Lately, I repeatedly see an image in my mind’s eye. When it appears, it’s always the same. I’m standing in the middle of the scene and on one side of me is a pool of thoughts and idea(l)s made up of what other people think, what the culture says, and what my own Voice of Judgment tells me. On the other side of me, the right side, are the deep, dark mysterious waters of my soul.

In the image, I have a choice. I can choose from the dark waters of my own soul. Or, I can choose from ‘conventional’ wisdom (what is often not wise at all) and the roar of judgment from so many different places, including my own head. By judgment, I don’t mean conscious discernment. Rather, here judgment means the kind of thinking that is meant to keep the status quo in place, keep people in place, keep things from changing. This kind of judgment does not like the fact that life is constantly in flux. This kind of judgment wants to contain, control, shame, dominate, and keep small. Again, notice it is both out there and within.

But, you might be wondering why I include ‘conventional’ wisdom in this mix. To me, it is the unconsidered status quo, the stagnant conventional thinking, that keeps true creativity from being able to enter our world, either our own personal world, or the world at large. And, boy do we need some truly creative ideas and expressions at this point in the human journey.

Creativity upends the status quo. Creativity isn’t conventional. Creativity is brand new and comes when we’ve allowed the fertile ground to be turned under, left fallow, and then tilled for new life.

Creativity comes out of the deep and dark mysterious waters of the soul.

We can try to pin it down, trace it back, figure it out – but ultimately where it comes from is unknown and cannot be known. We can name it, but we cannot truly know it except as an experience because it is alive.

Creativity is alive. Purpose is alive. That which keeps us from being creative and purposeful is stuck and stagnant.

In this image, I can see so clearly how important trust is – the trust of both what lies within me and my ability to hear it and act from it, as well as the knowing that every other human being also is creative and also has a deep well of creativity within them.

I see how often my attempts to understand my purpose, my reason for being alive, have insidiously come from looking to others, or my own Voice of Judgment, for information, validation, or ideas on what this purpose might be. Looking out there isn’t the same as true mirroring from those who know you and really listen to you. Effective mirroring can be a source. But, ultimately, even mirroring must be checked against the knowing that comes from an alive and trusting relationship with one’s soul.

And, I see it is a choice. It is always a choice. Sometimes, I go unconscious in the choosing process, and choose out of fear of humiliation, abandonment, rejection…. like everyone else.  We are meant to be in relationship and community. Our minds can get squirrelly when we think we won’t be.

This image began appearing after beginning to engage in direct dialogue with my soul, which isn’t the easiest of tasks. But, I did hear her clearly, after asking the question, “How do I begin to follow your lead in my life?” Her response? “Don’t make anything more important than me!” (exclamation point mine!!!)

This image shows me clearly that in each moment it is a choice to not make anything more important than where my soul is guiding me.


What I’ve come to begin to see, (and I write ‘begin’ because, again, we are speaking of the mystery) is that to open to our true purpose we must honestly, in the most way, begin with the question of “Who am I?” and “What am I?”. This is the journey of turning within to ask, to look, to listen, to feel and sense…and then to learn to receive.

When we learn to trust in our nature, both as a creative being and as a woman, something shifts. There is less need to look out there for validation and approval. There is more joy from the acceptance of yourself and who and what you are. And, there is less fog and confusion about things in general, fog and confusion being a way to avoid life and acting on your own behalf.

Your nature is both universal and unique. The soul has unique qualities, and in my experience and in the work I teach, it is these soul qualities that begin to give us a sense of what we truly are. These qualities are NOT static things. Often, when we think of personal values, they are static things. Rather, these qualities are qualities we find when we investigate our own experience(s) to notice the feeling states inherent in them.

Like creativity, experiences are alive, not simply concepts.

To know purpose, we continue to come back to what is uniquely alive within us. What is the feeling quality of an experience when you are doing what you love? We aren’t focusing on the outward expression or the objects of life, but on the feeling state of the experience.

I wanted to share this image here on my  blog because the tendency to turn to someone else, or someone elses, to see ourselves is so strong. We learned to do it when we were really young because more often than not those adults in our lives who might have really mirrored our own light back to us couldn’t see it because they, too, hadn’t been seen.

But as adults, we can begin to do what it takes to look within, to remember that there is this vast inner world of soul.

This inner world will guide us. It is always here. It never left – we just turned away.

You might find you have your own image. Soul speaks in images and symbols. Open to what your soul shares with you.

Now, when I see this image in my mind’s eye, in my image I turn to soul and open to receive.

Just this act is everything.


I’ve just opened registration for my course, Becoming a Force of Nature.

bafonbadge300pxThis round of the course will begin on June 9th and run for 12 weeks. In Becoming a Force of Nature, I teach and offer experiential ways to make this turn back to the inner world, and then to begin, or deepen, what can be a long journey to trust and faith in oneself. This will be the last time I offer the course in this format. I may offer it again, but it will change – because my work is changing. I do know that if I offer it again, it won’t be in this format.

In fact, I’ll be teaching it a bit differently than I did the first two rounds. On our weekly calls, I’ll introduce the material and then facilitate the exercises on the call, so you have your first taste of each week’s material together with your classmates. Then, after the call, we’ll spend the remaining part of the week ‘living with’ the material. You can read more about this on the registration pate. There is so much great material in these 12 weeks; SO much that you can take the course with me the other women in our group, and then – at your own pace – go through the 200+ pages of PDFs that contain so much exquisite detail and interactivity.

The depth of the dive you can take is quite astounding. And, doing it a few times is exactly the way to deepen your journey. The PDFs contain everything I will teach on the calls, but they take things deeper in a way that you can utilize to your advantage. Taking it live with me the first time will activate the material in a certain way. After that, using the in-depth writings will allow you to deepen the experiences you had in our time together.

I hope you’ll take a look and consider joining me. You’ll find a new video on the registration page that I created to give a little more background to the material and its capacities to effect change in your life.



I’m in two new podcasts on the subjects of Creativity and Becoming a Force of Nature – one with Amiel Handelsman, the other with Charlie Gilkey. Take a listen. I know there are some wonderful gems in each of these podcasts. Both Charlie and Amiel are great interviewers and I even learned much more about what it is I do.



Image above by The Wandering AngelCreative Commons 2.0. No changes made.


photo (23)

I’m discovering a lot about anger and love, and holding onto the old pain of not being seen nor given what I thought I should have been given. I’m learning how to be with anger, and I’m learning it holds a place at the table laid out by Love.

I offer it here as my experience. Perhaps it might be of use to you.

It’s old, old stuff this anger. But, what I know about this is that we leave ourselves psychological grappling hooks to the past, a hook into a place where we refuse to budge until someone listens deeply enough that ‘letting go’ can take place. We cannot force the letting go. It has to come from the part of ourselves that put the hook there, the part that must be listened to, the part that must let go of her own accord, in her own way. She will let go when she feels heard and seen and loved for who and what she was in that moment in time, including her anger – or whatever other emotions were there that felt, and still feel, too big or bad or wrong to accept.

And what I know in my own life is that the one who must listen is me. We must listen to ourselves. We must allow the voice to be known, heard, and received. This part must be honored, acknowledged, and cherished for who she is, just as she is, with dignity.

Think about it. What would allow that hook to be let go of? What would allow that hook to give way?

We cannot force it. We cannot make the letting go happen. Only she, the one who placed it there, the one who still hangs on to it, the one who took that moment in time and froze in it, with it, as it. She is still back there, waiting for what she never got. Only she can unhook the hook for she is the one caught back there in time.

And what she taught me when I finally found her back there after all these years, when I finally traced my way back to that hook is this:

You cannot force another to give you love in the way you think you should be loved; but you can receive the love they offer you.

You cannot force another to receive the love you give, but you can give it unconditionally in whatever way you can.

You CAN give yourself love and you can receive your own love. You can complete this circle of love within your own being. This is really the only place where this can happen – this circle. And it can be infinitely given and received. You can be an infinite circle of unconditional love. Perhaps this is what self-love really is.

I’m finding it begins right here. Right now. I open my hand to her. She didn’t take it immediately. She didn’t want it. She wanted what was back there, back then. I had to listen to that. I had to not try to change her mind. I had to hear her out.

This is where anger comes in. She was angry. Pissed off. Royally so. Anger was a message that something was off. Something was wrong. Not acknowledging my anger just made that hook go in deeper.

She’s been fighting against everything – but doing so down where I wasn’t conscious of it. It was affecting my life, yet I could never quite see why what was happening was happening.

Over the past few weeks, as I’ve opened more to the deep well of unexpressed anger within me, it began to come in waves, wave after wave, so powerful, so alive and radiant. I could feel it being lifted out of the tightly packed pockets it had been stowed away in for decades.

And after feeling it, giving it the space it needed to flow again, it feels more integrated, like I now understand I need it. Of course I do. It is here. It is a part of what it means to be human. It is fuel for creativity. It is passion. It reminds me that I am a soul with dignity, and that others also are souls with dignity.

I can now feel that the anger knows it holds an important seat at the table laid out by love.

If it is all love, then it is ALL love. Everything has a function, a place. Everything within our own psyches must be seen and touched and acknowledged with dignity. If it is all love, then it is ALL love.

And if you’ve been taught that these voices are not real – try telling them that. Try to inform them they are not real. I’ve tried. It does not work. They will hold on to that hook until the cows come home…or until we die…unless we listen and open and love them as they are.

And if you tell yourself to ‘suck it up’, to ‘get over it’, or some other such phrase, okay. See if that works for you. It worked for me as long as I refused to feel what was really here – until the pain of it got to be too much.

These parts are some of the hardest parts of our psyches to be with. They are the ones we push away vehemently. And they’ve felt this push-away for years.

This is deep soul work. And it is worth it. It is taking responsibility for ourselves at the deepest level so that we can fully live our lives in a way where we can respond to life, rather than push against it.

These parts are waiting to be a part of this circle of love. They long to receive love…and they have much love to give.


photo (22)


full, fertile,
softest petals on a
strong, fierce stem.
each petal brushes against the
chambers of my heart.
each breath rides along the
petal veins.
lines blur.
petals become flesh,
veins carry life.
heart flutters,
tickled by such soft
layers of existence.
fragrance fills the chambers,
petals fall away,
leaving only scent to fill this fecund abyss.

everything courses along these veins.
fragrance infuses cells.
each inhale a becoming,
each exhale a death.

this line is fine,
so short-lived,
so numinous.
and the heart keeps beating,
the bones stand strong and sturdy,
the blood circulates,
doing the heavy, fleshy lifting
for a mystery that both
must be
can never be

(c) julie m daley

written during a #WritingRaw circle.


I’ve shared a very special four-part series on embodying soul, Of Soil and Soul: A Call to Remember,
over at Pema Rocker’s SoulGrowthRadio.com
Each part will be made available each Sunday in April. The first part is now up and ready.
I hope you enjoy it. The work is part of a larger body of work to be published later.


In a Woman’s Body

by Julie on March 20, 2015 · 2 comments

photo (20)


is the vernal equinox. And, today there’s a new moon and a solar eclipse. (The eclipse was visible somewhere else on the planet and I was fast asleep!)

Who knows what this all means. What I do know is that my body has been guiding me to remember what I once knew. Cycles. Rhythms. Flow.

My mind is softening into my body, into my heart. What used to seem strange now feels natural and even welcoming.

I am reweaving back into life’s tapestry of worlds, back into layers of the unseen and unknowable, into bedrock and sandstone, moon and stars, and glacial changes beyond what I can possibly comprehend.

One of my favorite Beatle’s songs was ‘Let It Be’, and the lyrics have been rumbling around inside. Just let it all be as it is – because all of my pushing against isn’t really doing anything anyway.

I see that now.

I am softening, tenderizing, choosing to no longer live a life of trying to understand. And in this softening, I notice I am happier, and at the same time getting more accomplished while being more available for others.

I guess that is life. When I let it be, life can do what it longs to do through me.

Of course.

I am learning.


in a woman’s body

i slide one foot in and then the other
and slowly my whole body gives way to gravity.
like a mother cat’s tongue
the water begins to clean
lifetimes of forgetfulness from my being.
my breath slows as darkness crumbles onto the blue-tiled floor.
my eyes grow soft as
years of tears and fears melt under the dark night sky.
i begin to remember how
without skin,
without flesh and bones,
i lived as light.
my cells soak in this remembering and
i soften, yet again,
into the water’s embrace.
no more rigid ways of forcing myself
to remember what i’ve always known.
no more straight-backed hours
on a cushion,
tightly-fastened rules wrapped around my flesh.
i am this soft light,
this love that knows,
this pearlescent radiance in a woman’s body.


(c) 2015 julie m daley


A Vivid Life. A Creative Life.

by Julie on February 26, 2015 · 1 comment



A Vivid Life. A Creative Life.

“Don’t scorn your life just because it’s not dramatic, or it’s impoverished, or it looks dull, or it’s workaday. Don’t scorn it. It is where poetry is taking place if you’ve got the sensitivity to see it, if your eyes are open.” ~ Philip Levine (1928-2015)


Yesterday, just before sitting down to prepare my monthly newsletter, I made a great chicken, kale, and bok choy curry for lunch. As I was thinking about what to share in my newsletter, the colors of the curry stood out at me as truly beautiful. I was so aware of the colors and how the vibrant greens reflected the intense nutrition of the food. I was aware of the mix of flavors, of savoring my food, truly savoring it as I ate. And, then my mind went to how beautiful life is when we are sensitive to the richness of vivid experiences felt in the heart.

In the courses I teach on Creativity, I often do an exercise during the third week when I teach about how to observe life keenly. In the exercise, we use all of our senses, slowing each one down, to truly taste – usually chocolate. Each time I lead the class, this very simple exercise brings forth a sensitivity to see, feel, and taste life. In our world, with everything going so fast, and so much time spent with technology, to stop and take time to feel your life is often a gift we rush past, a gift we do not give ourselves (and often) nor our children.

As Philip Levine wrote so beautifully, our lives are where poetry is taking place IF we have the eyes to see it, the ears to hear it, and the sensitivity to really touch what is happening. Somehow, somewhere, someone decided the everyday qualities of earthly existence were non-important and that instead we should focus on the spiritual. But, there is no separation between matter and the sacred.

Everything here is alive, and it is that very aliveness that is the sacred.

For me, as long as I’ve looked for something to be better, to find something better, to hope for days when things would be a certain way, I’ve continued to miss the beauty right in front of my face. It is only here, right here, where we can know what it is to be truly alive, to know the poetry that is taking place before our eyes.

As if to punctuate this vividness for me, as I took a break from working on my newsletter, I stood up and looked outside and the most amazing sunset was breaking over San Francisco. I grabbed my phone, went down to the porch of the building I live in and walked into this magnificent sight – the moon appearing, surrounded by billowing pink clouds. It took my breath away.

It was poetry in the sky.

In April, I’m going to be a grandmother for the FIFTH time. I can always count on my grandchildren to bring me present to this vivid life. Every. Single. Time. They are so real. They remind me to stop, listen, and pay attention.

Take a look around you. Really look, listen, touch, feel. Everything you can encounter is alive with radiance. Pay beautiful attention to this world as if you were a child again. Imagine you’ve just landed on earth for the very first time. Sit down to a meal and use all of your senses as you eat each bite. Notice that you are taking in nourishment. Note that the food came out of the earth so that your body can continue to function. Notice if in doing so, you come more deeply into relationship with life.

This relationship with life is the same relationship you have to your creativity. Our capacity to take in life, to receive what life is offering, is the same capacity we have to bring forth our creativity. And it requires us to pay attention to what is here, to what is being offered and shown to us.

Life is reflecting your countenance back to you. What you see is the radiance you are. 



WritingRawPinSpring01The Spring Writing Raw circle begins on March 4th, and March 5th. Each week, for six weeks, we hold two calls, one on Wednesdays at 9:00 am PT and the second on Thursdays at 5:00 pm PT.

Here, in the circle, we listen for the poetry of life to express itself through us. We each go into our own inner temple and listen for the voice that has always been here, always waiting to be known.

We listen, we write, and we read.

A beautiful circle of women is gathering. If you feel the pull to join, please do. Writing Raw is a deeply transformational process. Writing Raw can wake you up to your own soul and what your soul is asking of you. Writing Raw offers the opportunity to know yourself, as you are, with acceptance and love.

Read more and register here.


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by Julie on February 16, 2015 · 2 comments




I see her.

Her left hand out reaching toward me, beckoning me to come with her. Her body is leaning the other way, to her left, showing me the way we will go. I haven’t seen her face for ages.

Eleven. Fifty-eight. Ages.


She is alive. Her eyes dance.

She wants to take me back into her innocent world; back into the world I learned to pretend doesn’t exist. But it does. She knows the way. Her body is leaning that way as if to say, “Come, come, let’s go. It’s just you and me. Nobody else is here, now, telling us to be something other than who we are. Nobody is here demanding that we turn our back on magic and step into that cold, dead world where everyone says things they don’t believe and everyone denies they long for something else.”

I left her behind. Not meaning to, really. But, I left her behind. So far behind I’d forgotten who she was. I couldn’t even really remember how it was to be with her, how she laughed or how she would get silly. I couldn’t remember how strong and lithe she was, how in her body she was.

She’s smiling at me with such innocence, such joy. I can tell she hasn’t changed a bit. It’s the smile.

I now remember the exact moment when I turned my back on her. I had to. I had no choice. It’s the only way I could make sense of the senselessness I was being shown. Everywhere I looked there were messages telling me that she had to be forgotten, pushed aside, abandoned. No one wants an eleven year-old pubescent girl to maintain her wholeness. It’s too much. Her wholeness and innocence and provocative ways signal magic.


I take her hand and follow.

She wants to show me butterflies. We used to go out to find them, hoping to have one land on our hand. They were free. They were soft and tender, their wings made of the same magic as her heart.

When I first saw her again, really saw her, and heard her calling to me, the tears poured like buckets. Grief. Big buckets of grief. I’ve experienced big grief in my life; grief I never thought I would ever know. But there’s something about realizing you abandoned yourself so long ago, ages ago that cuts to the bone at the center of the heart. That bone. That magic bone.

All I remember is that I was told that my needs were no longer relevant. Those were never the words used, of course. Instead, every indication was that I was here for something other than my own desires. I was here for others’ desires…especially men’s.

Instead of freedom, I began to feel emptiness. Instead of softness, I began to feel a kind of resignation. Instead of feeling me, I began to be really good at feeling everyone else – looking for what they needed, what would make them happy, how to put myself at the back. It sounds like martyr. It looks that way. But it was not. It was believing that my desires didn’t matter. It was believing that I didn’t matter. That suddenly, now, that I was growing up, that the magic in me had to go and the beauty and power of my young girl’s magical soul was not welcome in this world of men and men’s power, and this world of women who had forgotten their own magic.

Or maybe my magic was wanted too much. If I hid it, would they not look at me like they were beginning to look at me? I hid the magic just like I hid my blossoming breasts. The lacy yellow training bra earned the name ‘old yeller’ because I was too embarrassed to wash it and hang it out in the house to dry. In our house of one woman and three girls, a girl’s magic wasn’t spoken of. Menses, breasts, and blossoming desire were only talked about in cursory, logical ways.


No magic was mentioned.

There was no map pointing the way from young magical girl to full magical woman. There was no talking about it. There was nothing said between young magical girl and magical woman. And there were no full, magical women to guide me.

How does a girl hang onto the magic of womanhood when so many around her pretend it does not exist?

How does she hold her own hand tightly enough to not lose herself or her magic?

How does she hold her own body close to her heart as she awakens to the shame that others believe is at the heart of womanhood?

How does she not make that shame her own?

How could it be that something so holy, sacred, and brimming with the magic of life becomes something to hide, to ridicule, to dominate, to violate?

I find I have no answers, but I am paying attention to her because she knows things I have forgotten.


Her hand is soft and young, still in the shape it was when I turned away.

She’s timeless. Hand in hand, I begin to feel the sweetness of her breath filling my lungs and sense the wonder of her magic beating my heart. I tell her I learned a long time ago to dismiss myself, to defer to others, to hide my light, to make myself small and insignificant. As I say these words, I hear how powerless they sound, how weak I sound. I cringe, yet they are true. She just listens as she holds my hand.

I tell her I don’t know what I want, what I desire. I tell her I’ve forgotten how to desire, how to know, how to choose. I tell her I’ve forgotten how to choose for us, to know what it is I want and to focus on it. She already knows this. She’s been in the background watching me circle and circle, unable to land on the solid turf of completion. She looks at me with such lightness and love. And then she tells me that is why she’s come back – to show me the way home, the way back to magic.

It seems as though she doesn’t hear those other voices that run so often in my head, voices of skepticism, judgment, and shame. She seems to just delight in life itself, in the very real experience of being alive. She is soft and open. The thing I notice most, though, is that she trusts. She trusts herself. And she trusts life. She doesn’t seem to even be aware of this. She doesn’t need to be. Trust was never broken for her. Her connection to life is intact, full, and faithful, as is her connection to herself. She doesn’t seem to be so aware of herself, but instead very aware of everything around her, as if she is immediately affected and enraptured by the smallest butterfly flutter and the gentlest birdsong.


As I watch her,

I begin to feel a tiny bit of what it felt like when I knew this world. She is guiding me back home just by her presence and love. I feel great sorrow and grief for what I did, but she doesn’t. She is just happy to have me home again, with her in the magic.

She leads me to a place where lightness abounds, joy flourishes, and softness is evident everywhere. Everything is vibrantly alive. As I look around, I can see the light that infuses breath. Everything is breathing. Everything. Trees. Sky. Earth. Sun. Everything is breathing.

She looks at me with impish delight and asks,

“Do you remember? We used to live here, in this world, together. And, here we are again, together.”




Writing Raw is now open for the third circle, beginning on March 4th. Early-bird is in effect through February 18th.


 “i feel so strongly that what you have created in writing raw has this potent link of turning us – leading us – inviting each of us into our own selves. not calling it anything but ourselves, words hinting here and there of naming, but to be ourselves and have faith in that is a great great great gift that is given in that circle.” ~ Barbara Heile, woman painter writer mother


Read more and register here.







caressed by invisible grace

this caress
unseen hands
tender fingertips
that spread across the sky
spread across my face
touch me
like nothing else has
in existence
my face open to the light
my soles on forest floor
this miracle
shines brightly
so deep in my clay
down where fossils
cease to decay.


For as long as I can remember,

I have loved soft warm wind blowing against my face. I never ‘knew’ why, although I used to try to understand. Funny things we do.

The most profound experience I’ve had of this was in Hana, on Maui. There, the air is moist, always moist, and filled with scents. And, it is warm there. It doesn’t get cold in Hana, really.

There, I feel the wild more acutely in my cells, the wild of the land a mirror to the wild of the terrain of my body. 

The soul’s secrets rise to be known on land that isn’t covered over by thought divorced from flesh (concrete one of the literal expressions of this broken marriage). Raw earth offers itself to my raw soul, inviting soul forth into flesh to be touched, felt, and seen. And the conscious mind, for at least a moment, meets soul in this intimacy.

The body is soul’s physical expression. This human body is how soul makes itself known on earth, in flesh. The soul’s longing to experience and be experienced comes through as our longing to see, touch, and feel, and be seen, touched, and felt.

This is the creative impulse to live and to express our sacred uniqueness into flesh and blood and bone – of body and of other physical creation. This is an impulse for life, an appetite to know through experience, through feeling and senses.

Oh, and to think how we deny our appetite for life. Consider how much effort it must take to deny this deep impulse of life, to grow into our fullest expression, to offer it into the world so it can be known.

There is nothing wrong with our appetite, nothing wrong with our desire, nothing wrong with our flesh. There is everything right with creation.


“The body is a sacrament. … A sacrament is a visible sign of invisible grace.” 

“All our inner life and intimacy of soul longs to find an outer mirror. It longs for a form in which it can be seen, felt, and touched. The body is the mirror where the secret world of the soul comes to expression.” ~ John O’Donohue


Your body, my body, every body, is the physical manifestation of soul, a physical manifestation of grace.

Invisible grace – like wind. This is what I feel as I am caressed by wind – caressed by invisible grace.

The soul is deeply affected by body and what our body experiences. Earth touched, wind felt, fragrance inhaled, all leave an imprint on soul. I now understand why the different lands I have traveled to, and walked upon, affected me so deeply. My soul took it all in, and my willingness to go, even when I did not understand why, was how this body, this body/mind, walked what she needed to walk for soul to live the experiences soul was hungering for – that outer mirror.

I now have a sense of why I love warm wind against my face. It is not really for me to ‘understand’. It is more that I have the capacity to choose to have those experiences that feed my soul, that feed her appetite for life.

This is life’s grand radiance: this invisible grace making itself known in physical form, and then our physical forms, our bodies, offering back the gifts of this human, everyday, life, to soul.

When every cell of the body is awake with invisible grace, awash with love, alert with awareness, consider how much more fleshy real estate is available for this sacred interchange between flesh and soul, this experience of being alive. Instead of just understanding what it might be like as an idea,

we become fully aflame with life’s grand radiance…a living, breathing, loving vessel of liquid soul.


This poem, above, was written during a Writing Raw circle call. They are powerful, potent circles where soul-knowing can pour forth. Join me for the Spring, 2015, Writing Raw circle…now open for registration. We begin the first week of March.


A Touch of Soul, Here, on My Breath.

by Julie on January 21, 2015 · 12 comments


“…for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness…”
Galway Kinnell

Witnessing my own unfolding

In looking back over the writing I’ve shared here over the past seven years, I see my own unfolding. Along the way, I’ve shared my experiences rather than using this as a platform to offer you ‘useful’ advice on ‘how-to’ or ‘how-not-to’. I’ve shared stories and insights. I’ve shared some of the most vulnerable moments of my journey. I can’t say that was my intention when I began. But, then how often do we know ahead of time what it is that is driving us? In the past few weeks, the unfolding has hastened. Things falling away left and right. Like a dog with a bone, I’ve followed every kernel of grace offered out to me. I cannot tell you ‘what’ it is that has happened, but I finally feel at home.

That is no small thing considering it’s been almost twenty years since I set out to find home. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt at home in this world, but I managed to avoid feeling the deeper feelings of not belonging and not being safe while married to my late-husband – until the early-morning hour when he died, suddenly. That’s when the journey began in earnest.

It was then, almost twenty years ago, that however my psyche had organized itself to help navigate the feeling of being unsafe here on earth, could no longer find a footing. In a matter of minutes after he died, I felt completely unmoored. He had been my love, my protector, my partner of 21 years.

It’s been a long journey to follow longing. A journey to find safety, not through another human being, but within myself. I didn’t know that was what I was looking for. Ultimately, it was really the journey to find love, the love that can only be found deep within oneself.

The push to get somewhere or something has been relentless. I could never settle. I could never feel like what was in my life was ‘enough’. All the while, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate to you these things. I know them now, in hindsight.

There is something new here.

A kind of softness, a trust, a faith in life.

A taste of earth, here, in my flesh.

A touch of Soul, here, on my breath.


Life guided me.

Life does this if we listen. Books fell unbidden from bookcases, guiding me to dance. People appeared as guides. Flowers called to me with their beauty, reflecting to me the light and beauty that is the soul of everything alive. And, my relationship came to an end when it was clear I had to find out who I am on my own – sovereign and whole.

The land called to me from different parts of our planet. I had to step foot on other parts of this earth to feel something that could only be felt there, in each place, to reawaken elements of earth that I’d tasted long before.

Nature called. Each day, I walk. Almost first thing in the morning, after tea. I hear birdsong. I feel wind. I take in the love of trees, offering it back to them with great appreciation. I have come to feel an unseen, but incredibly vibrant, relationship with life. I’ve come to know I belong.

John O’Donohue‘s words capture this feeling much more eloquently than I can.

“Essentially, we belong beautifully to nature. The body knows this belonging and desires it. It does not exile us either spiritually or emotionally. The human body is at home on the earth. It is probably a splinter in the mind that is the sore root of so much of our exile.”

I feel at home in my body. 

Another way to say this, is that my mind now trusts how my body feels at home. My mind trusts my body’s longing to be home. To not be held away, distant from itself, for my body is of the earth’s body. It is of the same clay.

This might surprise some of you who’ve read me for a while. It’s not like I haven’t been in my body. It’s not like I haven’t felt joy in my body. I have – often and much.

But that ‘splinter in the mind’ was always here. The splinter continued to tell me I wasn’t safe. It created a kind of vigilance, a hyper-vigilance. This kind of thinking, the circular questioning and the constant looking for safety, kept at bay what it was I was looking for. Of course it did. I was looking for love, but this small but insistent voice didn’t trust love.

As I read more of John O’Donohue’s words for the second time (I first read Anam Cara about eight years ago), in preparation for my writing course, I came across his description of how the body is in the soul, not the other way around. He writes,

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

And, if the body is in the soul, then my body is held, and loved, and breathed into by Soul. My immediate breath is Soul breath. My senses first encounter the realm of my Soul. It is so close. Always.

This is what I had longed for – to know that love is this close. Complete and unconditional love, which Soul has for self. I had shut myself off to my own Soul, and I had to see that.


Necessary to reteach me of my loveliness.

As most of us do because we are taught to, I journeyed to find what I’d thought I lost out there somewhere. God is supposed to be up there, on high, somewhere. Right? And, I am supposed to find love in someone else to complete me. Right?

No. Soul is closer than my breath. Soul is closer than sound, taste, sight, touch. Soul is wrapping me in love. I turned away from Soul. I had to turn back to self to know Soul.

Splintering happens. For me, the splinter broke free when that portion of the mind could feel that it was held, and that what held it was safe. I watched it circle. I watched it look and question and wonder. I watched as it let go. I felt the softening in myself. I couldn’t make it let go, but I could hold the space for it to do it as it needed to. I could trust that it would set itself free.

And, one last thing…for now. I’ve written in the past of the ‘creative impulse’…of the beautiful desire that moves through us as human beings to express in this world of form. In my next post, I’ll write more about Soul, your body, and creativity.


For now, just know that God(dess) is decidedly sensuous. 






Women Weaving Voice into One

by Julie on January 10, 2015 · 0 comments

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Life force is a flame within.

Creativity is this burning desire to express something into the world, into form, to live something true.

Anat Vaughan-Lee writes“We do not always know what it is or how to articulate it, but deep inside there is a longing, a longing to live according to a true calling.” We all have this longing, a quality of the feminine.

What I’ve seen over the course of the past twelve years facilitating creativity through courses and coaching is how difficult it can be to allow this expression to come through when we are ‘comfortable’, meaning when our lives aren’t challenged, when we seemingly have what we think we want, what makes us feel safe. But this fire isn’t about comfort, because our lives aren’t about comfort. No, the fire is about expression, and most often there is nothing comfortable about expressing this into the world. Makes sense. It is fire. Fire burns. Fire clears away debris. Yet, in this discomfort we live what our soul is here to live.

What happens when the fire smolders? When it sits in our belly, circling around and around trying to find oxygen to burn but our breathing only goes down to our chest? Fire needs oxygen. It needs space to move. It needs fuel to burn. What has to be thrown onto the pile to fuel the fire?

What has to go? Is it safety? Is it surety? Is it looking good, ensuring we don’t rock boats?  Is it not wanting to see reality as it is, right here, right now? Is it not wanting to feel? Is it not wanting to take responsibility for ourselves and the health of our world?

There could be many things that need to go. I know that is true for me. The desire for safety in my life has been my number one piece of fuel. Yet, in that desire for safety, something completely understood considering my past, I am thinking of only myself. And in doing so, I smolder the flame.

What I’m discovering in holding my Writing Raw circles, and in being in active communion with other women writers, is that there is a fire in women to speak, a fire burning to bring forth what we know into this world through words, through voice. And, I know this because I am a woman and this fire is in me. This fire for voice is a longing to declare what we know and see. It’s a fire to stand on even ground, as a full human being, with a voice that carries across to others, with something to say. And this something comes on its own – if we go within to the source – our own soul.

I just read a 2012 New York Times article, Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry, by Eliza Griswold, and in this piece I see clearly just how this strong this fire is when freedom is taken away. And conversely, I see how comfort smolders the fire rather than stoking it. [The piece is long and well worth the time.]

In this article, Eliza Griswold writes about Mirman Baheer, a women’s literary society based in Kabul, Pashtun poetry, and about how women from the outlying regions of the country where freedom for women is tightly constricted sometimes take amazing risks for their words to be known and their voices heard. 

“Pashtun poetry has long been a form of rebellion for Afghan women, belying the notion that they are submissive or defeated. Landai means “short, poisonous snake” in Pashto, a language spoken on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The word also refers to two-line folk poems that can be just as lethal. Funny, sexy, raging, tragic, landai are safe because they are collective. No single person writes a landai; a woman repeats one, shares one. It is hers and not hers. Although men do recite them, almost all are cast in the voices of women. “Landai belong to women,” Safia Siddiqi, a renowned Pashtun poet and former Afghan parliamentarian, said. “In Afghanistan, poetry is the women’s movement from the inside.”

Traditionally, landai have dealt with love and grief. They often railed against the bondage of forced marriage with wry, anatomical humor. An aging, ineffectual husband is frequently described as a “little horror.” But they have also taken on war, exile and Afghan independence with ferocity.”


Poetry is a powerful force in areas where women have so few avenues for self-expression. Poetry is written by women all over the world. Many women speak out, writing powerful poetic pieces that come directly from their souls, and these poems ignite the fires within us.

But so many of us don’t voice our soul’s expression. We long to speak what we sense is smoldering within, but we don’t. And, I’m not talking about being talented or convincing another. I’m talking about being expressed.

Before I go further, I want to be clear I am not wanting to co-opt something so gorgeously belonging to these Afghan women writing Pashtun poetry. And, I’m not equating our lives as western women to these women in the article. Not at all. What I want to do is find the thread that links us together, and find a vehicle of expression that allows for these words to come forth as they desire to do through each of us.

There is a thread that weaves through all of us women – a red thread – a thread of longing – a thread of power and passion – a thread of creative expression that lives and breaths the feminine embodied.

Whether the constriction of freedom is on the outside or whether it is in our internalized beliefs that we aren’t free; whether the threat of harm is obvious and clear, or is veiled and not spoken, this longing to live something, to express this flame of life into the world, is trying to shoot up into life, to live.

What if poetry, one example being these two-line Landai, is the way the feminine (and women) moves from the inside?

What if poetry is simply a word to describe the soul’s language? A language that flows from the heart, that is fired from longing?

We can get stuck in and fixated on our ‘idea’ of poetry as what we’ve known in our experience, yet discovering this form of Landai really opens up my own notion of what poetry ‘is’.

And, the way the Landai are ‘safe’, her’s yet not her’s, makes me wonder. Does our tendency in the west to fixate on ‘owning’ our creativity, our words, get in the way of our creating? If it flows from Source, what greater honor could there be than speaking aloud these words?

This ‘not owning’ individually, but collectively instead, is a quality of the feminine itself, and it would then make sense that women would naturally and instinctively embody this in writing that flows from within.

This ‘her’s yet not her’s’ is an expression of the whole rather than the individual, and it is an expression of giving over one’s needs in service to caring for the whole. 

My friend, Megan McFeely, a filmmaker exploring the feminine through her film, ‘As She Is‘, writes, “More sooner than later we (you and me) are going to have to accept that the rights for the health of the WHOLE are more important than the rights of the individual.”

Is not wanting to cede our individual ‘rights’ that we so strongly hold tight to in many parts of the world, nor letting go of what we believe we ‘own’, getting in the way of a powerful voicing of the soul’s expression – individually AND collectively?

In all expression, there is Source and there is the vessel through which Source expresses. We are each vessels through which Source flows. In this way, our expression is ours but not ours.

Can we women here in the west learn something from this? Can we write poetry that is ours but not ours?

I believe so, and I believe what we can learn is critical to our voices being heard.

The voice within pulses through this flame. We feel it. We can try to turn away from it, but the longing is strong. In the article, Meena, a young woman from Gereshk, Afghanistan writes,

“I wish I had the opportunities that girls do in Kabul,”… “I want to write about what’s wrong in my country.”

Then Eliza adds,

Meena’s father pulled her out of school four years ago after gunmen kidnapped one of her classmates. Now she stays home, cooks, cleans and teaches herself to write poetry in secret. Poems are the only form of education to which she has access.”

Can you feel the fire? The fire to keep learning, to communicate, to express? the desire for freedom? No matter how the flame is tamped down, it still tries to ignite.

Complacency silences. Guilt for having more ‘whatever’ silences. But if we don’t soon throw our individual wants and ownership onto this smoldering fire, what is in store for us? Creation is much more intelligent than our egos. The seed of what is new is trying to break through the ground, as sometimes what cleans the forest floor quickly and efficiently is a raging fire.

I go back to the beginning, asking myself these questions…

What is the fuel you need to offer to this flame of longing within?

How might giving up ownership free you? 

I offer them to you. And then,

Find a circle where you can write that which is yours but not yours, and voice it aloud, and then give it over.



writingrawpin02And, if you want to join Writing Raw, a circle in which to write and speak your words aloud, read more and register here. We are beginning Jan 13th, but you can join in anytime.


Rich With Sacred Becoming

by Julie on January 2, 2015 · 1 comment


Rich With Sacred Becoming


“To discover who she is, a woman must descend into her own depths. She must leave the safe role of remaining a faithful daughter of the collectives around her and descend to her individual feeling values. It will be her task to experience her pain…the pain of her own unique feeling values calling to her, pressing to emerge. To discover who she is, a woman must trust the places of darkness where she can meet her own deepest nature and give it voice…weaving the threads of her life into a fabric to be named and given…sharing it with the women around her as she comes to a true and certain sense of herself.”  ~ Judith Duerk,

Strung together like lights that lead us down into this darkness, these words speak to me. From these strands and strings of word-lights, I feel the pressing – the ‘pressing to emerge’.


Rich With Sacred Becoming

Like watery, primordial pools
where the emergent reveals itself,
at first without any known pattern or meaning,
shimmer with the barely known.

Like chthonic, fecund soil,
rich with sacred becoming,
reek of sacred humus,
ripe with nutrients of rebirth.

Like stardust still cooling from the star’s demise,
glow with decay.

Turning my attention inward,
to the pool,
the soil,
the ashes,
the temple teeming with life,
I open to it,
feel it,
receive it,
allow it to fill me,
feed me,
nourish me.

Little in the collective
honors my soul’s humus.

Everything I learned as a faithful daughter
chides my appetite to turn inward.

my appetite for the truth
is stronger than
my need for austere approval,
if I turn to the appetite,
the hunger,
the longing.

The revelation comes on its own,
at its own pace,
without aid,
if I honor the insistent
invitation of breath
to deliver my soul,
into my cells.

The birth comes,
on its own,
the child’s pulse
closely tied to the
heartbeat of earth,
if I inhale with expectancy
to be filled with
that same stardust,
the black water,
the dark humus of sacred becoming.


I invite you to journey with me into these sacred pools, this fecund soil, this still-too-hot-to-touch stardust.

In Writing Raw, we cross the threshold into this dark humus of becoming and write what we find ‘into a fabric to be named and given…sharing it with the women around her as she comes to a true and certain sense of herself.’

This is the beauty, and gift, of Writing Raw. It is a circle where you can share, with women around you, the opportunity to come to a more ‘true and certain sense of’ yourself.

I hope you will join me, if it feels right. It can feel right and feel frightening. It can feel right and we can feel shy and unsure. All of these can be true.

Find out more about Writing Raw, here. And, be sure to email me if you have questions that feel important to ask in order to honor this ‘pressing to emerge’.


Thank you to Judith Duerk for her ability to express something so important in words, so many years ago, so far ahead of the times.

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