Honor the Longing

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Hey soul sister: listen to me read this post right here {6min, 2sec}:
 

My work is so much of who I am.

So much of who YOU are, too, I know. You are dedicated, committed and absolutely on fire to do meaningful work in the world. And you do -- in big and small ways, just by being you, you are changing the ecosystem of the world through your love, through your wisdom, through your magic. 

As joyful and fulfilling as work is, you need more.

You need time for deep sustenance. Time to rest. Time to think. Time for pleasure and play. Time to indulge your longings. I have learned, over lots of time, and many fumbles, that I am at my best when I weave deep and meaningful nourishment into my days. 

And I also need time to step away completely -- to honor my longings as fully as I can. I believe we all need that kind of spaciousness and I wonder... how many of us actually give ourselves that time? 

What I notice when I do give myself that time is that I return to work anew. I return to my pursuits with loads of energy and fresh ideas. As much as our culture pushes endless productivity, we simply don't work like that, do we?  

So, as I head out on a month long vacation home to the U.S., I fully intend to honor my longings. The longings I have (that you have) point to the ways that we are most deeply refilled, most fully nourished. The things that create the richest, lushest topsoil from which to create. 

The other day, I was writing with the prompt, "I long to be." and it made me think of you, and me, and meaningful work and how extremely important it is to honor the longings. As the northern hemisphere bakes in the heat of long days and short, summer nights and the southern hemisphere enjoys it's lovely and mild version of winter, may you know, and honor, your longings -- -- for me, it's undoubtedly the time I spend with earth, in wild spaces, as you'll see from my writing below. 

I long to be

I long to be wild,
to be bitten and scratched, hot and burnt, ravished in the space between earth and sun. 

I long to be dipped in the rushing river,
to be cleansed, letting the heat of my skin be swept away by the current. 

I long to be sun freckled by day,
and kissed by moonlight as I dream. 

I long to sling a hammock between two trees,
to be woken by lions on the prowl, holding my breath when the king's great mane brushes against my back as I hang in the balance. 

I long to be a kingfisher,
to hover -- like magic, really -- so gracefully before plunging into the water. 

I long to be a hippo,
fierce and mysterious in being made for both land and river.

I long to be a leopard,
pregnant, holding the future of my kind in my belly.

Oh let's face it, I long to be every animal at least once (some twice, please),
Even the warthog, who kneels in prayer and looks like she is kissing the earth when she eats. 

I long to live in a treehouse.
Hobbit-style or Robinson Carusoe -- it doesn't matter as long as the tree says yes and we can tell each other our secrets. 

I long to do more and be more and make more,
to make a deeper and wider contribution. A legacy. And then the pied crow catches my eye and I just want to go back home. 

I long to be home,
to go deep into the forest, to the ocean, to the wild places. 

I long for the places that I reMember,
I am simply one of many beings who share the ancient exhalation of our star, the sun. 

I long to be nothing more than the woman I am,
but let it be in a world that values life, and I don't mean just lip-service. 

I long for a time,
Maybe long ago or in a (not so) distant future when all beings, all life, will flourish and be celebrated for it.

I long (eventually) to be dirt,
to be rich topsoil that nourishes beauty and bellies alike, that connects the trees and cushions the fall of children who lose their footing. 

I long for the adventure,
To lean into life and to appreciate every inch, every mile traversed. To love it with all of my soul yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

May you honor the longing of your soul.

May this coming season offer you ample opportunities to hear, and follow, the longings. To feel deeply nourished. To fill your cup with pleasure so you can come back to what is important and meaningful in your work with fresh eyes and ample energy. 

xoxo.nona

 

There is no "fix"

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Let me read this post for you {7 min, 14 sec}

You do not require "fixing"

You are not a machine. You are not a toaster with a faulty heating element. There is no final, steady state of perfection, transcendence or even plain old goodness to keep reaching for. You are brilliant, wise, and you shine so bright when I see you -- I wish you believed what you really, deep down, know is true: this brilliance, your brilliance, is the real deal. 

No matter how much I say this, no matter how much I repeat this, I know that it's hard to hear in the swirl and roar of airbrushed images, affirmations that attempt to elevate you above your flaws, and the subsequent hangover cures peddled to everyone who is trying to distance themselves from their lack of perfection. 

I think I'm lucky. I have always been stubborn as a mule. When people who had my "best interests at heart" steered me toward the path of least resistance, I could only stomach that crap for about 14 years. It nearly killed me to drink my way through the darkness of trying to do what was expected of me (which is actually code for "continuous striving for perfection that will always fail"). 

Humanity is the light and the beauty

And, I know firsthand how much work it takes to live into this truth, which can seem like you are trying to fix something in you that is fundamentally flawed. That's not it -- it's more like chipping away at old paint that was put on beautiful hardwood in a misguided attempt to beautify something that is incomparable in it's natural, stunning beauty. 

It's not a fix that you are seeking, it's restoration of your innate wholeness to your conscious awareness. A revealing of (and reveling in) your natural light and beauty, one sweet layer at a time. Your true nature, your soul, your Essence of beauty, truth, light, love and joy is intact. The luminous core of you is undamaged and on some level, you know it. You can feel it because no matter how much paint you might layer on, somehow the natural grain of the wood is still there, still visible. 

One layer at a time

With every fiber of my being I believe that we are, at our core, divine. That we are, in fact, embodied, divine soul. That our human experience is exactly what we are here for, not some hyped up idea of "transcendence" that is just another face of the impossible search for perfection. 

What our souls really long for is the messy, real and true experience of being human -- engagement with terrible and difficult challenges, experiencing the incredible joy of creativity, feeling our hearts break open again and again as we move through the world with countless other beings (some we love, some we like, some, well... great teachers), the awe and wonder of living in a world that is so alive, so beautiful and terrible in equal measure that it inspires us. The tears and pain, the laughter and joy, the triumph and yes, even the defeat. The list goes on. Our lives on earth are precious, our capacity and desire for aliveness, immense.

Please.

Drop any ideas of perfection. Stop looking for a "fix" (god, looking for a fix is like looking for a "fix" as an addict, isn't it?) Let go of the idea of attainment. Or being some kind of goddess. Strip away anything anything other that who you are: a unique expression of the divine living deep and wide in the human experience. Perfectly imperfect. Held and nourished by our great Mother Earth, celebrated by the angels and devas throughout the Universe, infinitely loved and supported by the Divine. 

Peel off the paint, reveal the luminous beauty at the core of your being; at the core of your humanity. Show me your quirks, your fears, your mistakes and your triumphs. Let me see the stains from the tears and the scars born from love, from play and yes, the incredibly strong scars from the wounds inflicted by others. 

This is how we belong to ourselves. This is how we belong to the world. One tender layer of Truth revealed at a time.

Show me the very Truth of your being

My sister, this is so much larger than you, than me. This is what you need. This is what I need. This is what we need, collectively, to reconnect with our Truest Nature as individuals and as a collective. We crave Truth. We long for radiance to be revealed. This is how we know ourselves, and each other. This is how we remember who we truly are.

When you reveal your True self you restore something precious to your own life, yes, but the ripples are infinite. Don't doubt the power your own healing and restoration has on the world at large, my sister -- don't doubt the power of knowing and celebrating your own wholeness. 

Hear me now.

You are brilliant, wise, and you shine so bright in your messy and oh so human experience -- embrace what you really, deep down, know is true: this brilliance, your brilliance, is the real deal. Stop. Trying. To. Fix. Yourself. You are not broken, you are beautifully and brilliantly and divinely human. 

And truly, I love that about you. 

xo.nona

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A guide to craft your Sacred Practice

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What do you need to say?

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You can listen to me read this post right here (holy moly, it's 14 minutes. Prepare yourself.)

Dear beautiful you.

This is dedicated to my daughter. To your daughter. To all the daughters. To all the women who are in the lives of younger women. To all of us who are raising our voices for a deeper, wider and truer conversation that opens up a different world. I dedicate this to you.

I've been grappling. Grappling with the imperative to "be what you speak and speak what you be", as my wise friend KJ said to me. As the kid who was scorned as the town crier, I've always been a person for whom truth is an imperative, but now I'm in a whole new place -- no holds barred, truth spoken with courage, love and an open heart.

It's been amazing. And terrifying. And so incredibly healing. 

I didn't even know there were so many ways I was still silencing myself, but I've recently been initiating conversations where I've said things that I've never dared to say. Not particularly brave things, but vulnerable things which for me makes these conversations Brave with a capital B. 

It's vital to honor the hurt.

When I first began practicing yoga back in the stone ages when mats only came in one color - a light-ish blue -- our teacher began with the yamas and niyamas. The first yama -- non-violence --pierced me deeply. I knew it was mine to work with. I had no idea how that one ideal, taken into my heart, would change my life. I also had no idea what I was getting into -- I didn't really understand the damage I was dealing with: the harm our culture does to women's Truth, the very real impact of the violence that I had experienced, and oh my lord let's not even get into the violence that I inflicted on myself for many years, in so many ways.  

I have a whole lot of history with my voice, as so many women do -- maybe all women. My particular story includes my truth not being welcome with the people I love. Having my heart and soul shut-down by people I cared for and by society at large. And truly, too many counts of being shamed, blamed and rejected because of saying what is true for me. I've never met a woman who has not experienced this to some degree. We share this legacy, sisters. 

Over the last six years, I have been actively tending the work of restoring (what I believe to be) a natural state of non-harming in how I speak to, and about, myself and consequently, to others. This has been a scary, heart-wrenching and deeply transformative process of tending and remembering mySelf by owning my truth and stepping into conversations that are tender, necessary and honest. 

All of this has brought me to a heartbreaking truth: time and time again, I witness women effectively perpetuating violence against themselves by diminishing, dismissing, devaluing and doubting themselves in one way or another. For some of you it may be how you devalue yourSelf and the vital nature of your work. For others, it may be denying your needs and being in a perpetual state of giving in relationships. For some it could be dismissing your needs and silencing yourself when you are hurt in relationships. 

No matter what it is, if you are anything like me or the women I regularly speak with, this pattern is part of how you operate to some degree or another. 

Let's bring some light to this subject.

I want to begin with this acknowledgement: it takes a tremendous amount of courage and presence to look at and change the way we speak to ourselves, advocate for ourselves, or speak about ourselves. In other words, even for the most talkative among us, it can be extremely daunting to step into vulnerability, to courageously decide to speak the whole truth. 

I will tell you, as excited as I've been about offering Say It! as part of The School of Sacred Practice, I've also been grappling with doubt and apathy, which I sat with long enough (uncomfortably, I might add) to surface that this was rooted in a diminishment of what I offer to the women I'm calling in, which goes back to the ways I was shamed for using my voice as a young person. I say this because it's important to me that you know I'm right here with you. I know how hard it is to say the challenging things out loud. I also know how transformative it is to brave those stormy seas of fear to Say It! even when your voice shakes.  

As hard as it is to open up our hearts and share the depths of our self-perpetuated suffering, it can be even harder to open up and share the luminous qualities and gifts that we have to share. Under the surface waves of the self-diminishment that I can so easily slip into is a larger truth  -- I am really grounded in a compassionate way of being that gives me a gift for holding welcoming, transformative space. I'm not going to qualify that statement at all -- it's true (but oh my god I want to).

Outside of the act of getting sober and committing to stop the legacy of addiction I inherited, this devotion to non-violent truth in all the ways, including how I speak to and about myself, is the most important work I've done. It's the most important foundational work I've done to help me speak true in sharing my work so it reaches the women who need it. It's the most important work I've done to foster more joyful intimacy with my husband. It's the most important work I've done to ensure that I'm the parent Clara needs. It's the most important work I've done as the basis of cultivating relationships with other women, and the world at large, that feels nourishing and honest. 

The journey of a lifetime.

I want to see women all over the world speak the truth to, and about, themselves -- because this is the basis for changing the world we live in, one open-hearted conversation at a time. Say It! may not change your life in three weeks, but it could change the trajectory of how you live your life. True story. 

So whether you want to join me and the amazing women who have already said yes to Say It!, these are the three explorations and practices of devotion that you can work with to move a little deeper into a non-harming, truth-rich relationship with your beautiful Self and consequently, the world. 

Say It! Invitation One: Do Unto YourSelf as You Would Have Others Do Unto You

One of the most profound (and tedious) practices that creates true magic over time is a devotion to being on your own side. For those of us that speak the language of self-doubt to ourselves, struggle to receive, or are inclined to think everyone is better than we are, this is an invitation to simply consider how you truly wish to be spoken to and treated (as in, write it down.) Do you speak to yourself the way you would speak to others? Begin there, with yourSelf. No exceptions, no excuses -- own it and act on it. Devote yourself to this. Be fiercely on your own side. Simple. Tedious. Effective. Do it.

Say It! Invitation Two: Trust the Strength of Vulnerability

Once you deepen in your capacity to be on your own side, it's easier to dig into the Truth - your deepest Truth. As you surface what is truly happening for you, your invitation is to consider (to just consider, mind you) letting others experience your fullness. What do you need to say? Because let me tell you sister -- really, this practice is all about noticing, and letting yourself have, all the feels about what has stood between you and yourSelf and speaking your truth. Expect tears and lots of clearing away when you choose vulnerability with yourself. This is uncomfortable, life-changing work. Be gentle with you and let yourself feel it all the way through. 

Say It! Invitation Three: Take it to the Streets

This is the beginning of something beautiful -- when we are so grounded in who we are and our truth that we can Say It! to those around us. In other words, the true measure of the intimacy we create with ourselves is the impact that it has on our relationship to life. To Say It! is to be in an ongoing unfolding of knowing your Truth and being fully in it for yourself, on your own behalf and also for the world around you. The invitation is to choose to speak True -- maybe that's how you market your work. Maybe it's in boundaries you set. Maybe it's how you ask for what you need or say what's true for you -- no matter what, this is the very stuff of living your Truth in ways that change you and the world. 

I believe in your Truth.

I believe every single voice is needed and necessary at this time. I believe knowing your wisdom and discerning your own heart's Truth is the only way to lead a life of joy and purpose. I in no way believe this means being nice and "not making waves" or conversely, vomiting anger, rage and shame onto others. I do believe this means unequivocally stopping the damn violence and practicing the kind of true sovereignty and compassion that spreads like wildfire through our collective consciousness and conversations. 

So tell me, sister, what do you need to say to, and about, yourSelf? Today, your invitation is to share one challenging and tender thing with another human (which can absolutely be me - I would be honored to witness you. Just click here - just between you and me!) and to claim and share one radiant gift that you've tucked away and hidden or diminished. Note how it feels, breathe with yourself, it's okay for it to feel scary and edgy. This is how we expand our capacity to Say It!, sister -- one step at a time.

I hope you'll take the journey with me.

xo.nona