Deep Water

by Julie on October 17, 2016 · 0 comments


Photo by Yulia Sobel


“Whether a woman is efficient or brilliant in spheres hitherto deemed masculine, or whether she remains in a traditionally feminine role, modern woman must discriminate and relate to the image of the spirit, while at the same time maintaining her roots in her basic feminine nature – that which receives, nourishes, and gives birth on all levels of being through her awareness of the earth and her ability to bring up the water of life from under the earth. All her true creativeness springs from this.” ~ Helen Luke


Lately, the pull of the power in my Hara is strong. When I read these words, the pull intensifies. The darkness grows. Some glimmer of knowing shines.

My real work. Down in. Deep down in. Where dark pools shimmer and eternal springs flow. There is a work here that is not work. Not the way we think of work. It is a returning to the deeper images and symbols that lie in the dark waiting to reveal.

I lie in my bed and feel the pull of the tide wanting to take me out to a place of no destination, no ideas, no thing. I can feel it is a place of deep life, before ideas. It is life prior to. I feel a bit like salmon, following this deep call to return to my spawning ground.

Images call to me from below. One is a single flower, with few petals, open to the light, and a single root, feathery and long, reaching down into. The image comes often. I stand in front of my easel, paints on one side still in their tubes, tubes still in the plastic bin that keeps them tidy, brushes circled up in the old spaghetti sauce jar I’ve had for decades just for the purpose of corralling my deep ache to paint. I stand in front of my easel with the image calling and I cannot let the horses out of the corral. My mind has reasons – reasons I do not note. I know the reasons are lies. I know they deceive. But the image is strong. Rising up out of deep water. Wanting to come into being. In its own way. A clear image. Pulsing. Rising up out of the deep water of my own existence.

And, yet.

There is so much that exists prior to the word. And the only way I can find my way to paint is to set the words down, to let go of their structure and supposed definitions. For they are only symbols, too; nothing other than symbols for this experience of life that is ultimately only deep water images finding their way to the surface, reflected onto an existence no one can name.

I will go and stand again in front of my easel, this image before me. What I no longer want to do is impose myself onto this image, forcing it into some idea of what I think it should be. I’ve done that most of my life – except for the early years before I learned about ideas and control. The early years when I simply painted what wanted to come.

I am learning to open to the symbolic realm. I am not good at it. I’m used to trying to understand with my mind rather than letting the symbol itself guide me. But, I want to learn again how to offer myself to this image. The flower wants to come. Only these hands and this heart can bring it to life.



orangeandgreenwritingrawWriting Raw, my six-week circle for women, begins tomorrow. We are going to dive into this place of no thing, this place that is before. At least we will lead ourselves there.

It’s a beautiful experience of learning to listen to the world within, trusting what you hear, and bringing it out into the world.

This will be the last time I offer Writing Raw in this format. If you’d like to join us, you can read more and register here.


Unsticking the Stuckness

by Julie on October 7, 2016 · 0 comments


“Being stuck is good—it means that what needs to be written
is intense, maybe painful. Or it’s complicated
and requires careful consecutive thought.”
~ Alice Mattison


I just returned from co-leading a weekend writing (and more) retreat with Ronna Detrick at a place lovingly named Pine Manor, in Lake Elsinore, Ca. There were fifteen of us, total; fifteen women who gathered to deepen our capacity to write and trust our hearts.

I learned so much from guiding these beautiful women deeper into both their writing and their ability to trust their voices. This process to go deep into trust isn’t easy. It can be intense and painful. And it is beautiful.

I’ve found in my own writing journey that when I come upon, then enter into, a place of stuckness, I’ve invariably found a rich vein of gold just waiting to be freed and woven into something of yet unknown strength and beauty. When we touch into the edges of these stuck places, we begin to feel what the place holds. And, the whole reason there is stuckness there is because we haven’t wanted to feel what is in this place.

Somewhere inside of us, we know what the place holds. It’s why we’ve worked hard to ignore it, stuff it down, and pretend it doesn’t exist. And when we begin to feel it, just about everything within us tries to turn away from this entry into it. We judge what we find. We resist it. We look for something else more positive to focus on. After all, if we are writing, we want to write something beautiful and positive, something others will want to read. Yes?

This is where trust is especially important. It’s trust in the unknown, the dark, the wisdom of your own body and the mystery of existence. It’s trust in the greater intelligence of life – that everything being offered to us is for our own unfolding, our returning home. And trust in the process of writing – that when we truly write what is here, right now, the deep intelligence and beauty of life can come through, even through seemingly gnarly, uncomfortable places.

On the last morning of the retreat, I realized how clearly and closely the creative process is tied to the grief process. The creative process brings us into a deeper relationship with our true nature by opening us to the unknown. As does grief.

Grief brings us to this place, right here, right now. Grief fully engaged brings us present to life as it is. If we’ve entered into a forest of loss, it is grief that brings us home to what is true no matter how painful it is to embrace this new reality.

What lies in those places of stuckness? Grief not felt. Experiences never honored through the ritual of grief. Grief isn’t a one-time thing we save for big losses and then only superficially engage in. No. Grief is the gift we human beings have been given as a way to engage with the difficulties and vulnerabilities of this human life. Grief is how we navigate this life that is anything but easy and always-light-filled. Grief is the way we navigate the healing of the tear in the fabric of our own being that we experienced when young. Grief is what brings us out of the stories that keep us locked in the past and fearful of the future so that we can finally come home to now – to our true nature – to our infinite and vast creative potential.

Grief is what finally, as it brings us home, offers us a glimpse of the astounding beauty that is here in every moment if we are aware of the essential nature of this world and our place in it.

To access the depths of our creative voice, as well as transform the part of ourselves that does not trust our own voice, we must journey through the grief process to set free the experiences, feelings, and habitual patterns that are lodged in our bodies. Yes, these are places of stuckness, and…they are also beautiful and sacred places, like elements buried deep in the earth that have been pressed hard into jewels, like carbon into diamonds. When we enter into them, all the way in, when we hold them in a deep embrace and come into relationship with all they hold, the light held there is set free and can finally begin to shine through.
Alice Mattison’s entire quote is this:

“Being stuck is good—it means that what needs to be written
is intense, maybe painful. Or it’s complicated
and requires careful consecutive thought.
It’s often possible to get unstuck by
asking oneself simple, sensible questions
(like, “What do I already know about this story?”
or “about the next scene?”).
But maybe I’d write better books
if I let myself remain stuck longer.”

I agree there are many times where a simple, sensible question will unstick you. And, I know when we are willing to BE with the stuckness until it reveals what it knows, words you never expected can begin to flow.


orangeandgreenwritingrawOn October 18th, we begin the fall Writing Raw circle. Come join us as, together, we dive into these diamond places within, write from what we discover, and then read our writing aloud into the circle.

It is freeing to begin to trust this voice within you enough to write it and share it with others. It not only frees your writing, it frees your soul.

Read more and register here.





A Deeper Relationship With Earth

by Julie on September 17, 2016 · 9 comments


Sunrise, Tara Mandala, 4:30 am


It’s 4:20 am and I’m awake. Sleepily, my eyes open to the amazing night sky out the window just next to my bed. For some reason, even though this day is going to be a long, full one and I know I will need the sleep, I can’t sleep. The light from the soon-to-be-rising sun is just barely perceptible along the edge of the San Juan Mountain range outside my window, and even now at this early hour, the saffron-colored walls begin to come alive with this new day.

As I lie here hoping to go back to sleep, deeper within I know something different. I hear an inner voice say, “Get up and go outside.” This  beautiful land is inviting me outside. The land called me here to Tara Mandala, and I responded. I am here for just a few days to co-lead WisdomWomen’s Visionary Gathering. My time here is precious.

So, I get up, throw on my clothes, grab my camera (phone) and journal. I head out into the early morning, down the stairs of Prajna Residence Hall, and out on the path to the community center. Along the way, I pass by the small pond along the road and turn to see the color of the sun barely noticeable in the water’s reflection. I take a picture. It is time-stamped 4:34. It is early and cold. There are no signs of anyone else up yet.


Temple at Tara Mandala Buddhist Retreat Center

As I enter the community building, it is dark. The kitchen staff doesn’t begin till much later. I decide to have coffee, something I do when I am away, especially when I am on retreat. The coffee smells divine as it drips into my cup. I then take my hot cup and journal and go outside to a spot I’d found the day before, just off the side of the community building. There are two plastic chairs. So I sit down in one. My view is looking out at the Tibetan red temple up on the hill where we began our retreat the night before and where we will spend much of our full day ahead. It’s still dark so the temple is hard to make out, but even so, I can see the recognizable red from this distance. As I sit and take it all in, I can feel Her. I can feel the earth –swollen with life waking up from a night separated from the sun.

I pull out my journal and write:

The land here at Tara Mandala is incredibly powerful. She has a kind of holding I’ve never experienced before. I woke up at 4:00 am and felt Her pull in my heart. She told me to come to her, down into Her. To look directly into Her heart. To remember what it is to be Her daughter, and to now wake up to and grow into the sacred blueprint of what it is to be a mature human being who loves all of Her children as She does. To be here, now, fully and open-heartedly, as a vital member of Her joyful family. She longs for this. She longs for us to remember and see and know the beauty of Her heart and soul, and to walk on Her skin with delight and a fierce determination to return Her body to a home where all beings are safe and at peace.

This is the great trauma we have endured and are enduring- this separation from the Great Mother, from Her love, which is also the painful separation from each other and all beings. And She is clear, we can return to Her right now, at any moment by feeling how our blood and bones are held in the rivulets of her waters and the deep valleys of her heart. 

Here, right now, I can feel her so clearly. I can feel her love. I feel immersed in her. Everything in me ripples with her love. Time seems to stand still as I watch the sun come closer, the Blue Jays flit between branches, and the Deer meander through the meadow directly in front of me. The Jays are noisy this morning. Probably they are noisy every morning, but their insistence on being heard reminds me of how life is busy at this time of day even though most humans are still fast asleep.

I sit and sip my coffee, just listening and watching as life emerges from night to day. To fall into her embrace, we must soften. We must let go into being here and being human.

I am softening into her, and as I do I am consciously choosing to be here, now. To be here fully in my life. To accept that she is my mother and I am her daughter. To no longer fight against life. To draw her nourishment up into me through deep strong roots into her. I never put these roots down into her because for most of my life I didn’t want to be here. I think this is more common than we believe.

Without the roots, we cannot be nourished by her.

Without the roots, we float in our human existence.

Without these roots, we cannot know the depth of love that is here for us, and cannot truly love her and be the eyes, the ears, the touch, and a voice for her soul.


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Standing on Kīlauea Caldera, a powerful, sacred place on Mother Earth.


The story goes that… 

Eve – you know, the one in the garden with the scaly close confidant – bit into a big, red, juicy apple – based on advice from said confidant. I know it was a big one; not the apple, but the bite.

Eve wanted that apple. She had a big desire. She wanted to bite down hard. She wanted to devour that apple.

How do I know? Because I am Eve – a woman who desires.

The juice. The red. The big fat bite.


I used to think…

there was something wrong with desire and having the kind of appetite desire requires. I used to think that I needed to hide it. I used to think these things until I met myself in the crater of a volcano and began to let it sing to me of the truth of hot rock, undulating lava, and brand new earth. Something happened there on the lava bed, there on the floor of the southern edge of Kīlauea Caldera on the big island of Hawai’i when I visited a few weeks ago.

A caldera is formed by the collapse of an emptied large underground pool of liquid rock, a liquid that snakes its way along, voraciously devouring everything it runs across. Can you imagine the hotness of this heat? Can you imagine that is the hotness of your heat, too, of your desire? Because this same underground pool of liquid rock is what forms out of your own existence, the same lava that snakes its way up and out of the ground of your own erupting desire.

When I feel my desire, I feel waves rolling up out of the deep ground into the sonorous caverns hidden deep under the surface sense of my body. And, when I ride these waves, sensing their exquisite rhythms, what I see and know and feel is the overwhelming desire to bite down into life I want to bite down into life – just like Eve, just like the volcano. We aren’t that different, Eve and I. We aren’t that different, you and I.

My appetite for life is big and full and healthy – when I am in touch with it. But, often that’s problem. Often, I’m not in touch with it. It can disappear in the blink of an eye when I tell myself it is wrong. I can grow cold in an instant, muscles tightening like lava cooled for centuries.

In the past, I’ve often…

felt embarrassed by my desire, like it is something to be ashamed of – after all, I am Eve. It is my relationship with desire, my physical, somatic experience of the potency of desire itself, that most frightens me. Desire in my body feels too big, too much, too out of control. Desire itself feels dangerous. And then it’s a fast track to sensing that if I desire I am dangerous. Like a volcano – a mix of beauty, heat, fire that both destroys and creates. Often we as women are more comfortable with water, air, and earth, but fire? Fire can wreak havoc on the world, bringing down structures that no longer serve and never did serve.


Ultimately, under my embarrassment, fear, and shame, like under the dirt of the earth, is this real, alive, vital connection to the source of creation. Just like lava flowing into the ocean creates new land, hot desire flowing through my life creates new territory, a new expanse of land and life yet unexplored.

The volcanoes in Hawaii are different than ones in other parts of the world. They are Shield Volcanoes. They flow. Like the Feminine. They have broad gentle slopes. They are built almost entirely of fluid magma flows – highly fluid lava, which travels farther than lava erupted from Strato Volcanoes. This low-viscosity lava travels great distances; spreads itself out across the land, creating these broad gentle slopes out of this brand new earth.

This is how I feel…

I don’t erupt when I express – in the bedroom or otherwise. Instead, I flow. I spread myself across in broad strokes. I become larger and more connected to this earth. I become a more fertile field. I am like a woman giving birth, the womb expelling new life, new ground, the new flesh of a human being, into this world, not sure at all just where that new life will travel.

But I’ve allowed my own flow to be constricted and restricted. I take up way too little space. The expanse of my soul is yet to be known. I feel cramped up, reigned in, contained.


Something’s got to give…

This mountain of flesh and blood and bones has got to give. I’ve got to give what I’ve been gifted with – the capacity for fire and the cycle of destruction and creation, for to have the creation of something new, something must first be destroyed. We don’t like that word, but this is truth. Destruction can come in small ways. And it can come in big ways.

Often life does it for us, leaving us in the wake of destruction where we find ourselves in a new fertile bed of possibility.

Desire is the force of creation, the creative force of the universe. It is the seed in the seedbed of Eros and when the seed splits open desire pours forth and creation creates the blueprint at the heart of each desire. It is power. No wonder we are taught, as women, not to desire.

When we are very young and the purity, innocence, and truth of our love is questioned and mistrusted, we come to question and mistrust and eventually fear the intention behind and the safety of our own love, the love that is the flowering of what we really are. We come to no longer believe in the innocence and purity of our true nature. Eventually, though, we can come to see that this is where we erred…that the light within that we fear never did lose its luminosity and brilliance – never did lose its fire. Indeed, this fire is the radiance of our love.

We come to fear what is at the heart of what we are here to offer and create. This fearing brings great grief; we must then grieve the loss that comes with fearing our own nature in order to remember and touch back into the purity of desire itself, the innocence of Eros, the longing that is at the heart of love.


To take back your pleasures,

to take back your sensuality and eroticism is to take back your power, joy, fulfillment – and fire. To take back your appetite is to take back your ability to feed and nourish your soul and quench the thirst in your own heart. To take this back is to remember that it was never anyone else’s.

You belong to no one. You belong to life. And it is the life in you that is the source of your fire and appetite for life.

Desire wants to spread itself out across the territory of life, consuming experiences that expand the soul’s capacity to be here, fully. When hot lava pours itself across the land, it does destroy, but in the path of that destruction, virgin soil appears, seeds crack open, take hold, and grow. In the fire of desire is an intense love for this world, for the earth, and for all of Creation.


May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within. — John O’Donohue

JulieRonnaBadgeWe will work with desire at our “Writing (and Trusting) Your Heart” writing retreat at a beautiful retreat site in Lake Elsinore, California.

Desire is a fire that can ignite your writing. Desire felt fully in the body, for yourself and your own creativity, is a gorgeous threshold into yet unknown places in your creative world.

This isn’t just for writers. It is for women who’ve longed to look within and find that it is easier and more pleasurable to do so surrounded by other women who long for the same.

I will be co-leading the weekend with my friend and fellow-writer, Ronna Detrick. In our work with women, we both work from this perspective – that it is through kindness that we best come to know ourselves as we truly are. When our gaze toward ourselves is filled with tenderness and acceptance, everything changes. It doesn’t make it easy, but it becomes simple. And it is easier surrounded by women who also hold you in this gaze.

We still have space and I would love to have you there. I feel it is going to be a remarkable weekend.

It’s in Southern California from 9/30-10/2. If you’ve been considering coming, now is a good time to think it through as flight costs begin to increase.

If I can answer any questions you might have, please reach out.


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photo by


Because of our wisdom, we will travel
Far for love.
All movement is a sign of
Most speaking really says
“I am hungry to know you.”
Every desire of your body is holy;
Every desire of your body is
Dear one,
Why wait until you are dying
To discover that divine
― Hafiz



Last week, I spent two days away with a dear friend.  We had hours to talk while sitting on her porch, eating our meals, and walking at the beach that is just down the road from where we were staying. We talked about many things, yet everything circled back to one topic: pleasure and desire.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know I write often about the erotic and Eros. I’ve been exploring this capacity we have as human beings to feel deeply, and especially how the erotic is experienced by women. The deeper I go into my body, the deeper I go into this work because the erotic is about feeling and we can only feel if we are present in our bodies.

As we become more and more embodied, becoming conscious in these places that have been numb for so long, we must feel the old feelings that have been held hostage there. The journey into my body, consciousness awakening in the cells, has brought me deeper down into the root and into the place where our sexuality and creativity rise up out of. I discovered a great amount of grief was stored in my body, most recently in this sacred place where our sexuality stirs. This isn’t surprising considering the world we must inhabit as women, this world where women are denigrated and shamed for being sexual creatures, while at the same time being objectified in a way that tells us our sexuality (and the erotic) is for men yet not for ourselves.

Bridging this gap between our sexuality and our sacredness, this place where we know our desire and our journey toward love is holy, can feel like such hard work. There are many feelings that caused this gap in the first place, feelings we often name shame, guilt, and fear. To bridge the gap, we must feel these feelings. I’ve spent the past five years as a single woman doing this work. And now, I am beginning to date again, beginning to enter back into this world. There is great joy in being in my body and feeling Eros stirring. And, I am watching and listening for those old stories of shame and fear about what and who I am.

For the past sixteen years, I’ve been clearing away and liberating all of the old, stuck stuff that I took on when I was young – old feelings, beliefs, and tyrannical inner messages that caused me to really hide my sensual and sexual nature. I am sure you can relate. I feel it is the journey so many of us are taking as women alive on the planet today.

Now I’m getting down to the real essence of what my soul has been guiding me toward, and I sense I am getting there because I’m finally much more alive and conscious in the cells whose job it is to offer me the amazing experience of being a sexual, sensual, and yes, erotic woman. There is something about finally bridging this gap between the sacredness of life in a woman’s body and the inherent dignity of our sexuality – bringing the awareness of love into down into the realm of the deeply-layered flesh of my female body.

Even though we’ve been taught differently, the erotic is so much more than sex and sexuality. Audre Lorde wrote:

“The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feelings. In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression in our history must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed (for instance within our culutre as women) that can provide energy for change. For women, this has meant a suppression of the erotic as a considered soure of power and information within our lives.”

This is my real desire – to be so keenly awake to this erotic energy within that it blossoms and grows organically, and that it guides me to know and live the power that is inherent within me as a woman. The erotic is our lifeforce. It is the source of great wisdom and power. And, it is the source of great joy.

Pleasure and desire are, and feel, good. This is something to celebrate. And when desire is seated in the lap of the deep knowing of self as holy, it is a gorgeous force for healing, a powerful force for awakened creativity, and a source of knowing.

In touch with our erotic nature, a kind of self-confidence is born out of one’s core. It’s a confidence that knows that this force that blossoms out of you is rooted in love. This confidence can flourish knowing that this power has no desire to be used over others but rather in service to life itself.

THIS is the shift in awareness, expression, and choice that we must make as women right now in our world.

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The flow of red is bittersweet

by Julie on July 7, 2016 · 1 comment

sparrowPhoto by Linh Pham


A slight taste of sorrow mixed with the
sweetness of red juice running down
the inner blush of my skin
where bone and blood meet.

Through the soles of my feet
the red sap flows
into the earth where she
swallows it with glee.

The earth knows no words of possession.
Everything is shared and offered.
Pumped through stem and trunk
and blood stream alike.

We make so much of trying to
understand what it all means,
yet the cherry is red, I am the color of this flesh,
and there is no meaning.

My heart is breaking. Not in the big
dramatic way but the barely perceptible,
just under the surface of my skin
where the sweetness of red swells.

The sap swells my heart.They are
not such distant cousins, hearts and cherries.
Cherries to one day be found and
eaten by a plump red bird.

Like cherries hanging low on
the branch, glistening in the moon’s
reflection and so close to outweighing
the branch’s hold on them,

I glisten in the moonlight as
her light draws the tides of my heart
in and out with the ever faint swoosh
of the beat and the blood.

To let go into her love
is to dissolve into juice
that feeds a thousand sparrows.

She calls me to her and I go
willingly, my stem breaking
under the weight of longing.

(c) Julie M Daley, 2016

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Since suffering as well as joy comes with being human, I urge you to remember this:
Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering.
~ Parker Palmer


The other morning, I woke up with words hovering right at that edge between night and day. Words about grieving – grieving not just death but also life.

I had to get them all down. So, with a yellow, dollar store composition book in hand, I walked to my local cafe to write. Along the way, I passed by my favorite beautiful tree that sits at the end of my street, right at the entrance to the park. She’s stately. She’s broken off – branches ending without warning or explanation. With one of her limbs sitting atop another, she supports herself to keep living. It’s clear she’s been through events that have hacked away at her body. But she still stands, an elder, each morning taking in the sunrise from the east.

I feel like that sometimes. An elder, a bit worse for wear as I grow older, limbs helping each other to keep standing upright.

I got to the coffee shop, ordered my almond milk and cocoa powder hot chocolate, and sat down to write in my yellow book, the words still hovering right at that edge. With the sun rising through and into the window in front of me, the words began to pour out, words about how I had to find a way to grieve life – to actively grieve life – to grieve the pain I feel living in the world today.

The words came out in chunks, different chunks about grief and life and death and how hard it can be to just be here as a human being on this earth.

I’ve written so much about how beautiful it is to live life in a human body. But this was all about how hard it is and how so often I don’t want to be here – not in the literal way of taking my life but rather in the energetic way of wanting to just numb or distract myself.


It is incredibly vulnerable to be here in a human body. My life is a cake walk compared to the majority of people on the planet, yet for most of my life, I’ve had this underlying resistance to being here, completely and fully.

We are taught that grieving is for death, and sometimes we are taught that is for other losses, too. When my husband died, I didn’t know how to grieve. Grief is a natural human thing, but the truth is we’ve not been taught how, and we’ve not been encouraged, to grieve fully. We learn our emotions are too much. We learn to talk ourselves out of grief, telling ourselves to get on with life, to not dwell in the past, to not wallow in our feelings.

In my life, I’ve come to see that grief fully entered into and embodied is nature’s way of bringing us out of denial and into reality. It’s an intelligent process. When we feel it fully and wholly, it moves through us, cleaning out of us all the ways we fight reality, and leaving us with the capacity to know true and deep abiding joy.

When we feel great discord with the way things are, something is off within us. When we have no outlet for our suffering, we become disconnected from life – which then allows us to be violent and not feel that violence in our hearts.

Grief is our human way to be with our suffering. Fully experienced grief will bring us into right relationship with life. That is what grief does.

Thomas Berry wrote,

Only now have we begun to listen with some attention and with a willingness to respond to earth’s demands that we cease our industrial assault, that we abandon our inner rage against the conditions of our earthly existence, that we renew our human participation in the grand liturgy of the universe.”

We don’t grieve the life we are afraid to live and the Self we refuse to be.

We don’t grieve the rage we feel.

We don’t grieve that life is beautiful, but that this beauty encompasses the totality of experience – the sublime and the horrific – and everything in between.

We don’t grieve, because we will not acknowledge that we are powerless to life and death.

We don’t feel our suffering because we are often taught that if our lives don’t go well, we’ve done something wrong. We are taught that if we are suffering we are at fault for that suffering. The cultural message is that to suffer shows weakness and to grieve shows weakness so we walk around all armored up as if nothing can touch us.

We do not want to see what is really here – the powerlessness we feel in response to life. Instead, we are taught we are all powerful so we attempt to control what we let in. Life then becomes something that can only be good/successful/happy (fake), sad (fake), not real, not alive, not spontaneous, not full of wonder and magic.

And when we control, we lose awareness of Source within us. This is the ultimate loss. Once we lose connection to Source, it becomes much easier to be violent.

When we grieve everything fully, though, we make our way back to this Source within. Our hearts break open and we begin to feel the distinct presence within of something greater than ourselves. We come down into our flesh. We begin to know the wisdom in our bones. We feel the depth of our humanity and our powerlessness to both life and death. This is what I felt when I was in the rock bottom depths of grieving my husband’s death.

Grieving fully is not quick nor is it easy, but it is the doorway into being fully alive.


As I finished writing, I noticed the sun had risen quite a way up into the sky, the entire population of the cafe had changed, and cocoa was empty and I was hungry, ready to eat breakfast.

I gathered my things together, including my now slightly heavier yellow notebook, and began my walk back home. As I came upon the tree again, the day was moving into mid-morning and the sun was now shining upon her.

I felt such love for her seeing her there in the sunlight and thankful for what she gives to me and my neighbors who live in her radius. I sense that in appreciating her and deepening my relationship with her, I am deepening my “human participation in the grand liturgy of the universe.”

Being here on earth offers the most amazing possibility: to know self as human and Self as Source, to become conscious of the love that we are so that we might live this love on earth.

May we all find our way down into the flesh of full human participation.



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The New Colossus – by Tanya Geisler

by Julie on June 15, 2016 · 2 comments



For two years now, I’ve been writing with a group of beautiful women – four of us in all. Each week we show up with our words and we witness each other’s voices. We support our desire to write the truth, and ultimately to share that truth with the world.

Our call yesterday was no exception. We read and we witnessed. Tanya shared this writing, below, writing that mirrors how we are for each other in this circle, and how we can be for each other in this world. This piece moved all of us on the call so deeply that we decided we each wanted to share her words on our blogs.

We wanted to be Georgina to her Emma…. Women standing for women. Women amplifying women’s voices. Women learning to trust their instincts and voices by circling together.


The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
– Emma Lazarus

You remember these words?

Lazarus wrote this sonnet to raise money for the construction of the pedestal upon which the Statue of Liberty would stand. It was read as part of an exhibit to great acclaim, but was promptly forgotten and wasn’t included in the opening of the statue in 1886. It wasn’t included on the pedestal, even. It just was…absent.

She died a year later.

Can you feel that? Can you feel the pain of something written that was celebrated in a moment, known then forgotten. Looked over. Looked past.

Vital and alive. Then insignificant and abandoned. Seen then unseen.

But there is more, of course, for how else would we know this famous sonnet?

Because a woman named Georgina advocated on the poem’s behalf. On Emma’s behalf. On behalf of all that the statue could come to represent, should the sonnet be re-remembered. She called in favours, lobbied hard and worked tirelessly to have the meaning mean something.

In 1903, Georgina succeeded, and a plaque bearing Emma’s words was created and installed in the pedestal.

It was then that the Statue of Liberty stood for something. On something. What was conceived as a French token of admiration for the American way of life became a symbol of hope and welcome for weary refugees in fourteen scant lines.

Fourteen scant lines upon which American ideals rest.

The very ideals that are being gunned down in nightclubs. That are being turned inside out and spat back with vitriol and ignorance and arrogance from the podium.

These words of a woman, written for a woman, and upheld by a woman, are once again being appropriated at best and at worst, ignored. Shouted over. Seen but unseen. Heard but unheard.

They’re trying to tear her down. They’re trying to gag her silent lips. They’re trying to wall her up. They’re trying to keep them out. They’re trying to kill them off. They’re ruining everything. Everything.

Everything that is good and holy and kind and decent and beautiful and possible and hopeful and right and sacred.

Will we continue to let them? Will we continue to stand with mild eyes observing the chaotic tempest around us?

We were born knowing what is right. And then, we unsee and forget. Until we re-remember what we know. Until we re-remember that we are mighty.

And it’s up to us, you know. We must speak the words of her silent lips. I will be Georgina to your Emma. Let’s lift the lamp and shine the light. Let’s do this. Let’s stand for something. On something. Something colossal. Something like everything.

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Pure Prowl

by Julie on May 19, 2016


image by Roksolana Zasiadko



Wildness, thick and dark.
Blood red.
Saturated Indigo.
Golden suppleness.

Jewel tones are captivating my pen.
Deep, rich, saturated succulence.
Vibrant, thick power.
It’s like I cannot get enough,
like my hands want to get into the colors,
and knead them like bread,
like a panther, midnight black,
big thick paws, claws extended,
making bread on mother earth.

There is no word for what I am feeling.
There’s only feeling and a low deep rumble,
like a growl with purr wrapped around the edges.
Definitely friendly, yet fierce nonetheless.

Thick, rich hindquarters moving in elegant cadence,
supremely sensuous,
all body, no thinking.
Pure prowl.

Brown eyes, wide,
slow like doe eyes,
yet piercing the night air with desire.

Yes, desire.
Desire and God.
Desire and freedom.
Pure prowl.
Jewel tones captivating my pen,
so thick I can’t get enough.


I wrote this during one session of Writing Raw during the fifth week where we cross the threshold of taboo to write about things that we have forbidden ourselves to write.

A taboo for me is the complete freedom to express all parts of myself, including this instinctive, powerful, sensuous desire that prowls just under my skin.

When we cross the threshold of taboo, we do not need to understand why it was made taboo. We simply get to explore what is considered off limits by writing about it, then reading without judgment, critic, or praise.

What is taboo for you to put into words, then read aloud?

The next session of Writing Raw begins May 24th, Tuesday at 9:00 am PDT. There is always a second session each week on Thursday at 5:00 pm PDT.

I would love to have you join us!

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It’s Mother’s Day today here in the US. I woke up thinking of my Mom. She passed away just about eight years ago. Hard to believe I haven’t seen her for that many years.

As I thought about her, I thought of this picture above of the two of us together, in one of those picture booths they had back in the day. We were traveling across the country by car and these picture booths were available at many of the rest stops in the midwest. The rest stops situated on overpasses that graced the highways. My parents had just split up and mom was taking us to visit our grandparents in Michigan. She drove the four of us, my sisters and me, all the way across the country by herself in her 1964 1/2 Bronze-colored Mustang.

I got up and looked at the real picture and as I looked at it, what struck me, maybe for the first time ever, was her full humanity – the fact that she was just a human being. What struck me was her age – she was 36 years old here. So young to be facing motherhood on her own. She had her parents 2,500 miles away, but she had no siblings. And, she was facing great shame and judgment during a time when single motherhood was very uncommon.

She was just a woman, a young woman, hit hard by infidelity, separation, and divorce.

I could feel this ‘just a woman’ piece for the first time. You know how, as kids, we see our parents as gods? How they seem so much larger than life, as if they are super people with super powers? And in seeing them this way, their love when we get it is magnified like 1,000x? 10,000x? or even a 1,000,000x? And, so are their limitations, wrongdoings, and faults?

I don’t know if that is how you’ve carried your parents’ (especially Mom’s) limitations and wrongdoings, but for so many years I did. They hurt so much.

But seeing her here as this beautiful woman, trying to hold it together while in so much pain, and seeing me next to her, eyes full of love for her and getting my face as close as I could to her face, what has been left of any feelings of not enoughness-of-love fell away. I could see that everything hurt so much because I loved her so much. We do as kids. We love our parents so much because we are still in touch with that purity of love, that innocence of love – until we cannot bear to feel it in a world that’s forgotten it. That was how it worked for me. Perhaps, it was different for you. And, what I see is this underlying way children are, still holding up this huge image of Mom because the love within our hearts is huge and full and without resentment – until it no longer is huge and full and without resentment.

Oh, how I see her now in her humanness. Her frailty and amazing strength to do what she had to do. And, I see my love for her – my big-hearted, shiny-eyed love for her. I just wanted her to be happy and I couldn’t make that happen. I just wanted to be happy and I wanted her to see me happy, and she just couldn’t all the time because of course she was human and doing what we do to get through these lives we are living. Seeing her happy would have made me feel safer during those years.

It feels funny to be writing this at my age – like I should have this all together by now and I didn’t. And, I don’t.

To finally see her in her tenderness, with all of her flaws, trying so hard to keep it together when she probably wanted to just run away from it all, is the greatest gift I could unwrap on this Mother’s Day.

She is no longer perfection who fell from her pedestal. And, neither am I.


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