Love is a dynamic force; she pulls together strings and strains of magical experiences that are unexplainable and unfathomable to our minds, sometimes it is difficult to even fully articulate the experience being lived, only to show you the opposing force of pushing apart these entangled strings, creating space, uncertainty and even a disconnect from the magic she once bestowed upon you. She has a way of coming back, however, full circle, drawing you into her depths and enclosing you within her veil, showering you with tenderness, compassion and, of course, the purity of her love.
Love accepts all, and sees no faults, although she thrives on imperfections, for the most complex and chaotic of students of her ways are the most beautiful. To love, everything holds beauty, everything is beautiful, even in the most appalling and beastly of places, she’s finds the hidden gems and sparkles of true beauty and magic.
Love asks for nothing, for she is already full and complete, but gives nothing short of everything freely and openly to those who are ready to receive her offerings with an open mind and expanding heart.
Love heals wounds of pain and anguish; she can be your greatest medicine if you allow. But she also has a way of slowing seeping into the ever so slightly opened cracks within your inner barricades and unleashing your inner discomforts and unlocking your triggers. Her intention, with this, however, is to only lead them into the flow of her ways, and guide them into her lightness with compassion and grace.
Love will not intentionally cause you hurt and harm, but instead she will trigger you into a space of healing; by the slightest brush of her magic on your skin, or a sample of her taste on your lips, or even an eye catching glimpse of her captivating beauty that cannot be missed. Her aroma has the ability to engulf you into her seduction, offering you a space to melt from within, pouring your innermost self out into the waves of her essence, and trusting she will carry you into the ways of her intent.
True love, she speaks to those who are ready to hear the gentle vibrations of her tone; only when you have created and explored such vibrations from within yourself and from within your own heart are you ready to hear and fully welcome the sweet whispers of her unmatchable frequencies and Divinity. ~
“”Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness” and the like, is becoming a fairly popular catch phrase these days.
I wholeheartedly stand behind that statement and believe it to be entirely true.
However, it’s a whole lot easier said than done.
To actually exercise the depths of our vulnerability, especially with another person, not having any idea how it will be met or received by the other we’re choosing to share it with, truly feels like it requires super human emotional strength sometimes.
Because — living in a society where more often than not, we’re taught in one way or another that it’s safer to harden rather than soften ourselves.
Hardening, shutting down, and closing off becomes not only the norm, it becomes easier for our emotional bodies to do.
So, we hold grudges, stay angry, and resent, resent, resent.
While holding onto those feelings actually consumes more of our energy than choosing to soften into our vulnerability does, the fact that we’ve been so ingrained since childhood that vulnerability equates to a sense of weakness, closing down because more of the automatic response.
“Don’t let them see you’re hurt.”
Vulnerability involves softening into our authentic emotional state, and allowing ourselves to be witnessed there — whether it’s in honestly seeing ourselves in that place, or letting another person in enough to see us there.
Sometimes vulnerability is exposing anger we’ve been withholding but often, behind that anger even, is sadness, grief, or hurt that we’ve been afraid of expressing.
Allowing ourselves to express our sadness, grief, or hurt in the safety of our own space with ourselves or with someone else, never knowing how they might take it is inherently vulnerable.
The reality is that there is a deep seated risk within being vulnerable, especially with another, which is that it might be met with insensitivity, coldness or a closed heart rather than the love we’re seeking from them.
Recently, I was met with insensitivity, coldness, and a closed heart in the face of having shared deep vulnerable emotions and the reality of my feelings with someone.
All I received was a metaphorical closed door and frigid, resentful emotion.
Immediately, I regretted being vulnerable, I regretted opening my heart, and I regretting allowing myself to be seen so intimately by this person.
My ego felt intensely bruised
I felt less than.
A sense of being deeply unseen, unmet and hurt washed over me.
I thought of all the ways I could retaliate to try and feel like I had the upper hand again, to reclaim my power, and essentially to take back my vulnerability.
But then, I realized —
There was no need to try and reclaim my power from this person, just because they didn’t meet me with the reciprocation of vulnerability I was hoping for.
What I had just done, was exercise my power to it’s fullest.
If our vulnerability is indeed our strength, I had just claimed the greatest extend of my personal power — not power over, but simply power engaged — by dropping into my most vulnerable place and sharing that.
Maybe even more-so, because I wasn’t met with the same vulnerability in response and I survived.
While it hurts when we aren’t met with the response to our vulnerability that we might be hoping for, at the end of the day it doesn’t entirely matter how that person responds, receives or reacts to it because it doesn’t take any power away from our act of vulnerability.
Not only that, I think it strengthens us even more because we lick our wounds and have the opportunity to make the choice to keep softening into our vulnerability with ourselves and with others, knowing that we’ve been hurt in that place but we’re choosing to stay open and loving no matter what.
We should never allow one person’s insensitive reaction scare us entirely away from our ability to be vulnerable.
Maybe we give ourselves some time to heal from the wounding, but then we pick ourselves back up and head out into the world again, hearts forward.
Just because one person was unable to reciprocate our vulnerability says absolutely nothing about us.
It says everything about them.
So, I say — keep being vulnerable as hell.
It’s our strength and power, regardless of what others do in the face of it.” ~ Alexandra Schueler
The last thing I want is for you to think I am weak, because in our culture weakness is punished and belittled. But I am a woman, and we’ve been taught that femininity is weak, so if I want respect I am backed into this damned corner every time I see you. I can see from your words and your actions that you don’t really believe women are worthy of respect either. The problem is that I believed you were right.
If I believe I am weak there’s no telling what you’ll do to me, how you’ll underestimate me, how you’ll take advantage of me, how you’ll use your strength against me, how you’ll take from me. I’ve been living my life afraid of all this since I was a little girl, who watched her father rage and yell and belittle women. I thought the only way he…
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“Our era is calling us into unknown territory. This uncharted place cannot be held in your hand but is a realm within the mind. This is a prohibited realm, as taught to us by our foremothers and forefathers. This forbidden world is the land of self-love.
In many cultures and in many ages, humanity has defined itself as a misfit of creation. Whether it is Adam and Eve as blemishes in the heavenly Garden of Eden, or our current self-assignment as “the planetary pest,” there seems to be a profound sense of non-belonging in our collective unconscious.
Today we are being asked to move beyond this misunderstanding of self. We are being asked to muster enough faith to remember that everything in creation is wanted and here for a reason. We are being asked to re-assume our identity as beloved children of the Earth.
Something alchemical occurs when one holds oneself in one’s arms and says to oneself: “You are precious and I love everything about you: your perfections and your imperfections.” I would challenge you to look into the mirror and say this, but one must be ready for the experience. If you are anything like me, it may trigger some very strange, foreign and maybe even uncomfortable sensations. Not because it isn’t true, but because it has been so many hundreds of generations since many of us have actually said this to ourselves and meant it.
The poem I share here is based on the Diné philosophy that we are not only accepted by Creator and Creation, but that we are celebrated by Creator and Creation. We in turn celebrate Creator and Creation. This all makes for one grand party that my Diné ancestors knew quite well.
In fact, our European ancestors knew this world quite well, too. The only difference between the white woman and the red woman is the white woman’s ancestors were slaughtered and tortured much further back in time. We often forget the 8-9 million European Medicine Women who were burned alive, drowned alive, dismembered alive, raped, beaten and/or tortured as “witches.” We often forget how this not only harmed them, but spiritually wounded their brothers, husbands and sons who loved them. These were the women who prayed to stones, who made herbal medicines, who knew the land and the language of the land. We often forget how this episode and others served to severe our connection to the sacred motherland of Europe and engendered this sense of non-belonging.
Even in the face of this trauma, it is never too late to abandon the lie and enter the forbidden dimensions of self-love. For it is not the Creator who forbids us, but the dark. We are not only permitted by the Creator to enter this land, we are begged to enter it. For only then, will the party start again. Only then, will humanity know the joy it was created for again.
The topic of this poem is Hozhó (zh is pronounced like the j in taj mahal). Hozhó has been translated as beauty, but it means something more close to joy. Joy/Hozhó is the natural result of knowing oneself. Because to know oneself is to understand the grand celebration we are a part of. It is to know, profoundly, without a doubt, that we are loved, profoundly, by the Creator.
There are many things that keep us from feeling loved by the Creator. For women, rape can make us feel unlovable if we think it was our fault. For boys, domestic violence can make them feel unlovable if they believe they failed to protect their mother. It is our divine task to fight through the voices that say we are unloved and unworthy and find our Creator.
Only when we accept the truth of our beauty, will we let go of fear and insecurity. And only when we let go of fear and insecurity can we begin to have a real relationship with Mother Earth. A relationship that is not based on domination, separation, hierarchy, or other forms of insecurity, but a relationship that is akin to the relationship between a tree and the sun. Like this tree, we become the grateful receiver of life who, in the midst of this gratitude, is moved to give life to others, lovingly offering everything it has (shade, fruit, wood, beauty) to all that it sees.
What is really spectacular is when you have a community of these givers. In the context of the forest, even the giver is gifted with blessings unconditionally. It is not a trade. It is two beings that happen to be pouring out their heart at the same time, overtaken by the splendor of living in and as Creator’s design.
This is who we were created to be. Perhaps the pain we feel is the pain of trying to be something we are not. We are not the black sheep of the earth. We are the welcomed sons and daughters of the land. Remember this, and you will be doing your part to heal the whole earth.
It is dawn.
The sun is filling the sky
and my grandmother and I
are singing prayers to the horizon.
This morning she is
teaching me the meaning
Although there is no direct
translation from Diné Bizaad
(the Navajo language)
every living being knows
what hozhó means.
For hozhó is
every drop of rain.
It is every eyelash.
Every leaf on every tree.
Every feather on the bluebird’s wing.
Hozhó is undeniable beauty.
It is every breath we give to the trees.
And every breath they give to us in return.
Hozhó is reciprocity.
And my grandmother knows this well
for she speaks a language that
grew out of the desert floors
like red stone monoliths.
A language like arms
out of the earth
reaching into the sky,
praising creation for all
of its brilliance.
Hozho is remembering that we are a part of this brilliance.
It is finally accepting that
you are a sacred song that brings the Diyin Diné’é
to their knees in an almost
Hozho is re-membering our own beauty.
And my grandmother knows this well
for she speaks the language of a
She speaks the language
of hooves hitting the dirt
for she was a midwife and would
gallop to the women in labor.
She is fluent in the
language of suffering mothers;
fluent in the language
of joyful mothers;
fluent in the language
of handing a glowing newborn
to its creator.
Hozhó is an experience.
But it is not something
you can experience
the eagles tell us
as they lock talons
in the stratosphere
and fall to the earth as one.
Hozhó is inter-beauty.
And my grandmother knows this well
for she speaks the language of the Male Rain
which shoots Lightning Boys through the sky,
pummels the Green Corn Children
and huddles the horses against cliff sides
in the early afternoon.
She also speaks the language of the Female Rain
which sends the scent of dust and sage into our hoghans
and casts rainbows in the sky.
Us Diné, we know what hozhó means!
And you! You know what hozhó means!
And deep down I think we know what hozho
does not mean.
Like the days we walk in sadness.
Like the days we live for money.
Like the days we live for fame.
Like the day the conquistadors came,
climbed down from their horses
and asked us
if they could buy
We knew this was not hozhó
because we knew
you could not own a mountain.
But we knew we could make it hozhó once again.
So we took their silver swords
and we took their silver coins
and we melted them
with fire and buffalo hide bellows
and recast them into beautiful
squash blossom necklaces
and placed it around their necks.
We took the silver helmets
straight off their heads
and transformed it into
a fearless beauty.
We made jewelry:
Hozhó is the transmuting of broken bones.
Hozhó is the prayer that carried us
through genocide and disease.
It is the prayer that will carry us through
through this global fear
that dances like a shadow
in our minds.
This morning my grandmother is teaching me something
She is teaching me that the
easiest (and most elegant) way
to defeat an army of hatred
is to sing to it beautiful songs
until it falls to its knees
‘It will do this,’ she says, ‘because it has finally
found a sweeter fire than revenge.
It has found Heaven.
It has found Hozhó.’
And so my grandmother is talking
to the colors of the sky at dawn
and she is saying:
(beauty is restored again…)
It is dawn, my friends.
Copyright 2016 (c) Lyla June Johnston
I am aflame. No one set the fire. This is self-immolation.
I don’t think I knew what I was signing on for when this all started. But there’s no stopping the fires of transformation, once they’ve begun lapping at your skin. I climbed up here on this pyre. Said I wanted to be awake. Declared the intention to set free all the structures that tie me down. Hold me back. Stop me from becoming. I think I had very romantic notions of what that would look like. Imagined I could rise without the burning. Envisioned grace descending in a peaceful, quiet hush.
I forgot how this whole phoenix business works.
Now I am here. Screaming in the heat. Clawing at my own skin. Desperate to get out. You cannot un-know these kinds of things. There is no reverse apple. Once Truth-with-a-capital-T is tasted, it stains your lips, tongue, teeth for life. Still, I resist. Wriggle and strain against it. Refuse to surrender. Run from myself. Go numb. Howl in agony. Plead with God, with my spouse, with myself. Try to reason my way out of this. None of it does a damn bit of good.
No one tells you the truth about being a phoenix. How this kind of burning – the kind that strips you of everything you are so you can be made new – hurts like hell. You feel it. All. Every tiny, bright tendril consuming all you have ever been. Resistance is as useless to you as a pair of shoes you wore when you were six. Once ignited no amount of water will put out this cleansing. Anything short of complete surrender only prolongs the burn.
Inside the flames, I am learning the hard way how to let go. It is the most fucking painful thing. Goes against all my internal programming. Every line of code ever input into my system hinges on endurance, holding on, dissociating at times, but never letting go.
Sounds so simple.
Unclasp fingers from object. Drop it. Disentangle mind from obsessive worries. Free it. Easy to say, but execution is a bitch. So I suffer. Tell myself I am losing my mind. Going mad. Breaking myself. May never recover. Grapple with the impossibility of the situation. Make everything so much harder than it has to be…
I tell you, the greatest game of ‘come here, go away’ I’ve ever played is with my Self.
I long for the next iteration, and cannot seem to release the current one. Something inside screams, “I am not disposable!” I don’t know what to do with her. She is an ever tightening noose round my neck. I cannot breathe inside her framework for being. Know she must die off. Be freed so I can renew. Yet up to now, she formed a core piece of my identity. Together. In control. Strong, no matter what. Reliable. Competent beyond reason. Productive. Problem is, all those structures eventually become cages. Trap a person in ways so subtle, it’s hard to notice. I think that’s what drove me up here on top of this pyre. It got so bad, I started to notice.
Now I am attached to this aspect of my personality and I want it to be gone. That fact alone is crazy-making. So I lie here on the pyre playing tug-of-war with my consciousness.
If I could get my head in the game, this might go more quickly. But my mind doesn’t seem capable of getting it. Cannot connect the burning to the rising. No matter how hard I try to convince myself, the little lizard curled up at the base of my skull refuses to budge. Screams, “We are dying!” Sounds all the alarms. So my brain dumps cortisol and adrenaline into my system like candy flying out of a freshly busted piñata. Forcing my body to respond as if I am in grave danger.
Flight. Fight. Freeze. I grow weary of this infernal suffering. Know there has to be another way.
On an existential level, I know what I am doing. Understand the need for smouldering to ash. An essential piece of my operating system is being overwritten. I will not emerge the same. That was the intention. I have to trust that I meant it when I lit the first match. Stop second guessing myself. Start surrendering. Otherwise, I could get stuck here. Perpetually on fire. Never make it to the rising. I think it’s why some of us go slowly mad. There aren’t instructions on how to manage this process – it’s too personal. We’re all just winging it. And it’s so easy to get lost in the fear. To forget that things are not worse now, they’re just visible. Unveiled. Brought to the surface so they can be transformed.
Grace finally comes. Not in a peaceful, quiet hush. But in the arms of panic attacks and the inability to pretend to have it together for one more fucking second. Who knew grace would show up like that? It’s a wise move with someone like me. Overpower me to the point that I can no longer employ my enduring strategies. Until I must admit defeat. Recognise the futility of fighting. Let go of my end of the rope in this tug-of-war.
Lean into the flames. Pray. Sometimes change is just brutal.
I pass the last bits of time imagining what it will be like on the other side of the flames. How I will disintegrate into a pile of ash and dust until no remnant of selfhood remains. Break down all the cages. Free at last from the myriad ways I’ve bound myself up in this life. Certain, because I am human, I will create new ties. Fashion a whole different set of cages. I’d be kidding myself if I thought otherwise. But for now, it is enough to pray for the wisdom to spring the traps sooner next time. To not let it come to the fires and the burning again – at least not for some time.
When it is done and I am burned to the ground, there is peace. Inside that peace, deep down in the ashes new life stirs. What she becomes is not for me to know or project. Only to witness. An awe-struck observer watching how this magic of being human works.
How we can be reborn again and again in the same lifetime. How in spite of – or maybe even because of – the fear, the death throes, and the pain of it all, we rise. Indomitably. Eternally. We rise.
by Shannon Crossman // http://theurbanhowl.com/2016/11/21/burn-it-shannon-crossman/