Earlier this week I had a rough couple of days where I found myself navigating a ton of dense energy. After I emerged to the other side I started thinking about what it taught me. I was surprised to find all this stuff pour out of me, a list really of the ways I’ve learned to manage energy in hard times. I thought, I’ve got to share this!
So here it is, the first part of most likely a longer list of…
Things to remember when you are passing through hard times:
Nothing is permanent, not even this moment of crappiness! Ride the wave.
Is this even my energy that I’m feeing? Am I feeling a loved one who might be in pain? Is this collective energy? Is this ancestral? Step back and assess. Sometimes knowing that makes a big difference.
Am I under attack?
Is it heyoka energy? (The trickster!) Don’t buy it– this energy is here to test me and poke at me! I don’t have to take the bait!
I AM not this…return to the center, the source, the larger heart!
Observe the emotion but don’t identify with it!
Is something rising up to be released? Observe and release it! Don’t judge the experience.
Can I see it from another perspective?
What’s the medicine? What is this experience teaching me…can I uncover the lesson? What gifts are coming about because of this experience?
Have I asked for divine assistance? I have free will. I must ask for guidance, protection, help, etc…
I’m never alone! Feel into the love of the mother/source/God/the divine I AM presence.
So many people are passing through hard times. Pretty much everyone in my life actually. And lots of people who I don’t know, too. I want to hug each and everyone of you (whether I know you or not – I am originally from the Midwest after all. We hug everyone!)
You may be wondering, what is UP?! Why why why all the struggle and hardship.
You my dears are awakening. The light is returning and light does this thing where it shines into the darkest corners and helps us to see what was hidden. I don’t know about you but when I shine a light under my bed I do NOT like to see what is down there! Cob webs, toys covered in dust bunnies, it ain’t pretty. Yesterday I found a sock so covered in dust bunnies it was like a small sock-shaped animal. YUCK.
(Note to self: vacuum more frequently under the bed.)
Yes, the light is returning and asking us all to raise our consciousness. This is a GOOD thing and will lead to so much beauty, grace and joy. But the process to getting there is a doozy. It asks us to step up and see what we haven’t wanted to see. It asks us to love parts of us that we didn’t want to love. It is demanding that we see ourselves as the love that we ARE and cleanse our hearts of all the pain, trauma, outdated beliefs, identities and attachments that no longer serve. To see ourselves as the light that we are.
To shine the light we have to remove the density first. It can feel never-ending but I promise things will lighten the more you release and heal. We live in cycles and all cycles have their resolution. Not only that but we’re living in a time where we are experiencing a quickening which means it’s all going much faster than it would normally. So we’ve got that going for us!
If you’ve ever given birth – to a human or even to a beloved project or idea– you know that the labor involved can be hard but the end result is worth it. Keep that in mind. Labor doesn’t last forever. I remember when pregnant with my daughter our birth preparation class teacher told us that no contraction lasts longer than maybe 90 seconds. (I forget the precise length of time now though it was etched in stone at that time for sure.) During a contraction I would count out loud, and as I got closer to the end of the 90 seconds I would speed up my counting because I JUST WANTED IT TO END. And my husband God bless him was counting at normal speed (as someone not giving birth to a watermelon would do) and I yelled YOU ARE COUNTING TOO SLOW! As if speeding up the counting would speed up time. Oh I wish. But it was true–the contractions all had an end point, with a pause between, and goodness I lived for those pauses.
So it shall be for you. Remember the contractions do not last forever. Savor the pause. Bring all your love and strength to yourself during the hard bits. See and release what needs releasing. Find ways to experience joy and gratitude in the midst of it all. Be gentle. Call a friend. Have a sip of tea. Yell into the woods. (I have done that a lot. The trees don’t judge.) Not only have you got this, you were made for this. You have the love of the divine universe at your back. Release what holds you back so you can shine like you were meant to shine.
I’m pretty sure I’ve chanted “down with the patriarchy” at a march or rally at some point in my life. But I have to laugh when I think about that now because really it’s as though I was chanting this demand to myself! Hear me out. It turns out that the battle with the system is happening internally. Yes, my friends, it’s time to dismantle the patriarchy inside ourselves!
I had this big, BIG realization recently that I was carrying a wound that I thought I’d let go of a looooong time ago. I recently did some work on healing the wounded father. If you’d asked me if I had a father wound before doing the exercise I would have patted your hand and smugly said, on no honey I spent decades in therapy resolving that! It’s alllll good now.
And the universe laughed!
It’s fair to say that most of us at some point have had some amount of conflict with our father figure. Some lots, some less so. What I never understood about these wounds was that they were keys to seeing and understanding how a system has harmed us. You could call it “the system wound” instead of the father wound. The system – the patriarchy – has dominated, devalued and sought to destroy the feminine for thousands of years. We came into this lifetime with genetic memory of these wounds (and to get super trippy on you, we are living out many other lifetimes that are experiencing those wounds right “now” so to speak. But that’s for another post!)
What ends up happening is that our fathers become the face of the wound. They are men; patriarchy is all “yay men!”; hence we project our pains of this system onto our fathers. It sounds obvious, I mean I knew this, but I hadn’t put all these pieces together. It was like I viewed the system on one side, and viewed it purely externally, and put the father on the other side, and viewed it all personally. The integration of the two hadn’t ever happened.
When I looked at my own wounds they were a lot about self-worth. You say women can’t do this, well I’ll show you I can! You say I should marry a man to take care of me, well I’ll show you how independent I am! I don’t need no man! Grr! (Rosie the riveter arm raised with fist!)
Upon further examination I was pushed to ask…why exactly did I care exactly so much about what anyone said about what I was or was not capable of? Why did I think I had anything to prove? Because if I knew myself to be whole and beautiful and sacred, I certainly wouldn’t give a poop about what anyone cared or said about me.
Huh. What was that all about?
Yes, I spent years working to prove myself. See I am good enough! I am your equal! Ok – well what did I want in return? Digging deeper…to be seen and valued! Essentially, LOVE. I wanted love you guys. And since this is a system wound – not just a dad wound – I wanted this SYSTEM to love me and see me! I wanted to be valued by this messed up, dysfunctional, icky gross system I’d been rallying against my whole life!
Now that is the definition of messed up, right? (Cue Jimmy Fallon….ew!)
The fact is, I’m a sacred woman. I AM love – I’m the eternal spring that gives and gives and I certainly don’t need to go begging for love from a system! Especially a patriarchy that I know logically to be horrible for everyone involved – men and women both.
I spent a lot of time in therapy, women studies courses and chat sessions about how we can dismantle the patriarchy to discover I wasn’t fully getting it. Finally exploring these questions as part of my spiritual work made me see it in a whole knew way. These choices I’ve made again and again only feed a system I don’t agree with or want to keep propped up. I need to remove these beliefs inside myself and align my heart with my mind. To see my value as inherent, not based on the outside system.
Talk about dismantling the patriarchy! Because if there is one thing the patriarchy doesn’t want it’s for us to align our hearts with our mind. The system seeks to disconnect us from our hearts – because the heart is the connection to the feminine! (Ah-ha! You seeing it?) Once we understand the power of our healed, aligned hearts to create a beautiful, loving world then poof! goes the patriarchy.
Of course, your father/system-wound may be different than mine. We all carry different wounds from a system that spent thousands of years telling us to disconnect from our hearts, to abide by rules of a system that would give us love and acceptance, and that threatened to harm us if we didn’t abide. (Hello, burning witches at the stakes anyone?) We came into this life with these wounds in our memory and specifically chose parents who would “push our buttons” so to speak so we could see and heal those wounds. Who knew the the key to healing was right in front of us this whole time?
The good news is that we don’t have to wait for a system outside of us to fall in order to be liberated. That is the masculine way of thinking, looking to the outside to try to understand and heal something that is within us. As women we do the work internally and then the world outside ourselves shifts. The patriarchy falls when we remove the dogmas, fears, entrenched beliefs and programs within ourselves. When we say no more to disconnecting from the longings of our hearts. When we seek to bring the mind and heart together, or as my teacher Magdala Ramirez says, when we allow the eagle and the condor to fly as one.
I for one am done trying to prove or abide by unwritten rules in order to to seek love from a system that doesn’t believe in my inherent worth. I’m ready to see my father in a new way too. I see how the system has wounded him, me–all of humanity. I’m ready to dismantle it within myself.
After all, “the people, united (within themselves), will never be defeated!”
I’m currently drinking contraband iced coffee in the teen section of my local library. No teens are here because it is way before noon (as I type this!) Which means that despite the many NO food in the library signs it’s the perfect place to be a rule breaker with my iced coffee tucked away in my purse.
I’m working hard lately breaking norms, societal and self-imposed. Let’s just say the iced-coffee-in-the-library is but a tiny start.
It’s been a long yet short summer of weirdness but wonderfulness. I haven’t written on this blog since April, and not writing and sharing here is a habit I plan to break. I literally woke up yesterday and thought, I need to start writing again. Actually, back that up…I think the realization first came after I did an exercise recently (as a spiritual student of Magdala Ramirez, check her out she is amazing) that got me thinking about ways that widsom has been shared when I needed it most, and how I might share it with the ones who come after me. This blog being a tiny corner of the world to do just that!
Yes much has been received and it’s time to give, too! In this long/short weird/wonderful summer I have been integrating a LOT. I went to sacred ceremony (priestess ceremony) for five days in June and it basically took me all summer to unpack what I experienced. I’m realizing that unpacking it isn’t quite enough. I don’t want to hold tight to knowledge. I need to bring it forth!
Earlier this summer I heard this really great episode of the Pele Report (a weekly video/podcast by Kaypacha) where he talked about how we make something sacred once we share it back with the world. (Trying to find the episode…once I find it I’ll post the link!) For example, let’s say you create art. The creation of the art might be a spiritual act, but if you keep it to yourself you have only done half of the work. In sharing it with the outside world you make it sacred. That final step can feel scary and vulnerable but it’s also so freaking POWERFUL. It becomes a full circle moment. Not just receiving but giving it back to source in a new way.
Which brings me back here, typing in the library as I sneak some coffee. In so many areas of my life I’m being called to bring it forward. No more hiding, no more clinging, just free low of love! It’s boundless and endless, so why cling tight or hold it or hide it?! Let’s make it sacred! Even if we are a little scared! (Wow flip those letters and scared becomes sacred. Just blew my own mind a little! 😂)
This is my long and meandering way of saying I plan to write here a lot more often. I’m excited to hear what you are up to as well. Are you hearing the call to bring it forth? I’d love to hear about it!
What’s all this nonsense about following the joy, and who exactly gave you these instructions? I want details, you say! Okay here you go… A tiny bit of the journey.
Just Follow the Joy is a mantra, a message, a path. It came to me one day when I was walking my beagles and (once again) asking the universe, I give up! What do you want me to do?!
And the Voice –(not the tv show though I hear it is excellent!)–the Voice within me, the WISE voice, the voice that takes no bullshit, the voice of love and grace and clarity–said, follow the joy.
It would have been way more convenient if this voice told me how to look for a job or what job to be looking for exactly or maybe a set of detailed instructions about the meaning of this, but none of that came with this voice. And every time I checked in again, there it was. Just follow the joy!
For some you, this might seem pretty logical. Ok yes, following joy sounds like a good plan you say. But for me, I like to keep things complicated. This seemed…too simple. Too frivolous. TOO joyful.
I would like to now interject and add, What kind of nutty conditioning have I undergone that makes the embracing of joy so difficult and dare I say REBELLIOUS? I have this precious life in a body, a body that can eat starbursts (yes the candy) and go roller skating and sing karaoke and dance to “Thriller” and climb trees and paint pictures! HOW AMAZING IS THAT!
Why on earth would I say no to ANY of that? Oh thanks for the offer, but I’d rather sit over here in human misery, thanks. I enjoy bleakness, sadness, turmoil, heartbreak! Yeah that sounds like a good plan!
It took a bit for me to embrace my highest self’s message. I finally decided that she probably has my best interests at heart so I’d be wise to listen. It did, however, mean saying thank you, next to all sorts of things that at one time I thought would fulfill me but were actually sucking me dry. Thank you, next to a law career. Thank you, next to the idea of respectability and prestige and frankly ego-gratifying stuff. Thank you, next to giving my power away willy-nilly! (And with it my joy and creativity! And the tree climbing!)
So here I am, at long last, ready to embrace the joy. I’ve dropped a bunch of false selves and the bologna that upheld them. There ain’t much more to shed. Time to come out of hiding and do the work! Create the creations! From inner-alignment of heart and mind. From love. From…wait for it…a place of…JOY!
I recently gave notice at a job that gave me a lot of freedom, paid me very well, and was in many ways a great gig! But it was tied a sense of self that no longer exists…a self that viewed the world very differently than I do now, and it is time to say goodbye. not just to the job but to a way of being that no longer fits.
Thank you, next.
What is next…? I’ll be following the joy to see where it takes me. It will involve embracing my gifts of art and writing to be in service to my village. This is exciting and a little frightening too.To quote the title of a Anne Lamott book, HELP! THANKS! WOW! I’ll be sharing my journey on these pages and I invite you to join me as I discover where it leads!*
*(Hopefully to some income. Income is good. But hopefully leads to futher joy too! (Obviously!) And freedom! And creativity! And more tree climbing!)
Why hello my friends and people of the internet! If you are reading this post you at some point clicked “FOLLOW”, maybe because you have known me since I was in diapers (though I no longer am, let me be clear), maybe because we went to school back in the days when I owned a Debbie Gibson-style hat (and wore it to school though sadly there are no photographs to document this), or maybe because you were sleep-scrolling on your phone and thought, sure, I’ll read the random ramblings of this lady and follow her blog and never think about it again.
Well I’m here today to talk about some ch-ch-changes. BIG CHANGES! To the blog yes but really more importantly to me. The lady behind the blow. The Oz behind the curtain if you will.
Let me cut to the chase. This BLOG IS CHANGING NAMES AND FOCUS. (Pause for dramatic gasps.)
That’s right. You probably don’t keep track of these things but my blog used to be called “Mourning Dove Motherhood.” I wrote about being a mom, losing my mom, some other sad stuff, then some happy stuff, then some angry–ARGHH FIGHT THE MAN! BRING DOWN THE PATRIARCHY!–stuff, then I kinda stopped writing. Then I popped my head out recently and gave you all a little teaser, like hey I’m coming back!
Well here I am! Back! Here is the deal. I realized that I am very much entering a new cycle. The blog and its name and jive doesn’t fit so much anymore. I’m still momming it up, yes, but I’m not thinking about grief or writing about grief or healing from giref or any of that jazz anymore. (HALLELUJAH!). At least it is not longer the main focus of my life. That is progress my friends. PHEW. Frankly, I’m impressed you came here to watch it all unfold. I mean, it is intense just thinking about it.
That brings me to the NOW. I’m retooling this blog to focus on where I’m at today, which is cultivating joy and bringing creations (art, writing, so much more!) into the world. I know you have questions so let’s do a pretend Q and A session alright?
Sarah’s imaginary q&a session with her readers:
Q: Blog lady, I don’t know you or care much about this, but I have questions. Lots of questions Like, what is the new name of the blog?
A: Random follower, I’m so glad you asked! It’s going to be called JUST FOLLOW THE JOY.
Q: Cool, cool. What’s the story behind the blog name?
A: I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED! It comes form something that came to me about a year ago. I was trying to figure out my life direction and was walking and asked the universe/higher self/great mother–what do I need to DO WITH MY LIFE ALREADY. And I heard “JUST FOLLOW THE JOY.” This phrase kept popping up again and again, every. single. damn. time. I aked for life assistance. Let’s just say I finally gave in and decided to heed the advice. FINE, I WILL HAVE FUN FOR ONCE. So yeah, that’s the new blog name right there! (Also, you could say Joy is my middle name. You could say that because my parents gave me that as my middle name for real. So, it’s like a play on words…Just Follow the (Sarah) Joy! HA! Ya dig me?)
Q: Listen, I signed up to read about your grief and miscarriage and infertilty which frankly is a lot more interesting that all this “follow the joy” business. Why the bait and switch?
A: Dearest follower reader (whoa hat was creepy – make me sound like a cult leader), I do apologize for any inconvenience due to the change in my life focus and blog direction. Please note that you may unsubscribe at any time! Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
Q: No really, why didn’t you just create a new blog?
A: I considered it, but I figured all of THAT STUFF (grief, healing, loss, healing, miscarriage, healing, infertility, healing) was what got me to HERE, and that people might like to see the full picture…the entire journey from soup to nuts if you will. You hung with me through the pain so I figure you are entitled to some joy, eh?
A: I want you to take a nice deep inhale. Hold your breath for three seconds. Good, good. Now exhale. Excellent. If you type in that old url you will be redirected to http://www.justfollowthejoy.com. It is that easy! All my old posts are still there for your sad/poignant reading pleasure.
Q: Let’s say I want to make a soup and start with chicken stock. But I don’t have any in my freezer. Can I make a quick stock today or am I screwed?
A: Oh, this isn’t a cooking blog. You are definitely in the wrong place. I once burned spaghetti that I was boiling in a pot of water.
Q: I think I’ll be ok with all of this. But is there anything I need to do, other than finish reading this ridiculous q and a?
A: SO GLAD YOU ASKED! I didn’t set you up for that question at all.
I’ve been thinking about the women on the family tree, their circles blackened and crossed out. Elizabeth – Breast, 31. Elizabeth’s cousin (name unknown): Breast, 30s. Elizabeth’s cousin (also name unknown): Breast, 30s. Diane, Breast, 44. Brain mets. 46.
Circles signify women, and blackened circles signify cancer. Lines through them signify death.
I’ve been thinking about how we explain and classify these early deaths of four women in my family.
THE H1686R VARIANT HAS BEEN RECLASSIFIED TO ‘SUSPECTED DELETERIOUS’, MEANING IT IS SUSPECTED TO BE A SIGNIFICANT MUTATION AND IS LIKELY THE CAUSE OF THE BREAST CANCER IN DIANE’S FAMILY.
Letter to my father from Barbara Ann Karmanos Center Institute, Dated May 7, 2015, informing of newfound information on my late mother’s BRCA1 gene mutation known as H1686R.
I’ve been thinking about how names on a chart and genetic abnormalities deny a simple truth: cancer over and over again struck the symbol of feminine nurturing and sustenance–the breasts of young mothers–in my maternal lineage.
I’ve been thinking about the assault on women’s bodies–and male bodies too. To paraphrase Eve Ensler, how patriarchy kills men in their hearts…and women in their breasts. Hearts and breasts.
Photo of my grandmother Elizabeth
Certainly I’ve been thinking about my late mom (Diane), and the grandmother I never met (Elizabeth), and her cousins (names unknown) on the genetic chart, called a pedigree. I’ve been thinking about other women too. Debby and Angela, two women I knew and admired, both not much older than myself, who died recently of breast cancer. Circles blackened and crossed out.
I’ve been thinking about the assault on our bodies and our land. Blackened and crossed.
I’ve been thinking about how our vitality as women and mothers is wrapped in the vitality of the earth. That waiting any longer to confront this truth is a pathology.
We can no longer deny the destiny that is ours by becoming women who wait–waiting to love, waiting to speak, waiting to act. This is not patience, but pathology. We are sensual, sexual beings, intrinsically bound to both Heaven and Earth, our bodies a hologram. In our withholding of power, we abrogate power, and that creates war.
This past weekend I thought, here we go again. It was my semi-annual, perhaps quarterly (at least!) reminder that my essential self-care needs cannot be messed with. To mess with them is to create an imbalance that ripples throughout the whole household. As the saying goes, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
IT SEEMS SO SIMPLE, RIGHT? And yet, there I was again, yelling like a shrew at my family this past weekend. All sleep-deprived and self-righteous. (I always become the self-righteous martyr when I’m parenting from an empty cup…look at me, sacrificing for ALL OF YOU, NONE of you whom seem to appreciate my greatness! LOL. NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR YOU, SARAH.)
After a long and difficult weekend I finally faced the music that I was spent. Done. Overcooked in fact. I needed to fill my cup, and fast. I collapsed and slept. A LOT. So much that I took a day off of work to keep sleeping. (It turns out I was really sleep-deprived from short nights with a sick kid last week. Huh.) I sat and watched some old Will & Grace episodes. (Season two, amazing 90s sweaters and longish boy hair cuts. But I digress.) I felt better. I created some art, something that I hadn’t done a lot of recently, spending most of my energy on administrative tasks for my Etsy shop. (Note to self: balance those tasks with the actual creating of art!)
I was finally back to the woman I was always meant to be! Rested and replenished and once again liking the people in my household. How had I let this get away from me, once again? Well, over-dependence on caffeine was most certainly one culprit. (I started weaning off coffee last week and this weekend I felt the full extent of my tiredness, no longer masked by delicious highly caffeinated Cuban coffees.)
Coffee aside, you know what else I blame?The damn patriarchy. This idea that somehow demanding time for myself on the weekend is indulgent or not becoming of a mother who works all week and only has weekends to really hang out with her kid. What, you are paying a sitter to watch your kid on the weekend TOO? What kind of monster are you?!
It’s all rubbish of course. Once again I’m back to reminding myself that not only can I not pour from an empty cup, but little eyes are watching me. What do I teach my daughter about taking care of herself, putting herself first, when I don’t do the same for me? And when I DO take time for myself pursuing my passions, I can show her what it means to be a nuanced, multi-faceted woman. Powerful stuff.
You may have heard other speak of self-care as a radical act, and that it most certainly is. I’m thinking it might be so radical that it goes beyond the idea of mere replenishment and recharging (though it is those things, too). I’m beginning to view it as a form of embracing the divine feminine. JUICY I KNOW!
I don’t have time to dive into those thoughts today, but I will tomorrow. After a full night’s sleep and with time to myself to write. Win-win-win!
What’s on your essential care list? Extroverts, I’d love to hear what your list looks like!
Why is it that when you know your scale is broken you still always assume everyone else’s scale is broken and ha ha don’t they know the only accurate reading is visible only to you in the privacy of your bathroom?
Which is to say that I bought a new scale. Guess what. MY OLD SCALE LIED. Of course it did! I knew it did but I wanted to believe otherwise. Perhaps the snug feeling in my shorts *wasn’t* just my weight “rearranging itself.” That isn’t even a thing! Weight doesn’t one day go, “Hey Herald come with me to this belly region so we can try out a new view! You know, hanging outside the top of this lady’s shorts!”
What does this have to do with anything? Well, it seems that this week is all about slaying. Not slaying as in “Beyonce is slaying on the red carpet.” Slaying as in, time to slay all the damn illusions and lies you have been telling yourself for too long.
Think you are losing weight even though your damn scale is five pounds off? SLAY.
Think you are totally cool with and have come to peace and understanding about ——>INSERT LIFE ISSUE THAT SUCKS<—???
Think that while yes those confederate monuments are gross and racist and vile you never really considered that WE LITERALLY WALK AROUND WITH MONUMENTS CELEBRATING SLAVERY AND WHITE SUPREMACY IN THE SAME WAY AS IF GERMANY HAD KEPT UP A BUNCH OF HITLER STATUES AND YELLED AT PEOPLE WHO WERE LIKE UM THOSE ME UNCOMFORTABLE???
How did I not see all this?!
That’s right, the word of the week is slay.
Slay those illusions and falsehoods. Because the truth–that is something you can work with.
The scale speaks the truth and now you can accept reality and decide maybe not to eat the large Costco bag of Veggie Straws by the fistful.
Life is hard and painful and yet…it’s only when you face the pain that you can release it. (Phew doesn’t that feel better?)