Where Three Waters Meet

by Julie on February 6, 2016 · 1 comment

esalenwatersmall

Esalen and the Pacific Ocean

I manage to make my way out of bed despite the darkness, the rain, and what I know is going to be cold morning air. I throw on warm clothes and a raincoat, grab my flashlight, and climb down the steep stairs to the first floor of our bungalow where one of my roommates, Corinne, is just about ready to head out. Her smile tells me she’s glad I managed to get myself out of bed to join her. We head out the door into the early morning, and the first thing I notice is the ocean’s roar. Here at Esalen, the land hangs right out over the ocean. Everywhere you go, you hear it…the roar of water coming home.

As we make our way down to the hot spring baths, which also hang right over the ocean, we meet up with another friend, Rachel, also on her way to the baths. It’s still dark, with the morning light just barely here. Off in the distance in the West, there’s an early morning sunrise forming just over the cliffs with new reds and pinks bleeding into the darkness. Now at the baths, we undress, shower, and make our way into the water. It’s hot, very hot, the tub just filled. I lower myself in slowly. Very slowly. The heat on my skin against the cold of the air takes my breath away, so I inhale and exhale, consciously, to bring myself back into my body.

Within a couple of minutes, I’m all the way in, minus my head, which is now being rained upon by very gentle raindrops. I’m listening to the roar of the ocean just below us and feeling the hot spring water wrapping itself around me. The cold raindrops increase rapidly and I suddenly, and distinctly, hear the words, “Where three waters meet.” I realize that here in this spot, in this moment, I am experiencing the medicine of three different waters at once, each distinct in its form, each offering itself to me in its own way.

We are here at Esalen for WisdomWomen, and over the first two days of this gathering of women from around the world many have spoken of medicine: how we all – human and animal, tree, rock, and water, sun and moon – have it; and how each medicine offers something profoundly unique and absolutely necessary for creation to wake up to and know itself.

Here, we’ve gathered to go deep with the land, to listen to what we know and don’t know, to source ourselves from something greater than any one of us, and to discover what life is asking of us so that we may serve life {my take on this time together}. And, in this moment where I meet these three waters, I can feel distinct qualities from each, and I want to know each water as it is. I sincerely ask each expression of water to reveal its medicine to me.

As I sit in the hot sulphur water, everything but my neck and face are underwater, soaking. I bring my well-heated hands out of the water and to my face, which is cold from the rain and wind. My hands meet the skin on my face and the heat travels into my cheek and brow bones. I feel this heat meet my bones, and feel how a subtle pain and tension in my face is soothed by the heat. The sulphur water has come from the earth, while the rain on my head and neck falls from the sky. And the ocean below, while not touching my skin, is meeting my ears and eyes. I am being bathed in many ways and for whatever reason, in this moment I am supremely conscious of the ways water and I are meeting.

The water of the earth and sky meet the water of my body and soul, just like the land of the earth meets the land of my body. Our bodies are the world and the world is the body. As above, so below. As within, so out there in the outer world. And, here in this moment, all division dissolves, all appearances disappear.

Where three waters meet, here, at this confluence of consciousness. 

I tell my friends of hearing the words, “Where Three Waters Meet”. A few moments later, Rachel responds out loud with a spontaneous Dekaaz, her trademark form of ‘lucid expression, that you create then speak out loud‘:

Meeting
Three Waters
Hot Springs. Ocean. Rain.

Corinne, Rachel, and I feel the rhythm of the words as we feel the water’s medicine. And then, I spot small dark heads out in the ocean. I think they are seals, but another woman states they are otters. Just out past where the waves break, the otters are bobbing together in the waves, up and down.

I’m feeling great joy. With women I’ve just gotten to know, on beautiful land, doing deep work as part of WisdomWomen, I feel at peace, at home. The weekend has been filled with moments of profound love on this land – so much love that simply walking on the land brings great tears and a breaking open of the heart.

When women gather, giving great respect, love, and attention to the land and creatures, we have the chance to come into contact with the deep knowing within ourselves. We remember what we are – of the earth, of the sky, of the water, of the elements – and, we remember how sacredly creative we are; how divinely in touch with creation our bodies and psyches are; and, how powerful we are – not in the image we’ve come to know power, but rather in the natural, organic, life-affirming power that lives not for itself but for life.

Where three waters meet…there is life, there is love, there is the joy of being alive, in this body, here, now, ready to set sail for waters unknown.

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lacytreeblackandwhite

 

I’ve been curious about the word agency; curious about the internal impulse from which a person’s agency springs, and what happens to that impulse in so many of us.

One of the definitions of ‘agency’ is ‘the ability for a person to act for herself or himself. A person who is not allowed to act for her/himself is lacking in agency.’  

Under what circumstances would an adult who is free to act however she wants not be allowed to act for herself? Only if she doesn’t give herself the permission to do so!

Somewhere within a woman’s psyche, there is a stern inner-patriarch who is just waiting to let you know you don’t have that power, waiting to revoke your permission. Often this inner-patriarch is hidden. We don’t see it. We don’t hear its messages. We just believe we need permission. As adults, we know it is ourselves that is keeping us waiting, but it isn’t logical that we would do this to ourselves.

Ultimately, this feeling of agency must come up out of the soul, out of the strength and will of our essential nature. When we take responsibility for our creativity and act on the inner impulses that arise out of our own life force, we honor soul and we honor our lives.

To do so is also exhilarating because it means we are beginning to live our true autonomy. It means we are honoring that which must be lived and those qualities which bring us alive.

 

To stand fully in your life as a creator, know that


1) Creativity is not simply art; it is Source expressing through your humanity.
Often we can believe that creativity only shows up in art, but that’s because most of us were taught that creativity is only expressed through artistic endeavors. Creativity is the language of soul. It is the language of change. Creativity is not rational, logical, or linear. And, it is not irrational. It is the intelligence of life itself coming into being in the physical world. It is how we navigate and create within a world that is inherently unknowable. Creativity is Source expressing through your beautiful human self.


2) Your soul longs to express through your human self.
You are naturally, organically, and inherently creative. You have everything inside you to live what you must live and to create what you must create.  As Neruda wrote, “I want to do with you what Spring does with cherry trees.”You are the cherry tree and life coming through you is the creative force. There is an internal desire within you to express, a longing to express.


3) You must find, and act from, your own agency.
You are your own agent of expression and will always be the only agent of expression that can come through you. You have sole the power and authority to bring your creations into the world. No one else can give you permission. When we stop looking for someone outside of us to give us what we believe we need, and when we stop attempting to trade our own power for something we believe only others can give us, we can then find the root of this personal agency, the root of Being that is the light within us.


4) The Voice of Judgment is powerful, but not as powerful as your creativity.

There is a force at work, both within your own psyche, and in the overculture at large, that wants to keep you from standing fully as a sovereign human being and expressing your unique creativity in this world. It can be the inner patriarch. It can be the inner critic. I call it the Voice of Judgment where judgment comes from yourself, others, the culture. Know it is here. Learn what it says and how it attempts to keep you from creating. Do not believe it when it says you need it. You don’t. It will only keep you silenced. Yes, it is doing so to ‘keep you safe’. But staying with yourself (see #5) ultimately brings more strength than the Voice of Judgment ever could.


5) Stay with Yourself, no matter what, through the act of remembrance.
The essential root of your creativity, and the courage required to live it, comes from and through a deep, honoring, and conscious relationship with yourself. No matter what, stay with yourself and when you leave yourself, come back to yourself. We can leave ourselves many ways. I leave myself most often when I worry what someone else might think of my creation, my idea, my work; or, when an old pattern pops up wants me to believe that someone else has authority over me and I must acquiesce to their desire (or implied desire).

Remembrance is the act of remembering what you really are. It is the act of coming back to the center within your own being. When you come to see you’ve left yourself, remember the Source of your life.


6) Your relationship with the creative unknown requires trust – deep, solid trust.
The one thing I hear from almost everyone I’ve worked with on creativity is that they fear the unknown. This has been true for me, too. In fact, it’s been the biggest thing that keeps me from creating. But, I’ve come to see that what we are fearing is not really the unknown itself, but what we are projecting onto the unknown. And what we are projecting (usually judgment, abandonment, etc.) come out of our early life experiences.

Listen, deeply, to the unknown. It isn’t what our minds tell us it is. It is the alive, intelligent, creation from which everything is born and into which everything eventually dies.

The creative unknown is love.


7) You are the only one who can create the creations naturally within you.
Your soul is the manifestation of Oneness into the form that is you. You express qualities of essence that are unique and that uniqueness underlies all of your creations.  Therefore, no one other than you can bring them forth. If you do not bring them forth, they will die within you.


8) When you honor that which longs to be expressed through you, you honor your Soul.

Your works of expression might never be respected, appreciated, or loved by another human being. They might be. And they might not be. But, when love is the guiding force of all of your creations, whether artistic or business or parenting, or any other area of creativity, the love that moves through you loves the creations it creates. The intrinsic worth of your creations can only come from your own love for yourself and your creations. Then, once your creation is offered into the world, each person receiving it gets to decide how they wish to respond to it. How they respond to your creation is how they respond, and how they do does not change its intrinsic worth.


Know that the Source of your creativity loves you. The Source is love itself.

To stand in your own authority and act with your own agency takes courage. It is important to have an alive, available relationship with soul. To know that you are being held by soul and that you are the only one that can, and will, bring soul forth is to fully come to know, through lived experience, the absolute love of this relationship.

 

 

 

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I Am Not That

by Julie on January 16, 2016 · 3 comments

 

Manuel Barroso Parejo

 

The walls of the room where I’ve danced for over thirteen years are made of thick wooden slats. Each one, about four inches wide, stained dark brown, offers a surface to push against, to create space between my body and a world that attempts, or has attempted, to close in on me, asking me to conform, to believe, to shrink, to silence myself, to become smaller, tighter, more like what I am expected to be.

But I am not that.

The body knows I am not what I’ve claimed to be.

Hands push against, hard against the slats, arms reaching to their full arc, feeling their full length, their full aliveness.

Hands pressed against the slats, feet firmly planted on the floor, I move to the beat, slowly arcing and arching out into fullness of being and expression. Something inside me pushes out, trying to return to its natural shape and arc and arch, trying to feel into what it remembers itself to be.

Space opens, virgin space between center and the arc of my full reach. Space opens, lungs expand, belly relaxes, hips soften, and big exhales come.

Suddenly there is room for soul, room to feel beyond body, to know that I am not this body yet beautifully and firmly rooted in and through flesh and bones.

Something inside knows it is not ‘in relation to’ but instead ‘simply is’. Something knows that all moves to be this or that could never be the expression of what it is.

What it is has no counterpart, no opposite, no comparison. What it is just is.

I find myself pushing away from… ideas and meanings and arguments. Not arguments as in arguing, but arguments as in crafting a cogent, logical premise and all of the words and ideas that must follow in order to substantiate my point and myself.

I find myself pushing away from… stating my case, needing to tell you how to be, needing to tell you how I should be, and needing to tell you anything about yourself.

Who am I to say?

I find myself pushing away from… separation, me here, you there, objectification, duality, and pushing into freedom where there is only one.

Outside of my mind and thoughts and rigidity, I find freedom. Freedom to just breathe, to feel the inhale and exhale on the soft skin just below my nose and above my upper lip. Freedom to feel the true spaciousness of soul as I shimmer and flow ever so gently as a stream. Freedom to listen for song, to feel appetite, to know the rise and fall of each wave of creation creating itself.

I lie on the day bed in virgin space, soft after three days soaking in pools of warm sulphur water, feeling waves of being, softly moving in and out, in and out, in and out, alongside breath. I move in and out.

Here, self is fluid space, silently becoming and dissolving with each breath, outside of the mind that conceives of. There is no longer an impulse to do anything, fix anything, change anything. It all just flows, on its own, in its own rhythm, beat and meter.

No river banks. No shore. No solidity. Just pulse, heart beat, rising, falling, contracting, expanding.

Everything is new and old, ancient and deep, virgin and light, growing and decaying, one sea.

::

photo by Manuel Barroso Parejo under creative commons zero

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A Love That Pulls Itself Toward Itself

by Julie on December 5, 2015 · 0 comments

amaryllis

 

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.”~ Rumi

 

Today, I felt this strange pull. It came out of the blue, out of a very generic moment, albeit one that followed quite a lovely moment of connection to life, to beauty, to family.

I felt the silence of it; I saw the silence of it.

I sensed the deep tug within.

There were no words. There were no reasons. There was no inner voice, no mind chatter. There was no against. There was no for.

There was only a deep sensation of pull toward a love of something beyond concept, but with deep feeling.

And, in feeling this pull, the only thing I could find in my mind to describe it were Rumi’s words – the feeling matched the resonance of his words.

Maybe, it is true; that life is a grand, ecstatic experience of beauty, and longing, and love; beyond words; beyond thought; simply, a love that pulls itself toward itself.

Maybe, this is all there is – a love that pulls itself toward itself.

Everything else is just us trying to understand a love that is beyond understanding.

::

In my TEDx talk, I speak about this love, this pull, in words from Pablo Neruda.

This love is what Spring does with cherry trees.

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Francisco Carrasco

 

“In our yearning to be perfect, we have mistaken perfection for wholeness. We think we cannot love ourselves until we and others meet some external standard. Depression, anxiety, — in fact, most neuroses and compulsions — are ultimately a defense against loving ourselves without condition.

“We are afraid to look at the damp, dark, ugly yet exquisite roots of being that stretch deep into our survival chakra. We are fearful of finding that the spirit is not there, that our Home is empty, even as our outer home is empty. Yet it is in that place of survival, where the dark mother has been abandoned, that spirit longs to be embodied so that the whole body may become light.”  ~ Marion Woodman, Dancing in the Flames, pg. 66

 

As I sit with these words and feel into this dark root at the base of my torso,

I see that my fear of messy stems from this loss of deep Home. When chaos strikes, which is what messy feels like to me, I can find no ground and this is what is terrifying.

But, even deeper than this is the truth of abandonment – mine of Her – mine of the dark, the dark mother.

I can find no ground when I deny the ground. I am rooted in the ground when I embrace Her.

I often feel very grounded, but this is something deeper. This is a full homecoming into the lap of the dark mother.

Cut off from my own dark,

my own root, my own exquisite ugliness, I’ve hidden the ugliness, the voraciousness, the huge appetite of the dark of self. Sent away to the sewer of the psyche, years ago I would have sworn to you I had no appetite, no devouring nature.

For the past twelve years, since I first felt a pull down into the earth, I’ve followed a dogged path to know something, to remember something. I’ve not clearly seen what that something is. I’ve followed some wise teachers, many of whom taught me a great deal about what it means to wake up. And, along the way, I’ve become more conscious.

But it wasn’t until just weeks ago that I realized something critical to my journey – that on some very real and deep level, I didn’t want to be here…fully here, fully alive in this body. This isn’t the same as not wanting to be alive. It is different. It is not wanting to be fully here, fully in this body – which means being fully awake and feeling in this body, in the entirety of this body.

Yet it is in that place of survival, where the dark mother has been abandoned, that spirit longs to be embodied so that the whole body may become light.”

I am seeing something: that to truly be here in this body means to truly survive, and to survive one must become conscious, become light-filled, all the way down into the survival chakra…into the root of the body. It is here where we finally take root in our lives.


What happens when the root of all roots wakes up?
 

As I perused synonyms for ‘survival’, I found…

to… continue to live or exist, remain alive, live, sustain oneself, pull through, get through, hold on/out, make it…. keep body and soul together…keep body and soul together

Keep body and soul together. THIS is it. Without the dark mother, we separate body and soul. We cut ourselves off from a big piece of our nature. The reality is, we need the mother, the queen of darkness, to survive. We need our instincts. We need our anger. We need our connection to flesh, to all of it. We cannot be fully alive without it. How could we be? How could we possibly be fully alive if we deny the reality of parts of our body?

What’s the point of being here if we are not fully alive, fully alive with the light of love?

There is a regal quality to soul. She, soul, is where light meets flesh, where wilderness and spirit meet. She is the regal bridge between the light of Spirit and the instinct of the dark mother. We’ve only labeled it as ugly. We believe our animal nature is ugly.

But how could we ever come to know our earth in her holiness if we can’t see holiness in the soil of our own flesh?

Think of the parts of yourself that you most want to deny. What did you have to do to these parts and aspects of yourself in order to deny them? Where did you put them when you abandoned them? How deep did you bury them?

To be here, fully, we must root down into the dark, moist soil of our being. What does it mean to root down? It means to become conscious, to fill with light, the light of awareness, to wake up to the holiness of the most base and basic qualities of our humanity.

What wisdom does the dark hold?

When I began to listen, I opened the door to power, to a great presence, the kind of power and presence that stands firmly in her autonomy, solidly in her sovereignty, and joyfully in her agency. First, though, I had to admit I was angry. First, I had to admit that I am a sexual creature. First, I had to admit to myself that I’d cut myself off from my soul. Then, and only then, would she begin to listen, and then speak. Then, and only then, did I begin to feel great remorse for my unconsciousness. Then, and only then, did I come to see that she had never forsaken me.

She, the dark mother, does not forsake us. We forsake her.

Our belief in the existence of perfection causes us to cut ourselves off from everything that doesn’t fit our idea of perfection.

Perfection could never include darkness, but wholeness cannot exist without it. Without the dark there is no light.

::

 

How to Enter the Creative Unknown

CreativeProcessMapAdvertI’d love to have you join me for the pilot/beta run of my new course, How to Enter the Creative Unknown. We begin on Dec 1st and meet for four weeks. In exchange for your rich experiential feedback of the course, I’m offering a reduced price. I am excited about this course. In it, we’ll go into the heart of the creative process and discover how YOU uniquely navigate change, challenges, and creativity.

You can read more and register here.

 

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tiger


“The movement of love is that of a sacred thief, come to remove your clothing and your concepts, and to burn away everything that is false and less than whole within you. And when it is done all that will be left is a raging firestorm of creativity, sensuality, openness, warmth, and kindness. For this is what you are.”
~ Matt Licata

I’ve often caught mere glimpses of her, this ‘raging firestorm’ within. Just the glimpses would freak me out. Afraid of this power, I’ve thought of this firestorm as something bad, some strange and frightening part of me. So, I’ve contained her. I turned my back on her. I cut myself off from her.

But, she never was something bad. I’ve been containing my own beautiful, brilliant, firestorm of a soul, the wilderness within my flesh.

One night a few weeks ago, I woke up, halfway, from a dream. I was in that in-between state –half awake, half asleep. I don’t even really remember the dream, but in that halfway state, I heard a voice inside saying, “But I thought if I contained myself everything would be okay.” I could feel a kind of surprise in this voice, a sense of feeling like what she thought would happen didn’t. I could almost see her, this young version of me, with a look of surprise and sadness that what she expected would happen didn’t happen, even though she had contained herself, held herself in, suppressed her own vibrancy. I could see her standing with her arms by her side, hanging straight down with her lower arms sticking out at a 90 degree angle yet pulled in toward her belly. She was containing her life force, my life force. She learned it well.

As I woke up from the dream, I had this sense again of feeling like I’ve been containing something frightening. Then, I had this flash of wondering what I would be letting out if I quit containing me. And then…

The next night before preparing for bed, I went into my living room to sit and meditate. As I walked into the living room, I suddenly sensed a very large presence, so big it filled the room. At once, I knew. This was my soul. I’ve never experienced it this way before. As I sat, I realized it was no longer contained. It was full and deep and palpable. This was me, but not the personality me, it was the presence that I am. Yet, as I sat, I felt distant from this presence. This was my own presence and I felt a distance from myself. Tears came. This distance was painful. And the fear was painful, too. But the greatest pain was realizing that I had done this to my own Soul.

For many years of this spiritual search, I’ve seen presence as out there, or up there, somewhere, and that a deeper knowing of presence would be by way of it coming down into the body. But in this moment, that didn’t jive with my experience. The presence I felt was all around me, completely around me, but I was seeing myself outside of it, or up above it, or distant from it.

A long time ago, I made up something about my power and came to believe something about it. I could go into what that was, or is, but that doesn’t feel relevant here. What feels relevant is my relationship to the power of this presence itself – I keep myself from it. Nothing I could ever have done would change the nature of what I am; but the beliefs absolutely shifted my connection to it. I turned my back on it. I came to believe, and then pretend, it wasn’t there, so that I wouldn’t be ‘too much’.

Imagine the beautiful tiger above coming to believe that its power was too much, and then finding some way to disconnect from that power. Crazy, huh!?

It’s been a few weeks between the part one of this series and this second part. It’s been a time of experiencing great shifts in my relationship to this power, this presence. It’s had to do with coming to see, and ‘understand’, how our childhood years, no matter the nature of our family life, are about trading in conditional love. As a girl, I learned to turn my back on my own soul, the source of this firestorm. Soul that is wild at its core. I made that choice. Painful. Painful to see. Yet, I made it to survive in that family life, in this culture. But, now, it is no longer offering survival. Instead, it is a painful loss of life force.

Ultimately, though, I am responsible for the choice.

Soul is animal. Soul is body. Soul is where body and Spirit meet. Soul is instinct and appetite, and wilderness.

God and Goddess are not above earthly life. They are infused through every part of earthly life. When I cut myself off from soul, I cut myself off from the wilderness in my flesh. And coming back into right relationship with this powerful presence means coming back into the deepest, darkest places within my flesh.

Can you relate? I write about my experience rather than trying to tell you how things are. It’s the only way that I feel in integrity – by staying with my own experience, and in doing so, coming to honor my experience as real and valid, and offering a lens for you to also know that your experience is as well – real and valid, and so important to make known.

::

This is part two of a three-part series.

Read part onehere.

Read part threehere.

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leopardcropped

“Above all, the world needs passionate people: not people who are passionate about this political cause or that religious teaching, this candidate or that guru, this project or that movement, but passionate about Being, about Awakening, about this very Breath, this miraculous gaze into the eyes of a Friend. The only power that will not fade, will not be exhausted or shadowed by doubt, is passion for Presence itself. It is the Serpent Fire in your spine, the Beloved in your heart, the Dancer who whirls a double helix of stars out of your silence. This is the passion that will transform the earth.” ~ Fred LaMotte

 

Three nights ago, I was messier. Last night at dance, I was messier still. Messier than how I usually am on the dance floor. Not messier as in sweatier. Sweat happens when I dance, no matter what. No, messier as in real. Messier as in following the desire in my body, the wilderness that prowls and stalks just below the surface of my skin, skin fashioned from words I ingested and digested and metabolized into cells that hold and tow the line. The line of good girl, good woman, contained woman is held by my skin.

Except, now, my skin is longing for something else. It is longing to express what is beneath it, swimming within it, firing up from below it.

It is longing to touch, and be touched by, the miraculous – the wild spirit in flesh.

Three nights ago, I gazed into another dancer’s eyes. At the end, in stillness, we were prone on the hot planks of well-loved wood, so still in stillness that the only movement was our breath…and a slight movement of our bodies as they settled down into the floor, each muscle finding its own way to being held by the bones, the bones held by the floor. As the teacher called us into the ending circle, this dancer looked at me, deep into me, and I held his gaze with mine. My own wild gaze felt like it came straight from the depths of beyond-black space.

Last night at dance, I danced against another dancer’s skin, close enough to smell his scent, close enough to feel the emotional sea roiling within him. Our skin met, then moved away, then met, again. Wilderness oozed from beneath my skin, tracking him with its natural predilection for breath, gaze, and the miracle of knowing another in stillness and movement and silence. The wilderness of my flesh explored the nuances felt through my skin, through hands that pulsed with heartbeat and feet that moved with the sensuous.

Something in me has been dying to come to the surface, dying to make its way into expression. I’ve kept it under the tense and taught derma-sheath that pens it in, pens me in. I am not this body, and I am this body. I am known, and I am this never-to-be-fully-known wilderness, too. I am this passion, the Dancer who whirls a double helix of stars out of your silence.

And, I am not just the thinking mind that keeps referring to myself as I, the thinking trying to keep messy at bay. We all have our own ways we don’t like to get messy, and it’s our over active minds trying so hard to contain life, contain this wilderness we can feel within.

***

I’ve been on the fence about dating. On one side, then on the other, then back again, finally just setting my ass down on it to stay. For a bit. Until now. Now I can see what the until has been about. I want to be physical, sensual, sexual. I’ve been alone for four years. I’ve been happy and content, but also desiring companionship and intimacy. I want to be connected, flesh to flesh, heart to heart, soul to soul.

I learned that the real wild self should only come out in the bedroom, although she often prowls on the dance floor where ‘behavior’ like that is more acceptable. But, the real wild self? I’ve been waiting for just the right time, just the right partner, just the right…

But, there is no, and there will never be,  just the right anything.

Yes, it is exquisite to experience this wilderness in connection with another, but it doesn’t need to wait. I don’t need to wait for anyone or anything. To pretend I have to wait for him and a bedroom is to give my power away, continually. To believe this is just about sex and the bedroom, is to believe the lies I’ve been taught that I’ve used to keep myself contained.

To continue to contain it is to deny what I am. A woman’s wilderness is frightening to many, but especially to herself. When a woman wakes up to this  ‘power that will not fade, will not be exhausted or shadowed by doubt’ there is nothing that can stop her. 

This is a ‘passion for Presence itself’. It isn’t passion for a partner, nor is it passion simply for sex. When we know passion for Presence itself, all else flows from this.

It’s not personal.

It is in this flesh where wilderness and Spirit meet in Presence.

It is the wilderness beneath your skin.

***

belongingwomanandsunsetbanner

 

Belonging – 21 Days to Find your Way Home.

I’ve opened registration for another round of Belonging: 21 Days to Find Your Way Home

For 21 days, you’ll receive a daily email that will guide you through to a new way to see belonging and practices for you to begin to find it in your own life. We’ll have two calls together, and a secret Facebook group where we’ll share what we are discovering through this journey of belonging.

This goes deeper than trying to fit in. This is about belonging to that which never left you, will never leave you.

We belonged the moment we were born.

We can find our way back home…together.

The cost is $59 dollars, and increases to $99 on October 20th. We begin Oct. 22.

Read more and register here.

 

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Developing the Practice of Going Within

by Julie on September 22, 2015 · 2 comments

 

 

woman breathing underwater

***

Last night was the first class of ten in the Creativity & Leadership course I teach at Stanford Continuing Studies. I’ve been teaching this course with my wonderful colleague, Hal Louchheim, for nine years now. (Hal’s been teaching this class for eighteen!) The class is highly experiential. Each week, we offer exercises and practices that open the students to their own internal world, the place from which our creativity flows. The class exercises are varied because we all learn differently.

As I led these students through the first exercise, I could feel, really clearly, the depth of trust it takes to go within. I know this from my own experience. When I first began to explore this myself, I was indeed a bit frightened of what I would find when I turned inward. For so long, I’d felt as though there was just a big hole inside of me. Would I find anything inside me? Was there something I didn’t want to see or know?

From a young age, we are taught to look outside for things – answers, guidance, advice, etc. And, in this teaching, we lose touch with not only our own internal knowing, but the idea that there even is an internal world to know. So then, developing trust is a key practice to learning to go within, to access the depth’s of one’s essential creative source.

What else is key? Practice itself. The practice of learning to notice the experience of being creative by developing the presence and capability to bring it out without judgment and manipulation. And by creative, I mean giving voice (both literally and metaphorically) to the voice within, to what you hear when you go within and listen, then bringing what you hear into form.

This can be where it gets hard. To not judge the process, not judge the chaos, and not judge what we hear when we listen within. To let go of the expectations our minds tend to hang onto in order to feel in control. Our minds are so good at judgment, comparison, and critical thinking. Our minds love to ‘problem solve’. But our creativity is not a problem. It can help find solutions to existing problems, but not by attempting to control the outcome through problem ‘solving’. Creativity is our nature, not a problem. If we believe it is a problem, we are believing that what we are is a problem. And, I know many of us learn to believe that this last piece is true…that we are a problem.

As I facilitated the students through the process last night, I came to, once again, realize how vitally important the capacity to listen is. To listen. Not to listen so we can prepare a response. Not to listen so we can win the argument. Not to listen in order to defend or deflect. But to listen in order to truly hear.

To listen in order to truly hear.

This goes for listening to another as well as listening to oneself, to that inner voice that beckons constantly from within.

This kind of listening includes seeing, feeling, and sensing as well. It is a whole-body, whole-being listening.

To bring forth a new capacity, we must practice. We practice to bring forth our ability to be nimble and conscious and capable. I am not sure the fear ever goes away, but at least, in being nimble, our practice helps us to flow with the fear.

Last year, I began to use a new way to help guide people into this internal world using an ages-old technology – that of the labyrinth. This is what we use in Writing Raw. We go within using the same methodology labyrinth walkers have used for ages. And we listen, feel, sense, and look with our inner-eyes. Our inner world is rich and full, and if we don’t judge it but listen instead, we begin to deepen our relationship with our vast creative resource.

I feel that this is the great invitation of our time: to come to trust the mysterious and intelligent nature of our vast creative potential so that what we create comes from the intelligence of life itself.

Our vast creative potential is life potential, and life lives not for itself. Life lives for life. When we do this, when we listen to life what we bring forth will be for the benefit of the whole, for all of life.

***

Unabashedly Female with Julie Daley's photo.Writing Raw begins tomorrow, Wednesday September 23rd.

Writing Raw is a practice… a practice in trusting, listening, receiving, and speaking. It’s a practice in learning to trust not only yourself but also your sisters.

While we will write, Writing Raw isn’t really about writing; rather, it’s about learning to go within yourself, deep into your own inner world, then listening for that voice you’ve yearned for a lifetime to hear. Finally, it’s about trusting this inner voice enough to share it into a circle of women, and into the light of day.

Each week, for six weeks, we have two calls. You can come to one, the other, or both. Wednesdays 9:00 am pt and Thursdays 5:00 pm pt.

Each week, you’ll receive an original PDF highlighting a threshold to take you deeper into expressing what is within you.

This circle is powerful, transformative, and fun. I’d love to have you join us. If you have questions, please reach out to me.

 

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Purpose is not static. Purpose is alive.

by Julie on September 17, 2015 · 2 comments



Unsplashroadmistlight

 

Creativity is a process.

Creativity is a transformative process, a process of where the essential Self unfolds itself, continuously. While you are creating ‘something’, the process of making something is creating you.

In the creative process, you ‘go into’ the unknown. When you step off from the ‘perch of the known’, meaning you let go because you have NO idea HOW you are going to do this thing you must do, you go in and down. You enter the creative void. It’s not empty, it’s actually really, incredibly rich and full. It’s pregnant. We don’t know how deep it is nor how long we will be in it. I’d never thought about the sense of falling into it until I read this:

I know this transformation is painful, but you’re not falling apart. You’re just falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful. ~ William C. Hannan

As we create, we can, and often do, feel pain, discomfort, and fear. We know that this process of unfolding brings transformation. We know it on a deep level, but we do not know who and what we will become. That not knowing is frightening. Yet, in the creative process, each time we descend, we reveal more and more of this true Self. We rescue ourselves out of the abyss of forgetfullness.

I am curious about this new capacity to be beautiful. As I fall deeper and deeper into this unknown place of Self, I am finding life to be more beautiful, even the hard parts. It feels as though, more and more, I sense the beautiful, both within and outside of myself, as well as a sense of walking in beauty.

***

The creative process is alive. It is a process, meaning it is life unfolding as you and through you. We are alive, and we exist in a world that is alive.

What we create is alive if we create it from a place of aliveness. Each creation carries a transmission of life if we, ourselves, know our own aliveness.

There is aliveness to our existence as human beings. I’ve known this aliveness. As a child, it was all I knew until I began to replace this experience of feeling alive with mental ideas of being alive. But life wasn’t ever those ideas, really. Ideas of what life is are not the same as life itself. Life has never been what others told me it was, what I’ve told myself it is.

If we are living in our mental ideas of what life is, we don’t feel alive. Instead, the feeling of life divorced from itself is hard, metallic, cold, seemingly almost lifeless, which makes sense. Lifelessness in the midst of life comes when life no longer trusts life, no longer feels safe in its embrace. It is cold and hard, and seemingly brittle, because oxygen is no longer allowed all the way down into the whole of the body, into the limbs and cells.

Life married to itself is rich, fragrant, and giving. It is open-hearted, ‘giving to’ rather than ‘taking from’.

In reality, there is only One life. And, there are infinite life forms. Life knowing life knowing life knowing life. Life could never really divorce itself from itself, but we attempt to do this over and over. We divorce ourselves from others for many reasons, but one of the main ones is the idea that connection to others makes us unsafe.

***

When I think of creativity as a process, as an alive and flowing process, I realize that our purpose for being here is just as alive – and just as much of a process. If we think of purpose as a static thing, we are missing the point by trying to put an alive process into a static idea. Everything is alive, and so is our purpose.

Purpose is flow, it’s the unfolding of who we really are, the essential Self. We are living on purpose when we are living the qualities of our essential nature.

Just as it’s about the journey and not only the destination, it’s also about the act of creating and not just the created result. Focusing too much on the end result stifles and constricts creativity, and not only affects the end result but also stifles our capacity to unfold. Having rigid expectations up front, keeps us rigid, not flowing, and constricts our ability to come to know ourselves.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have some kind of intention, but if we hold the intention with spaciousness, and allow for fluidity and change along the way, the process of unfolding is supported by way of creation rather than stifled by it.

Many ‘accepted ways of doing things’ DO stifle and constrict our unfolding. This is how and why the status quo can be so hard to change.

To live purpose, follow the flow of what is alive within you. Pay attention to the experience of being alive. The experience of creating is flow, is life in flow. But it’s not just the creation that is flowing, the creator is, too – YOU, you are flowing. You change, transform, grow – unfold – as you create, as you ‘make’ whatever it is you are offering to this world.

To live purpose, hold both these things: what you are creating and your own unique process of unfolding. Allow them to dance together. Allow life to grow you.

 

***

WRStardustWriting Raw is now open for registration. We begin in one week, on September 23rd.

More than anything, Writing Raw is a process. It is held in a circle in such a way that the unfolding of who you are is just as, if not more, important than the product you output. I created Writing Raw for just this reason, because we tend to focus on the output rather than on becoming. The process of becoming is hugely important.

Writing Raw is a deep dive into this creative process. By consciously turning to go within, you come directly into this rich and fertile void, then speak aloud what has come through you.

If you’ve longed to feel more alive, to unfold and come to know who you truly are, and to speak what you discover then Writing Raw is for you. Take a look at the registration page and read it through. Even if you decide not to join, I know you will learn a lot simply from reading, and listening to, what I have shared. And, if you know of any women that would benefit from joining Writing Raw, please send it on to them so they can join this circle of creativity and discovery.

 

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The Radiance of Life Unfolding

by Julie on September 2, 2015 · 0 comments

reddahliaatdusk

the radiance of life unfolding

…the body is suffused with wild and vital divinity.
…the sensuous is sacred in the deepest sense.
~ John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

~~~

I go to the side doors of the large room where we are to dance. These double doors are open to the park just across the way letting in the late-summer evening breeze. I lie down on the floor, face up, and gaze up and out the doors. All I see are the branches of the tall pine that stands across the way, branches that fall across the way between the tree and me.

The first music of the night is soft and slow, and I feel my body soften into the floor. I’ve been dancing long enough now that when the music begins my body begins to dance, even if that dance is simply breath meeting beat.

There is so much here in this moment that I love – truly love. Warm soft wind, music with melody and soul, trees, and others surrounding me who’ve come here to move, too.

As the stresses of the day fall away, I begin to feel my flesh and bones against the floor in places where my body meets wood well-worn from years of feet moving across it and bodies sweating over it.

Here in these moments between the heat of the late-summer day and the cool of evening, between the word-soaked moments of my busy life and the ripe silence of moving to music without conversation, I remember, then feel, the words John O’Donohue wrote before his body passed back into the earth:

Your body is in the soul, and the soul suffuses you completely.
Therefore, all around you there is a secret and beautiful soul-light.

Lying here, I feel this beautiful soul-light. Around me. Around the tree. Around the room. Around the others coming and dropping into silence.

As the music shifts and the tempo picks up, my body rises to meet it and I begin to dance.

~~~

I always love the first moments of the evening dance as I move into flow, relaxing into it like easing into a stream. Toes dip in, then legs, and then I slide the rest of my body down into the cool dark waters of the dance. Each time I dance, these waters cleanse me, washing through the layers of soul that suffuse this body. These waters cleanse me of everything I’ve brought in with me, and over the last few weeks each time I come I’ve brought memories and images of generations past.

My sister and I’ve been going through pictures my mother left behind after her passing, and we’ve come across images of great-great-greats. Moving my fingers across these portraits of faces from five generations prior, I touch more than paper and tin-type. I touch people who gave birth to those who would give birth to me. I touch joy and heartache. I touch youth and old age. I touch promise and defeat. I touch my own DNA.

As I dance, it comes to my mind that they are all gone now. Yet I, their offspring, still dance. My body moves with the wild and vital divinity of one who is alive, fully alive, with breath and beat, sweat and heart. I feel the radiance of life unfolding from deep within me, deep in the hidden places of the heart, deep in the dark of my belly.

I notice the soul-light because the music hits soul first, before it enters my ears. The soul suffuses my body, but the music suffuses my soul.

To be touched in this way by rhythm, to have it touch my soul even before it touches my cells, is to be touched by the sacred. Literally touched. Rhythm and beat to soul, and soul to skin. And when, in the heat of the dance, my skin brushes up against the skin of another, our souls have already met prior to skin meeting skin.

Perhaps this is why it is so hard-to-describe the experience of dance when flesh meets flesh. Perhaps this is why life is so sensuous. It isn’t flesh meeting flesh first. It is soul meeting soul.

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