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. 

 

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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The Potent Gem of “I Love Myself”

The Potent Gem of “I Love Myself”

Last night before bedtime my kids and I had the sweet treat of communing in our hot tub under the starlight and moonshine. It was an absolutely beautiful moment. I love it when all of us are relaxed and open-hearted together at the same time. In that shimmering warmth of connection, I found myself saying to them, “I want to share something with you guys; a really simple, precious treasure that I didn’t really figure out until about 4 years ago.”

Ezra, (10) paddled over to me, ready to listen.

Arayla (13) sat perched on the other side of the tub. She said, “So, you were like 41 when you figured this out?” I smiled: “Exactly.”

I continued, “There is something incredibly powerful about getting into the habit of saying to yourself, ‘I love myself.’ Not casually either; but in a way that you know you truly mean it.”

The kids were quiet. Ezra said, “Like, so… when do you say that to yourself?”

I answered, “All the time. I say it when I’m on a walk with myself, and sometimes when I’m driving. Sometimes when I get triggered I’ll say it to myself. When I feel alone, or when I’m feeling some shame or grief arising, or when I feel disappointment or longing.”

The kids shifted their spots in the hot tub. Ezra pushed himself out to cool off on the side, and Arayla swam over closer, snuggling into me in the tub.

I continued sharing, “The time I say it most consistently is right before I go to sleep at night. I started doing this years ago, after I’d been single for a long time, and had gotten used to just crawling into my bed alone. I found out that telling myself I love myself helps me to feel the truth of being my own Beloved.”

Ezra repeated, “Being your own Beloved.”

I nodded to him.

I said, “And now again, and still, it’s usually the last thing I say to myself, before I go to sleep. I nestle into the darkness, put both of my hands on my heart, feel the depth of my being, and say to myself, ‘I love you.’”

I could tell by the quality of their listening that they were feeling my sincerity, and taking in the deep intimacy of this sharing.

I added, “It’s quite an amazing love-affair, you know, this whole self-love thing.”

Arayla squirmed a bit in my arms in the water.

She looked up at me, and said, “But why do you have to SAY it? Why can’t you just KNOW it? Saying it feels embarrassing to me.”

I said, “Knowing it is definitely the most important part, you’re right. But when you can SAY it, especially in the moments that you really need to hear it, that’s when you feel the gift of your acknowledgment of your love for yourself. That’s when you realize that your relationship with yourself is the only one you can totally and completely count on, throughout your life. That no matter what else is happening, you’ve got YOU. You’ve got your own love, holding you up, believing in you. And even if self-loathing arises, or self-doubt or self-judgment, you know that your love for yourself is bigger. It can handle all those things.”

We were all totally quiet and still, basking in the light of the moon and stars.

After a few minutes, Ezra, who is almost always game for anything, said thoughtfully, “I’m gonna try it out, Mom. I’m gonna try it tonight when I go to sleep.”

This made me chuckle with immense fondness.

Arayla sat up and looked at me shyly, nodding quietly in my direction.

She said, “Maybe. Maybe I could whisper it.”

 

Heartbroken Love

Heartbroken Love

Today, on my 45th birthday, I’m reckoning with a broken heart. And I’m equally poised, alive IN love and FOR love, like never before.

It’s been an intensely challenging year—personally, in my family, collectively and globally. For me personally, I have found it grueling, humbling and hobbling at times, and yet not without exquisite blessings graciously interwoven all the way through.

For the last nine months I have diligently, devotedly gotten out of the way for love to write this first book of mine, called “Holy Messy Love~ A Heartening Invitation for These Harrowing Times”. It’s been such a saving grace, this assignment with my muse.

For the last six weeks I’ve been up to the creatively strenuous task of creating a stellar book proposal with my extraordinary editor to submit to publishers in this next coming week. Today, on my birthday, I’m putting the final polishing touches on this proposal. What a process, my goodness! It’s been such an incredible gestation now approaching birth….

And so with all that is falling away at this time, I simultaneously feel myself on a golden precipice of tremendous birthing; as I step even more fully into life—messy, human, and holy—just as I am.

The other day I was feeling particularly buoyant regarding these hard life-losses I’m facing, and I overheard myself saying to a dear friend, “You know? Disillusioned heartbreak at forty-five is not all that bad!” 😉 She looked slightly bewildered, not knowing whether to chuckle or to embrace me.

But then I went on to explain, “How profoundly grateful I am to stand at forty-five as the trustworthy source of my own love and wholeness. How deeply relieved I am to embody true self-respect, self-protection, and self-care. How thankful I am for this hard-earned maturity and self-compassion with which to navigate these trying times.” I could feel wisened truth shining out from my eyes. I reveled in the strength and resilience of my heart and soul—meeting deep loss with clarity and presence.

But the next day, I found myself breathless with grief. Like that kicked-in-the-gut-by-God kind of grief. I could feel the tears welling up behind my swollen eyes, rising full inside my throat. I could feel my broken heart—literally cracked, aching and throbbing inside my tender chest. I felt utterly flattened by life in being asked to meet all this loss and breaking.

So much beauty is trampled in this world.
So much we can lose, sooner or later, is indeed lost.
So much that we come to cherish we are then asked to surrender.
So much we might imagine we’ve achieved, in the next moment has vanished.

On that day I could feel the other side—how disillusioned heartbreak at forty-five has a knack for rekindling the pain of every loss and disappointment I’ve ever faced in my life.

Isn’t this the way of heartbreak and grief, though? How it changes its face and form and flow, moment to moment.

Some moments, we can stand in the radiant knowing of how hardship strengthens us; how burning purifies us; how many breathtaking gifts come only as we are humbled by life.

Other moments we simply don’t feel up to the task.
We can’t help but defend against the piercing slap we feel from life. We curl as tight as we can into a ball, weeping and rocking in the sheer pain of it all, praying for mercy.

Maybe instead of wishing life would not be so heart-wrenching at times, what’s called for is the maturity to surrender everything we had hoped life would be?

And in this sacred surrender, to discover a deeper love for life AS IT IS, heartbreak and all.

Maybe it’s more about graciously making a good home for our grief, then about waiting for our lives to finally be free of grief. Maybe in this, we get to let even our heartbreak take us deeper home to the unbreakable love that we are.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And it doesn’t mean we like it. It doesn’t mean if we are good and wise and strong and pass all our spiritual tests, then in the end it all works out the way we want it to. And it doesn’t mean we always behave with the utmost grace and dignity.

Loss is ruthless. Grief is unruly and messy.
Heartbreak fucking hurts.

Clearly, we don’t get to escape the presence and impact of life’s losses. We don’t get to be the exception to the rule. Ahhhh… to really let this in!
I notice a shimmering sacredness in the sobriety of this revelation.

And as I come to terms with how precariously and fleetingly held we are by life, I can’t help but revere the hands of loss, change, and heartbreak as the holy instruments of evolution they are clearly designed to be. Thank you, thank you.

Even in this moment of heartache, even feeling cherished dreams scattered, precious forms trampled, I can feel the way that love lives so simply and purely for love inside me.

This is clarity. This living for love and as love is the gift of all gifts. Do you find that too?

For this clarity of love I feel the deepest gratitude—even and especially when life has me on my knees. Upon the altar of this LOVE, I offer myself again and again and again.

Love in all directions ~*~ Jesua

The Revolutionary Choosing of Love

The Revolutionary Choosing of Love

These last couple of weeks, on more than one occasion, I’ve lost track of love.

The pain of collective trauma has ached in my chest. My hands have felt small and my voice weak as I’ve fumbled my way towards prayer. Perhaps “disheartened” would be the word.

As reports pour in of one family after another losing everything in these most recent California Fires, many of them dear people I know and love, my heart breaks in raw empathy. Simultaneously, my own family has been going through a ravaging fire of a different nature, one of the most harrowing passages of my womanhood, wracking my nerves and testing my faith on a daily basis.

In times like these it can feel like life is for the sole purpose of hobbling us.

And yet, a small miracle occurs every time I remember that regardless of my losing track of love, Love never loses track of me. In this sacred remembering, love is chosen once again, right now, right alongside everything else that is also present.

Our love need not replace our grief. The two can come together like two palms in a prayer.

It’s easy to choose love when our hearts feel wide open to life, when we are feeling relaxed and supported, buoyantly inspired, or poignantly connected to the pulse of existence, isn’t it? After beautiful lovemaking, or a delicious meal shared with dear friends, or a satisfying day of feeling useful in our endeavors, it’s effortless to align with love. When the children are easy and adorable, rosy-cheeked asleep in their beds; when everything seems to be in its right place, love is obvious. When we are reveling in the light of our own bounty, and in the incredible sweetness life includes, generosity of heart comes freely, doesn’t it?

But what about the moments when we feel utterly heartbroken by life’s relentless intensity; when all our survival issues are up, and it feels like we are meeting one closed door after another? When the unbelievable corruption and trauma playing out on our global stage gets the best of our centers, and we find ourselves writhing in a sense of powerlessness, then what about love? When we are personally feeling the toxic impact of natural and un-natural disaster, and can’t imagine how our children can grow up in a world like this, then what? When we are feeling painfully rejected, unchosen, or unloved by another, then where does love go? When we are feeling grief-stricken in faithless despair, completely betrayed or abandoned by God? I ask you—what happens then, to love?

There is a secret medicine in re-choosing love at the center of broken-hearted faithlessness. When our hearts feel demolished, and we have no clue as to how we will ever find our way back to some semblance of joy or trust, and still we align with love—what a powerful choosing this is. How revolutionary, really.

I’m not talking about being inauthentically loving, no. Not “putting on a happy face” or “keeping it positive.” Not a doing of “love” so as to appear more loveable. Please, please—no avoidance of what’s here in this moment in the name of “love.” I’m not talking about feeling love to the exclusion of feeling whatever else is genuinely present for us. I’m talking about finding it within ourselves to not let what’s devastating us distract us from the possibility of choosing love anyway—just as we are, and just as life is.

Life is inviting us to discover that resiliency has everything to do with realizing that we are LOVE, and that nothing is too much for love to bear. 

I love you. ~*~

Praising Angels

Praising Angels

One of the many gifts that came from my early childhood intimacy with traumatizing illness, was the way in which it opened my psychic centers to be able to “see” and “hear” energetic realities that remain elusive for most. While it took me a couple of decades to work with this heightened sensitivity in a way that didn’t fry my already challenged central nervous system, I am grateful for the fact that I have never doubted the presence of angelic beings.

For as long as I can remember, I have been acutely aware of their presence.

When I was very sick as a toddler in the hospital with meningitis, dealing with significant neurological damage from the waist down, one of my only distinct memories from that time is the presence of beings I came to think of as “the big gold guys.”

These extremely tall luminous beings, who stood as high as the hospital ceiling, kindly and devotedly helped me to “connect the dots” of the injured neural pathways in my feet, legs and pelvis. For months the doctors stood back in baffled awe, as I mysteriously recovered many of my neurological capacities.

Two decades later, in my early twenties, I sat in a required physiology class as part of my Holistic Health Practitioner training, learning about the intricate design of the human nervous system. As the slides of ganglia and myelin sheaths were projected upon the screen at the front of our classroom, I found myself stunned to tears recognizing that the starry “dots” the angels had helped me to connect twenty years earlier were in fact the ganglia, and the myelin sheaths were nothing less than the golden “lines” of light, necessary to connect them.

How many countless times in my life have I reached out to the angels for support when I was struggling? How many times have I remembered to ask for help, just in time. Reeling in searing pain from a migraine, or down on my knees in brokenhearted despair, or sitting with a furrowed brow by the side of a fevering child, or quietly, less dramatically, in a moment of simple prayer.

Last year I went through a very challenging passage in which I was navigating some painful neuralgia along the right side of my spine, for many weeks. Hots and colds would temporarily relieve the symptoms, but other than that it was constant.

One night it got very inflamed, and expanded into the right side of my abdomen. The intensity of this physical pain delivered me into a powerful experience of terror of death. Suddenly I remembered to ask for help, and it was as though legions of angels rushed in, surrounding me, comforting me, relieving my pain, scolding me a little for taking so long to ask for their help. They had clearly been waiting at the periphery of my energy field, just waiting for an invitation to intervene. (I’m not exactly sure how it works, but it seems in most circumstances angels must be asked in one way or another, in order to extend their help.)

What a gift it is to know the presence of angelic support, not so much in a way of “wishful thinking” but in as solid a way as I experience the warmth of my son’s hand in my own, my daughter’s laughter in my ear, my partner’s kiss on my waiting cheek.

I don’t believe this perception is a special power or something reserved only for certain souls. I think it’s more about a willingness to “unlearn” a widely conditioned denial. Luminous ones are always near, always generously available in service. I invite you to open to their presence, and see in turn what opens in your life and heart. <3

 

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