Recently I was hanging out in wine country at an outdoor Broadway concert under the stars, where I taped this video for you, from Jack London state park... a park that is being saved because one woman had a dream, and she wasn't afraid to fail... or at least she didn't let fear stop her.
What dream do you have that fear has been sitting on top of?
Look, I know that you, me, pretty much everyone on the planet has some dream they are sitting on. Afraid we will FAIL That people will laugh That we will get rejected That no one will come That it will never work Even though most of us never like to admit we are afraid. We eek along But really, wouldn't it be better just to play full out? And really live?
Jack London sure thought so. I'm not sure how much you know about Jack London, but since I've been staying in Valley of the Moon in Sonoma Wine Country where Jack lived, wrote and farmed I've been learning a lot ... and truth be told, I've been having quite a cosmic love affair with him.
Jack London pushed boundaries, failed a lot but kept going anyway... So today in addition to my love letter I am sending you these inspiring words from Jack London...
Read them with the question in your mind, What Would I Do if I Could Not Fail
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ― Jack London
Be Bold and Claim It - would LOVE to witness you!!!
And if you need some assistance in moving past that fear... you are invited to join me and my spiritual running buddy Gabrielle Bernstein for the 40-day Fear Cleanse, check it out at http://www.thefearcleanse.com
BE FREE TO BE HAPPY!! That's what happens when you fly 5000 feet above the jungle floor on a wire :) You get big AHA's from the Divine about your life.
I got TWO BIG EPHANINIES in TWO MINUTES that you can take and use in your life to see what's holding you down from the happiness and joy your heart and soul crave.
Watch the video and then make the promise to ask your Inner Wisdom what to do using the two questions I wrote below...
What do I need to drop, release, get rid of, transform, to have more freedom and happiness? What's dragging me down and how do I do something differently?
Who or what do I not have faith will be there to support me if I jump, fly, trust? What's the truth?
State what's been dragging you down here on the blog ... and then make a promise to take one action to jump, fly, trust.... we'll witness you! You can do it!
And if you need some help moving through that fear - join me and hundreds of people around the world as we give our inner critics new jobs and get way better at listening to and acting from our Inner Wisdom - lets zipline through life with our Inner Wisdoms not our inner critics!
That is the very question -- Is it possible to live stress free? --
I found myself asking myself as I sat in Costa Rica looking out at the
jungle, feeling for the first time in a long time, completely free of
And while in Costa Rica I have to say the answer was yes.
And i have to tell you stress-free felt really good!
So good that I found myself sitting there getting a little mad about how much stress I knew was waiting for me back home...
I didn't want to lose that feeling of freedom, inner peace, ease... I wanted to take it with me.
Maybe you can relate? After going on vacation, taking a long weekend, a
day off? Feeling the stress melt away, and not wanting to take it back
on but feeling almost powerless to do anything else.
What I realized in Costa Rica and I am going to share with you now in
this love letter, is that the only way that I was going to NOT pick up
all the stress when I got back home, was for me to get honest about all
the ways in which i was making it okay for stress to take over my life.
And instead of being a victim to the stress... be empowered to make a different choice when it showed up.
And instead of being surprised or mad when stress emerged... taking pre-emptive action so stress couldn't come creeping in.
The process and meditation I went through on the deck in that jungle was
transformative... it burned up a few stress creators on the spot... and
while stress is still knocking on my door, I can say that after a month
of being home, the stress gremlins have not taken back over control!
Although they keep trying!
Since the day I decided to fall in love with myself and stop trying to live a life that wasn't mine, I have been one of the happiest people i know - not happy all the time, but happy most of the time, or not very unhappy for very long. But several weeks ago i found myself on the tail end of a several week "I am not feeling so happy" spin. I'd wake up unhappy, be cranky, feel stressed most of the day, eat way too many brownies, work ALOT, stay up too late, pass out and start the whole thing over again.
Finally one day when my assistant Mary walked in for a fresh day of work and her first tentative words were, "How are you feeling today Christine???" I knew something was amiss and I had to fix it. This wonderful being who helps and supports me was having to stick a dipstick into my temperament just to gauge how close she should get - now that wasn't any way to live! And if she was feeling that way, how was my partner, friends feeling? Or even more importantly, how was I feeling??? And had I even stopped to take that into consideration before plunging myself into overwhelm and overwork?
I decided to hold an honesty hearing with myself, a deep conversation that included 5 super powerful questions that led me to the startling truth that my SOUL was starving for JOY - all the success, $$, drive and hard work were not feeding my soul, because as it turns out my heart derives joy from play, rest AND doing great work - and the first two were sorely missing!
And that is when I realized, I hadn't asked myself in a very long time 'What makes you happy?" I hadn't considered my joy factor when making decisions. And I wasn't quite sure I could name 10 things that even made me happy, really happy Can you? And are you living them - making sure YOUR soul gets what it needs?
Just like your lungs need air to live, your SOUL needs MORE JOY ... The question is, are you willing to do WHATEVER it takes to create it for yourself. If you don't, who will?
I taped in the video in this blog for you - a Mediation on Location taped on the eve of Lunar Beltane, a day that is about expanding into JOY! This video meditation and the self love adventure that follows will take you on the same adventure I took that led me back to joy - as I remembered what really made me happy and promised myself to get it!
ME ART: CREATE YOUR JOY PORTRAIT
Supplies: Piece of paper and color-infused
writing utensils - Get ready to claim your bliss!
Step 1: Get the Joy Started. In the middle of the
paper write the word JOY. Underneath the word JOY write, "What brings me joy?"
Step 2: Tap into Your Joy. To get your joy motor
moving (it may have been sitting quite awhile) close your eyes, put your hand
on your heart and take a few deep breaths with yourself. As you take each
breath feel yourself going back in time to different points in your life when
you can remember experiencing great joy, bliss, and happiness. Almost as if a
movie is playing in your head, see yourself in these moments, feel yourself in
these moments and remember what joy felt like for you. If you need help
accessing your joy center, go to www.selflovemeditations.com
and get the Self Pleasure meditation.
Step 3: Fill Up with Joy.Taking what you've seen about your joy
moments, and what your soul already knows about following your bliss, your
mission is to fill your entire page - your personal Joy Portrait --with
everything that brings you Joy - words, phrases, and symbols. Make this page
Joy-FULL. Use the following joy starters to find your bliss...
·I am happiest when...
·I feel most alive when...
·I feel most free when...
·I can't help but smile
and laugh when I ...
·When I was a little girl
I loved to....
·My soul gets nourished
·I feel most cared for
·I just love...
·I find great joy in...
Step 4:Ask Your Soul What it Needs... and make sure it receives it. Once the page is full, completely full,
pause for a ME MOMENT.
do I see?
is my life in alignment with my joy? How is it not?
one re-direct I can make now to attune my life to joy and get my soul what it
needs to thrive?
As a completion ritual, write the words "I
Attune to Joy" on your ME ART and make a self-love promise to attune your life
and timing to what brings you joy.
And i'd love to hear 5 JOY-FULL things you found from this self-love adventure - post them here!
And, For more fabulous self-love adventures, go to www.MadlyinLovewithME.com and get the free Self-Love Kit - full of all kinds of daring acts of love and inspiration guaranteed to bring more joy and love into your life!
A woman who owns her vulnerability understands that to be vulnerable is not weak, but instead is one of the strongest powers she possesses. For it is by being vulnerable that she allows herself to be seen by another as her truest and most innocent self. She can put the epicenter of her own self love on display - and by doing so invites the other to do the same.
Because she can open herself to be seen so deeply, this woman has the ability to receive love from another. When a woman is closed and protected, love cannot get in, no matter how much she wants it. It is only when a woman allows her heart to open that she has the capacity to receive love. How much love depends on how open her heart is, or in other words, how big her love quotient is. As she expands her love quotient, so does the love expand in her life. A woman who stands in the power of her vulnerability has the capacity to accept and give love freely, unafraid that anything can or will be taken away from her. She knows that when she is truly open no one can take love from her. She is unafraid to show the raw, real feelings that live inside her soul. She knows that they may not be received by everyone, however she does not let that stop her from sharing herself. She is smart in who she chooses to be vulnerable with, but she is not shrewd in her selection as that would close off her heart.
She knows that her expression of vulnerability can open up the heart of another, inviting them to show their raw and real self in return. She understands that this is one of the most potent powers of vulnerability - the ability to open up hearts, both hers and everyone her power touches.
Because she is comfortable yielding her vulnerability, she always steps forward in love. She hugs big and freely. She trusts big and freely. She shares truthfully and freely. She is unafraid to cry, to tell the truth, to appear weak, to be wrong. Even if she knows she may get hurt, she believes it worth the risk.
This is a woman who understands that she cannot expect what she cannot give. So if it is intimacy she wants, she must be willing to create it herself. Vulnerability is the key to intimacy. One cannot access intimacy without vulnerability. This woman understands that, as she takes responsibility for creating safe spaces in her relationships.
She is unafraid to ask for or show the way to her partner to create this vulnerability. She is willing to be both student and teacher, as long as they both lean in and experiment together.
She is capable of sharing her raw feelings. Of admitting her weaknesses and fears. Of taking responsibility for her behaviors, no matter how hard they are to admit. And she does so without blaming, criticizing or passing judgment. She does so with an open heart, in spite of the fact that she may be afraid to do so.
What is your powerful definition of Vulnerability?
On Sunday October 17th, I had the GREAT honor of spending the afternoon with 19 amazing, fabulous, powerful women who have all given themselves in service to bringing forward transformational work that changes the lives of women and girls.
I called the gathering, the Gathering of the Queens, because we are ALL queens in service to every person we touch, every day, when we live from a place of true service and love. Being a queen is NOT about lording over or being above, it is an energy that when held inside your heart, emanates a true, deep, powerful feminine energy, which my friend and amazing transformational artist, Shiloh Sophia McCloud puts to words and picture so well.
I share it with you here...
Every Woman Is the Queen of Her Own Heart Shiloh Sophia McCloud
She must decide how to govern her own domain.
She seeks friends and allies that honor who she is now and who she is becoming.
She has the power to create miracles.
Her prayers and intentions manifest in right order.
She does not know how or when her needs will be met, but she trusts the will of the Divine.
Being the Queen of one's domain is not about being the ruler over anyone else's life or ideas.
And it isn't even about calling herself a Queen.
It is about self honor. It is about choice.
It is about knowing her limits and setting her boundaries.
And about encouraging others to live their possibilities.
It is about learning how to live with what comes her way, with as much grace, majesty and justice as she can.
And sometimes, yes, she has to have her own way!
She claims her unique destiny and recognizes she has a calling.
A calling to greatness within her own life. And within her own heart.
The Queen of Her Own Heart invites others to join her there - in the middle of the awakened sacred heart.
She invites others to love powerfully - unconditionally - while at the same time practicing discernment and wisdom.
She is forgiving. And she believes healing is at hand.
She leads her own life as grand experiment in happiness, in creativity and in abundance.
She offers her gifts to others, but not to her own detriment.
She rests as she needs to, ruling one's own life takes energy.
She chooses to embody wholeness even when she feels fragmented by all there is to do.
She holds the prayers of the world within her because she cares what happens - with everyone - even though she cannot reach them all. She reaches who she can.
She often feels like she is not pulling it all off, and sometimes she isn't. But she keeps reaching anyway.
She keeps opening her heart and being in her own power.
Knowing and sharing her heart is ecstasy.
Sharing the heart of her beloved is absolute and perfect joy.
It's crazy how often we spend way more effort and emotion than we need in order to reach our goals, organize our lives or 'do' all the things we have set out to do in a day, a week or a year. We 'work' at it vs. 'creating' it. We 'make it happen' vs. 'let it happen.' We force our will and our agendas vs. listening to and using the energy of the moment, letting the universe do the heavy lifting for us. It's like choosing to walk up a mountain with 200lbs on our back vs. taking the sky cap up, giving us the ability to enjoy the view when we arrive as well as all the way up. While you might build some great calves and quadriceps from the heavy lifting approach, living your life this way means missing out on lots of the beauty, views and magic because you'll be too darn tired from working and pushing to enjoy what you've created. Love Fact: When we force and push ourselves, our agendas and others, we work harder not because of some valiant ideal that hard work makes us a better person. We force because we are afraid to trust. We push because we believe that once we attain that status, material thing, accomplishment, task, whatever, we will be happy, successful and enough. The truth is that you are enough right now, that you have nothing to prove, and that if you can stop pushing, you will actually create and draw to you what really makes you happy. Stop working so darn hard at your life, and start loving yourself for who you are today and what you've already created.
What you need: 1. a commitment to find your personal push 2. a physical awareness of how you feel when you push and when you let it happen 3. a willingness to trust
How to Find Your Personal Push & Let it Go To succeed at this tip, you are going to amp up your awareness big time to the difference in how you feel when you are pushing vs. when you are working with the natural flow of things. We all have different types of pushes, but they all stem from a basic lack of belief that we are not enough right now or from a basic fear of being rejected, abandoned, or hurt.
Common personal pushes include:
The Do It All Myself: as long I am busting my butt I am okay.
The Grab For Whatever I Can Get: as long as I am busy I am okay.
I Can Do More! I Can Do More!: as long as I get acknowledgement I am okay.
Once I Get There I'll Be Good: as long as I keep working hard towards my goal, I am okay.
And a whole lot more. What's your Personal Push?
Make a commitment to find the Personal Push that's running your life right now.
Remind yourself each morning that you are on the look out for your Personal Push.
Throughout the day, as you find yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed or pressured, notice how your body feels. If it feels tense, overwhelmed, full of anxiety, or really sluggish you are pushing. This is the first step of awareness.
Ask yourself the question, "What am I forcing? What am I trying to push?"
Listen to the answer. You have found your current Personal Push.
Ask yourself, "Why am I pushing this? What happens if I stop pushing?" What about that scares me, or makes me uncomfortable?"
Listen to the answer. You have found the fear behind the Push.
Release the fear using any one of these:
Give Yourself Love On the Spot. Tell yourself, "I am enough right now." Say it til you believe it.
Get Grateful. Make a list out loud of all that you have created already in your life and
Change the Negative to Positive. Say out loud the exact opposite of the fear. For example, if your fear is that if you don't do this one thing, you won't make the money you want, say out loud, "I have all that I need right now. I am totally taken care of." Say it til you feel it.
For the past 38 years I have suffered from something I have come to call the Achievement Junkie Syndrome. I say suffered purposefully because although I joke about this Syndrome by giving it a funny name, I know that what this syndrome has cost me is no laughing matter. There's nothing funny about being unhappy with what I have and who I am today, with having a sense of self-worth tied only to what I accomplish, and to having a constant battle with exhaustion and overwhelm due to my relentless drive to achieve that one last step on the ladder where I will finally be able to relax and declare I've made it.
After I left my corporate day job three years ago, making the decision to get off the treadmill up the corporate ladder to forge my own way in the world, I thought I had this junkie thing licked. Hah! Addictions die hard. In reality what happened was my need to achieve just got recalibrated, so instead of needing to make it to Vice President status, in my new role as an author, speaker, coach I just created a new expectation bar - to make it to Oprah status.
Three years later, sitting here today writing to you from Dallas Texas, on the heels of three TV interviews, a book appearance and more to come, I've come to a realization that I've had over and over again since embarking on this journey, but for some reason I think I just really got it. Let's call it an "ephinany on the heels of a bunch of ephinettes." You could say it feels like some large piece of wisdom just broke through and broke open a big piece of the Achievement Junkie in me, or maybe I finally was just ready to hear something the universe has been trying to get through for some time ☺
Here it is: I am tired of pushing.
I am tired of pushing so hard to be in the place that I want to be, the place that I see for myself in my head but that isn't the reality of where I am today. I'm tired of the effects of this pushing - exhaustion, working too much and forgetting to have fun, and feeling overwhelm to the point where my life feels like I am drinking out of a firehose, gulping for air between blasts.
So does that mean that I am tired of being an achiever? That I am just going to stop, throw my hands up the air and say forget it! Stop doing? Of course not! Being a person who achieves great things is something I really value about me. Being a person who needs to achieve those is like giving myself a death sentence. I love being an achiever, it's the junkie that I am letting go of again, but this time for good!
If any of this is resonating with you, maybe you have some achiever junkie in you too? If you'd be willing to join me, I have a suggestion that we take this Self-Love Dare together. We all came to this world to give all that we can, and we also came to this world to receive all that we can. Both! So my dare to myself and my dare to all you sister and brother AJs, is to take these three vows with yourself and for yourself:
THE DARE Stop Pushing. And Be Happy & Enough Today. Take these 3 Self-Love Vows
1. I stop pushing & I start receiving. Pushing is a totally ineffective and exhausting way to make things happen. The wise ones use their super powers to set powerful intentions, set the action into motion, and then wait to receive the good stuff, letting the universe do the hard work for us. A wise man once told me, "Spend your energy paddling to the stream that's already flowing, not trying to create your own stream." Another said, "Don't try and climb Mt. Everest by yourself, find others who have climbed it before you, ask for help and pray for good fortune." 2. I am happy today. There is no magic 'there', the place that we imagine that when we get there we will finally be happy. Stop saying, "When I move ... when I get this promotion... when I make this much money... when I get on Oprah... I will be happy." Making your happiness conditional on outside circumstances never makes you happy, and it makes you miss the moments of magic in your life.
3. I am enough right now. Even if you do nothing else that what you have already accomplished in this lifetime, you are enough. Your success is not measured in how much you do or do not accomplish, it will only be measured in the hearts and souls that you touch while on this earth. That can be accomplished only by being truly present and authentically yourself with other people - no title, bank statement or accolades required.
Take the Vows To take these vows one must literally say them out loud. Three times, it's the magic number! Even better stand up, look in the mirror and say them to yourself with conviction and with love in your heart for you! Self Love is a daring act, because it does require us to do some seemingly oddball things, that are only really oddball because they make us uncomfortable. And to quote my third wise man of the day, "Get comfortable being uncomfortable!" I'm heading off to the mirror right now - what are you waiting for??
Being Wise... taking in the wisdom across generations by Christine, age 37
The low of course is the easy one to start with. My self-love low was without a doubt the two weeks I spent begging, pleading, bargaining with my ex-fiance to take me back, to love me again, to do anything but leave me. Never mind he'd been cheating on me for 6 months, or that he dumped me two hours before our engagement party, I wanted this man to love me. I wanted him to love me so much that I groveled and cried my heart out, believing my life to be over if he wasn't in it, if he didn't love me. At the time I was a marketing executive, an m.b.a. student at a top three school and a self-confident woman, but when it came this guy, I was convinced I was nothing without him. This was the lowest point of my life. The point that as an educated, smart woman, I would rather marry a man who didn't want me and who had been sleeping with other women, rather than be alone.
What I realized after two weeks of feeling as if my heart had been torn out of my chest by a wild boar, was that the pain I felt wasn't because he wasn't there. It was because I wasn't there. The pain wasn't so intense because he didn't love me. It felt so bad and so deep because I didn't love me. Like myself a lot, yes. Self confidence present, yes. Self love anywhere in sight, no. That was the last time I let my self-love dip that deep. That was the last time I ever believed that I needed a man to complete me.
Fast forward, three years, to the moment that I first really felt total unabashed self-love. I had moved to San Francisco by this point, a city I had always wanted to live in. I had completed two-years of intense therapy to heal my gaping wounds. And I had started on what I call my journey to be, love and live Christine without apology, and without holding back. This particular day I had booked a hotel room in the very romantic wine country at an inn just teeming with lovey dovey couples, and me. I arrived, by myself, I took sauna, by myself, and I visited the fireplace lit restaurant with a five-course meal, by myself. Surrounded by couples holding hands, I felt no twinges of loneliness, only utter joy and contentment at being with myself and at being able to taste such delicious food and wine without having to talk to a table mate.
After dinner, I strolled back to my room, by myself, ordered dessert via room service and sat in my pillow feathered bed savoring each piece of delectable chocolate cake. I was in heaven... and in that moment, for the first time ever, I realized that I was in love with myself, completely. I realized that for 33 years I had been afraid to be alone, and in that moment I knew that I could never really be alone because I was always with myself. That was the night I fell in love with ME. Which is why it is my self-love high, because it was the first time, but the first time with me!
Olive, age 13, says:
If I can speak for most people I will say that we have more lows than highs. I personally feel half and half.
Some of the times when I have had highs are super cool. One of them is when I got a letter from Obama and it even had his signature! That just felt super cool because when I was writing him a letter everyone told me to write it in business form but I ignored them and used a hot pink card with blue birds, wrote in blue pen, and used a green envelope. I just thought to myself, who wants to open just one more white envelope? Because that's so exciting! Some other times are when people compliment me on my outfit. Whenever I wear something bright and colorful I always wonder what might be going through people's minds but when 10 people compliment me within 5 minutes, I know it's always best to just listen to my thoughts and trust ME.
My lows occur sporadically. Most of the time it's when I'm in a big crowd with people my age and I don't know anyone. All of these other girls are with their friends laughing and I just feel so lonely. No one really realizes how much we need our friends but the truth is that they are what hold us up. My friends prevent me form having so many lows. The best friends you can have are the ones that will always be there for you. For some people friends boost their confidence, for example, look at me! I'm so liked I have 30 friends!!!
I would say that people who have a lot of lows are most likely self-conscious but it could really be anything. Depression, sad feelings, etc. To have more highs I recommend thinking of things as glass half full. Just try not to be negative at all and you will truly have a better day!
Christin, age 25, says:
The lowest self love low happened for me when I was nine. Not that I was fully conscious of my lack of self love at the time. All I was conscious of was that I wanted to die. I can remember sitting with my legs over the balcony - staring at the pool deck below and wondering if any one would even notice. Wondering if death was so numbing that I would even notice? I felt useless and dirty and shamed. I felt bad and wrong and desperate. But most of all - I felt trapped. I was in the self-love dumper for many many reasons, but the most prevalent was because I had suppressed memories of sexual abuse that, one day in fifth grade math class, I unexpectedly remembered. And all of a sudden, like a supernatural sprinkling of filth all over my skin - I was worthless. My memory of this time is shaky, at best, so I can't say for sure how long I spent in this darkness. A week? An entire childhood? I do remember when I climbed out. I was at the kitchen counter with a knife poking into my rib cage - just waiting for the courage to push. And then it was as if an older version of myself tapped me on the shoulder, a benevolent angel whispering that this period in my life, this shadow, was temporary. And sometime in the future I would be free. I had already survived this long. I would survive to my independence. I made the choice that I would make it out alive.
My highest of self love highs was so opposite to this feeling of loneliness. It is interesting to me to note the amazing contrast of internal liberation between these two stories. Not only did I make it out alive, I thrived beyond my wildest dreams of love, connection and spirit...
I had enrolled in a leadership course in California which was challenging and opening on so many levels. After our first week I had a moment of such pure love for myself that I have yet to duplicate it. I don't know what it was about that morning - maybe it was the magic of the redwoods, or the calling of the crows, or the mists of Avalon opening for me. I looked in the mirror that morning and, for the first time in my life, without any inhibition or need for permission, I saw myself as incredibly divine and beautiful. I WAS beauty. I was the essence of life. And Life was Good. All my life I had searched for a sign that I was not alone - a touch from the hand of god. But that morning I felt complete within myself - I knew I was loved because I loved myself. I knew I was beautiful because I found myself to be so. I felt so deeply the connection to all the IS - the oneness of all things - and I believed in the goodness and sacredness of my Self.
Katie, age 34, says: Since at least junior high, I've engaged in a self-love ritual. Whenever I've felt hopeless about the outside world or the one within me, I've waited for night to fall and retreated into my core self. The ritual is: I sink into a soft, supportive surface - these days, it's my plush, beige living room sofa - with candles lit all around the dark spaces, and soulful music lulling me into peace. And then, I cry. I release my grief, anxiety, shame, anger, and guilt. As I listen to the heart-opening lyrics of whatever song plays, my tears create space for joy and love to come.
I call these moments my "scheduled crying jags." Even the heaving sobs are miraculous to me, because I'm euphoric when I allow them to happen, and I always heal. Knowing I can return to this sacred space at any time, I emerge feeling safe in the world again, and then I wonder why I always make the jags wait for my night to fall.
Once, one of my crying jags was scheduled for me. I was in a spiritual service, feeling shaken with awareness: two days before, I'd learned not only that the man I had loved for three years did not feel the same, but also, that he never had, even though we'd been in an intimate relationship throughout that time. As the choir sang about love, my torso threw itself over my thighs, and I sat hunched over myself, having a wailing cry that I might have put on my calendar. Except it came out unexpectedly and uncontrollably, like a screaming toddler in a grocery store, holding his mother hostage because he knows everyone is watching. This cry was going to come right there, whether I liked it or not.
I did like it. Not at first, but after I saw how hopeful those around me were, that they could care for me or say the right thing, or just sit with me in my pain. I'd arrived at that place by smiling for three years, when I could have cried a lot, letting my pain out in segments. Getting clear with each crying jag about what I wanted, who I really could be without this guy.
So when people learn about my scheduled crying jags and ask, "Isn't that depressing?" ... I smile. Not because I'm masking something, but because I'm feeling the self-love.
Janet, age 52, says:
Wow! Self-Love...the honest truth is that for the majority of my life the word Self was always followed with those wicked three letters ish - Selfish. I grew up in a time when being a female meant you put everyone else first and yourSelf last or you were considered selfish. Growing up I was always told what I couldn't or shouldn't do rather than what I could do/be. Go figure that it took over 40 years for me to self-define and figure out what Loving mySelf was/is really about?!?
Today Loving mySelf is quite simple...whatever brings me Joy and makes me truly Happy is Loving mySelf! Walking my dogs on the beach every morning ...collecting sand dollars and heart-shaped rocks ~ makes my heart sing! Getting a manicure and pedicure makes me feel pampered and cared for...taking a bath in ancient essential oils in candle light makes me feel divinely feminine ...being okay with saying "No" to someone or something...or conversely, daring to say "Yes" to something that I really deserve and desire ~ such as going to Africa, Europe, going scuba diving in some far off exotic location or buying new lingerie... Doing and Being exactly Who I Am...rather than what others expect of me...not needing approval... No excuses...explanations or apologies!
The first half of my Life was filled with self doubt and guilt! There would be stolen moments and temporary insanity when I would run off and do something crazy like go on a shopping spree, or steal away for a long weekend for a romantic interlude. But by golly the guilt and self-recrimination was more than I could stand! How could I possibly do something so self-centered as to buy a bunch of new clothes? And how could you possibly just run off with some guy for a long weekend and forget about your responsibilities (not to mention that nice girls don't do things like that!)?!? These were all the voices in my head...the tape that constantly ran. Everything tinged with Guilt and Remorse ...the voice and prattle were always the same...you don't deserve to be happy or be fully alive. I Am a better person for having persevered and transformed these dark times into Jewels of Wisdom...the guilt has been replaced with Grace...remorse replaced with the Real-I-zation that I Am Beautiful Being In & Out!!
Being Wise... taking in the wisdom across generations by Christine, age 37
Of course it would make sense that in the month we talk about YONI's that I would come upon the Goddess Persephone. For all of January, I've seemed obsessed with Red Tents and Moons (aka our menstrual cycles)... I've been questioning my own use of pills that regulate my hormones and chlorine-filled cotton bullets I use to pick up my monthly visitor. So no surprise that I literally opened up this book I have called "The Book of Goddesses" and there Persephone, was, staring directly at me.
A little background on our lady Persephone... she's the daughter of Demeter, whom she loved very much, but big bad Pluto came by and forced her to marry him. Although he loved her dearly, she never truly gave him her heart. And can you blame her? Brut! This life drama gave Persephone a reluctance to claim her own sexuality and an infatuation with pomegranates and the power of menstruation aka our Moons (a term my friend Tarja uses, and I'm sure Persephone would approve of, but that I still can't quite get out of my mouth).
Which leads me to what I want to ask this powerful Goddess: What is the deal with why women are so weirded out by their periods? Why do we try to hide them, suppress them and force our way through them? For goddess sake, Dr. Lissa Rankin told us she couldn't leave surgery to change her tampons - just bleed right through, seriously? Where are the Red Tents that used to be the place women could go for the few days they would bleed... where they'd hang out with the girls, sing songs, braid hair, generally RELAX? Why can't I refer to my period as "my moon" without squirming? Why when I got my period, did my mother simply say, "There's a box in the closet." No wonder so many of us over-achieving women have stuffed our YONI in the closet, right next to the 'feminine hygenine products!'
If I think about what Persephone would say, I imagine it would go something like this, "lf you want a Red Tent, build one, even if it's in your bedroom giving yourself the day off when you moon starts... If you don't want to say "my moon" don't, but for at least pick something other than "period," it sounds awful... and Take if from me, don't miss out on fully claiming your sexuality, not for your husband's sake, but for your own. There is nothing more powerful than a woman in her divine sexual power, fully centered in who and what she is, at this time, in this moment, in all of her beauty and love of self."
Olive, age 13, says:
I would chat with Oizys. She is the goddess of distress, worry, and anxiety. Her Latin name is Miseria, from which the English word 'misery'. I would want to chat with her because I want to know why these seem to be the easiest emotions for us to feel.
For girls my age, the stress is on the SSAT's. No it's not the SAT's (those are college). The SSAT's are for girls and boys who want to get into private high schools. I am going to public school but my parents made me take it any way. Even though my parents kept on telling me not to stress out about it, how could I not? It's a huge test and I have to study for it and it's really hard!!! Stress is everywhere. It makes me have such bad neck pains that whenever I move my neck, it cracks. I'm sure that some adults could say the same thing but are they 13? Nope.
I believe Oizys would tell me one simple thing. It's all in your head. But what does that mean? It's different for everybody but the main idea here is that things aren't stressing you out, you're stressing yourself out. In other words, no one can stress you out, you can only let them and to be strong is wiping it off your shoulders and knowing that whatever happens, you'll be okay.
Some ideas on how to not stress out: -Be sure you are giving yourself enough time to complete tasks -Drink some soothing tea (It tastes REALLY good with a lot of honey :) -Take a walk -Do something you love
When I do these things, it helps me realize that no matter what pickle I'm in, it will pass over time and no matter what I will still have my family that loves me.
Christin, age 25, says:
There are two aspects of being a woman that feel powerful and special to me; our bodies and our ability to hold.
So, I took an online quiz to determine which Goddess I most embodied to figure out which goddess I should chat with. In the end, it was the goddess Artemis whom this online questionnaire associated me with. My first reaction was: What?! Artemis the Virgin? The homely older sister of Apollo who couldn't live up to the favored and far more popular War God? Give me a break. (This entire prelude, in and of itself, should illustrate my utter lack of familiarity with Femmergy!)
Admittedly, I had to read up on this archetype from numerous resources to create a complete characterization of who Artemis really is. What I discovered was, how we shall say this, she is Marvelous! She is the goddess of the hunt, of fertility, of the forest and mountains, the goddess of nature and the protectress.
I was hung up on her supposed 'virginity' and her solitude from other people because I was concerned that my destiny might entail hermit-hood. But then I read this - "Due to her well-integrated masculine energy and independence, Artemis does not possess much need for a man to complete her. Her awareness is focused." And then I realized that I TOTALLY want to be this woman! She is complete in herself. She is fulfilled by the elemental properties of our Earth. She is swift and powerful and compassionate.
I imagine that, if I were to walk in on her unexpectedly, she would be lounging in a loose tunic. Maybe sharpening an arrow head, or relaxing her tired muscles in a sulfur bath. She would be lean and toned and beautiful in the way of the Amazon warrior women. I imagine she would have a dog that would hear me coming before she did. And she would look up from her task to smile at me and say, "Welcome, my daughter." And I would probably giggle with absolute shyness and unease. But then she would touch my shoulder lightly and hold a gaze that demanded return. At that moment, I would recognize that her solitary nature provided her own special gateway to greater intimacy with others. I imagine she would feel this shift in my understanding, and she would tell me, "You need not fear loneliness, dear. You are always completely loved within yourself."
....see what I mean?? - Marvelous!
Katie, age 34, says: I would sit down by the fire with Greek goddess Aphrodite, whose name is interchangeable with Venus, from Roman mythology. She is the goddess of love, sexuality, and beauty.
Aphrodite is known as the daughter of Heaven and Sea, the child of Uranus and Gaia. She was not conceived out of pleasure, but she cultivated it in her own life. Aphrodite did not have a childhood, but instead was born an adult possessing a powerful sexuality. She was forced to marry the ugly god of fire, Hephaestus, who controlled her. Aphrodite was fiercely independent, and she constantly sought freedom in the form of a new lover. She had many on her way to finding Ares, the god of war, who became her true love.
Astrologically speaking, I relate to Aphrodite. With my Sun in air sign Aquarius, my moon in water sign Scorpio, and my Rising in air sign Libra, I am a living blend of heaven and the sea. My Venus and Mars are in Capricorn and Taurus. The combination of these earth signs with my Scorpio moon preoccupies me with love and engenders a powerful sexuality. Or so my astrologer tells me.
My astrologer is right. I am endlessly fascinated by love, and my intimate relationships are fueled by passion. As a writer, my theme is the mystery of romantic love. For these reasons, Aphrodite would be my ideal partner for a fireside chat.
Throughout my dating life, I've allowed sexual desire to govern my choices with men. This in itself is not a bad thing; physical chemistry will always be an essential element of my intimate relationships. But I've taken it too far, by allowing attraction to blind me to the fact that other, equally important characteristics were missing from my connections with men. There were gaps in the areas of genuine love, mutual respect, and honesty.
Aphrodite led with passion and found love. By leaving her arranged marriage to Hephaestus, Aphrodite broke the chain that bound her. In our talk, she would insist that I guard my sexual power, that I don't ever abandon it for a "nice guy" who bores me. But she would also say I should never again let it chain me to someone not worthy of my love. I should use it to guide me to someone who respects my independence, genuinely loves me, and always tells me the truth.
Janet, age 52, says:
Athena is an armed Warrior Goddess, and appears in Greek mythology as a helper of many heroes. She also would come to be known as the Goddess of Wisdom. I have chosen Athena, a Goddess that I most resonate with...I have lived much of my life as a Warrior Goddess, both at work and home.
My question for Goddess Athena is this: "What did you do during those times Others were attacking, warring with You to hold Your Ground and stay in Your Truth?" Dearest Goddess Warrior Night Eagle Dancer (Janet) You have walked a similar path in your time, and each time you have felt that you lost your way and the days became the darkness of night and you felt as though You alone were standing in the war..."Where did You go to find Your Truth, Peace and Compassion?" Do you remember those long walks along the ocean, those moments of utter despair and intense agony that dared to suck you into the abyss of fear and pain? Those Journeys are what allowed you to go deep to find Your Inner Wisdom...the Knowing...the Trust...and the Love that binds Us All together.
It was in the darkest moments that the Greatest Wisdom was birthed...We Know that without the darkness and pain, we mere mortals have great difficulty mustering the courage and fortitude to risk all that we are, to Stand Strong and Tall in Our Infinite Wisdom and Truth. I do not dare to diminish the complexity and challenges that You face in this modern world of many non-believers and the unenlightened...however, it is those very people that fight us the most that allow us to grow and stand stronger in the Truth. It is that adversity and those challenges that put us to task...to propel us forward in the Quest of fully real-I-zing Your Greatest Gifts!