This is freedom.

Sometimes, I write my own poems.

This is Freedom

Staring at a blank wall,
I see there is no way forward,
but also no way back.
I can’t write myself out of this story;
it is etched, carved, burned, scalded
into the tender petals of my heart.

I shy away from the darkness;
bottle it up, push it away,
and then at the last moment, breathe it in,
cold, icy, numbing gasps of fear.
I grasp it between my ice cold hands
and push it under the surface of this soul-less sea
until I can crawl to where horizon and ocean kiss,
gasping for air.

The monsters in my mind
grab my hair and spin me in circles
by the tendrils of my memories.
My synapses fire piercing arrows
from a quiver of ghosts.
I shy away from it all
into the depths of fear and terror.
Fear of myself.
Terror of my own mind.
In the corner I watch myself wilt
like a rose bud in the frozen air.

My own mind grabs me,
and slams me to the floor,
into the wall,
and panic ensues.
The world is black.
The rhythm of my body out of line with my beating heart.
There is no control.
Only fire, burning up my body,
from the inside out.
A match lit inside,
making the moths drive through the pores of my skin,
to create a mad, collage of wing beats,
ticking in my head,
until I scream my way free.

This was me.
This was who I was.
This was all that I was.
This consumed me.
This engulfed me.
This made me.
This molded me.

Now.

Staring at a blank wall,
I dare not look back,
for all I see is a clear path forward.
Paint on hands,
violet, rose, lilac, marigold,
all the flowers of the rainbow.
My hands press against the cold surface,
palms to canvass;
you cannot tell where my fingers end and creation begins.

I breathe tender fire, gentle hues,
chicory smoke, books on a winter eve,
golden sparks that tangle with the embers
in a spectacular moonlit dance.
I breathe beauty
into the soul of this
into the depth of this,
into all that I am.

This harrowing escape
out of the midst of it all
into the fresh air and sea breeze skies
into the endless brightness
into the authenticity and vibrancy
into the joy and courage
into the now, the moment, each moment.

I grasp it.
And hold it.
I run with it.
And feel it.
I embrace it
And cherish it.
And I don’t let go.

This is me.
This is who I am.
This is all that I am.

This is freedom.

The Invitation.

I want to dedicate this post to one poem, my favourite poem. It’s by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, whose books I also recommend getting your hands on. They are beautiful, inspiring, and oh so very raw and real.

This poem is my manifesto. My call to action. It is what I read when I need to find balance, or realize what is really important to me again. It breathes fire into my soul and crafts the honest stories of my heart. The words, when I read them, echo off the walls and resonate with truth and beauty. I carry it with me everywhere; its essence is what I strive to achieve every day. And I can’t not share it, all the time, with everyone.

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

——————————–

Doesn’t it just make you want to leap and shout and scream at the world “I love my life! I love the pain and agony of it all! I love the happy moments the joy-filled crescent moon smiles! I love it all because no matter how much it hurts or heals it means that I’m alive.” Doesn’t it just make you want to… live. Fully.

Courage is a heart word.

I’ve recently started an art journaling course with Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection – both of which I highly recommend. I’ve never considered myself an artistic person, so this is definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone, something that I am striving to do lately.

During the first week we explored the concepts of courage, connection and compassion and the idea that you are enough, just the way you are. We got our artsy minds and hearts on and made three creative beauties which I’ve shared with you here. I encourage you to give them a try. Being able to set aside a couple of hours to work through these was a really exciting and empowering experience for me.

1. I give myself permission to… Here we had the opportunity to begin our journaling process by giving ourself permission to be or do whatever we needed or desired. It’s a really important exercise not only for journaling, or creativity, but for living life to the fullest every day. All of the words I wrote down don’t apply only to my journal, but apply to every other aspect of my life. It felt so good to write it out. “I give myself permission to be vulnerable, imperfect and honest!” It’s so liberating. Try it out. What do you give yourself permission to do? If you could be anybody who would you be? Release your inhibitions and fly. Release your fears and soar. 

photo (1)

2. I’m imperfect and I’m enough… We might be seeing a fair amount of this picture. I’m so glad I took it. I’m so glad I have it. I love it. I love everything it says about me. I rarely take what I consider to be a good ‘selfie’, so of course I took several. I went through them all, and realized the first one was the best. And it was like a sign from the Universe. Of course the first one was the best! Because in life there are no re-takes. And what we throw out there the first time can always be the best we’ve got. It may be imperfect, but it will always be enough.

imperfect

3. Courage is a heart word… The idea was to create a safe place to write down the names of everyone in your life whose opinion really matters to you, when it comes down to it. When you dig really deep down and let go of all the critics and judgments we battle on a daily basis, who is really there for you in a meaningful way even during your deepest, darkest hours? Those who can hold you when you weep and laugh hysterically when you are in joy are the only ones whose opinion should really matter. Your list will be very short. Mine was. But that’s okay.  It’s a really grounding experience to recognize whose opinion really matters to you and realize that you don’t need to seek approval from everyone.

photo

In closing, I’d like to give a shout out to courage, compassion, and connection – my new best friends. Brené says, “Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”… Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line.” Today I give myself permission to be vulnerable, to be courageous. Today I know that I am enough. I dare you to do the same.

You may be imperfect. But you are most certainly enough.

I am love.

I wanted to start off this new little journey I am taking into blogging by sharing this poem that I wrote. It was the first time that I really expressed myself outwardly online in a really genuine way, and the response I got back from the community around me was amazing. I was overwhelmed by the love and kindness that I received in return for my vulnerability and courage. Ever since then, I have felt so willing to be vulnerable and to share what I’m learning about myself with the world, and that’s why I’m starting this blog. I want to practice courage, vulnerability, and connection. And I want to give back what so many people have given me.

I am only learning and just beginning this journey of self-love, inner peace, outward joy, and spirituality, but I want to keep track of it somewhere. Of course, I keep a journal. But that’s for me. I want something that’s for you. For anyone. Something that people might be able to relate to. I want to share my struggles, my ups and downs, my roller coaster ride from meditation to frustration and from prayer to fear. It’s all here. It’s all out on the table. From me to you. And it starts with this poem.

I am love. 

I love myself for my flaws.
I love myself for my mistakes.
I love myself for my weaknesses.
I love myself for my darkness.
I love myself for my skeletons in the closet.
And I love myself with forgiveness.

I love myself for everything I do not yet know and have left to learn.
I love myself for every mistake I have made and regret I have.
I love myself because I know with love, and only with love, can I heal and become a stronger, fuller person.
I love myself because it is the most powerful weapon I have against the world.

I love myself because deep down, I am beautiful inside and out.
I love myself because I can, because it feels good, and whole, and right.
I love myself because that is what I am born to do, that is what I am made of.
I love myself because that, in itself, is a small miracle.

I love myself because I believe in what I can do and because I am afraid of what I cannot, and love is all I have to combat fear.
I love myself because when there is no one else, nothing else, it will be all that I have and will still be whole.

I love myself because when the sun shines on me from the side and my shadow stretches on the concrete, I realize that only with light and warmth can I be bigger than myself.
Only with love.
That is why I love myself.
That is why we must all love ourselves.