my sisters, com closer.. you’re monthly cycle is not a weakness, curse or an inconvenience. They are an invitation to tap in, tune in, + turn on our inner powers of creation + rebirth.
t’s kinda crazy how we think using shame is going to motivate us into “staying in line.”
When you want someone else to do something for you.. do you “shame” them?
I hope not. When I’m asking a favor of someone or I want to motivate someone to do something I generally find something to compliment about them (authentically of course) or assure them how powerful/strong/smart/resilient they are.
It works so much better to treat people with kindness.
So.. if we want ourselves to make a change, why don’t we “butter” ourselves up a bit?
Why don’t we assure ourselves how loved, loving and lovable we are?
Shame makes us shrink. It makes us scared, fearful, and downtrodden.
Love makes us blossom & expand.
When we speak #onlylove to ourselves we start to see the incredible amount of potential we have to create the changes we want to see in our lives and the world.
Shame is not a motivational speaker and you can never get more love through fear, threats, or misery.
Only Love creates more love.
So give up self-shaming right here and right now. I'm with you.
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Ever since the Love Rising podcast episode with Carli Jo (listen to it here) I have been thinking a lot about pleasure and what it means, how I get it and why so many of us women struggle to experience and value it.
I am not necessarily talking about sexual pleasure, although I'm also not not talking about sexual pleasure. The way we do one thing is the way we do all things. But for all intents and purposes we can just say we're talking about pleasure in a general sense. How much do we ENJOY our lives? Do we take pleasure in waking up? Going to sleep? In eating our food? In our body's movement? In playing with kids or pups?
It's so funny how when something "pings" me, as the subject of pleasure did in our podcast conversation, it starts to show up everywhere. It's kind of like how you hear a word you've never heard before once and then you hear it everywhere. One of the lessons I've learned in the last couple years is to pay attention to these synchronicities as they normally lead me to healing breakthroughs or realizations. So.. as this synchronicity would have it, in my therapy appointment today, pleasure came up.
Without getting into too much detail, my therapist actually asked me, “where do you experience pleasure in your daily life?”
And I stalled.
I was left searching for a bit.
When I did answer I said, "In yoga: when my breath, body, and mind, are all aligned." Once I can get my monkey mind to calm down and connect into the breath, yoga is a place that I consistently experience pleasure. There is a flowing grace that comes when you are internally present and aware of your body. There aren’t any stories going on in my mind; no threat of my phone buzzing or my computer dinging. When I know I am contained by the mat, the room, and the hour of time to just move and breathe and connect.
I am someone who takes the idea of pleasure pretty seriously already. This isn't the first time I've explored pleasure or flow. I've been wrapped up in that go, go, go lifestyle before and I know no matter what kind of success or astronomical levels of productivity you reach, if you're not enjoying it; it doesn't matter. So the fact that I have been so disconnected from my own pleasure lately is a little alarming and a great wake up call for me to tap back in to enjoying my daily life. Letting go of the masculine pushing/doing energy yet again and flow into that open receiving energy a little bit more.
One thing that happens when I get pulled into that productivity equals worthiness mindset is that I start to crave sweets. And this totally makes sense.
When we have a pleasure deficit in our lives we'll try to make up for it with quick shots of "junk" pleasure. Sugar, junk food, drinking alcohol, binge watching TV, etc, all these things give us the guise of pleasure and "taste" good at first, but leave us feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. Because what we really want is deep, juicy, wholesome pleasure. The pleasure that comes in ordinary moments of presence. The pleasure that comes from using all five of our senses in the present moment.
I know that when I start to crave sweets or fall into my personal pattern of emotional eating.. I don't need more discipline. I don't need more "willpower", I actually need more slow, flowing, pleasure in my life. I need to turn inwards and notice the ecstatic pleasure of breathing, eating, BEING.
If you find yourself always wanting ‘something sweet’ after dinner or having urges to go out and “let loose”, or just feeling generally ornery or lacking in enjoyment in life, in sex, in work; in everything; my invitation to you (and myself) is to go find something in everyday life that brings you pleasure and do it as much as you can. Try to find as much pleasure as possible in everyday moments.
Find pleasure in savoring your coffee. Find pleasure in walking your dog. Find pleasure in driving to work. Find pleasure in eating your lunch. Find pleasure in the sun shine.
Let’s all commit to more pleasure in our daily lives and I bet we’ll see some miraculous changes in our health and the health of the world.
“It’s all connected. Your gifts, your circumstances, your imperfections, your destiny, your journey. It’s molding you. Embrace it.”
I read this quote yesterday and it was one of those ah-ha moments. These moments sometimes hit me like a ton of bricks. Like someone’s been trying to explain something to me, and I’m kind of getting it, but then it all falls into place, and I see the tunnel of light leading me out of the darkness.
You know what I mean?
This clarity seems likes it’s never more than a split second, a little flash of Truth. Your head coming up for air, and looking around, and realizing that you thought you were drowning but you’ve actually been choosing to swim under water.
But then, you dunk right back under and start the struggle again. Ah..so is life. The problem is, we’ve got so much momentum built up around our suffering, our struggles, our story, and staying in our heads. This momentum keeps doing things we know don’t work, just because we’ve done them before. Keeps us stuck, in a rut, spinning our wheels with the same beliefs and expectations for ourselves, because it’s “known”.
However, these flashes of clarity, more and more leave me with a resonance. Even when I’m back under water, drowning in all the to dos, the need to’s, the plans, the expectations, I have this trace of remembrance, like something right on the tip of my tongue. A remembering that life can be sweet, simple, easy, and beautiful. A knowing that all is well and right.
This quote gave me that flash of “I’ve got it!”
An, “Oh my god!” moment. All of this struggle, all of this doubt, all of this uncertainty, it’s all part of IT. It’s sharpening my knife of capability. It’s strengthening my resolve. It’s molding me into who I need to be to be the best life-player I can be.
How cool is that? That I can see all the challenges I’m being presented with in my life as opportunities to hone my skills. And trust that it is all happening FOR me and not TO me. How cool is it that we all get the choice to see our challenges this way, if we choose to.
Another mantra I’ve been repeating to myself lately is, “My circumstances are not who I am, they are where I am.” Circumstances can change in an instant. The fact that you are 30 years old, living with your parents and jobless, does not make you a worse person than your friend who is the same age and makes six figures has designer furniture and a laberdoodle.
Our circumstances do not define us. The help us. They lead us towards the lessons we need to learn to be the best possible us we can be.
I know, I know, this might sound totally cheesy, but I’m writing this as much for myself as all of you. When we look at the hardships in our lives as stepping stones, leading us home, we can come up for air more often.
We can bask in the luminosity of divine guidance and presence.
We can have trust and faith that we can choose to see this moment as an opportunity to come home.
To remember our innate worthiness.
To get out of our head and back into our precious bodies.
So, for anyone out there struggling to make sense of things, struggling to get out of bed in the morning, or to take care of themselves, remember:
“It’s all connected. Your gifts, your circumstances, your imperfections, your destiny, your journey. It’s molding you. Embrace it.”
It's been a little bit since I've reached out with anything new... and that's because I've returned to the United States after my year-long trek around the world.
My husband and I are on the very last leg of our journey and today we'll actually set foot in OUR HOME! Right now, we're sitting in the Bozeman Food Co-op waiting for my mom to come pick us up and bring us home. It's snowing outside. We have all our suitcases piled around us as well as a week's worth of groceries that will actually go in my OWN kitchen.
It feels right.
I am so excited to have my own space again, more options for clothes than what can fit in a little packing cube, and to be seated at my own little desk in my own little office.
That being said...
Coming back to the United States from a year abroad has its difficulties.
I am a person who is very sensitive to energy and "vibes" and part of what I would do in each country I visited is get a sense of the energy of that country and try to sum it up in a few words.
Example: Bali is magical and heavy with discovery. India is chaotic and spiritual. Croatia is recovered and burgeoning.
So when I landed in LAX from Guatemala, I immediately felt the American vibe of: stress, isolationism, and "rat-race-iness." (not to mention the smell of America is fast food restaurants and cleaning chemicals).
We've been back stateside now for about 3 weeks visiting family and friends and slowly making our way north, and I've already found myself and my energy getting sucked back into this "go go go" energy. It's incredibly hard not to.
We, as a society, are addicted to productivity.
We have this idea that being “productive” somehow increases our value. The more we do, the more we’re worth.
Making us feel like productivity equals love. And productivity starts to be equated to the biggest of all our root desires; connection.
So we do more. We stretch ourselves further. We try to dig deeper into a well that’s already hit bedrock. We strive. We push.
More healthy food.
And, just like any addiction, this one is making us sick. Creating a surge in physical imbalances like adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, hormone imbalances; mental/emotional imbalances like anxiety, depression, & a general lack of enthusiasm for life; spiritual imbalances like feeling like we have no purpose & meaning in our lives.
In a climate like this..
(As Danielle Laporte says) “being still is an act of courage.”
It is a brave & courageous act to stop, let go of the need to “do” & instead listen.
To lay in savasana a little longer.
To let yourself sleep in.
To allow yourself to do nothing for an entire day.
To let the “to do” list fall by the wayside.
4 day work weeks (which I am personally implementing this year).
Take a year long sabbatical.
Do shorter work days.
Take 15 min breaks every hour.
When you stop to reevaluate your life, you are taking a stand against our society-wide addiction & letting wisdom sink in. Creating space for healing to occur.
Slowing down or stopping won’t get you any honors or congratulations, but when you are intentionally still you are doing something powerful & necessary.
Pause to feel what’s happening to you.
Pause to love.
Pause to appreciate & feel gratitude.
Take a break, not to be more productive later, but because its the inhale to the exhale.
I see you’re tired, love. I’m tired too. Let’s all rest & simply breathe. You are loved, you are loving, you are lovable, forever.
You don’t have to do anything to deserve this. We’re in this together.
I am a woman who believes that my main purpose on this Earth is to bring love where there has been no love before. To expand into and through Love.
Sometimes I see this purpose being fulfilled by guiding and standing beside other women while they awaken to their innate worthiness. I offer practices, information, ideas, and methodologies that have helped me clear the channel to my inner divinity, and therefore may help other women do the same.
Kind of in the vein of the quote by Zan Romanoff, "Hope isn't valid unless it's being espoused by someone who is keenly aware of the stupid, shitty, petty pointlessness of life," I am committed to espousing my brand of hope and truth from an authentic, honest, and clear-about-what-it-takes place. It's definitely not always easy to live a life based in real Truth. It takes courage. It takes guts. It takes riding the waves of emotion and trusting that you have the power to alchemize anything and everything the world throws at you into love. A life lived like this will not always be pretty and it will a lot of the time feel like you are continually, perpetually walking into the dark unknown.
My work is almost exclusively with women and I know, deeply and personally, that women need to feel empowered and enlivened for this world to come back into balance and be able to hold more Love and Truth.
But, because I am committed to consistently stepping into the unknown and taking the posture of seeing beyond "normal" everyday interpretations of the world, I’ve been thinking about men's role in this "feminine rising." I’ve been seeing more clearly what is going on in the world of #metoo. Seeing it for a painful imbalance in our masculine & feminine energies.
The travesties that happen to women on a daily basis; and have been happening for thousands of years, must come to the surface to be healed. We must process now the anger that has been brewing under the surface, that stems from the boundaries that have been massively and repeatedly disrespected and obliterated. We must rise up in Love & say, “No more.”
But we also must understand this one fact: all minds are joined.
When women are hurt, disrespected, preyed upon, men feel that too. Men are victims of this travesty as well, in different ways. The sadness and constriction that comes with not being able to freely express emotions weighs heavy on the male half of our psyches. The idea that emotions are weak hurts us to the core and makes us feel insecure.
The fact that so many men are so disconnected from their true essence that they seek comfort in shallow sexual interactions and don’t even seem capable of deep commitment because they’ve never been taught to commit truly to themselves, is deeply tragic.
The suppression of feelings and the accepted idea of “strong & silent” type is rippling through everything; relationships, business, politics, and its just as important an issue to talk about and bring awareness to.
So... if you’re a man out there reading this know that when I talk about feminine empowerment I am not simply talking about females, I’m talking about ALL of us stepping more harmoniously into BOTH of our halves. I am talking about empowering the harmony between male and female, in all of us. This is what will really start to shift us into a consciousness that serves Love equally and more deeply.
This week I had an email exchange with a client of mine that I worked with back in the “old days” when I was just offering nutrition advice and food-as-medicine coaching. She had reached out to send me a little Christmas update on her health and life, but also to see how my travels were going.
(I LOVE my clients, they are seriously the best).
In this email she wrote, “How is the theme for your book starting to take shape? I hope that it has something to do with foods, cultures, and/or longevity of life in certain environments. I would be disappointed in a self-love book though since I have to say that I try to keep myself focused on doing for others. Getting all wrapped up in myself is never good for me.“
I’m not sure everyone knows this, but my book is absolutely about self-love practice. I did for awhile think I was going to write a type of cookbook, but as my own healing and thoughts progressed I shifted my perspective. I have consistently experienced that healing isn’t as much about food as it is about our attitude toward life. Having a heavy dose of self-respect and compassion as an aspect of that attitude is the MOST important part of True Healing.
That being said, I think there is an idea (although I believe this idea is dying out) that self-love and selfishness are the same thing. There could be nothing further from the truth. Through this email exchange, however, I’ve realized I need to address the difference between these two concepts clearly and concisely if I’m going to continue to proselytize Self-Love.
So here are the definitions of “selfishness” and “Self-Love”, as defined by google.
Selfishness: (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.
Self-Love: regard for one's own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).
Ok, those give us some idea of the difference, but let me tease them out a bit.
My belief, is that true Self-Love is a form of Universal Love. It’s tapping into that Love that is bigger and broader than anything we can imagine and allowing ourselves to be a conduit for that Love. I believe that we can never truly serve others unless we live from a place of an overflowing heart. We will never be in a state of overflow if our focus is outwards all the time. All outward energy and no inward energy makes us tends towards people-pleasing, indulging, lack of boundaries, and general disharmony within ourselves.
Self-Love isn't getting wrapped up in ourselves, our “problems” or our egoic achievements, this is what I would call “selfishness.” Developing Self-Love means developing an unconditional love for ourselves so that we see, each moment, that we are a divine and holy channel for a Bigger Love.
If we live our lives thinking that we don’t deserve our own Love, we are denying that we are Divine Love and we restrict our ability to channel it. By looking only outward for opportunities to “serve” and denying our opportunity to serve our Highest Self, we constrict the channel within us that brings Divine Love to the world through us.
When we run ourselves ragged, and live from a place of lack and overwhelm, we will never be able to feel completely WHOLE and HOLY. I’ve seen it over and over again with my clients and very dramatically in myself, that when we focus on loving ourselves unconditionally, we heal ourselves AND the others around us, without effort. I'm being healed by offering these perspectives into the world, and in this way, my Self-Love, is feeding Bigger Love.
1. I am Supported
I know that we live in a benevolent universe. I know that every single thing that happens to you, to me, to everyone is part of something that is supporting us through a journey of learning to love more deeply, more comprehensively, and more totally.
I know shitty things happen. I know painful things happen. I know experiences and people can be unfair, overwhelming, and seemingly hopeless. But I also know that when we feel the burn of hurt, it’s the exact opportunity to give in, to crack open, to say, “I don’t know the answers,” and let ourselves be guided by this Universal support. It’s simple, but not always easy.
2. Self-Love is the Always the Answer
Out of every single person in the world, I am the only one who knows what it feels like to be me. I am the only person who hears how I hear, who sees how I see, who loves the way I love, who experiences sadness in my way, who understands joy the way I’m meant to. I am, was and will be, with myself. It’s the one thing I can always guarantee. If I don’t love me, I’m in a very difficult situation.
When we put our happiness, worthiness, or valuation in someone or something else, we are saying something else matters more than our own sovereignty. When we say to ourselves consciously or unconsciously, “For me to be happy, I need him to love me,” or “I’ll really be myself when I lose these last 10 pounds,” we are literally saying someone or something else has control over how much we are worth, how much we deserve, and how much we have.
It doesn’t matter how much love you get from other people. It doesn’t matter what your body looks like or how many pretty, awesome, expensive things you have. If you don’t love yourself, it’s all just a guise, a false front. Self-love, loving ourselves honestly and fully, is the key to having a fulfilling life. It’s the key to everything I care about and want to care about.
3. I am Responsible for EVERYTHING that Happens to Me
(See last week’s blog post about the differences between responsibility, fault, and blame for more clarification.)
This is the most empowering statement I can think of. Living in this space is the space where miracles happen. It is where we take control of our lives, our fates, and our happiness.
People always rally against this idea though.They want to say, “but what about when my husband cheated on me?” or “what about when my dad died in a car wreck?” Yes, these awful things happen, and they hurt and they are not your fault. But you do get to decide what you do with it. You do get to decide how you react. You do get to decide how you see what’s left after the bomb drops.
4. Where There is Fear There is Power (or Real Vulnerability Makes Us Invulnerable)
This will be it’s own blog post someday I’m sure. But I know that true power lies in being exactly who you are. Being exactly who you are means no hiding, no pretending, and no covering up. The paradox is that only when we become completely vulnerable, do we become invulnerable because there is nothing else to figure out. Every place we feel fear it’s because there is a part of ourselves we haven’t totally integrated. As we become a fully integrated, self-realized human being, we realize we held the power all along.
We are bigger, braver and kinder than we could ever imagine. Remember that.
As a lot of women and men out there this week I’m sure, I’ve been thinking a lot about the #metoo phenomenon. The sheer amount of social media posts from friends, family members, online influencers, etc who have posted this message of solidarity against the objectification of women, doesn’t exactly surprise me but it has definitely required me to sit with some unpleasant emotions of sadness, outrage, hopelessness and anger.
When our world is swept up into a movement like this there are always so many voices, wise and unwise, true and untrue, so many subtleties that go unaddressed or are spoken about to the point nonsense. I would never want to assume I understand or know more than I do about the uniqueness of every woman’s deeply personal experience of degradation or injustice.
But, there are some things I do know for sure: I know that I have personally, on many levels, been harassed, exploited, and used by men. I know that I feel and carry with me the unspeakable wounds inflicted on my precious body and my sisters’ bodies and minds every day consciously and unconsciously. I know that when we humans hurt each other we are not just hurting the other person, we are hurting ourselves. We cannot give without receiving, and we cannot hurt without being hurt. I know that women have been raped, abused and mistreated for lifetimes and that this weighs on each and every one of our souls.
I also know that to truly heal we must brave the sea of despair. We must look at the Truth of the abuse square in the face, and step into the darkness beyond it. That is why, I know for sure that outrage is part of the healing process. I know that for us to truly heal, as a society and as individuals, we must allow the cleansing power of our anger to wash over us, and give us the inner light to navigate the unknown territory of forgiveness.
Anger reminds us of the Truth of our worth. To recover from being violated, personally and collectively, we must use the alchemical fire of anger to transform the hurt and pain into power. We use anger to realize and take action towards reclaiming our power, without apology. It gives us the power to sail on that sea of hopeless and trust that there is another shore, a better shore. If you feel sad, shocked, abused, mistreated, properly channeled outrage is the power that moves you through.
As Bethany Webster said so perfectly: “Do what so few dare to do: Give your anger a safe, empathic space to be fully, completely felt. Harness it, listen to it. Anger has so many gifts. Not indiscriminate, projected anger, but the energy of outrage, felt and placed where it truly belongs. Collective female outrage is a nectar that this world needs.”
So be brave. Feel the anger. This is what healing feels like.
I believe that self-love is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Like in the world. Like always and forever.
Ok, strong statements, I know, but hear me out…
Out of every single person in the world, I am the only one who knows what it feels like to be me. I am the only person who hears how I hear, who sees how I see, who loves the way I love, who experiences sadness in my way, who understands joy the way I’m meant to. I am, was and will be, with myself. It’s the one thing I can guarantee. If I don’t love me, I’m in a very difficult situation. And all this goes for you.
When we put our happiness, worthiness, valuation in someone or something else, we are saying something else matters more than our own sovereignty. When we say to ourselves consciously or unconsciously, “For me to be happy, I need him to love me,” or “I’ll really be myself when I lose these last 10 pounds,” we are literally saying someone or something else has control over how much we are worth, how much we deserve, and how much we have.
It doesn’t matter how much love you get from other people. It doesn’t matter what your body looks like or how many pretty, awesome, expensive things you have. If you don’t love yourself, it’s all just a guise, a false front. The core of happiness isn’t there.
I have the incredible privilege to talk about, practice, and explore self-love every day. It is my soul obsession. It’s my purpose. Not because I think I am doing the world a service (although, I certainly hope I am!) but because it’s what I want to do, and I love and trust myself fully so I follow the urge. Simple as that.
I’m currently traveling around the world, exploring self-love practices and spiritual theories and slowly compiling it all into a book about self-love. I work with clients all over the world as a self-love guide, walking beside women, whispering to their hearts as I can, so that they can wake up to their own inner well-spring of love.
Here’s the Truth that I know: If we don’t need external validation, we’re much more inclined to follow our hearts. And if we all followed that precious, holy space called our heart more often we would be kinder, more loving, and less afraid.
Here are 5 ways to love yourself, today, right now, this week, whenever you’re ready to start. These are by no means the only ways. You get to decide the ways that work for you because you are a powerful and sovereign being with all the answers inside of you, but in case you need some help, a little information, may these 5 points be a guide.
- Spend time with yourself, honestly, without distractions. This isn’t “treat yo’self” stuff like pedicures and massages (although those are definitely good forms of self-care and can be part of self-love). This could be meditation. This could just be sitting on your couch facing bravely whatever comes up when it’s quiet and you’re alone, and actually feeling it. You can’t fall in love with someone if you don’t spend time alone with them. Spend time alone with yourself.
- Get really clear on what you want. Down to every last detail. You are worthy of whatever your heart desires. Spend the time to figure out what that is. You can do this as a grand whole, or you can do this for each little situation. What do you want when it comes to your love life? What do you want for dinner tonight? Get clear on all of it. You can’t get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going, the more details, the better.
- Stay in your body. Embodiment is powerful. Our bodies are precious, sacred, and holy. For us to be present we must be able to stand powerfully and confidently in our own bodies. I have so much more to say about this (it’s an entire section in my book, maybe more), but this is the basis: stay in your body. Feel it. Be it. Revere it for the awesome treasure it is.
- Use your voice. This can mean different things for different people. It could be singing or chanting. It could be standing up for yourself in a situation where you’ve been walked all over or disregarded. It could be giving someone a compliment or telling them you love them. Use your voice. It’s powerful and needed.
- Trust your instincts. Stop second guessing yourself. Don’t ask why you want what you want. You can trust yourself. It’s OK if you mess up. It’s OK if you don’t get it right. You’ll still have you. At some point, you have to take the leap of faith and Trust that heart of yours. Break up with the guy. Quit the job. Go travel to that place. Take the course. Share your heart. Change up your diet. Stop talking to that lady who always makes you feel inadequate. Give in to the pull. Let things fall away. Start small if you need to, but practice makes perfect and to practice trusting your True self, you’ve got to start.
I’ve created an online program, revolutionize your life: 21-weeks to self-love, that was birthed out of this beautiful obsession with self-love, my personal journey, and my walking alongside clients. This program puts all of this experience with self-love into a comprehensive and intentional process that allows you to enter the sanctuary of your own heart. A place you have within you, always. A place that never judges, never punishes, and is never not there.
If you are feeling the resonance with this self-love activation and you know that you want to start making self-love a priority, I invite you to check out the program information and see where it takes you.
I’m offering the readers of the piece a special code: SAVE500, which will save you $500 when entered in the coupon code space during the check out process (valid for one week).
As of the writing of this blog post, I am currently in the midst of a divine feminine pilgrimage around the south of France. I am visiting three relatively well-known sites that all have ties to pre-Christianity and post Christianity feminine significance.
1. Sainte Baume: The Grotto (cave) of Mary Magdelene. According to legend Mary Magdelene came to what is now Southern France on a ship with no sails and ended up living in this cave for 30 years, until her death. This cave supposedly holds her "relics" aka bones. Close to this site is the Cave of Eggs. An ancient place associated with the Goddess and a place where pre-Christian pagans came to ask for assistance on matters of fertility.
2. Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer. Saint Sarah, the Black Madonna. There is a "black Madonna" statue in the crypts of the church in the small town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer, France that was discovered in the 1500s. There are a few black Madonna statues scattered throughout Europe. They are on the whole very old and very rare. Mostly shrouded in mystery as far as origins and explanations. For instance, "Why are they black?" is a common question, but no clear answer. This particular one is the patron saint of the Romani people and is kept on display for visitors.
3. Le Puy en velay. Another ancient black madonna statue, this one called, "The Black Virgin," is housed in the cathedral in Le Puy. The first record of the Black Virgin is 1294, and we know that She was very old even then. Again, mystery pervades.
So the question that you may be asking yourself in one way or another is, "Why the pilgrimage, Clara?"
I am on this pilgrimage because as I travel this path towards more and more and greater and greater self acceptance and self love, I'm becoming more and more aware of how my power has been hidden, shamed, and disguised as something else.
I am every day waking up to the fact that there has been an attempt to downgrade and shrink what it means to be a woman. The constant messages (media, gender roles, politics, etc) we are conditioned with do this.
- To be a woman worthy of love or sexual attention, we need to be a certain size, shape or weight.
- To be a "good" woman we should be calm and collected and self sacrificing
- We should be sexy but not too sexy.
- We should be be skinny, but, wait.. oh now we should be "strong" (aka musclely and lean)
And on and on. Until we're a culture full of women trying to "get their body back" and "lean out" and "fit into my skinny jeans."
The sheer amount of time, thought energy and real energy spent by women (and men I am sure, it is spilling over) worrying about how they look, comparing themselves to others, and biting their nails over what they are eating and how they are exercising, is mind boggling.
And I'll let you in on a little secret I've only just discovered... there's no point to any of those self-negating thoughts, the idea that we need to "punish" ourselves with food restriction or exercise, or the idea that you need to "control" yourself in any way. You don't have to do any of it. It's not helping.
You need only love yourself and the magic starts to happen. When you commit to loving yourself no matter what, you start to want to move your body in a way that energizes you. You want to eat food that makes your body feel good. You want to set healthy boundaries and make life choices that respect your beautiful body.
When you start to turn it all around. When you start to spend time loving yourself and thinking good thoughts about your body and all it does for you, something huge starts to happen.
You take back your autonomy and sovereignty as a woman.
You start to see that no one gets to determine your worthiness, but you. You start to see that you were never broken and you'll never be broken. You start to connect with the love that is a well spring of your heart, which comes from the inside, not the outside. And you start to wonder, as I have, what in the hell is going on that so many women feel so enslaved by external beauty standards and external worthiness ideals.
The never ending external environmental cues we get about how we should look, act, feel, and be are powerful, no doubt, and it takes practice, commitment, and sisterhood to see through them, but self love starts to cut through the bullshit and we begin to see.
So, that's why I'm on this pilgrimage.. to discover what has been buried in me and outside of me. To remind myself of a time and place where women were revered, and bring that time and place to the now. To familiarize myself with a divinity that includes feminine bodies and their numinous functions. To unearth the Truth that is rising in me and rising in the world. (If you're reading this, I know you can feel it too.)
The Truth is that women are sacred. That we are autonomous. That we are powerful creators and our worthiness is not given, but claimed. It's been here all along, we've just been asleep.
This divine feminine pilgrimage is part of a waking up process that started for me when I first decided to eat in a way that served me, by listening to my body, and has snow balled into a revolutionary realization that I can say, feel, act, and BE whatever the hell I want to, because I AM.
I Am the Fire
I am the flame that burns brighter as the night gets darker
The breath in my lungs is the wind that ignites me
It blows out the old & takes in the new
I am the water of my blood, flowing and adaptable,
Waiting to transform whatever I get, into what I need
The Earth of my body being my chosen anchor
The roots running deep so that I may Rise up
Nothing could knock me down
I am the destroyer
I tear down delusion
I Burn up all that doesn't serve
Only so that some new, more loving seed can be planted
And grow, stronger & more assured
I am the nurturer
Straight out of creation
Shaping form so that light may be experienced
So that Love may be poured somewhere it has not been known before
You could not hold me down
You could not stifle me
You could not control me
For I am you
I am in the wildness in Her eyes
I am in the howl at the Moon
I am Human & Goddess
Future & Past & Present
You could not throw me into the Fire
for I am the Flame