurate into the governing body of your life? what thought patterns, habits, belief systems or behaviors might be blocks to this process?

our responsibility in this this is to sharpen our “response-abilities” to each part of our self and the world around us. when we respond, rather than react, we have a chance to amplify the healthiest parts of ourselves and lovingly accept the parts that are still growing.

with love,

vanessa

a labyrinth like life

labyrinth-imagegreetings dear ones,

today marks the winter solstice… the predictable shifting in this hemisphere from increasing darkness to increasing light. in recent days, when little in our collective experience has felt predictable, or very light, it seems especially welcome to remember the consistency of the solar rotations. no matter what happened through the night, the sun comes up in the morning. no matter what went down in the darkening days toward winter, the light begins to build again today.

there is little question that this past year has brought a sense of collective polarity and uncertainty. in my last letter, following the intensely unsettling election, i spoke to a call to move beyond the duality of love vs. hate and light vs. darkness, and instead begin to see this time as a call to be with the shadows, individually and collectively, recognizing all the ways in which they have blocked our light.

and then, a month later, tragedy landed in our own backyard, at the ghost ship warehouse, taking the lives of so many young and brilliant souls, including a friend of mine. many who were already feeling so vulnerable and heartbroken, have been ripped open in new, unimaginable ways. the days kept getting shorter… the darkness grew.

more than any other year, this season it’s been easier for me to resonate with nature’s expression of diminishing light, feeling like a fitting backdrop to all that we’ve been moving through. but now here we are, at the moment of solstice, and the light we feel from the sun will most certainly begin increasing, offering us an opportunity to reset and slowly begin our own expansion once more.

the word solstice is derived from the Latin word “solstitium” meaning “the standing still of the sun.” before we commit to a new year of resolutions and revolutions, the solstice is an invitation to pause and regroup. it is permission to slow down, rest, integrate and reorganize to life now after having come face to face with so many shadows. if we choose it to be, this could be a time to disengage from the habitual and constant checking in with the headlines, status posts, political commentary, attempts at perfection and panicked loops of thought. we could instead choose to let the last few days of this intense year be an invitation to pause in stillness for our own soul’s solstice… taking time to be at moments fully still and silent… walking in nature… playfully engaging with children and adults we love… taking hibernation style naps… practicing traditions that remind of us where we came from and where we are going… and so many other of the simple, beautiful things that we know nourish us.

each day, like our sun in this new season, we can bring a little more light in – focus on what we want more of, instead of trying to resist and fight against what we want less of… slowly growing and nurturing the new version of ourselves that is being called for in these times, as a beacon of light to others.

last week marked forty solar rotations on this earth for me. on my birthday morning, i walked a stone laid labyrinth that sits at land’s end, overlooking the ocean. going through it, my mind played the highlight, and lowlight, reel of these last forty years of my life. synchronistically, with my eyes mostly closed and no real strategy, it took the exact length of the maze (which is really no maze at all) to get from birth to present time. it reminded me of how much life moves us along labyrinth like – feeling furthest when we are closest… closest when we are furthest… a sense of being lost, even when it’s intrinsically impossible to be lost… no path leading to an end, but just another opening. in the middle of the labyrinth there was a open space to pause, reflect and turn around to head back in a new direction.

nature knows and reflects this journey for us in each season. as expressions of nature ourselves, may we practice surrendering to the mystery we are part of, moving step by step with whatever available light we have in this moment.

grateful to be on the path with you,

vanessa

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