We are the daughters of Hera, we inspire and we terrify. We are the sisters of Aphrodite and Athena, the entire cycle of life lies within us. We are the descendants of Shakti, the divine force manifesting to destroy demonic forces and restore balance. We inherited the treasures of Isis and Ishtar, we are touched by the divine; you can't destroy us with your flairs for possessiveness and humiliation.
It's not like I thought any of this would be simple, but honestly, who knew just how hard it could be at times? Hey, I'm an artist, man! Just say No to real jobs! The truth is, I didn't know what to expect in my role as a mother because I simply wasn't looking.
Excessive openness and trusting easily has been my modus operandi, and it has cost me dearly on more than one occasion. In my self-proclaimed naiveté, I tend to see what's redeeming about others and to emphasize that while glossing over the other not-so-appealing red flags that I see.
Is it okay to just be a fucking bitch sometimes? Can I sleep in, eat a whole pepperoni pizza with a bottle of wine while cheering on the prison fights in Orange is the New Black? Let's throw a Kit Kat bar in there too. Because they're fucking awesome. Can I just walk around and really try to own every single part of me? The good, the bad and the ugly? Am I allowed to express and just really truly feel the power of what it is to be a woman and a human being without judgement from myself or others? I say Yes, dammit!
You do not have to defend the truths you believe, or explain your desire for knowledge to anyone else's satisfaction but your own. You do not have to allow anyone to label you according to their own limited judgment. Let those hideous things fall right off, and move on.
I hope I am inspired as long as I live. And I hope I live as long as I am inspired. Whatever you do, don't leave the café. Keep writing until you are empty. Until you are less than empty. Until the furnace inside of you is dulled to ember.
Above all, honor the wisdom of your own silence. Know that it is true and strong and whole and good. Know that it needs no explanation or justification. Know that it is what it is, and nothing more or and nothing less. Know that it is everything. Just like you.
Now what? As this phase of my life draws to a close, snakes come to signal another round of total transformation. Like Eve with her apple, I sit and wonder what the next bite will taste like, what will fill my soul's plate. I have inklings -- wispy ideas of what might be on the way -- but as usual there's nothing solid. God damn, isn't that just like change?! Rolling through causing mayhem and upset, without a single answer to a single question. Everything's a riddle. There's no use in a magic eight ball or in throwing the I-Ching. The answer's always the same: in time, it will become clear.
"Fishermen blame the seals for eating all the cod. Some call them wolves that go into the water. They say they attract sharks, too. They probably do, but the cod aren't coming back because they were overfished, not because the seals are federally protected. But, many people on the Cape believe they're overabundant. There is even a group calling itself the Seal Abatement Coalition."
My mistake is that every few years I stick my toes back in, motivated by the siren song of security. Motivated by fear rather than inspiration. That's more than a Red Flag. That's the Call to Prayer blaring across the loudspeakers of my soul.
Winning is great, but winners create losers, and the divide between winners and losers is becoming more and more extreme. Stakes are raised. It's a winner-takes-all world. The losers are becoming more deranged, and the winners are building higher barriers to entry.
I once wrote tying myself to snow angels on the first day of spring, and this is what happens when you just refuse to allow unchangeable things to remain as is natural to them. It is what happens when you refuse to accept that you lost something you might never have had, and now you want it so bad life itself itches, your glance on everything and nothing at all, and wherever you go it will be right there, laughing at your quiet part of the world.
The universe is neither friendly to life nor unfriendly to it. It is a dynamic, constantly expanding, ever-changing cosmos of chaos and possibility. Life and death are intertwined. Creation and destruction exist in a kind of constant tango of movement. In this kind of universe, how could there be anything like predetermined fulfillment?
When you seek the course of creation, and act upon it, you pave the way for others to do the same. As we know, the world only needs more people who have come alive. Now is your time. What is your rebellion?
Does my daughter really want or need this or I am buying it because I feel guilty for missing that concert? Will I make someone's day that much brighter with a coffee mug or tie? Couldn't I also do that by taking them to lunch or spending an afternoon together? Do the holidays have to keep being just about material things? What would happen if we went back to making them about people instead?
Because some people speak of a calling as clouds clearing, a great voice from the other side of the woods, and a path made open like seas parted or cornfields after the crop has been harvested and now you can see again to the place where ground meets sky. And I do not have or know this. Or if it happens, I have yet to recognize my own name. Still, I'm walking in.
Make your art. Tell the truth. Take that selfie. Step into yourself. Wear that dress. You know the one I'm talking about. The one that feels like heat and sex and swirls around your legs like the sweet seduction of freedom.
I raise my hand,
aware that this act will not be well received.
I do not care.
This is not about me.
This is about my sisters
who were burned at the stake for their defiance.
This is about my sisters
who are murdered
for their gender
and sexual expression
"First, you'll watch Steve do me," said Wendy in her soft voice. Her dark curls framed her porcelain skin and full lips. She was about my age. On the wall behind her was a poster of a recent award-winning film. I realized she was a filmmaker, like me, and it occurred to me that this would make a great scene in a Woody Allen film.
You see, I have a disease. It's called Dissatisfaction Disorder. Its main symptom is an inability to appreciate the present moment, coupled with a drive to do and be more, accompanied by the nagging fear that this is as good as it gets.
The amount of energy I have wasted chasing the culturally perfect body angers me now. I'm furious that being a beautiful woman of a certain age isn't enough. That my grace isn't enough, my wisdom isn't enough. But it really is. My body is mine alone; it doesn't belong to the culture. Your body is yours and it is an amazing creation of spirit.
Over the last new moon cycle, every single goddamned demon I thought I had faced reared its gruesome head to remind me that nope, they're still very much there. As diligently as I've been working to fight them, I've been putting just as much energy into ignoring them.
“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” —Amy Poehler
Why not get your tribe together and publish something you all love?
It’s easier than you imagine, especially with a lot of us taking the courageous route of self-publishing. Hey, we put together Rebelle Society’s Vol I — Celebrating the Art of Being Alive in less than two months — and it turned out marvelous, and we learned a ton about ourselves and the process.
This and for many other reasons is why I wanted to chit-chat with, Jeannie Page, the self-published author of The Yoga Diaries: Stories of Transformation Through Yoga.
What inspired you to put this compilation...
Contrary to popular belief, Instagram is not just about cat photos, selfies,and reminders of what people ate for dinner. It's an interactive library, a buzzing network of creativity, and there are many talented writers who use Instagram as a beautiful means of self-expression, transforming the medium into a veritable smorgasbord of inspiration, profundity, and awesome.
You have a million and one other voices in your head telling you what you need, what you should have done, and what the next step should be. Way back in the recesses of your mind there stands a faint image on the horizon. That specter is who you do not want to disappoint in your walk of life.
In seeking freedom, the dominator became the submissive, and while at times there was rebellion, overwhelmingly, I found peace in allowing a wiser force to take a hold of my body, emotions, mind and beyond.
Non-Duality, in very simple and blunt terms, means that our mundane world of matter, samsara and suffering, ego and separation, is literally and unequivocally the self-same as the Divine and Ideal realms. Nirvana is Samsara and Samsara is Nirvana, they are 'not-two and not-one', 'neti-neti', neither-neither'.
I think the lesson to be learned, if there is one, is that one can never let their guard down when dealing with evil — and yes, racism is evil. It’s a part of our human makeup and has instigated most of our wars, and inspired our most atrocious acts of mass murder, torture, enslavement and genocide.
Everything cycles through birth, aging, sickness and death. Everything. The child becomes a maiden. The maiden becomes a mother. The mother becomes a matriarch. The matriarch becomes a grandparent and the cycle repeats.
I sweat day in and day out, clicking away at keys, armed with a Thesaurus and a hot cup of tea. When I'm looking down at my phone, I'm not texting a fabulously handsome stranger I met at the bar last weekend. I didn't go to the bar last weekend. I was creating, planning, scrapping, re-working and starting again. And that's exactly what I'm doing now -- as I open the virtual yellow pad on my phone. I can't lose the lyrical flow whispered in my ear at inopportune moments. I must transcribe. I'm a vigilant warrior.
Sometimes when I come across an amazing soul, I feel like I want to somehow duplicate some of that good energy into my own life. What would it take to have some of Julia's fun, romance, resilience, charm, wit, warmth and joy in my own life (in your life)?
When we either deny our victimization or orient our lives around suffering, we begin to automatically accommodate our own violation.In order to enter into a life of warriorship, we must break this habit of accommodation immediately by addressing our suffering.
The wildish one wants to fight for you. She wants to spill her medicine into you. She wants to sing over your bones. The wild women will conjure great storms for you, she will churn the earth beneath your feet and reveal treasures you have walked over, unnoticed, again and again.
They'll bleed a blood to transform
this disease the women in my family
have been tortured with for far too long.
A blood to feed the mother,
a blood to heal the others,
and a blood to feel another.
The sacred space, the blood space.
The blood of light, the blood of dark,
the blood of yes, the blood of no,
the blood of lost, the blood of found.
The First Sign: You Are Falling in Love With Yourself.
There was a time when you were like a puppet on the strings of public opinion. You danced an endless dance tethered tightly to other people’s approval. You were all high kicks and smiles in the shining spotlight of adulation.
But the moment the lights went down, you bowed low.
There you were, curled up in the corner, head hung low, face clenched fighting back tears, fingers bent and broken from the effort to hold back the blows, the mostly self-inflicted deluge of hatred and self-blame.
In those days, you played a cruel game of comparisons scoring your worth against other people’s successes and failures, searching for your self-image in the eyes of every stranger on the street.
Yes, once upon a time, you did exactly what was expected of you… or at least you tried.
You tried your best to fit the mold, and...
Sometimes, late at night, you can feel your passion caressing you with tender, insistent strokes. At other times, you think you hear it speaking to you in a random burst of laughter that seems to dance past you on the tail end of the wind.
It took me thousands of steps to understand I could never outrun myself, that there was no grand oasis with an infinite perimeter that could keep my demons at bay. The sanctuary I had forever sought exists only in one place -- it is everywhere, it exists in every moment, it is within me.
We live in concepts; sadness, depression, anger, joy, but when asked to identify with what it does at a physical level, it changes drastically from a need to get away into a desire to go deeper into what is.
I'm meant to enjoy dirty jokes, mock poetry, pretend I don't have feelings, and always be a knight in shining armor. Here's the thing though, shining armor isn't something you wear, it's something you are. Yes, be the knight that saves the day, but always remember that it's not how you look that matters, it's how you think, it's how you feel, it's who you are. It's how comfortable you are in your own skin, and it's the things you stand up to defend. The real shining armor is how kind your heart is, and the reality is that any man who doesn't appreciate a kind heart isn't being tough, he's being hard, and being hard is hard work.
I came to this world to live: loudly, flamboyantly, openly. I want a life that tastes of persimmons and pomegranates, lemons and rosemary. I don't want to skim the surface of decades of beige. I don't want to live in quiet desperation (like so many do) obliterating my unhappiness with alcohol or food or drugs. I am not a tract home in a row of little boxes on the hillside. I was born to stand out, to shout hosannas, and to live the life I promised to live before I was ever born.
I feel like I should warn you. There is a fierce feminine fire building. It is Kali Ma-like, creator and destroyer. Burner of all that must go, so that life can give birth to life. She is the wolf-woman coming. Hard and strong, and asking you for more than you want to give, but only because she loves you.
The universe is so beautifully designed that no matter how accomplished we become, there is always somewhere new to grow. Just watch nature. It is relentlessly growing, changing, shifting, dying, letting go and being born again.
She disappears, suddenly lost in the loneliness promised her by the cosmetic companies, a self-fulfilling prophecy, and lost in a world of self-loathing, where she begins to distrust even herself and her very ability to make decisions -- for look at where those decisions have brought her. She shrinks back into herself, shuts herself off, unravels.
I live, dance, breathe, write and love inside the space that resides in the between. It is my abiding fate as a human being. If I can attain that, I'll be as enlightened as I will ever be here on the ground -- on this pulsating, erupting, imploding, tenacious, rumbling, resilient ground that I love.
It is extremely difficult to walk away from your own assumptions, and from your own memories, but if you don’t, they will begin to own you. I stood for a long moment, and as voices that had been mine, pleaded and promised and wept, I took a step away, then another.
I've had countless conversations with women, from terrible to terrific and everything in between. However, a dozen quotes stand out from the rest. Here are the twelve most memorable things a woman ever said to me, and what I learned.
"There were and will be dark times, always, but it's the ache that stirs the words. Without the ache the joy would fall flat. I think the obstacles are what get us to where we need to be. We have to remind our legs that they are strong." - Tyler Knott Gregson
Our excited, over-stimulated minds fed by our caffeine and sugar-riddled bodies race to the eye of the storm in a culture-centric gold rush. We are driven by capitalism but fueled by an innate human creativity we still cannot price tag the source of.
The Power of Love says... Love you if you do. Love you if you don’t. Every time you attempt satisfaction of a desire the knowledge comes that it is better to desist. Repeated reminders of this kind will in due course weaken the desires. What is your true nature? How can you ever forget it? Waking, dream and sleep are mere phases of the mind. They are not of the Self. You are the witness of these states. Your true nature is found in sleep. By knowledge. You know that you are not the mind. The desires are in the mind. Such knowledge helps one to control them.
Perhaps depression exists because we as a society know that things can be so much better. We are certainly intense (a favorite word of Henry's by the way). When we feel hungry, we say, "I'm starving." When we find ourselves really liking something or having a few bad habits, we might say, "I'm so addicted to _____." When someone cuts us off on the highway we make the assumption that this person is definitely an asshole. When we are sad, we say, "I'm so depressed." Is that an insult to those who truly are depressed? I'm no expert. I don't have answers but I do have questions: Is depression chemical? Is it a side effect of our polluted world? Is it a result of too much bad drama and being overwhelmed? Is it a product of one who is more sensitive?
"We all have at least two sides. The world we live in is a world of opposites. And the trick is to reconcile those opposing things. I've always liked both sides. In order to appreciate one you have to know the other. The more darkness you can gather up, the more light you can see too." ~ David Lynch
Deep down inside, we all really want more. There is more and it's right here in this world right now. Within the struggles resides our legacy, our evolution and our eternal beauty. Is it time to start looking at life and all its effort a little differently?
Life is a series of risks, chances and opportunities. Some we will graciously accept, others we will run from, like a little girl who just saw a spider. We are mostly scared of risks, and we are usually frightened of the unknown. But there is something magical about making the unknown, known, and taking the risks which become your greatest stories.