Love whatever arises to be healed. Forgive yourself or others for their role in the lesson. Release so you can keep walking your path.
Find me on Instagram at @justfollowthejoy
I thought I’d introduce myself to readers new and old. Lots has changed since I started this blog!
We’re all in this space of rebirth, even the planet herself as she rages with fires of purification and waters of renewal. Personally, I’m being called to bring more of my self outward after a long (very long) inward journey. It’s a little scary stepping out!! But I know can’t keep the wisdom or the lessons to the myself because they aren’t mine to begin with. They’re meant to be shared with you dear reader!
When I started this blog my world felt topsy turvy and rightly so because many MANY things in my little world came crashing down. All of them for good reason, though I didn’t know it at the time! I came to understand that the old ways just wouldn’t work anymore. Something was calling me home to myself and the whole situation was at times ridiculously confusing to me. Everything I had attachments to–wanting to have another child,wanting to start a proper career in the law–crumbled like dust. I look back at that confused, exhausted and tapped out woman and I hardly recognizer her as me. That was seven years ago but might has well have been many lifetimes ago!
Recently after working with some clients who are really struggling, I was thinking about how so many in the world are at their root needing hope. I thought, wow if only people knew that it will be ok, they will be ok! And then with the subtly of a cartoon piano falling from the sky, I heard source cackling at me going, GEE IF ONLY SOMEONE COULD SHARE THEIR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF LIVING THROUGH DESPAIR AND COMING OUT BETTER THAN EVER AT THE END. Ohhhhh. So that’s what you want me to do! (Face palm. Lol)
Our world en masse is facing so much and reckoning with so much. But there is nothing to fear. There is a grander plan that is pushing you to a place that will bring you home to yourself, urging you or in some cases bonking you over the head with the message! So many are living through nothing short of terror, with fires raging outside their door, pandemics lurking outside the masks, protests roaring in the streets. Breathe deep. This is the definition of an initiation and is painful and hard. Frankly it sucks. It is meant to wake you from your slumber. I’s awakening medicine in yourself you didn’t know you had, gifts that were dormant. Lives longing to be lived.
We aren’t of this world of pain and suffering and joy is our birthright. Hard to see when the world is burning but keep in mind the old must fall before the new rises. Whatever you are going through, know I send you love and blessings that you path through it all with as much ease and grace possible.
You can do this — we can do this together!
love, Sarah Joy
Think about a time in your life where you had a leap of consciousness. What were the circumstances that brought you to a new understanding of yourself? When I think about my own life, the times of greatest and most significant leaping occurred during times of enormous friction.
There was the dark night of my soul in my early twenties when all the trauma that had been suppressed made its way into my consciousness — painful but a huge leap into new awareness that led to healing and newfound growth.
There was that moment of choice I made where in a place of deep pain I realized I no longer needed to suffer, and in deep surrender to the divine, I experienced a profound spiritual awakening.
Emotion can provide a fuel, and circumstances can give great friction, but it is up to use to determine what we do with it. Do we attach to emotion and the story we tell ourselves about it (that we deserve nice things, we aren’t worthy of love, insert-crappy-ideas here), remaining stuck? Or do we choose to learn the lesson and say “no more of this nonsense!” and go UP?!
I share this as someone who at points in my life was…how shall I say this…very much the long suffering sun-in-Pisces, moon-in-cancer-martyr who dramatically chose to carry the pain and suffering of all humanity on her back. I can laugh about it now but there was absolutely nothing funny about to me at that time, thank you very much! I was wearing my serious face doing my serious spiritual work rooted in painful melancholy! And much agonized poetry writing!
That being said…let me be clear : I don’t think the only way to grow as a soul is through pain and suffering. Rather, I believe that difficult situations can be a great AWAKENER to show us to true nature of our reality and existence: that we are love, that the universe is one of love, and that really our soul is hoping we get the lessons once and for all so we don’t have to repeat them.
Which reminds me of this quote my sister sent me when I was wallowing years ago in the pain and suffering of grief…bless her for poking at me and urging me to shake out of it!!
Yep, ain’t that the truth. Well, the good news is that 2020 is bringing us all sorts of delightful ways to awaken!! HA. You ready to use the friction as fuel to take you higher? Roll up those sleeves folks, you can do it!
I’ve been feeling the call for freedom! What does freedom look and feel like inside myself?
For me, freedom is no more falsehood. That only the true, authentic me remains–no masks!
It’s freedom of pain and suffering. No matter what appears before me.
It’s finding flow and letting the light be…no interruption, no stagnation, no forcing.
It’s walking my path, step by step, trusting that whatever comes is for my highest good.
It’s moving beyond the constraints and limitations of a system of oppression that really lives inside myself.
Freedom feels like HOME inside myself.
Are you feeling the call to freedom? What does freedom feel like to you?
(Oh: and freedom also feels like THIS…the epic Aretha Franklin singing “Think!” in Blues Brothers…freedom…freedom…freedom, FREEDOM!)
This is a post written by a white lady for a white audience– especially those well-intentioned whites who believe that if they vote the correct way and don’t wave confederate flags then they have done their part and are not racist. We need to talk about that.
I went back and forth on posting –I do not want to add to the trauma or grief that black and brown folks are experiencing, and I don’t want to center discussions on white people whom frankly we hear enough from thank you very much–but I also firmly believe that white people have not stepped up and had these discussions for like, forever, and the burden of this work cannot remain on the shoulders of people of color to fix or solve a problem THEY DID NOT CREATE. So – if this is not your cup of tea, feel free to go “Thank you, next” on this piece. If you are still here, let’s carry on!
White people, we need to get our collective sh%t together! Doesn’t matter if your people didn’t own slaves, doesn’t matter if you have suffered your own life trauma’s that made life hard. The bottom line is that if you are white you benefit day in and out, since the moment of your birth (even the manner of your birth or the fact you or your mother survived birth), from a system of white supremacy. We are fish swimming in a sea of supremacy. We live it, we breathe it, we benefit from it. And it’s time we end it.
If there’s one thing I hope to be true during the past few weeks in America it’s that well-intentioned white people like myself maybe, just maybe, are finally starting to truly see the truth in themselves–that good intentions are not enough. It is your ACTIONS that matter, even when difficult, hard, uncomfortable and foreign to your way of being.
This isn’t my first rodeo in addressing my white privilege and the ways I maintain racism, but damn if I’m not seeing a whole new host of issues in myself that I JUST TRULY DID NOT SEE, and they just keep popping up like whack a mole game. I address one within myself, I face the shame and guilt, I move the energy, and the next ignorant belief I didn’t see comes rising up. In the beginning of all this I was feeling raw, ashamed, like I wanted to hide. But I stuck with the discomfort. I don’t say this asking for pity, but just to encourage you to sit in the discomfort and keep going. Too much depends on it!
I won’t bore you with the details of all the realizations I’ve had, but I will share that the biggest of them is finally seeing with wide open eyes the ways that I’ve maintained white silence.
I’ve seen how I’ve subconsciously maintained white allegiance rather than stir the pot. I’ve chosen to be “nice” and “comfortable” rather than make waves. What I’ve come to realize is that my silence in the face of every small micro-aggression toward minorities was me going “Nah this system is cool, I’m just gonna sit back and let it be.” In those moments of silence I acquiesced and aligned with an energy that sought to demean another human. Damn if that isn’t dark.
Why do we continue to do it, even when we know it’s wrong? Even when the racist uncle or colleague says something that makes our stomach churn, why do we carry on like we didn’t hear it, or laugh uncomfortably?
What I’ve learned, especially in the course of my spiritual work, is that if I am love itself, why would I stand for any action, words or thoughts that don’t align with that love. My actions on the outside my align with my heart– no more disconnection, no more indignity.
It means reclaiming my power and my responsibility. Confronting the part of myself stuck in shame and guilt and healing it. Addressing the parts of me that feel dis-empowered and moving it.
Imagine that the world we live in in the United States is setup like a large white supremacy system Jenga game. When you see something racist but let it stand, you allow that Jenga piece to stay solidly in the system, propping up the whole. You tell yourself that your one piece seems meaningless, but if every single person decided to make choices aligned with their humanity, and called out every racist act, or chose to align with efforts to dismantle racist systems–basically chose to use their power for the highest good of EVERYONE–well, eventually that entire stack of bricks would fall. You can’t see it when you are only thinking about yourself. It requires you to be an active, diligent, engaged, and dedicated human being who minute by minute, day by day, chooses over and over again to align with humanity. It requires you to be conscious.
Sound exhausting? It is–but in my experience only at first. The reason for that is because you are overcoming a resistance that lies within yourself, and there is a tension there. An energy that you must overcome. (Of course, imagine the flip side of this….feeling that pressure against you all day everyday, aimed at destroying your spirit, your livelihood, your existence. I don’t know what that feels like, I haven’t lived it, and I don’t think most whites have the resilience or grit to get through even a day of it.)
White people, it’s time we choose the kind of world we want to be a part of. Do we want to keep swimming in that nasty water of white supremacy, swimming along like everything is cool when our brothers and sisters of different races aren’t able to breathe (literally and metaphorically?) Or will we choose as to realign with our humanity and stand united with the dignity of all human beings, in words, in actions, in thoughts?
I hope you’ll roll up the sleeves and commit to doing the work. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Like I said, we haven’t spoken about this enough. It’s time we break that silence.
I want to share Andréa Ranae’s perspective on silence and the consequences of silence. WOW. Checkout her instagram post and follow her at @andrearanaej:
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Silence is not violence. Silence is a decision. Every decision comes with consequences. Consequence: the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier Consequences are not inherently bad or good, they just are. A consequence of silence might be that you get to rest or reconnect with what’s true for you. A consequence of silence might be that violence continues on without intervention. A consequence of silence might be that you’ve made space to listen to the unheard. A consequence of silence might be that other people assume you’re doing nothing. A consequence of silence might be that the rest of us may never get to experience what you have to contribute to the world. Whatever decision you make in any moment comes with consequences and you are responsible for those. Meaning you are able to respond as you see fit. If the consequences you’re experiencing are not getting you what you want, you can always make a different decision. “Silence is violence” often comes with a binary of right and wrong and an accusation of “if you’re silent, you are wrong.” White supremacy thrives off these rigid binaries and absolute truths without space for complexity. Silence is a decision. You get to decide when and how you use silence. Only you can discern whether that decision is aligned with your integrity. Only you can discern whether the consequences you’re seeing/experiencing from that decision is what you want or if you need to pivot.
This excellent piece about being an anti-racist white educator has some great tips for everyone, not just those in teaching professions.
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!
The other night I read my daughter a book that mentioned how lobsters hide under rocks while molting a new shell.
First of all: lobsters molt?! I I’m am showing my ignorance of the crustacean family here but I had no idea. Also, gross.
Second: friends, I think I might be a LOBSTER!
Let’s review the facts, shall we?
I was going to draw a picture of myself as a lobster because everyone loves a visual, but I realized that I don’t have time to do that. But I DO have a lovely drawing of a ghost crab. I met him last summer in Cocoa Beach. Isn’t he just the cutest?
So, for the purposes of this blog post, I am metaphorically speaking a
lobster GHOST CRAB. (Which I googled – and they do molt – so it works.)
HERE I GO! It’s a little scary. My shell is still a little squishy. But no more hiding under a rock!! It’s time!
P.S. Do you think crabs are cute or totally gross? I vote cute! Cuter than lobsters for sure. By the way, do NOT google “lobsters molting” unless you want nightmares.
It seems I’ve been HIDING IN MY SHELL. For like, a while. Months and months! It was necessary, this journey inward and focused on dealing with some life situations, but time to renter the world already!
So here I am, poking my head out, tentatively at first but pretty soon I’ll be back in the swing of things just like old times, me and WordPress doing our thing. For now, imagine me waving hello! What you been up to? Ready to take on March? Stick your head out of your shell too? I think good things are in store!
Adorable turtle model is courtesy of The Everglades Wonder Gardens @theevergladeswondergardens where your’s truly took the photo. This little dude’s probably more of a metaphor for someone trying to bust loose from fences (internal? External?) but he’s just so gosh darn cute I had to include him.
Bye for now! But see ya soon! (PROMISE!) .
(Pssttt! Do you like following things more on Instagram than on wordpress? Keep up with my posts in Instagram at @followthejoy!) #justfollowthejoy