Honor the Longing

Holy Longing HIppo.png

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

 

A prayer for walking through fire

I am barely settled. 

One day up, one day down, most days sideways. A transcontinental move of epic proportions from Colorado to Zambia. I'm in it. I'm in the fire, facing the challenge of overwhelming change. This missive is for me as much as it is for you. A smoke signal rising from the ashes for those of us who are walking through the fire of challenge. 

As I take one step and then the next through the fires of change, I'm reminded that there is a particular set of circumstances that feels like fire, but also a choice and a practice that has guided and shaped my life and my work: I believe that the way we dance with and walk through the fires that we face both within ourselves, and those that life provides, reveal the heart of who we are. 

I believe that the way we engage with the fire, more than anything else, defines our lives. 

We humans tend to seek comfort. 

I've experienced my share of fear and anxiety -- I say this to affirm that I'm no different from anyone else. I identify myself as someone who is sensitive, intuitive, a certain level of trauma in my life, self-aware, a body that needs extra care, spiritually oriented and committed to making a positive contribution to the world. I'm guessing you have some, or all, of these qualities as well. These qualities point to a greater need for safety. 

These are real aspects and qualities that require compassion and care and tenderness and, can be a real strength when tended well. I would even go so far as to say that when tended through diligent and honest self-care, these qualities are the foundation of being a skilled fire walker in day to day life. On the other hand, they can also become reasons that sensitive souls might justify disengaging. Wrapping up in a soft warm blanket of comfort zone and keeping the world at bay. 

The fire beckons us. 

We can recognize the call by paying attention to our fear and our resistance. Taking a moment (or two) to notice if what we are feeling is the signature of wise fear (full stop, turn around, don't do it) or if it's the signature of resistance/fear (there is something amazing on the other side of this fear... I wonder what it is?).

Listening beneath the fear for the truth: is there something beautiful, powerful and true waiting on the other side of this fear?

You know. 

This skill, this capacity to turn and face our fear, to meet the challenge, to walk through the fire, to vanquish our demons teaches us who we are. It expands our world and transforms us into the people we truly are, the women we were born to be. It gives us joy, presence and strength. 

Whether it's learning to stand up for yourself and what you believe, or marketing and charging appropriately for your work, or learning to set boundaries and say no, or speaking out and educating your family about racism, or learning how to push yourself physically by mastering a new skill (like surfing) or even moving to Africa - this is the invitation. There is no room for cynicism or apathy or numbing out. This is life itself calling you out, inviting you to risk it. 

Walk through the fire. Face the fear. There are endless opportunities for each of us to walk through the fire and in doing so, we expand into more of who we are here to be. There is gold waiting for you on the other side.

If you are afraid and it's time to walk through the fire, time to face you fear, this prayer is for you.

A prayer for fire walkers.

Fire. I honor you.
I honor you as a master of alchemy. An agent of change.
I honor you and the way that your smoke and flames wake me up, bring me to full attention.

May I be alert in your presence and listen closely to your wisdom.
May I easily discern whether to flee, or to brave the fire and face my fear. 

Fire. Guide me.
Teach me how to tend you wisely. 
Teach me how to be consumed by you, renewed by you. 

May I have the courage to be the warrior you ask me to be.
May I commit to knowing your power and in doing so, know my own.

Fire. Light my way.
Inspire me to burn bright, to ignite the courage of those around me. 
Inspire me to speak truth, and in doing so, inspire others to know their own truth. 

May I know the gifts you offer to those who are brave enough to court you.
May I enjoy the abundance of fertile wealth that you leave in your wake.

Fire. Knowing my truth, I face you.
Eyes and heart open, I walk through the embers, the smoke, and the flames.
Eyes and heart open, I surrender to your teaching, one step at a time. 

Show me who I am. Burn away what I am not.
Transform me into the woman I am in the heat of your glorious flames.

Fire. I honor you.

Walk with courage through the fire you face.

I am with you, sister. Share with me what you are facing with courage -- let me hold it with you and affirm your power, your affinity with the fire itself. 

xoxo.nona

Beginning with a Heart Wide Open

4:30 am. Darkness. 

I wake up with questions. Questions I know will become prayers that pave the path of my journey. The quality of the questions, I know now, determines so much of the experience. 

I've struggled with new beginnings. 

Do I need to recite every catalyst, big and small, like it's own form of prayer, rubbing the mala beads smooth as I mutter under my breath? Is it necessary to mark the countless ways life has held out her hand and asked me to dance and I've either abandoned myself to the dance floor or (most often) I've pulled back, clinging to the wall -- desperately wishing for a song I know by heart.

Change is the most constant companion I've known, outside of the skin I live in. I haven't been a gracious companion to change, as I mentioned. I've wanted solid ground, asked for life to stay fixed in one spot -- you know the one. That one day where your jeans fit perfectly, everyone you care about loves you, your business is prosperous and meaningful, your energy is up, the weather is just the way you like it, your children are at 'that magical age' and you and your beloved are at your unmessy best with each other. And, of course, your hair is perfect.

Hold it. That's it. Just the way I want it. 

I have such compassion for this desire to arrange life just so. It reminds me of the way my daughter and her friends used to set up the Playmobil sets and beg and plead, "Please can we leave it set up? It's perfect just the way it is!" Inevitably a little brother or an animal or parental impatience with small plastic figurines would intervene and the perfectly arranged scene would go back in the box, in a jumble, while my daughter would wail in protest. 

This urge is adorable and confounding.

"Honey, you can set it up again.... why don't you PLAY with it?" and her perfect response, "It won't be the same, " and, "I don't want to mess it up!" I would cluck and nod (I know it's hard honey) and then assure her it would be just as good next time as I scooped her up and kissed her tear-stained cheeks. 

I was staring in a small, curly-haired, olive-complected mirror and I barely saw the reflection in that moment, but hindsight is so clear, isn't it? Moving my fingers over the beads, I've completed my prayers honoring the past. Heart open, the hand of change catches mine, again and again as I look to the future. 

New beginnings start in darkness

Birth of babies, birth of plants, animals, birth of new projects, ideas, lives, communities, eco-systems and nations. From the personal to the collective, beginnings have their roots in darkness. I am in awe of how a seed, frozen into the cold winter earth, surrounded by dark soil, follows instinct and (as a human I imagine) faith, to sprout and shoot in the right direction -- toward the sun, toward warmth, toward life above ground. Toward fruition. 

We, as humans, we have that same instinct to move in the right direction, toward the growth that is ours to live into -- whether we choose the circumstance or whether it's chosen us. The more deliberately we honor this instinct, the more enlivened and joyful life can be, no matter what change offers us.  

I'm in the thick of darkness right now, the first light of the sun at the horizon -- that liminal space where change and growth and new life is stirring - within me, in our life and in the world. It feels delicious. Anticipatory, despite the challenges that we will most certainly face. Today, like the seed, I say yes because I embrace change and my instinct is to grow. 

My prayer is just beginning to take shape

I ask to listen. May my questions lead me toward living fully.
I ask for presence. May I live with my heart and mind wide open. 
I ask for adventure. May I be changed by my experience and be a force for good.
I ask to be a blessing. May I offer grace to those I meet along the way.

I ask for authenticity. May I listen to my own heart and speak wisely.
I ask to connect. May I attune to the heartbeat of Zambia and her people.
I ask for courage. May I walk in beauty and truth and wonder.
I ask to feel roots. May I feel the first threads of belonging and honor them accordingly.

These are my questions, my prayers, spoken into the future on behalf of what has begun. Your questions, too, become the prayers that pave the path of your journey. The quality of the questions will shape and mold so much of the experience. What will your prayer for new beginnings be?

xoxo.nona