a poem

there is a pIMG_0008lace you must go when you find yourself in no place.
this place doesn’t exist for those who already have a place.
no. this place is special.
it’s where alchemy is born. where dark is light and light dark.
where nonsense is sensical.
where whispers are songs and walks dances.
it’s the place between places.
where clothes come off and all is exposed. where the wounds of the
heart receive tender attention. where the sheep in wolf’s clothing can
reveal it’s sadness for having to pretend to be another. where fear
becomes a friend and love your biggest ally.
this place between places is where you’re stripped clean of all you
knew to protect. armorless, you begin to realize your own words
have been your strongest weapons, most likely trapped behind your
shield and forced back upon you.
whether willing or forced, finding yourself in this place between places
is your greatest gift. to get out, you must work. work can be slow or fast,
arduous or simple. but work you must.
because to be in this place forever is never the plan. just as day turns to dusk
turns to night turns to dawn turns to day again, so too will you transition
in and out of this place.
the world needs you to report back that all is not lost when the lights go out.
that it’s actually in the dark one develops night vision.
that the dark is only as dark as the light bright.
that sometimes the life wanting to be lived lies in the shadow.

the place between places

this weekend here in Michigan was a cold one. one witIMG_0858h frost warnings and some sightings of snow flakes. yes, winter is approaching. we’re letting go of warmer, longer days. shedding our summer tans, cocooning ourselves in more clothes.

i had a moment yesterday when i felt so cold. my whole body chilled, i decided to take a hot shower to warm up. when it came time to leave my warm haven, i didn’t want to go. i didn’t want to put myself in the place between places. i didn’t want to feel the cool air. i didn’t want to stand, naked and cold and vulnerable. i just wanted to stay warm. and yet i couldn’t stay in the water forever, nor could i jump out and get right into my clothes. no. i had to be in between these two places. i had to turn the water off, dry off, before i could get warm again.

and then i got to thinking what a perfect metaphor this is for when we’re going through any process of change. there always comes a time when we have to choose to leave what’s comfortable in order to get to the next stage of growth. in order for me to get on with the rest of my day, i had no other option but to turn the water off and get out of the shower. i had no other choice than to feel the air around me. even for a brief moment, i stood there in the place between places. yes, i resisted it. yes, i drew out the shower until staying comfortable and warm was no longer serving me because there were other things i wanted to be doing. this is exactly what we do when we’re going through any kind of change: resist what’s uncomfortable.

for a while now i’ve thought that embarking on any internal process of change is terrifying simply because we’re not quite sure where we’ll end up. we’re not sure what kind of person we’ll be, how the process will change our outer lives. we formulate ideas (i.e., “if i go through this i’ll end up leaving my partner,” “i’ll realize everything i’ve done in my life is wrong and i’ll have to change it all and start over”) to fill in the blanks to help us satiate our need for certainty. these thoughts, though, are usually so scary that it keeps us from leaving what we’ve known. these thoughts keep us in the shower long after it’s time to get out. these thoughts are Resistance at it’s finest.

after this shower experience and thinking about my resistance to getting out of the shower, it’s even more clear to me that the focus needs to be on the place between places. the place where we’re stripped of what’s kept us “warm”: the beliefs, thought patterns, ways of being that are no longer really working to bring us joy and happiness. the place where the cool air wraps itself around our naked bodies and souls. where we’re so uncomfortable, alone and cold. the place where we’re most vulnerable.

it’s difficult, yes, to remove these layers and stand without what the ego thinks is protection. it’s in this space, though, that we can connect to the raw beauty of who we truly are. when we’ve taken off what’s only outer protection as we prepare to put on something new. it’s a necessary, crucial part of the process, this intentional soul exposure. it’s getting in contact with who we are at our core. the cold won’t last forever. we can always count on being warm again, but it won’t be until we can visit the place between places.

the beauty of becoming

IMG_0060as we journey toward reconnecting with ourselves at the deepest levels, we must go through a process of becoming. this becoming doesn’t happen overnight, for it’s a process. one in which there is no prescribed timeline, no map, no how-to manual. i felt this process working itself on me the other day, an opening of a moment in which i could feel the layers peeling back, see the painful years for what they’ve been, and allow all that is to permeate. it was a beautiful moment, one in which i knew i wanted to write about, and yet so fleeting it’s hard to put a name to it, difficult to translate in a way that i hope makes sense. it’s what i wish for everyone, always. to be able to bloom.

the beauty of becoming wouldn’t be the same without what we could say is the ugliness of despair, resistance, and fear. i only use the word “ugly” to make a point that there is duality in all things. light/shadow, love/hate, beauty/ugliness. but, when we can set aside our judgment that thrives on labeling anything, we can sit with both sides of the coin and know they are both equally valuable ingredients necessary for the creation of love.

when i was in the throes of my darkest dark night to date, i was soaked in hatred and resistance. covered in it. couldn’t get away from it. which is probably why it hung around for so long – i was doing anything i could think of to avoid being with it. this is why i say that these darker feelings are so crucial. i’ve learned to believe that they’re indicators of growth, of monumental shifts in thinking and ways of being, a sign that the foundation is trembling, making way for something greater to emerge from deep within.

it’s the bulb pushing through the frozen ground, poking its little green head through the dirt to peek around at the remaining snow mounds. it’s time. it’s not waiting until the perfect conditions, and it’s not going faster than it can go. no. and the bulb next to it? while it may be making headway, it still has a ways to go before it reaches daylight. but daylight it will find. in it’s own time.

this is also true for us when we embark on any healing journey: where there is resistance there is growth. yes, resistance is fear. but there wouldn’t be resistance if there was nothing to be afraid of: new territory; leaving familiar ground (physically and/or emotionally); and especially stepping into your own power, pushing through your own frozen ground to find the light of day. so, when resistance is rearing up and working to knock you down, let’s imagine for a teeny second that it’s the coach pushing you to fight harder, to push through the discomfort and connect to the place of raw emotion, of pure presence. it’s working to help you grow stronger. let’s just pretend it really does want you to be all that you can be, despite how convincing it is otherwise.

when i speak of resistance, it may seem i’m saying that the work is to do more despite feeling resistant. the work may be to do less. if resistance likes to make you feel bad for resting, then that’s the work – to rest. it really comes down to tapping into what you’re needing and then pushing through that voice to make it happen.

take the time it takes

take the time it taIMG_0365kes to be ready, to connect, to be. i was practicing yoga when i first heard this phrase, “take the time it takes.” when things stick like that for me, it’s my signal to hold on to it, that this is important. i often think of it like throwing cooked spaghetti at a wall – what sticks is what’s important. this one stuck.

it was savasana, and the teacher said so simply and calmly and as though it was no big deal at all to take the time it takes to connect to my natural rhythm of breath. she went on to say (and i’m paraphrasing here) that for some it would happen quickly (which i interpreted as easily) and for others it would take longer (which i interpreted as struggle). but for her, no judgment. just for some it happens quicker, and maybe even perhaps more easily, while for others it takes more time.

too often we expect and long to be where we just can’t. we want spring in the winter, sun in the rain, five years ago than this time and age. what if we were to drop down into our natural rhythms and connect to the steady stream of childlike awe and wonder as we watch the clouds float by? what if we let ourselves not know completely and went ahead with life anyway, taking the time it takes to live the questions? how about letting ourselves grow into our own skin, knowing that 25, 35, 65 might, and likely will, look different for each unique individual?

i’ve been wanting to begin writing more, to get this website and blog ‘live’ and yet can’t quite seem to just sit down and get it done. so i’m not going to do that. i’m going to take the time it takes to put it together, to make it what i want it to be, and yet not wait until it’s done to engage with the world. it’s akin to saying, “a work in progress.” that nothing is really ever complete or perfect or just right when it hits the ground running. maybe for some folks, but i’m hoping by choosing differently it’ll open up space and permission to connect to what’s true for me and take the time it takes.