Sun & Shadows - Chapter #11

Does my raw and inescapably passionate perspective sound weird to you?

Well, let’s take off more clothes shall we - love can feel right fucking wild. Completely untameable. Too mysterious for our control freak brains and, at times, far too soul-satisfying to let in. Every climax has an upward flow pausing momentarily in empty silence. For some this spacious silence triggers every regret, unspoken word, all of our uninvited shame, unmet desires & denied dreams. And so we avoid the climax. We avoid the timeless, raw, liberating perspective of the empty space. We avoid fear and so, we avoid Love.

Love’s like a sunset over the ocean after a long hard day full of stress. It’s like the rainbow that appears when sun & rain dance. It’s that feeling we get when we’re touched by nature’s extravagance in the midst of life’s chaos. It slows us down.

Love can take over time and expand our consciousness to include the freedom and relief of infinity. It’s the knowing that nothing can touch us even though our bodies can rip, tear and die.

Remember when I wrote, “what comes after you have everything you want … death” in chapter 9? Ok so, when something has the potential of bringing our darkest fears to the tips of our noses, we mostly avoid it. Not purposely like silly bananas but because we’re (Generalization? Yes) programmed to stay small. So, we desperately keep our utter fulfilment out of reach to protect ourselves from being too close to the one experience no one will escape when they love - loss.

This is Sun & Shadows - a chapter in which I aim to begin wrapping up my traumatic & glorious unravelling. Or should I say my Becoming? Same same lover. Same same.

Ready? I’m gonna shine a light on Trust …via death. Lean in bright light. I like you close.

A loss for the unprepared human breeds fear. Fear demands avoidance. Now, by default, if we allow this fear to stick our heads in the sand, we’re avoiding our very fulfilment. Face your fear. Face that everything you love, everything you have, and everything dear to you will end. Death will come for your sons and daughters, for your beloved pets, for your dreams and your body. Death will dismember your sense of security, any mask you’ve ever relied on, and eventually, with a little luck, your will to stay “small safe”.

*We discussed this “small safe” concept in the last chapter. Remember? The one where my trucker mouth takes centre stage.

Death dismembered my illusion of security, ripped off the masks I held tightly to and, turned my will to stay safe into a ferocious will to avoid playing small.

Here’s the deal gang. We’re in this together you see. Together dear friend. So let’s get closer. Let’s talk more, touch and hug more, cuddle for indulgently long periods of time and celebrate each other more. Let’s expand our circles of intimacy and trust. Besides, removing love from the haunting existence of deaths like trying to remove the softness from the silk itself, or trying to separate the colour red from a glass of wine made from rich red grapes. We crave holiness. I mean wholeness.

It seems to be we all want a sense of fulfilment before we die. Why then do we tend to grab so strongly at each other's mistakes and imperfections - making it almost impossible to advance towards happily ever after while maintaining any form of healthy intimate relationships? Guaranteed, your utter & complete fulfilment includes, in some way, shape or form, others. Believe me or not, I’m not here to convince you. Remember hun, we need each other to heal our dark & really understand our light.

Is this focusing on the negative thing a strategy that somehow helps us get everything we want? Mmm, yeah well if so, the strategy sucks. It fails. Always. On the bright side, I am quite sure that it is possible to have everything we want.

Hint? Ok! Drop the juvenile albeit innocent clinginess to small safe. We all want happiness more than we want “little s safe”. We’re just scared & injured is all. Bravery is in you, I promise. So, let’s work together to find ways to sweetly liberate each other AND stay in love! Doesn’t that sound wonderful!!?

Want some motivation to open up your chest & let some mind-blowing beauty in?

Here’s what happens when we cling to pain: Our ability to see and feel clearly what we actually want from our lives gets muddied. We end up making decisions that take us away from our True North instead of toward it. We create more pain instead of peace, smother desire instead of satisfy it, & forget that we are divine, beautiful, deserving sacred creatures living amongst other deserving sacred creatures. We harm each other because we want to be loved by one another.

Holding onto pain interferes with our capacity to heal and, healing sets us free. Seriously I mean that. Healing gives you access to your holy true self. When you get a taste of all that you are, you forget your fears about darkness and suddenly you see the potential for the whole world and everything beyond to be a living expression of love.

We get hurt. It can be PAINFUL & HARD. Impossible even maybe, given the circumstances some people have lived through. I know. But lovers, as soon as I notice the leech that sucks out love hiding on my little toe, I mindfully, lovingly, considerately (most probably with a shriek and shudder) - get it the fuck off.

I deal with the pain, anger, terror and resentment, or whatever else is sucking at my capacity to embrace the divine mystery. It’s really not a good party but, it sure gets me more yum in the long run. Plus, it’s such a mystery why we’re asked to love the way we are. Why we’re asked to let go, to surrender and trust the way we sometimes have to. But so what?! I thought we all like a little mystery anyhow. Let’s call it novelty, get excited about endings (they breed beginnings) and move on. Tears, temper tantrums and days in bed are all more than welcome in this new approach to death & endings. For Trust, what naturally arrives as you embrace death & endings, is a very welcoming and understanding creature.

There’s this creepy idea that tries to sneak into our beds at night. It infiltrates our dreams, turns them to nightmares, then fucks off when you wake to leave you to deal with the mess it left. Actually, I think it’s done quite well at getting into our beds. Shit.

Let’s see if you know what I’m talking about:

It’s this common and desperate attachment we have about feeling worthy and enough that has many of us try really hard to get and take only the good from life. Like we compulsively compare our lives to everyone else's to see if we add up. The creepy little idea gremlin says if I add up I can be happy. If I don’t …dum dum dum dum …burn yourself out by trying harder, give up on yourself or play small at all costs.

P.S -  there is a cost to playing small. Your gifts are but one part of a cosmic puzzle we all want to be whole.

I believe it’s from this compulsion to temper the dark side of life that war comes. That violence, unhappiness and the all too common regretful heaviness of a life not fully lived come.

Had I not been able to breath deep, face my nightmare and bow to the darkness of my future on that bathroom floor on a frigid snowy Canadian night in January, I’d be dead. Not metaphorically dead, not close to dead, dead. Done. Book closed, story unfinished …forever. Nuh uh uh. I’m not done yet.

Mr.Brady would have lost not only his first and only wee one but the woman he just married. I wouldn’t have met the fullness of Mr.B and I’s child. I would have died with her not fully knowing her and, having to dissolve into the ether with the awareness that I chose my own fear over the ONE opportunity to truly BE with my unborn baby - while she died. But I did meet her. I did feel her fullness, her spirit, her personality. I did experience what most humans fail to make sense of.

We did our job as parents dear Brady Patterson and I. We weren’t infallible. We were human and, we did the best we were capable of. Our failures were because of our fears and our rigid attachment to a desired order. An order that we as humans are too small to understand therefore too much in the dark to dictate.

Religious? Don’t let your bullshit ego steer you away from the all too common reality that religion is oft used as a means to control this order. This is not trusting. This is fear. That is not godly. It’s broken & angry darkness wearing a mask of light.

I fully understand you may strongly dislike what I write with such neutrality but let me remind you, I’ve been around and paying extremely close attention for long enough. I’ve been in the secret caverns of many a human who diligently go to church, mosque or temple, or sit under the Bodhi tree. I write these words from a desire to remind us we are all the same. I know things about you that even some of you don’t know about you. I reiterate this is why we need each other. I you & you I.

Moving on.

My time fully present with my chosen lover and I’s wee babe in my belly may’ve been a fleeting moment, but it’s a moment I have in my heart now. My gift. It’s the most intense & treasured moment of my life story. It’s a moment that roots me in my body and my heart. I melted into my shadow & trusted that I had to let go.

My child. Father & I didn’t get to hold her and look into her eyes, touch her perfect little toes and smell her head, kiss her owies or see the woman she would become but, I got to feel her. I got to sense and know her. I got a body that was changed by her - My sacred reminder. I’ll take that treasure over nothing any day.

Important Message: if you’re a woman or man who yearned for a pregnancy & child of your own, and never got either - I am truly sorry. I Love You. Really. In honour of your dream, I pause.

Time to continue my loves.

Because of my willingness to breath in love in the face of such intense grief and fear, I was also able to walk my way, my pace, my path - to peace. I also had an amazingly supportive husband. There are certainly many things about him I’m not excited by but, to me, he’s a Super Hero. Facing death, breathing in its scent, calming my soul and keeping my heart open as death closed in on my skin, on my belly, on our baby - gave me life. I’m gonna use it.

(Please don’t wait for a tragedy. They’re awfully hard, full of heartbreak & many souls simply do not survive. I’ll share mine. Now go & LIVE)

My willingness to follow the flow of energy in my life, past the point of no return, over the climax, stirs my soul, challenges my will & builds up my spiritual muscle. So every night when I kiss the stars & go to sleep, regardless of the day, the success or failures, the stress or the uncertainty’s - I have a peaceful sense of confidence in my soul.

I’m learning to trust. More than when I was a wee child, or 25, or pregnant and 35. This learning I imagine has no finish line.

Chapter #10 opened Pandora’s box. I laid out what I feel love asks of us but now, in order to follow through, we need to invite death into our lives with as much respect, kindness and appreciation as we do comfort. What could that look & feel like I wonder?

Like this maybe?

“Dear death, today was a great day. I’ve had so many endings lately and it all but reminds me how much love I feel in my soul. I’m feeling so deeply grateful for my senses and desires. It feels so great to be alive to experience such a vast spectrum of emotion and expressions. Death you sure are calling me out and asking me to dig deep with all these good-byes but, well, I just wanted to say thank-you for the opportunity to be alive in the first place. I’m so curious about what I’m gonna get up to once I’m done this intensely passionate grieving.”

I donna?? Maybe. 

Death asks us to expand our consciousness out further than we ever have. Death asks us to see the whole truth and nothing but. It asks us to fully manifest so it can take us whole into the mystery that’s next. Fight if you will. I did. I regret to say, it was pointless.

Death helped me gain some mastery in my relationship to fear. Love and death together helped me to surrender to the overwhelming sense of vulnerability it’s taking for me to grow into myself. Even at 40, I finally understand that who I was at 4, and 14, and 34 is who I am today. I’m wiser form experience and willingness to learn, braver from my risks and adventures, & no longer apologizing for who I am but, I’m still just me. "Me" is who I came into the world as, "me" is who I’ll go out as. That’s kinda a special thing to understand I think. It makes my heart swell and my eyes “good teary”.

Which leads us back to the theme of the previous chapter: Love.

Love’s been my greatest teacher. Death’s been my greatest reminder to throw down and dig deep. To remember who and what I am - a part of You. I will not give up on you, therefore, I will not give up on me.

I suggest you open your own pandora’s box and just dive in! Open up those ribs of yours & embrace this dance. Looking back I can tell I’ve always yearned to do that. But, in the face of judgement as other people’s fear tried to keep me in the “safe” cage I got confused. I turned around and away from “unsafe” liberation. From ecstasy. Although in all fairness I did put up a good fight. My feisty spirit has done well in preserving my wildness, my sense of trust.

My womb was a death cradle. But it was also a window out to the vast everything where judgment falls away and the air is fresh. I opened the window. I’ve tasted that air. I’ve felt the wind on the other side caress my teary face and the sense of freedom from not caring about approval or acceptance. I was "real safe". I remembered. …for a moment. I want more.

Let’s keep our attention on Love a while longer and peak at what’s truly possible for us. You’ll need to breathe though - the truth is so beautiful, so goose pimply and enlivening - it’s likely to be intense. Remember the ocean sparkle. Let the energy move in you. Animate. Live.

Live and let life have you because when loss arrives it can come with such remarkable gains & insurmountable loss none can predict the future nor control the outcome once it arrives. And arrive it will.

Let me tell you a little story.

“The Crows & The Girl With The Regrowing Heart”.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was naive as a duckling & pure as a mountain stream. She shone like moonlight on water and being in her presence was as soothing as having a crackling fire warm your body on a cold winters day. Even though she’d been hurt, her heart still trusted like that of spring flower opening to a bee. Even though she knew darkness, intimately, she still believed in light.

She lived in the world of the Sparkling Willows. In this world all creatures were equal. In this world, the order of all things was seamless & respected. Here there were both darkness & light. Both choice and desire.

In this world the girl with a heart that re-grows would fall in love. Over and over again. She would fall in love with boys & girls, with trees, with dreams, with possibility & potential. I did say she was naive.

In this world existed a sacred ritual which every creature must adhere to if they wished to maintain a connection to the Sparkling Willows.

Let me describe it to you. You may wish to use your imagination here in order to catch a glimpse of this enchanted world. For I’ve been told even a glimpse will help you remember who & what you are.

When a creature realized they were falling in love, they were to bring their heart to the sacred centre of their small, perfect world. In the centre was an ornate circle made of fine marble from the hands of the most skilled creatures. It was a mix of soft & gentle green & brown tones. One by one, the creature that awoke to the call of love would place their vulnerable, beating heart in the centre of the sacred circle.

One of two things would happen:

One, the heart, in time, would light up the sacred circle with an ethereal glow that then replenished all the land - and then a peaceful quiet would settle into the air. The creature would joyfully step in and retrieve their heart now more aglow and full of magical powers than before.

Or.

Two, an eery silence would soak the air and crows would fly in devouring the heart as it beat till it was seen no more.

Without any explanation, one of these two things would happen. Either that creature would walk away, heart intact fuelled by an influx of power and magic or, devastated and weak. The fate cast came with no foretelling, no rhyme or reason. To recognize the call of love came always - choice & chance.

Over time, the creatures from the land of the Sparkling Willows came to fear falling in love for it, too often, without rhyme or reason, cast a slow and painful death to the heart bearer’s sense of trust, hope and belief. The creatures, over time, created rules and systems to keep love at bay. They desired to keep what was left of themselves intact. They began to dream smaller and share less and less of themselves in an attempt to protect their young ones from losing their hearts too.

Over time all but one girl continued to place her heart in the sacred circle. All but one girl still carried the scent of freedom, the feel of a warm wind, & sparkle in her eyes. Somehow, for some reason, the girl, naive as a duckling, pure as a mountain stream would return time and again to test her heart.

Somehow, for some reason, even after the crows would come, devouring her heart and leaving her weak and in sorrow, in time, with the steadiness of the seasons, her heart would re-grow. The creatures of the land would speak of the girl as if she were special, her gift rare. The girl never felt this way though. For she knew herself to be just as fragile and out of control as those she shared the land with.

Sometimes she would leave the sacred circle heart intact. Infused with magic, grown by the mysterious gifts & power of the Sacred Circle she’d galavant back into her village spreading her vibrant sweetness. Sometimes though, she too would retreat crippled. In her broken state, she’d boat away to an island surrounded by warm turquoise water kissed by the sea. There she’d stay living cocooned by the turquoise sea learning and unravelling what the crows somehow knew. The girl would never lose hope, or trust or belief. She suspected she should but alas, it just never felt right.

Of course, there were days on that island that were quieter than others. Days full of tears and days full of dancing and singing loudly - sending her voice, her pain, her passion, in echoing waves out over the water - into the vast sky. Some days were spent kneeling in gratitude. Some spent fervently searching for clues and answers. The girl was too naive to give up. Too pure to think there was anything wrong with falling in love - even if it did cost her her heart.

One day, wondering as she had always done how she could help the creatures of her land love with fierce innocence once again, she gathered all her clues on the beach before the ebbing & flowing shoreline. As she was looking at pieces of her puzzle drawn in the sand, sweating from the warm sun, it appeared to her. She never loved with expectation. She never felt that loving was the wrong choice. Not once did she feel the crows penalized or wronged or judged her. She treated her challenges in the sacred circle as a great adventure. She placed her heart in the centre always with gentle care and generosity of spirit. For she knew nothing of the wisdom of the crows.  She knew the crows too were creatures of her great land - connected like her, to the Sparkling Willows. Therefore, even amidst her suffering (and suffer she did), they deserved her trust. Even if it meant she’d lose her heart. Somehow, she knew her capacity to love and be loved, to trust, to listen, to let herself fly freely through her life had nothing to do with her heart. It was something more. Something only the Sparkling Willows and The Crows understood.

All the others, they loved with rules, they set their hearts in the sacred circle with trepidation. To the others, the sacred circle either scorned or rewarded them - no rhyme, no reason. To others, the crows came to be feared. Stories were made to warn the young of the dark mystery of the crows and the dangers of falling in love. The sacred circle went from being revered and honoured to feared. The people of the Sparkling Willows began to live isolated from the sacred circle - the mystical place which brought them life.

You see, each time a heart was placed in the centre of the sacred circle, represented a creature’s trust, hope & belief. The sacred ritual had nothing to do with the result. The crows were just as honourable and divine as the Sparkling Willows themselves. It was about hope, trust & belief. It was these very gifts of the living spirit - trust, hope and belief - that nourished the land of the Sparkling Willows.

It was the humility and faith of each creature that kept the balance between the light and the dark of the land. It was not about the result for what each creature didn’t understand was that they could each live a fully charmed & sacred life without their heart. There was so much more to the sacred ritual but because they couldn’t understand, fear took hold and blinded their spirits.

Once fear took hold, once the crows were ostracized from the collective of the magical nation, the balance between light and dark fell. Tension spread and joy dwindled. The creatures of the Sparkling Willows began to protect their sense of wonder and magic by burying it deep within their souls.

“Don’t worry sparkle, they have a chance yet. Let me tell you …”

All would fantasize about the girl with the re-growing heart. They would fantasize about seeing her every morning, sharing a home with her, or even just sharing words or tea. Little did they know they needed to remember. They needed to remember the smell of the wind, the feel of the warm air, the sparkle of an intact spirit. Of course, any opportunity to really spend time with the girl was politely declined since actually being in such close quarters with her would bring up deep pain and such fervent yearning that the creatures of the Sparkling Willows kept their space from the one girl who could, by her very nature, ignite the re-growth of their hearts.

This they did not know. The fear spoke too loudly to hear any other possibility. Instead of taking a chance and inviting the girl with a re-growing heart into their homes, to play with their children, the creatures of the land would feel jealousy or be critical of the girl.

“Here’s our chance… All we need do to is get them to recognize their true desire”

If only they recognized that those feelings of jealousy, their critical judgements were not about the darling naive girl but a plea. A plea from their bodies, their soul, to find their way home. To trust. To believe. To hope.

The problem was, after a while these very creatures who worked to protect their light, after moons and moons of living in fear, forgot they ever had that special wonder - that precious light. They either assumed it was destroyed with their heart or, began searching for it everywhere else but inside of themselves. Moons and moons of searching outside of themselves and coming up short lead these dear creatures to resent the sacred circle. They felt they weren’t good enough or deserving enough or special enough to have what the girl with the re-growing heart had. These thoughts made them feel very badly - though they hid it well enough. After some time, the creatures started to treat love with disdain and mocked its beauty.

Yet, all secretly yearned to have the gift of the re-growing heart. All yearned to be able to embrace the dark side of trust, to choose love. The magical creatures of The Sparkling Willows yearned to surrender, to feel, to embrace the sacred circle once again. Some, though none would admit it, even longed for the wildly electric feeling that would fill the air when the crows flew down to devour a heart.

“Of course there’s more to this story but you get the idea by now right?

So what’s next then? What do you think happens to the creatures of The Sparkling Willows?”

The ending of this story I have to say is dependant upon the choices you & I make starting today. The ending is yet to be written. Though I do see some bravery, big passionate leaps & small but perfect steps forward to come. The story of The Crows & The Girl With A Re-Growing Heart, the version unique to you and unique to me, will have an ending as all stories do but, that ending will depend on how much trust, belief and hope you & I live each of our days out with.

I feel not unlike both the girl with the re-growing heart and the hurt timid creatures of The Sparkling Willows. This chapter in my life seems to be about a ferocious sense of trust & a re-claiming of my innocence. This chapter’s a fight unlike any other. I no longer feel like the warrior who never let down. This is different. This fight is soft and fierce, powerful & fluid. I better understand that even amidst the uncertainty’s and inevitable bumps of life there’s room for claiming & embracing my wholeness. There’s room for forging ahead anyway and just putting one foot in front of the other with graceful presence, head high, pelvis open, driven only by my sense of what is right, and what is not. This “fight” is a worthwhile cause. At times deliciously slow-moving, careful and precious, this fight is me coming out a holy intact woman through the strong silken cocoon. I’m moving by instinct, dedicated only to a feeling. I am anchored to something within me & I’m learning how to give myself more fully, to You.

Out of my forty years, I’ve such a vast and wonderful collection of pleasant memories. Memories that ignite belly laughter, warm my heart and soften my body, memories that give me courage and fuel my dedication to my vision. I have memories to remind me why I’m so proud and memories that instil an unwavering sense of confidence in me. I have collections of memories that haunt me with tantalizing pleasure and seduce me back to a simpler, less “mindful” time. My fave are the memories that remind me what it’s like to be a feather on a swift wind: So light I just glide as fast as my feet could take me. My feet bouncing off the red clay paths of my childhood forest, or down the street on the hot summer roads for as long as the fuel in my young body would take me. Mostly the echo of children laughing floating through my sense of what is past.

I’m lucky I have such a treasure trove of timeless memories that ignite my soul and breath me awake. Not everyone has that so if you do, take a moment and be grateful. Please. I have evidence that magic is real but I did NOT have evidence that going into the big dark creepy cave was “safe’. All I had, all I have, is a feeling. I have to trust that. I have to trust that even though things have and will go sideways, one can’t go wrong listening to their guts. Like the story, we just don’t know the wisdom of the crows therefore, we should not hold back out of fear. We must trust in forward motion. Plus, If we demand proof before we leap we are not leaping. We’re living but a minimal expression of ourselves.

If you don’t have evidence that magic’s alive inside of you - make it. Don’t rush it. Slow is fast in this world of alchemy and intangibles. Take your time. Even a sniff before you fade away to dust can be enough.

What?!

Look we’re all gonna die. Don’t freak out I’m not talking about the “big one”.

I’m talking about parts of ourselves. Parts of our personality that rose into being because of loss, hurt, hate etc. Parts of us that keep our brightest light locked away in the tower of our minds. Parts of us, forged from the suffering of our lives, they need to die because when we rise from these little deaths, we rise with more courage to claim our light with shameless, unapologetic peace and passion. And rise you must because we need you knowing your wholeness, your holiness. Rise you must because we need each other.

That’s a perspective shift - die to rise baby! Die to rise.

The French call an orgasm “la petite mort” or ‘little death”. Do not tire yourself so dear ones. Let the crows come. Let the crows pick your heart apart - let your heart be liberated from fear and anger and small love. Do not underestimate the wisdom of the crows for there is so much we just don’t know or understand.

I endeavour, 5 years later that seems like a skipping rock over the waters of my life, to continue to grow and become more of myself. I see unravelling into ourselves as a continual cycle of growth & death. Not unlike the girl in the story who I assume became more of her perfect self with every visit to the sacred circle.

My current goal as I ready to wrap up this book, this strange and unfamiliar 5-year long-ass chapter of my life, given the title is The Surrender Story?

It’s to discover the secrets of my soul. Dark, light, nothingness, I don’t care I want to feel, and know, and honour all of me. I so deeply wish to make our daughter proud (Oh how I wish she were here with us now. Sleeping in our bed - a perfect little 4-year-old). I want to know and feel and honour all of “us” - the collective us. I want to know The Sparkling Willows intimately & The Crows. To embrace without judgment all that I am that I may contribute to a collective experience of trust, real safe & shared pleasure. I have suffered. My heart, like my belly, has many scars. I know the suffering of others also, which, at times weighs heavy on my soul. For our hearts, for our inner children, our lost innocence, I burn, I rise, and I open. Who is this self I’m discovering? Don’t know. But I’m finding out.

… if you care to know,  even though I end up face down on my pillow with a pint of ice cream beside me sometimes, it feels hella good. Besides…

  • we all want to be known but if we never let anyone see our shadow, we never give the gift of who we truly are to another. So open up and let your shadow catch some sun.

Now then my delicious beloved, let’s end with a spoonful of hope since it’s on topic.

Want to know what death can’t touch? Your legacy. What you leave behind you. The trail of “youness". The Being you are. The lives you touch. The ideas you leave manifest. So be more of you, and I too will strive to be more of me. Get scared? Me too. It’s simple, look at the moon. Together sexy sultry sweet pea. We’re in this together.

The Surrender Story

When Heaven & Earth Collide

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