Not knowing much more than her famous prayer “All will be well”, I was curious to learn more about this mystic priestess, Julian of Norwich, whose feast day is celebrated on May 13th.
After reading both Britannica’s and Wikipedia’s accounts on Julian, this writing caught my eye.
“All Will Be Well: The Radical Optimism of Julian of Norwich”Mirabai Starr, HuffPost
In it, she uses the quote Julian is known for:
“All shall be well and all shall be well and every kind of thing shall be well.” Julian of Norwich
And continues to write a bit more about her radical teachings and beliefs.
She believed in the feminine aspect of God, and often refers to Mother God as Christians might to Mother Mary.
Additionally, her optimistic take on life was that there is no such thing as sin (for non-Christians, read shame, blame or karma here).
Hence, the Mother’s loving voice reassuring us the human child, that “All will be well.” Like our caregivers or Mothers might have said to us when we ran for nurturance or care after falling down and skinning our knee. “It’s gonna be OK” I have found myself echoing my own Mother’s words when my children were little, as they grew into teens and now young adults!
So, what a lovely view of Motherhood, love and the relationship to being humble and asking for nurturing. How often do you extend mothering, or loving care to another? And how often do you receive it? Most of us are big GIVERS, not so good at the RECEIVING part.
For the past 15 years or more, I’ve adapted Julian’s words to my own:
“All is well. All manner of things are well. Every kind of thing is well.”
It helps me to ground into what is right with the world. What is beautiful. What is here right now that I may not be seeing and appreciating.
So Mother’s Day Blessings to you! Mother God, Mother Earth, Mother Nature, are all to be acknowledged as well as all Mothers, StepMothers, WannaBe Mothers, Animal Mothers, Project Mothers, Garden Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts and All Women who are leading towards Love!
All is well. Truly it is.
This February full moon is highlighting our brilliance. And as much as we are uncomfortable with vulnerable showing/sharing of our shadows, we are often equally uncomfortable with owning our Brilliance.
As we move from February into March the theme shifts to honoring ALL of us. Equally.
In honor of the Equinox and equanimity, expansion and equilibrium, egalitarianism and equal rights for all. (Liked the alliteral play there?)
Easier said than done.
We hide, especially as we begin to share from our heart and soul or expand in our visibility in our roles in the world. As our Great Work in the world grows, so must we. And often it can be too much for our system to handle.
So many women are finding, the more their impact and influence grow, their Shadows of insecurity, unsafeness, or gnawing doubt in their abilities create walls of Fear.
I capitalize Fear because it is currently at the base of our world’s issues: racial and social injustice, misogyny, economic inequality, political division, devastating effects of climate change, and a global pandemic on top of all that.
And, we are falling back into the “already healed, I’m done with that” space of old stories, patterns, reactivities, programming and tendencies.
So, even though this was an area of clarity and spaciousness before 2020, you may find the revisiting of the anxiety or depression or sadness or anger that was tucked away nicely and neatly in the past.
AND, it’s all good. The full moon this month reminds us to feel our brightness. Our wholeness. Our holiness. Our Beauty, Strength, Safety and Wisdom…all regained by tapping in and tuning in to our Divine Center. The Oneness that can help us reclaim these lost parts of Self, and sit gently and hold the brokenness, the grief, the anger, the Fear.
Because many of us are very sensitive to the collective energies, we can feel the Desire to move into Love, the fear of the Fear, and our roles during these evolutionary times to be a bridge for these polarities. To allow them to co-exist. There is room for Love amidst it all.
And, no more sweeping the ugliness, brokenness, anxiety or fears under the rug…that helps them to grow in power. Facing them, with Love and Light, shines the truth onto these old ways of operating, many of which we’ve inherited through ancestral and cultural programming.
So, just like Spring Clearing and Cleaning, we’ll take out and examine each pattern, behavior, reactivity or story and ask ourSelves, “Do I love this? Do I need this? Does it bring me joy?” (thank you Marie Kondo!)
And after lovingly appreciating, holding it and seeing it as it is, (often a younger version of Self or an inherited story/pattern) we can thank it and allow it to be sent off to be recycled or reused elsewhere. I like to imagine it becoming the compost for new energy for creativity and play!
Let’s appreciate the Moon this month for shining her light on us. For helping us to remember our own Light…sometimes shadowed, but always there.
And thank you for all of the enlightening and beautiful stories shared by my sisters and brothers of color who helped us to learn and grow through Black History Month…your sharings opened my eyes and heart over and over.
Feeling too much? Like your nerve endings are on the outside of your body and the slightest sensation or incoming news can ignite or trigger or send you into an emotional spiral?
I am with you.
One client recently called it feeling the “collective rawness.” Yes, collective internally and as a global society..
And with no break since March, it’s been quite an onslaught.
The chronic news of Black people being killed by the hands of law enforcement (over and over) is one thing. Add the pandemic and all of its societal changes and fears and mixed news from science and conspiracy theories, another. Add to that the political craziness and hate-mongering and divisiveness AND the continual destructive storms, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes, and we are tired.
Cognitive exhaustion, physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, and even spiritual exhaustion are all real.
Our lives are not the same as before March of this year, and we wonder when, if ever, we will resume something that feels “normal.” Our minds are searching for some way to “solve” these problems or our hearts want someone else to “save” us from this mess.
Steven Covey wrote years ago in the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, that it is never a good idea to try to teach or learn when we are tired or emotionally upset.
Guess what? Most of us are both.
And, I’m here to say that Anger is our invitation to create, innovate, move us out of the stuckness and towards what’s emerging. It’s a doorway. How?
Anger has gotten a bad rap. Especially for women. We aren’t shown, for the most part, models of what it looks like to be an angry woman, on purpose, who is still loving and guided by Spirit.
That’s because we haven’t had many. Neither Mother Theresa, who bore her pain silently and alone, or feminists who came across as anti-men and angry. Not the working mother who is worried about her children while taking care of her community and planet and Self (not in that order) while holding down a job. Not women who have chosen not to have children (for their own reasons, because they have a choice) while marching or actively supporting Earth, Gender and Sexual Equality, Racial Justice and healthcare access for our marginalized citizens, nor for those who quietly go about their day-to-day, signing petitions, learning about their role in racism, finding ways to discuss and grow as conscious individuals while making a difference in their own circles by choosing Love over discrimination or hate.
So many ways to be activists. Even by choosing the food we eat, and how we spend our money.
AND, it starts by being Angry. Allowing the fire in the belly to be stronger than the fear of staying silent, standing by, or choosing the status quo for comfort’s sake.
Anger is the beginning of a spiral of emotions and truly helps us become innovators and creators and impactful leaders (and activists).
Years ago, a wise teacher and friend helped me learn about my emotions in this way. Begin by choosing a specific issue that is troubling, that you hate, or that made you angry.
Allow yourself to feel the emotion, speak out loud about it, write it, dance it.
It tends to fade after some focused attention.
Below is something different. Sadness, grief, or fear. Each could come in their own wave.
By asking ”What about this makes me feel sad?” we can get deeper. Feeling the sadness, the grief may be, and letting it be expressed (again through writing, dancing, speaking/crying out loud) allows it to be expressed, felt, and transformed.
Next is probably fear. “What am I afraid of?” Asking over and over till you start feeling the fear, start knowing its source, and focusing on it, even for a few minutes. Sharing out loud to a trusted friend, who is only observing with compassion, not speaking at all, can be cathartic. Letting it out through words, written or prayed, screamed, or softly whispered brings light to the shadow and gets some space around it.
“What do I want/need?” is next. What do I really want to change this? What do I need? It may be that you want the political divisiveness to end, but stay with what’s under your control. What is it that I want to feel instead of this? Expressing it through dance, writing, drawing, imagining then sharing it in some way with the Universe/God/Source is very beneficial.
Then we get to Forgiveness. What can I forgive myself or another for? Again, expressing it orally, through another format is your choice, but put it OUT THERE.
Appreciation/Gratitude is what follows. Express it. To yourself first, then to another if need be and you are called to.
Last is LOVE. It’s the natural progression of following our emotions down to their Source. Our essence is LOVE and when we fall away, step too far from it, feel disconnected, the other emotions are there to help guide us HOME.
Let’s not fear Anger. It’s sacred and needed. The more we try NOT to be angry, the more we can make ourselves sick. It’s like trying to imagine we can shake a can of soda or sparkling water and then open it and it won’t make a mess. The anger WILL explode one way or another unless we guide it back Home. Back to Love.
Want a safe space to do this process? I’m here.
And typically July for me has always had a theme of freedom.
And as I explore that whole topic of freedom. It feels like it falls into several layers.
There’s the actual reflection on what it is that I want to be liberated from.
Then there’s the action or allowing, of the liberation, of the letting go.
Freedom feels like the final state. It’s the result of having reflected, having let go and now basking in this new state of freedom.
So let’s start with a question, or contemplation, about where are we? What are we holding on to that it might be time to let go of? And if you’re like me, it takes me a while, I have to ponder that thought for a day or two. In my case, it’s been the last two or three days of what runs me. What am I allowing to have control over my life?
And there are several feelings, thoughts, patterns, and stories in my head. I’ll play some suggestions out for you and see if they might help you with your self-reflection.
I was running for a long time the story of money and scarcity. “I’m not secure without financial freedom, without the constant struggling and striving to make ends meet.” So my old story was that I had to constantly struggle, juggle, worry about money.
Then it became: “Take good care of money. Be a good steward and invest it well. Place it or spend it in ways that I feel represent my values.”
It’s been a long time coming.
First, it was wrapped up in gender stuff, and that women need to be dependent and reliant on someone else to take care of them. All kinds of things have been unraveling around that for decades for me.
And finally, I can say that money is not something that runs me. AND, I know for several of my friends and acquaintances, it’s still at the forefront in their lives.
Another one that still has a hold on me in some ways is TIME.
I feel like I’m in a race for time; meeting deadlines, filling the calendar, or noticing the empty calendar and wondering how to spend my time creating and generating income and new clients. What does all that look like? Am I spending enough time taking care of me? Taking care of others? Nurturing my relationships? I look at how I spend my time as it’s my most important commodity.
Maybe the pandemic times have brought about the concerns of our mortality, or not having enough Life Force. And, the importance of Breath.
What will happen to us as the pandemic continues? What will our lives be like? What will Time be like? How will I spend it? How will I invest in the use of this commodity in a way that brings me the most joy and be of the most service to the collective?
So Time is still something I’m playing with, that I don’t feel fully liberated from.
Others are old stories of not being “enough” (what is that anyway?), not having enough support, not being loved enough, not being worthy of love, all kinds of good things like that. Little by little, they’ve been chipped away by choices I’ve made, by risks I’ve taken, by moving forward in one area or another, despite the stories. Proving to myself that they really are not the Truth.
The power of many of those old stories and patterns has diminished and faded.
So what is your self-reflection about what still has a hold on you? Still creates fear or anxiety or reactive ways that are keeping you small… keeping you stuck?
Because that is NOT freedom.
What we want to do this month is look at this reflection of what it is that has a constriction on us. Anything that keeps us from Breathing or holds us back.
And then, with gentle, loving, self-compassionate, and from a safe self-observation place, allowing them to loosen their grip on us … and to Feel.
Opening to the liberation of Life. On the other side. The Life where these do not strangle us from our truth, from our value, from our dignity.
To our safety. Towards our sovereignty. That, to me, is Freedom.
How do you define Freedom? (let me know, I’m curious!)
I believe it has to do with a state that is felt after liberation. And a remembering that we are all Sovereign Beings.
Liberation from fears, tendencies, patterns, structures, and belief systems that no longer serve.
Sovereignty, for me, is a feeling that I try to re-member, embody, and KNOW deeply. It is the human right of us all to be sovereign. We are “at choice”, personally responsible, and valuable. In the Centering practices I teach, Dignity is embodied when we stand fully in our physical and divine Selves. Sovereignty also reminds us that we have the right to B R E A T H E. (and who do we think we are when we withhold another’s oxygen?)
And, getting back to Freedom, it has a price.
To let go of old patterns, reactive tendencies, and learned ways of being, we must go through some type of release, rejuvenation, renewal. It’s as if we had created vows to remain small, silent, people-pleasing, and high-achieving (stating mine here) so that we were seen, valued, and loved. Those vows are deeply buried in our emotional body and need to be uprooted, loved, and held with compassion…for once they served us, and we’ve now outgrown them.
The price of Freedom comes in this internal self-reflection ( a centering practice around this process can be found here) and the pain or discomfort of moving into new territory of an expanded Self and open heart.
The price of Freedom also may look like letting go of old relationships, old clothes, old jobs, old comfort zones. And this is difficult for most of us. We’ve created a circle of support that has helped keep us in these old ways of Being. And, will they want to support our new behaviors? Our new way of speaking up, speaking out, standing tall?
Some may leave. It’s a difficult reminder to them that change is coming and happening all around. And, that hurts.
Another price of Freedom is by standing up for ourselves and what we believe, we may not fit in with certain institutions, communities, or circles. I felt this strongly in my old gated neighborhood, where neighbors didn’t like my wild gardens, my disdain for chemicals on my lawn, and my proud support of public education and liberal politicians.
Ahhh, so after hearing enough of what I wasn’t doing to “fit in” with these folks, a perfect house came available 2 miles away that was as unique and eclectic as mySelf! And, this brought about the wrath of people, even my ex-husband, who didn’t like my choice.
So, Freedom, is it worth it? The liberating of Self from old ways, old clothes, and old patterns?
I say, unequivocally, YES!
The simple 2 swaths of a pair of scissors across a ponytail, on the top of my head, liberated me from several inches of hair…and the new-found saucy bob has brought another joy, and fun, and a new look to boot!
One of the ways that we can integrate our rational and intuitive sides, or our spiritual and physical sides, or whatever duality that we play in, is to recognize each for their gifts and their shadows.
Actually I think we dwell in more of a quadrality. I believe that we have distinct heart, soul, mind, and body versions of ourselves, as well as many personalities of different ages, or versions of selves brought out during different situations and people. The uniqueness of who we are, the truth of who I am at least, tends to show up when I’m stressed, tired, or emotional.
This last month has been tough, we’ve not only had worldwide pandemic, but we’ve also had change. We’re seeing change. Finally. And lots of ways of Being are shifting, becoming more open, more visible.
Some changes that we’re seeing is around the way law enforcement (and our world as a whole) treats people of color.
Racism is getting the national stage and has a voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. And, the world is listening. It’s become a mainstream theme, and no longer can we ignore the history of how white people have systemically used racism to better themselves. So, we are seeing long-established beliefs and systems beginning to change, evolve, involve everyone to create new solutions that benefit the entire community.
Along the lines of change, and on a personal note, I have just come off of two weeks of being with family during my mother’s hospice and passing. The time with her those final days was beautiful and peaceful, especially towards the end. AND there’s all the family dynamics.
Our family is diverse in that we have almost every skin tone, belief system, and political view represented. And noticing who I feel comfortable with, and who I retreat from, which conversations attract me and which ones feel so uncomfortable I want to leave, and all the spaces in between. All were ‘growth-full’ for me.
The other thing I noticed is that this time, unlike in the past, I avoided managing intellectually, controlling, running the show. I pushed through my typical role as Big Sister and took a backseat. This allowed my sister to step up, and my middle brother to take on the logistics while staying calm and sane. Everybody has their own way of grieving, I realize now, and there’s no right or wrong. Allowing everyone, including myself, to be: absent, involved, avoiding emotion, feeling deep emotions, it was all acceptable to me.
What I’m noticing is I’m allowing myself to really FEEL it this time. The heaviness, discomfort, and roller coaster of grief is sitting with me, riding through me, knocking me down with wild waves, and then holding me aloft in a swell. And I’m not trying to pray it away or force it away, but BE with it.
Also noticing that when I most need my practices; my physical practices, my spiritual practices, and my emotional practices, I haven’t been drawing upon them. I know they would provide a larger bank of Resilience and firm grounding to support me and all my different levels of awareness.
Yet I’m aware that although these deeply held and true support systems that I have built throughout the years were tossed aside, and I threw myself into the storm in the waters, without any safety net or lifeboat.
I really left it all behind!
As I pack up to head out to our little river place, I realize I wouldn’t leave to go on a hike or camping trip without necessities like food and water…so why would I do that to myself, emotionally, and spiritually, throw myself out there without any of my backpack-full of tools and goodies?
What I appreciate now is my awareness of how I abandon myself.
And how I don’t always take advantage of the systems that are in place for me.
The beautiful practices, and awareness, and music, and all of the things that soothe me. I’ve gotten much better at accepting love and care and affection from others. That’s a big one, as opposed to pushing them away and pretending like I didn’t need that. And where I want to go back to is getting my journals out. Putting the music on tap, so at any time I can just bask in it.
And remembering to go sit outside, I did do a lot of that in the last week. Just go sit outside and look at the sky and appreciate the breeze whether it was hot and humid, or cooler, and we’ve had everything in the last week ( it’s been a very interesting week, hasn’t it?). So, noticing, I can take advantage of just looking at nature and remembering. Oh, where am I feeding me? Where am I not feeding me? Where am I starving me? What nutrition is important for me? And getting back on track with those support systems, those structures that allow me to access my strength, my power, my creativity, and capacity to be with all of this.
This is when I’m not easily knocked off of center by others in my family or outside of my family or in the news.
And also, allow me to soothe, and be with, and hold, all of the pain and the grief. All the beauty and the joy that life is.
Here’s to expanding and opening and softening at the same time as holding the structure and the practices, the routines, and the rituals that support me, and you, and all of us.