What Remains Unscathed

What Remains Unscathed

 

I just got back home last night from an incredible healing reunion with Harbin Hotsprings. Wow. What an absolute gift it was to be there again, 3 ½ years after the unforgettable Valley Fire tore through the lands, devastating and demolishing our sacred community sanctuary—precious home to so many dear humans, trees, and creatures large and small.

Like so many of us who were lucky enough to live close and experience the profound healing grace of this longtime living temple, for me Harbin was an unspeakably cherished mother, healer, lover of my body and my heart.

How many countless times over the years did these holy grounds and magical waters graciously open to receive me, holding me in whatever heartache, challenge or overwhelm I was processing at the time. I know I am one of thousands who came to know the ritualistic hots and colds of Harbin as one of our most favorite and productive ways to pray, to self-tend, to surrender.

And what a divine meeting place—where we could come together with kindreds and disrobe ourselves of clothes and pretense, technology and personas; where we could commune quietly in our collective reverence for beauty, for holy lands and healing waters; for this precious chance to be cleansed and returned to essence.

And so when the fires came and took her from all of us, this tragic loss hit me so personally, alongside deeply heartbroken empathy for all the dear ones who called this place their home, their livelihood, their village.

Just like meeting the death of a body of a loved one, something felt so final to me about this devastating loss. Perhaps her spirit would live on, but her body was gone now, burned to ash, and never to return in the form we all had cherished.

The bountiful trees and gardens, birds and bees, the meadows and decks and families of deer, the deeply familiar buildings and especially the temple—all those life-forms we had loved so very much.

I heard that people were working hard to clear the lands, and to slowly re-build, but some part of my heart wouldn’t even go there…towards imagining a possible re-incarnation.

And so having heard recently that Harbin had indeed opened their doors again, and having receiving luminous reports from trusted loved ones, I made the 5 hour journey this past weekend to go and see for myself.

When I finally arrived and first entered the waters, immediately I could feel her—the healing spirit of Harbin—so completely ready to embrace me, to take my heart in her hands, to kiss my tears and re-set my nervous system, just like before, just like always.  I felt so profoundly moved, and humbled, to feel what hadn’t been taken by the fires. To experience my beloved hots and colds as the very same provocative and catalytic grace they’ve always been. To sit in front of Quan Yin and feel her same, yet somehow wisened gaze, beckoning faith, release and surrender. To feel what remained exquisitely unscathed, and yet generously available to rebirth; to being offered once again in a brand new way.

There’s such a special flavor of gratitude that comes when we think we’ve lost something forever…only to discover it has only changed its form. You know?

I also feel such immense and tender thanks for all the amazing people who have been called to tend to Harbin in these last years—all the hard work of hauling away toxic debris, devotedly cleaning and clearing the lands, envisioning new designs, carrying a courageous spirit of repair and resurrection, allowing this living temple to find her new way of being. What an assignment. Wow. Thank you, I bow to you!

Perhaps I feel especially moved to receive this potent transmission of rebirth, after having survived a personal relational fire in my life, heart and home these last months… to be so graciously reminded of what can’t be ravaged by destructive flames, of what purity and innocence remains, and of what mysterious grace might rise from the ashes.

 

Conception Curiosity~ A Love Story

Conception Curiosity~ A Love Story

The other day as I was driving my son Ezra (10) up to Mt. Ashland for an afternoon of snowboarding with his friends, a most astonishing conversation arose between us, one that merits being recorded and properly honored in this way I love to with written words.  

We were just driving along, slowly winding our way up the mountain, oohing and aahing together at the glorious sight of fresh powder clinging to mountain pines, firs and cedars. It was breathtakingly beautiful to perceive—this wondrous, earthy, snowy sparkle.

Suddenly Ezra turned to me, and with total sincerity he proclaimed: “I really love being in my body, Mom. Thank you.”

His words landed and resounded with precious significance.

Startled and moved by this incredible proclamation, I responded, “Oh Ezra. You really do love it, don’t you?! It’s such a beautiful thing about you, this way you love being in your body. I feel like you’ve loved it from the very first instant.”

He was quiet beside me, happily nodding in agreement.

Then he asked, with utter seriousness, “Do you remember the actual moment you conceived me, Mom?”

What a question! My thoughts went back to his conception, and I smiled at him curiously, wondering exactly where this was going.

Ezra just sat there staring at me, in total innocence, patiently awaiting my response.

So I answered, “Ummm….well, yes, actually I do! Your papa and I consciously conceived you, so we put a lot of attention and care and prayer into that powerful moment.”

Ezra  looked at me with his deep-blue soulful eyes, and asked, “What was that like for you Mom? That moment when you and Papa conceived me?”

I felt a little speechless. I let my mind wander back, remembering everything I could remember about it—from the prayers before, to the candles lit and the lovemaking, to the amazing week that followed as implantation was occurring.

As though reading my mind, Ezra suddenly said, “I mean, don’t tell me the gross parts. PLEASE. Oh God, Mom.” He put his reddening face into his hands, shaking his head, suddenly embarrassed.

I laughed heartily, gripping the steering wheel. I replied, “I definitely know what you mean Ezra, but I promise there were no ‘gross parts’ about conceiving you.”

He looked at me again, shaking off the blush, and then persisted: “But Mom. Like—what did you feel about my spirit?”

It was clear to me he was really wanting the esoteric details.

So I told him: “Well, it was actually an amazing time, my Love. In the week after Papa and I had come together to make your body with our love, I was in a meditation retreat, and so I was spending a lot of time in stillness and silence.

And what I noticed as I sat there meditating, was that there was a brand new quality of light within me; something I had never felt before. And there was a way I sort-of felt like the universe was exploding and expanding inside me. There was so much light!

And even though I couldn’t be sure yet whether I was pregnant with you, in my heart I absolutely knew. I knew that this new light I was sensing was actually YOU, and that this brilliant explosion inside me was actually your huge, starry soul creating a bond with this tiny little microscopic form growing inside me. It was the most incredible experience to welcome you into life.”

Ezra was quiet beside me, listening carefully, deep in imagining.

Then he said softly: “I can almost remember it.”

I grinned at him: “I bet you can.”

He said: “We are both such powerful spirits, Mom. No wonder that was an intense meeting!”

My eyes filled with joyous tears, just feeling the mysterious luck of it all.

I asked him: “What part can you ‘almost remember’?”

He shrugged, softly. He said, “I don’t know… I just feel like maybe I’ve known you forever? You know what I mean? Like I already knew you. So when you made my body, it was like we got to be together again, and I was happy.”

I sighed, letting my heart hopelessly burst.

Tenderly, tearfully, I said: “Yes, it felt exactly like that for me too, Ezra.”

We were nearing the entrance to the ski lodge.

I pulled over the car to let him out, collected my emotions, and offered up, “Now you get to take this incredible body you love up onto the mountain?!”

He nodded, beaming, exclaiming robustly, “YES!” He added: “Thanks for driving me here!”

Ezra got out of the car, zipped up his parka, put on his helmet, and grabbed his snowboard from the back. I watched every move he made. I was still thinking about that tiny bundle of cells made from love, joining with such an enormous star of brilliant light.

He started off, all bundled and lugging his gear, then turned back around towards me, shouting out, “I love you Mom!”

I called after him simply: “I love you! Have fun and be safe!”

But inside myself I was thinking: Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for loving your body. Thank you for your sacred curiosity, and your open receptivity. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for this forever bond. Thank you for your life. Thank you for this Love. Thank you God. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. 

 

What’s Here Right Now?

What’s Here Right Now?

There are limitless ways to distract ourselves and avoid what’s actually present—everything from substance use, to staying busy, to social media addiction, to worrying, to buying things, to gossip, to texting, to obsessing about other people’s issues. But there is really only one way to be with what’s here, and that is to stop, and turn to face what’s present; to be willing, if only for a moment, to tell the truth and open to what’s arising. 

Often we avoid facing what’s present because we fear that if we do, it will take over, and we will no longer be able to function, or get through our workday, or show up to take care of the children. But in my experience, all it usually takes is one pure moment of checking in with myself; asking myself with curiosity and kindness, What’s here right now?   I discover again and again that Love wants to receive this painful feeling, too—whatever this feeling may be. 

 

 

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Are You Loving Yourself Right Now?

Are You Loving Yourself Right Now?

Intimate Question of The Moment:

Are you loving yourself right now?

Can you feel it? Do you know it? Can you say it?

And if not, are you willing to WANT to love yourself?
Can you confess this holy want to yourself?

Self-love is the key. Self-love is home. 
Here’s to your self-love! xo Jesua 

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Love Wins~ A Rejection Story

Love Wins~ A Rejection Story

It was 8:10 am on Thursday morning, and I was literally on my way out the door taking the kids to school, when I got a text from my beloved editor, letting me know that our first choice publisher had declined on taking on my debut book, “Holy Messy Love.”

I stopped in my tracks, taking in this discouraging news, while my kids stood nearby, saying, “What is it, Mama? Who texted you?” My initial reaction was to burst into tears, feeling the letdown, the vulnerable crumbling of specific expectations. Through my tears I could see and feel my children’s deeply empathic concern. They both sighed sadly, “Oh, Mama…” aligned in my disappointment.

More than anyone else perhaps, my kids have watched me pour my heart and soul into the writing and editing of this book, and have been fully aware of the high hopes I’d held of being possibly embraced with gracious ease by this publisher.

Our four minute car ride to school was uncharacteristically quiet. My sadness was real and present, moving through me with breath and tears. At one point I glanced at Ezra (10) in my rear view mirror, and could tell by his expression that he was feeling worried for me. Arayla (13) sat beside me, immersed in her own internal churning. Before I dropped them off, I managed to wipe the tears from my face, clear my throat, and say: “My loves, don’t worry. It just wasn’t meant to be, I guess… It’s OK… Something else will reveal itself…. I love you! Have a beautiful day at school.” They got out of the car gently, tossing me tender, loving glances.

After I got home I let myself fully feel all that I needed to feel. Disappointment exposed a sense of immense defeat which then revealed layers of self-doubt, and I wept, letting my heart totally break about it. This went on for about 20 minutes.

Then I stopped. In the space that had been cleared by feeling these feelings, I opened my eyes and my mind wider to what IS, and I could feel my heart beckoning a deeper trust and surrender.

Suddenly there was an interesting sense of relief that came with this first publishers “decline”; an authentic feeling of—well of course they needed to say “No.” I recalled Elizabeth Gilbert writing in “Big Magic” about how many rejections she received on her way to becoming an internationally celebrated author. How perhaps it’s just an unavoidable part of this vulnerable initiation of putting our work out there.

I could feel it then, the sacred necessity of this “No”, working me in a uniquely beautiful way. I could feel how it was honing my right relationship with writing; fanning the fire of my humility; strengthening my resolve to write regardless of anyone ever seeing it or wanting it or liking it or buying it.

I splashed cold water on my face, burned some sweetgrass and cedar, and set to work on Plan B—sending off my book proposal to specific literary agents who specialize in presenting “prescriptive non-fiction” to larger publishers. This first publisher who had declined was a relatively small, spiritual, niche publisher. I breathed in deeply, considering: Perhaps “Holy Messy Love” actually craves a wider wingspan with which to soar into the world?

It was 10:20 when I heard my phone ding with a new text. This one was from my daughter.

The text read: “You are brave, strong and an amazing mama. There is a publisher out there who will love your book and want to publish it. Your book is a special gift from your heart to our world and nothing can get in the way of that. Trust. Believe in yourself like I believe in you. If this wasn’t the right one, there must be an even better one coming. I love you. Xo Arayla”

For the second time that morning, tears flooded my eyes after receiving a text. But this time my tears were made of astonished joy and pride. I reveled in the beauty of my 13 year old girl choosing to (illegally ;-)) text her mama from school with words of generous encouragement, loving praise, and grounded faith! What immensely good news this text was for my heart, and for our world. What a WIN!

I bowed again, as I bow again now towards the wild, mysterious, uncontrollable design of it all.

Who knows how it’s all meant to unfold? I surely don’t. But however it unfolds, one thing is for certain: LOVE WINS—in  all its humbling, holy, and messy glory—again and again and again.

 

 

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