A Year of Leaning In

A Year of Leaning In

A couple of weeks ago Orionne and I celebrated our one year anniversary! What a meaningful threshold for us to cross. And what a profound year of leaning in it has been. We met (re-met) one year ago in July and immediately bowed in to a most extraordinary love. We bought and renovated a home, moved in together, and bravely surrendered to the bittersweet complexity of blending our families.

At the deepest level, this whole last year has been teaching me how to line my own heart up with Grace, how to sneak up on my own unfurling destiny and lean in. What a mystery this leaning in business is?!. How much I’ve learned and gathered and received by listening to the commands of my innermost knowing.

How could I have known, a little over 16 months ago, that listening to that inner command of moving our family to Ashland would so radically change my life, blossom my heart, forever altering my experience of home and family?! I couldn’t have. I’m just thankful that somehow I knew enough to listen, deeper than my fear and resistance and attachments and preferences, to what I knew was a trustworthy compass, guiding my life into its next perfect season.

In this year of leaning in, I’ve seen that listening and courageously responding to the tides of change—dutifully following what guides us, making of ourselves an irresistible target for Grace—does not mean life suddenly gets easy or manageable or uncomplicated!

Saying yes to more love and more life usually means also saying yes to more mess and more tests of faith and patience; it usually means more ways Life gets to stretch our hearts wider open, simply for Love to have its way with us.

For many months we have been navigating a harrowing personal situation tenderly impacting the heart of our home and union. We have all been fiercely worked at the very edge of our soul growth, challenged to rapidly and continuously evolve, to keep opening to love in the face of these painfully tricky tests and trials Life has asked us to meet.

Crisis has such a way of showing us what we are made of, right? Through leaning in again and again, (as opposed to running as fast as we could for the nearest exit,) we have both been invited into newfound reservoirs of honesty, clarity and compassion for us all.

In rising to the occasion of what our union has invited us to embrace, we are rewarded by a love that is as strong, resilient and resourceful as it is breathtakingly true to the truth.

Every opportunity to deepen in self-awareness, to be kinder to ourselves and one another, and true to Love~ is nothing less than a precious gift. And what an astounding beauty to find myself with a partner who not only knows this, but beckons and models this with inspiring consistency.

The older and wiser and more humbled I have become, I’ve come to recognize that my greatest challenge and steepest assignment in this lifetime is leaning all the way in to Love.

Surrendering to this Love that I am—it’s truly all I want, what I love most of all, what I live for. And yet to really, completely lean in to this ruthless inclusivity of love and life, to say YES to it all, just as it is? This is utterly annihilating.

I don’t mean just this romantic, relational love; though, yes, love in all its true forms is annihilating. But what I mean is that this deep, vast, impersonal, essentially un-nameable truth of our beings, to which I’m fondly referring here as Love, wants to claim us and our entire lives so profoundly, leaving nothing but LOVE in its wake! In my perception, the greatest task of union is to provide us with an exquisitely annihilating, everyday opportunity to lean in to this Love we are.

Beloved, thank you. Thank you for leaning into love with me, and for letting our union be devoted to this Great Love to which it all surrenders, belongs and returns.

Thank you for meeting me in the immediacy and depth of our original YES, and for the courage of your continuous yes to me, to us, to our family and all our life together entails`~ from the most gorgeously delicious to the most tedious, trying and at times terrible!

Thank you for stretching wider open to this love with yourself; for the wisdom of self-compassion you align with again and again. Thank you for your exceptional patience with me, your startling goodness, your extraordinary innocence, your quiet brilliance, your stunning devotion.

You inspire me, delight me, crack me up and turn me on in so many ways. Thank you for pushing me up against the wall and for lifting me up in your strong arms to find the dark chocolate you’ve hidden in the highest cupboards!

Thank you for the way you challenge me to trust love more, to love life more, to continuously open to the lotus blooming majestically from muddy waters.

This incomparable way you have my back so I can bring my truest medicine to the world arrives like a long-awaited wind beneath my wings. You make me want to blossom eternally, to give everything to Love’s grace, because I want you to have the very best woman Love could bring you.

I treasure our magnificent life, our precious family, our holy union. I’m so blessed by your love. And I surrender. <3

“But either way, isn’t Love always the answer?”

“But either way, isn’t Love always the answer?”

“But either way, isn’t Love always the answer?”

That’s what my beloved partner said to me yesterday with fierce truth pouring from moist eyes, devotedly calling me back, in a moment when defense had gotten the better of me, to the common ground of our living intention.

Learning to lean in to the mirror of conscious relationship is an invaluable evolutionary tool, one that asks us to surrender being right for the opportunity to be TRUE, and the need to feel safe for the chance to BE LOVE.

What does it take to truly embody Love in our lives, with our choices, with our actions, with our words, with our gestures, with our continuous living breath of surrender?

What must be surrendered, in any given moment, if Love is what I most want to live and serve? So much, apparently!

I’ve been in a potent fire of self-inquiry around this recently, challenged by some undoubtedly tricky and tender personal circumstances impacting my intimate home and family life, disturbing my precious nest and ruffling my feathers in extremely uncomfortable ways.

How humbling it is to see what still has the power to trigger me, reducing me to a burst of reactivity or a puddle of collapse. How supremely useful it is to continuously meet my own growing edge of surrender to Love.

When life unfolds in such a way that we feel invaded or overwhelmed by circumstance, or forced to lay down our cherished preferences, then what about Love? What does Love want? How does Love act?

Devotion to Love, in my experience, is the ultimate humbling path of surrender; one that asks us to give everything, while relinquishing all of our expectations of what IT will give US.

I’m not interested in a Love that bypasses the honesty of healthy boundaries, but I AM interested in seeing how I use boundaries of self-protection to defend against Love.

I’m not interested in self-betrayal in the name of Love, but I AM interested in seeing how I betray Love, in avoidance of the messy, sticky, and heart-achey ways Love clearly likes to school us.

Love asks: What are you afraid you will lose, in fully aligning with Love?
Love asks: What are you left with, when you stubbornly refuse to let Love lead?

True Love is profoundly courageous, and often difficult to choose~ in the face of fear, in the face of humiliation, in the face of insanity, in the face of taking something personally, in the face of exhaustion, stress, and overwhelm.

But oh~ such a gift comes in the choosing.

It is the gift of handing over any righteous stance to what’s even more true. It is the generous gift of offering up personal preference to divine will. It is the sometimes painful gift of stretching open even wider to my own tender humanity.

It is the gift of truly belonging~ to myself, to Life, to Grace, to my own deepening maturity and integrity.

How does Love respond to the shame of having withheld love, the embarrassment of having grossly failed to choose love in the moments that mattered most?

Love generously forgives: myself, and you, and certainly them.
Love says: here is a fresh moment, in which Love can be chosen.
Love says, without hesitation or condition: I choose YOU. 

Graduation from a Life Chapter; The Endless Changing of Form

Graduation from a Life Chapter; The Endless Changing of Form

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I’ve got some big news to share~ about a large life change in the works for my sweet family. One night, about 6 weeks ago, as I closed my eyes to go to sleep, I was suddenly struck with an unexpected lightning bolt of revelation. It went something like this: And Now You will Move With The Children Back To Ashland.” It truly felt more like an announcement from my soul, than any kind of choice I was being offered to contemplate.
 
I was shocked, confused, and somewhat triggered. I had not consciously considered moving us back to Ashland since we tearfully moved away from Ashland 8 years ago.
 
My mind ranted a bit in protest~ all the reasons why it thought this was not a good idea. Everything from what we would miss, (mostly my beloved Mother Ocean!) to what we might lose, to challenging associations I still held in my mind about Ashland, to all the uncontrollable, unknown factors of change. But something deeper than my mind, in my body and heart, knew that this announcement was the truth. And so, from that very first moment of revelation, even with all the vulnerable uncertainty and unanswerable questions this kind of transition inherently invokes, my family has been called to lean in, towards TRUST– in this which is simply moving us onward, into the next welcome season and chapter of our beautiful lives.
 
In the days and weeks that have followed that initial lightning bolt, my Mama Self has done due diligence, researching the different variables– schools, homes, a suitable riding stable through which Arayla can continue pursuing her passion with horses, and a comparable Martial Arts studio for Ezra– to name but a few. More and more I can feel this return to the sweet community of Ashland– that was our beloved home when my children were tiny– is the right next move for my family, the kindest move for my nervous system, my blossoming work, my children’s innocence and passions. And to get to be closer in form once again to my beloved teacher Gangaji through this next chapter of life, fills me with incomparable joy and inspiration.

Alongside all the logistical navigation such a move includes for a family, this life-change has also inspired in my heart much poignant contemplation on the nature of life chapters and seasons– their wild beginnings and gracious endings, and the possibility of bowing in and out with innocence and gratitude.
 
With retrospect I can feel how a life change of this magnitude has actually been coming for some time, lurking in the background, simply awaiting the perfect moment for its revealing. It’s interesting how this happens, isn’t it? While my mind had never specifically clued me in on the potentiality of a return to Ashland, I have been getting hints for some time that I was drawing near to the end of my capacity to thrive in the Bay Area– as a human nervous system, as a mother, as a heart, as a light– and this made me wonder if perhaps I was getting ready to graduate from this amazing 8 year chapter in the Bay.
 
It’s powerful when we really turn and consider the many chapters our lives have included… chapters inside chapters, seasons within seasons– right? It can be so meaningful to really honor, at least internally, the large and small endings, closures and deaths, alongside the fresh beginnings and births that happen within a continuum of life unfolding.
 
As I turn and bow to this presently ending chapter, recapitulating its countless gifts, I am immensely moved by what a profoundly catalytic and fruitful chapter it has been. This is the chapter in which I transitioned from a marriage (and all my dreams of a particular form of family) through the painful early throes of single parenthood, endless tests and trials of my commitment to love and peace, through many seasons of navigating a divorced co-parenting, insisting I continuously discover my own competence and responsibility as a soul and a mother. This is the chapter in which I was initiated in ways of Grief and Forgiveness. This is the chapter that found me at my daughter’s bedside in the ICU, praying for her to stay alive with us. This is the chapter that brought me to my knees countless times, plummeting into the bottomless darkness of my own breaking wider open to life.

This is the chapter that returned me to the holy cauldron of dance, while fanning the fire of my passion for writing. This is the chapter, more than any other, that taught me how to pray~ how to lay my heart down bare before God, and give everything for love. This is the chapter that brought me home to an ever-expanding community of medicine men and women, sisters and brothers of healing prayer. This is the chapter that truly taught me about relationship, as well as solitude; that brought my fixation on romantic union to a peak, and then slowly to a close. This is the chapter that has truly nourished my creativity and growth and evolution as a woman, as a lover, as a sovereign expression and servant of truth, as a lightworker, in endlessly extraordinary and humbling ways. This is the chapter that delivered me from maidenhood to motherhood to high priestess and queen. And this is the chapter that has carried my beautiful children from chubby, rosy-cheeked toddlerhood into the tall, independent, radiantly engaged people they are becoming…
 
With tender-hearted compassion, I consider all the changes of form my little family has embraced over the years. It’s interesting how the ever-changing nature of life and relationship can inspire fear, bitterness and yearning in us, or it can encourage us to take deeper refuge in this that never changes in our heart of hearts; these threads of gracious constancy that weave through it all. 
 
Twelve Springs ago, when our beautiful Arayla was just 3 months old, Chris and I eagerly moved our newborn family from Sonoma County to Ashland. Such a sweet beginning. Four Springs later, when Ezra was 6 months old, family karma and financial strain insisted we once again lean into the winds of tumultuous change. I was heartbroken to pack up our family and leave the most wonderful community I had ever lived in, but we surrendered to the change that was calling us. Eventually our surrender guided us into a new form of family, with Chris and I divorcing and moving back to Sonoma County together, apart; fiercely dedicated to keeping a sacred circle of love around our kids.
 
Eight years later now, in just a few weeks, the children (8 and 12 now), our little dog Freya and I will return to Ashland, embracing yet another change of family form~ with Chris staying in California for the time being. With love and faith in what’s True, we now lean into this new, unknowable configuration. Our family has shifted form so many times, in endlessly subtle and overt ways, yet what has remained a constant is the ever-deepening love that contains us and nurtures our evolving relationships. In this Love, I trust completely. 
 
And so~ dear ones. I wanted you to know~ so you can hold us in your hearts as we embrace this beautiful change; just as we hold so many beloveds at this time~ all of us meeting new chapters and seasons of one sort or another.
 
To our many Bay Area kindreds~ thank you for all we have shared in this chapter! I promise we will get really good at visiting you in what will remain one of our most cherished places in the world, and we welcome you to come visit us in Ashland! And to our Ashland kindreds~ longtime loves, as well as those we’ve yet to meet~ we come home to you with open, grateful hearts, excited to meet you anew, eager to share our blossoming selves afresh with you.
 
What a mysterious play~ this life of so many endings and beginnings; this life in which change beckons our continuous surrender. And as I lean into yet another changing life season, I notice how deep my roots have grown into this that is unchanging: this Great Beloved Heart that witnesses it all, bears it all; this from which it all arises; to which it all returns..
 
Bowing in and bowing out~ with love in all directions.  ~*~ Jesua 


What’s Here?~ The Invitation to Meet It All

What’s Here?~ The Invitation to Meet It All

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I woke this morning and the very moment I opened my eyes the grief was right there, so close, aching in my chest; asking to be felt, acknowledged, allowed. I nodded silently, briefly in its direction, and then pulled myself out of bed to rise for another whirlwind morning of getting two kids off to school.

As I stood at the kitchen sink, washing the remaining dishes from the night before, I listened to the morning dialogue of my children. As they searched through the pile of clean laundry for suitable outfits to wear, they chattered about the never-ending rain, then squabbled about who would take the dog out into the wet morning. I found myself quietly noticing: These are the sounds of my life, passing. These are the sounds of my people, living. These ordinary moments~ are the very substance of a family, my little family, being.

Somehow one day flows into the next day into the next, around and around, and all of a sudden the kids are impossibly big and all-knowing, with lip-gloss and faux-hawks. It’s all so fast, so full. Am I missing my own life? I heard myself thinking. Again, I could feel the raw, poignant pulse of grief rising~ in my heart, in my throat. Turning the faucet off, pausing with the dishes, closing my eyes, I placed one hand on my aching heart. “Soon.” I said to the grief. “Soon.”

Minutes later, as I pulled back into my driveway from dropping the kids off at school,  as soon as I turned the car off I could feel the call of grief once again, tugging on me, trying to catch my attention, saying: “Now? Now?” And I said to it gently: “Almost…”  knowing I wouldn’t be able to brush it off much longer.

Walking into my home I considered the messy kitchen for a moment, but instead turned into the living room, unrolled my yoga mat, took off my shoes, my coat, and quickly lay flat down on the mat before I could talk myself out of it. I pulled my knees up into my chest, closing my eyes, just resting there. And then rolling to sit up, exhaling, stretching over my legs, feeling the deep muscles in my hips and hamstrings snag and pull, the stubborn injury in my right shoulder a dull, pulsing pain. And~ there it was, now, yes. Finally~ this grief.

The primal grief of a body~ mourning the flexibility of its youth, so innocently feeling the loss of what’s gone, what’s never coming back. Letting the body’s grief unleash its tears, then letting the tears rise up from even deeper layers of grief held in my seasoned woman heart, my weary mother heart, my anxious human heart, my hurting world heart. Letting the tears flow, letting the deep, primal wail of grief move, sobbing itself out and through me. 

No need for the mind to tell its story~ of what’s broken, of what could have been, of what’s missing, of what’s wrong. The grief doesn’t even need to know these things to simply be felt, to flow, to be honored, respected, and allowed. More stretching, opening the hips; more waves of grief tumbling out, moving through.

What beauty~ this raw realness. These are the sounds of my dear heart, my body, my life~ feeling itself today. These are the sounds of my human being grieving today. This is what’s here.

It’s intense how certain moments, certain days, certain chapters in the larger world story ask us to meet layers of pain within ourselves, right? Sometimes clearly triggered by outward circumstance, personal loss or trauma, and other times seemingly unrelated to anything we can quite place our finger on, beyond the ongoing intensity of life itself! The process of healing, of awakening, of LIVING in this world, is mysteriously unique to each soul, and deeply layered indeed.

It seems the longer we walk an awakened path, the more we are asked to hold and meet within our personal hearts, as well as the larger heart of our troubled world. We might mature in our capacity for stillness, presence and resilience, strengthening our skills in empathy, compassion and forgiveness. We might come to feel courageous in sharing our vulnerability or increasingly confident in our relationship with uncertainty.

Yet always there is an invitation to stretch open wider, to lean in and land more deeply into ourselves; to come home more fully to our place in this world, with all our tender humanness and wholeness intermingled.

For me there is a direct correlation between this ever-landing, this homecoming, and the simple willingness to be with whatever is here. Since what’s often here in this challenging human life includes some quality of discomfort, what this means is that I have to want to be with myself, more than I want to be comfortable. I have to want to open to this moment of life, more than I want any number of more preferable states.

Sometimes opening to what’s here means opening to the experience of not wanting to be here at all!! But we can notice that deeper than this transient feeling of not-wanting-to-be-here, there is a deeper, truer want: to somehow find a way to rest in ourselves, to bear the unbearable and open to what’s hurting, to make more space in our hearts for whatever pain is present.

There are limitless ways to distract ourselves and avoid what’s actually present~ everything from substance use, to staying busy, to internet addiction, to worrying, to buying things, to gossip, to texting, to obsessing about other people’s issues. But there’s 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.

There is a latent quality of suffering so many of us live with, that is made all the more layered and complex by our chronic avoidance of it. Often we avoid facing what’s present because we fear if we do, it will take over, and we will no longer be able to function, or get through our work day, 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~ saying with curiosity and kindness to myself “What’s here right now?” And then opening to feel whatever the honest answer is…

This morning, it was grief. I didn’t even need to ask. It persistently made itself known, demanding to be felt, heard, respected. If I had kept brushing it off, and hadn’t finally allowed myself to feel it and let it move through, I know from experience it wouldn’t have taken long for it to morph into some low-grade depression, or painful sense of futility, or some cynical story about life and the hopeless challenges of single motherhood. Letting grief move allows my heart to discover its own authentic grace and gratitude, forgiveness and joy.

Unfelt grief festers furiously like a wound in the heart, trying to get our attention in a million ways. Often its last resort is illness.

Sometimes “what’s here” to be met is ours, arising internally, and other times it appears to be outside us, and yet as we open to it, it then becomes ours as well. As unique as we all are in our individual lives and stories, human pain and suffering are universal, and our lives are irrevocably connected. 

I remember almost 5 years ago, when Koa Nakai, the 3/12 year old son of my one of my dearest soul-sisters, died suddenly in a tragic accident, I was personally initiated into an intimacy with grief unlike anything I had previously known. When a child dies it is way too much, too big, for those parents to grieve alone. As it is, they might not survive it; it’s literally an unbearable level of pain for the sensitive human system to manage.

We hear all the time that it takes a village to raise a child? Well, in this same vein, it certainly takes a village to grieve the loss of a child.

When Victoria’s beloved Koa died, this amazing, precious boy who had grown inside her womb at the very same time as my own precious boy had grown inside my womb, this tragedy and quality of human loss were something my heart could neither make sense of, nor shield itself from feeling the brunt of.

In the mysterious bond of our sisterhood, I felt I was given an assignment~ to let my own heart and body be used by Victoria to help metabolize even a fraction of her unfathomable grief and trauma. And so at unexpected moments of the day, I would suddenly be hit by the full force of it~ her grief, the traumatizing death of her incredible little boy~ and it would literally knock me down to my knees, rendering me breathless, breaking my heart afresh and shattering everything I thought I knew about life and love and God. This went on quite frequently for about a year following Koa’s passing. Fiver years have passed, and it still happens at times. 

I remember one such day, only a few months after his death, Victoria somehow sensed I had received “a grief wave” on her behalf, and from the bottomless pit of her own abysmal devastation, she somehow managed to text me: “Thank you Sister. Use Cedar now. And Rose. Lots of it.” Sobbing, I ran a bath with rose oil, tears pouring down my hot cheeks, burning the Cedar in my abalone shell, letting the sacred smoke bathe my heart, her heart, our broken Mother Heart, our ruptured Human Heart searing in its utter loss of control and trust and faith. 

Along these same lines of “sharing the load” of human pain, I’ve come to sense that the anxiety that arises for me in many moments is more of a collective emotion than a personal one for me. It seems to be part of the larger emotional body of our current tumultuous times, arising here in my personal chest, so I can simply do my part to feel, to process, one small piece of the whole. 

Does this happen for you too? Perhaps it isn’t anxiety for you. Maybe it’s deep grief, or rage, or terror.

When this anxiety arises I have to consciously shift to make more room, so it can have my breath and my heart and my presence for as long as it takes to be met. In this, the anxiety of our world gets to come home to love, in some small way, in my personal heart. It takes a human village to meet the losses our humanity is facing in these times. It takes a human village to meet the searing angst of our collective human heart.

If what we really want is the world’s awakening, then we have no choice but to find the courage to turn and embrace what’s desperately wanting to come home to love, right here, right now, within us. 

If in any given moment that I find myself challenged I can honestly ask myself “What’s here?” and then bravely open to whatever unpleasant feeling is revealed, I have the chance to realize that Love wants to receive this painful feeling, too. Especially this feeling. God especially wants to claim that which somehow believes itself to be separate from God. Love especially wants to embrace that which has forgotten it has always, already belonged to Love.

Love wants everything. Did you figure that out yet?  
Did you figure out yet that Love especially wants YOU?
Love wants everything! No exceptions. 

Fear doesn’t need to be a sign that there’s something to be afraid for. Loneliness doesn’t need to be a sign that something or someone is missing, and doesn’t need to mean that something’s wrong. Maybe the arising of fear or loneliness is just part of the deal here, in this thing we call Life. Maybe it doesn’t need to be avoided, or denied, or numbed, or filled, or fixed? Maybe this fear and loneliness can just be here, too? Maybe all the effort to make it better, different, less broken, more perfect, can simply come to rest, right here where we are. 

In this Rest, in this Love that wants everything, I can ask: “What’s here?” And I can continually dare to tell the truth to myself, opening courageously to this moment, and this one, and now this. If you like? You can too. You can open to yourself, to what’s here in this moment, to what’s simply asking to be seen, felt and honored by you. This that is yours, and this that is theirs, and this that is our world’s.

In this opening to life, we can revel together in this mysterious, precious, fleeting chance to simply be, to live and to love, together like this. 


Being Single~ Yearning, Prayer, Surrender and Fulfillment

Being Single~ Yearning, Prayer, Surrender and Fulfillment

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I’m inspired to tell you a story from a recent bedtime conversation I had with my son, on the topic of being single, and the prayer for partnership. It’s a tender topic to personally speak and write about, but one that so many of us share in common. And so I humbly offer my voice to the collective conversation.

I’ve been contemplating my own single womanhood and single motherhood a lot lately, in a particularly focused way. It’s interesting to consider the stigma and widespread story around “being single”, as well as the real struggles, honest loneliness, and unmet yearning a single life can include.

I’ve discovered it can be profoundly skillful to use a chapter of “being single” (whether that’s for a month, or a stretch of many years, or a lifetime) as an invitation to truly discover where our genuine capacity for fulfillment and love are forever to be found, regardless of any “other.” Having experienced both now— longterm partnerships, as well as longterm chapters of being single— I’ve come to realize that both are challenging, both hold potential for great heartache and loneliness, and both provide incredible opportunities for spiritual deepening.

Currently single for years now, lately I’ve been noticing the tender, holy intersection— where my resolve for living in the peace and fulfillment of true self-love meets my vulnerably honest prayer for eventual partnership. What courage it takes to speak the multi-layered truth sometimes, right? To not fall into stigmatic traps of cultural identity, spiritual bypass, nor limiting false dichotomies; but rather to stand in the wholeness of essential fulfillment, while meeting the full evolving range of human emotion and desire.

I was already holding this sensitive, multi-layered topic of “being single” close to my heart one recent night when it came time to tuck my eight year old son Ezra into bed. He had just gotten brand new, glow-in-the-dark solar-system sheets, and when I walked into his room he excitedly turned off the light by his bed, and his sheets brilliantly lit up— small Moons and Jupiters and Saturns shining aglow in the dark. We oohed and ahhed together at the marvelous wonder of his starry bed. Then I lay my tired head down on his pillow and habitually scooted my arm and shoulder under him, pulling the covers up over us so we could cuddle close in the dark.

Our nighttime pillow talk is amongst the most precious and cherished times we share. Somehow with all the schedule pressure of the day released, in the sweet forgiving space of night, we can fully open. We can reveal our hearts to one another in a way that nourishes us deeply, while clearing the field and blessing us into sleep.

That particular night, as my son and I nestled in, finding our cozy snuggle, Ezra suddenly spoke out in a kind, gentle voice: “Do you know what I’ve been praying for you, Mom?” Surprised and curious, I said: “I didn’t even know you ‘prayed for me’ at all?” Ezra answered incredulously: “Of course I do. We always pray for the people we love, Mom.” Happily corrected, I replied: “That is very true! So what do you pray for your Mama, my love?” Ezra answered boldly: “I pray that you find your man soon. Your man that you love so much who can share our life with us.”

I felt a bit taken aback by this proclamation, partly because of his increasing psychic sensitivity, clearly naming the very topic I had been sitting with for days. But also because after the last three years of being mostly single, and “someone missing” no longer being a regular part of our family conversation, I was surprised he still held this prayer in such a way. I’d come to feel confident in my children’s perception of me as a woman who is whole and thriving, loving myself and our life just the way it is; not as a woman transparently waiting for partnership, as I had been for much of their younger years.

About three years ago, four years post divorce, I decided to consciously “call off the search” for a partner. It had been a lifelong fixation for me, consuming a tremendous amount of life energy. Finding “my true partner” had come to feel like it was somehow intertwined with my life purpose; held in my mind as a necessary component of my capacity to live a happy life. In this way the unfulfilled “search for my partner” had became the basis for my story of personal suffering; a continuous thread in my inner drama around what was missing and what was needed in order for my life to become whole, complete and truly fulfilled.

While over the years I had experienced many beautiful relationships with men, each one of them delivering unique gifts, lessons and powerful medicine, something had begun to feel like a hopelessly broken record for me in this relational arena. I could not help but notice that this aspect of my life seemed to be caught in a perpetual cycle of longing, projection and disappointment. Rather than delivering any kind of true fulfillment or joy, this path of intimate relating seemed to have become one of ongoing disillusionment for me. And while I continued to do a tremendous amount of work on myself around this pattern, I finally had to admit that something wasn’t shifting when it came to the quality of relationship I would attract.

Suddenly it became obvious that before I could potentially attract the sacred human partnership I still desired, there was a way I needed to come fully into right relationship with relationship itself. I needed to get more honest with myself about my simultaneous resistance and attachment to my own sovereignty. I needed to come to terms with my feminine vulnerability and human needs, as well as my wounds, armoring and disappointment around the masculine. I saw that at the heart of this story of relational suffering was an essential distrust around God and Life itself that was begging for deeper illumination and resolution.

It took courage and vigilance to truly lay down this story of longing for a relationship. Even more than being a cherished dream of my heart, it had become a stubborn habit of mind, composed of incessant thought and desire; an inner drama I had grown accustomed to attending.

It became clear I had to wholeheartedly face the death of “Romantic Relationship” as I had known it, embracing the real possibility I might never have another human lover for the rest of my life. I knew I had to disentangle my aliveness from this fixation, in a way that offered up no promises for any specific outcome. And so as I laid it to rest, and turned towards true relational sobriety for the first time in my adult life, I prayed for all my past patterns of thought and desire around men, sex and partnership to truly die— to allow only what was true to remain.

I prayed to discover the fortitude to fully embrace myself, to choose myself, in the way I had wanted for so long to be chosen by another.

What freedom! After meeting initial waves of terror and grief, I actually felt enormous relief to put this huge, energy-consuming story down. I luxuriated in the simple, quiet presence that opened in the space this fixation had occupied for so long. I discovered new rituals of self-embrace and simple enjoyment of life with my children! What a gift to truly take the emphasis off what was lacking, missing, and wanted in relation to “other,” along with all my disappointment and anger about that, and instead open even more fully to what I am alive for. To really presence the gifts I’m here to bring through, as well as the abundance of love and connection already gracing my life beyond measure.

This three year stretch has been one of the most beautifully catalytic, prosperous and creative chapters of my life. Among other things, I’ve been provided with fresh opportunities to connect, collaborate and co-create with incredible male friends and colleagues, in ways that have been surprisingly healing and rewarding for me to partake in. It has felt like a potent time of learning and re-wiring; a time of unwinding old neural patterns in relation to both my inner and outer masculine and feminine.

Most notably, I’ve learned to relax into my own self-love, deepening in an exquisite depth and warmth of my own presence. I’ve been surprisingly nourished by the quiet, simplicity and strength of my own sovereignty. I have turned to face this longtime unmet yearning in my heart, and discovered at it’s core the very fulfillment I have searched for! The fulfillment of true self-love is always available, right here, in any moment we might choose to look, drop in, and receive this powerful truth. This is the treasure of treasures.

But lately I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that the parts of myself that have actually come to prefer the relative simplicity of being single have begun to overshadow the deeper, more vulnerable parts of myself that would still truly love to share my sweet human life with an amazing partner. These parts of myself sense that I still have much to learn and much to offer inside a committed container of sacred intimacy. I’ve begun to feel a quiet curiosity about this as I listen to a whisper from someplace deep within— saying: don’t forget Sweet Love, that sharing yourself intimately with an awake partner can also be a wondrous, nourishing, delicious and delightful part of life; a powerful way to play and pray, grow and receive! Stay open, trust, and surrender!

And so lying in bed with my beloved son that night, having been contemplating this topic for days, I felt deeply moved by the synchronicity of Ezra’s sharing of his prayer. I asked him slowly and carefully: “You pray for me to find a man, because you think that would be better for us than our life already is?”

He nodded vehemently in my arms. He explained: “Better for you, so you can have help with everything you do for us. You do everything by yourself Mom you clean, you make us food, you work, you take care of us. It would be better if you had a man to help you and love you. And better for me, so I can have a man who lives with us and plays with me and loves me.” His voice changed its tone then, as he dropped into his own heart’s yearning, so nakedly tender. He said dreamily: “I hope he knows a lot. A lot about surfing maybe. Or maybe he’ll be a snowboarder like me. Or maybe he’ll know all about the world? Or maybe he’ll like to fish and hunt and be wild in nature and teach me all about that…? I bet he’ll love to wrestle me…”

Deeply moved by his exposure of raw longing, I pulled my precious boy closer, affirming quietly: “You’d really love to have another man in your life, someone who is part of our family, who loves us and lives in our home with us? Someone who loves some of the same things you do?” Quietly, vehemently, he answered: Yes.”

Then with this confession suddenly his body became tight and rigid in my arms, and I could tell he was struggling with something. He said quickly: “But not to EVER take my Papa’s place.” Understanding the sensitivity of this inner conflict for him, I assured him at once: “Of course. Nobody could EVER take your Papa’s place. He is your wonderful, special Papa. Nothing could ever change that.”

He relaxed his body again, sighing deeply, and said: “Right.”

Then he propped himself up on his elbow and looked into my face in the dark. I knew by the presence he was emanating that he was about to be the guru. He said carefully: “It’s ok for us to want that Mama, you know. It’s ok if you’re our good, good Mom who loves us, and you still want a man, too. Ok?”

I felt like crying, hearing this so simply and kindly laid out for me by my young son. I gulped a few times, in awe of the purity with which he annihilated these false, hidden dichotomies of my heart, and then I said, humbly: “Yes, my love. Thank you. Yes. We can be happy just the way we are, with our beautiful family just the way it is, while also being open to more.” He nodded at me in the dark. Then, looking at me with a kind of stern intensity, he coached: “It’s important to pray for it if you want it Mom.”

I was quiet, contemplating this, and then responded: “I used to pray for partnership a lot, Ezra. Do you remember? But I think a few years ago my prayers for that got kind of tired in my heart? And they just needed a long rest. I needed to fall in love with our life and our family just the way it is, without needing anything to be different, without needing a man or anything else.” Ezra kept looking at me intently, breathing, considering my words. I continued: But your prayers feel beautiful and powerful! I love hearing your prayers for a special man to come into our lives. And I do pray for that too, my Love. If it’s what’s meant to be. I pray that our life just gets more and more beautiful and full of love, in all sorts of incredible ways.”

Seemingly satisfied, he lay back down into my shoulder nook, pulling the covers up over both of us, snuggling in closer. We lay quietly in the dark then, just breathing together. I didn’t even offer to sing like I often do. The quiet between us was the song. These sweet life prayers for ever-expanding love, inclusive love, so tenderly named, were just the song my heart needed to hear.

As I lay there, listening to my sweet boy breathe in the dark, I considered— true fulfillment in self-love and wholehearted yearning need not be mutually exclusive forces. To the contrary— how exquisite to yearn from the heart of fulfillment! How glorious to pray for more true ways in which to share and receive this love; to include this fleeting human flesh, sacred skin and bones of soul, heart of God’s earthly home. How beautiful to open wider to even more love, not from a place of lack, but rather from a ground of self-loving wholeness.

Soon the weight of Ezra’s damp, curly head felt even heavier on my shoulder, and his sleeping breaths lengthened. I kissed his warm, yummy face and pulled myself out from under him, lifting myself carefully from his bed and tiptoeing across the floor to the door.

When I got there, I turned back around and glanced at his long, growing boy body, limbs already overflowing off the sides of his single bed. From the deepest place of motherly devotion I said to Spirit: “Please. Please hear my sweet boy’s prayers. For another amazing man who can meet him, nourish him, help raise him into the incredible man he’s here to be.” And then from the quietest, softest place of my open, brave, queen-woman-heart, I added: And please; please hear my prayers, too.”

Then I shut the door to Ezra’s bedroom gently, with my heart aglow, already fulfilled, so sweetly yearning, walking out into the open treasure of my waiting life.


Our World, Our Mirror~ Rupture, Projection, Responsibility & Repair

Our World, Our Mirror~ Rupture, Projection, Responsibility & Repair

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It’s difficult to know what to say in these times, but I’ll give it a try. 

While this horrifying drama is playing out on the world stage, I’m finding it useful to notice how this translates in my own privileged life. For it to get this crazy on the outer stage of our consciousness, there must be some seriously unexamined shadow~ and not only out there, in them~ but in here, inside us, inside me.

Very recently, in perfect coinciding with all this political turmoil and devastating polarization of the human people, I experienced a painful and uncommon personal rupture inside a cherished part of my own life~ where my professional work as a healing facilitator overlapped with a beloved friendship~ in co-creative collaboration.

For this rupture to occur in such a painful way broke my heart and brought up so much for me to look at. Of course with retrospect I can see the dangerous vulnerability inherent in such a personal/professional overlap~ the ways in which our personal attachments can keep us from embodying a certain quality of vigilance and impeccability we might otherwise take for granted; the way personal entanglements allow us at times to sneakily sabotage our own integrity.

But hindsight is always only somewhat helpful, especially when the heart is broken. And so I’ve been processing the raw emotions of this,  forced to humbly examine my own blindspots and shadow that allowed such an oversight to occur. The deeper I go in my own inquiry, the more I’m guided towards a realization of compassion and forgiveness that is startlingly wide and inclusive. I’m drawn to deep contemplation on the notion of innocence~ where true innocence is to be found, beyond proving, inside us all?

There’s so much rampant rage and blame and fault-finding happening in our world right now, alongside dangerous denial and complacency and attached sleepiness; so many outrageous transgressions on human souls, which then inflame and encourage a volatile response from other human souls.

Man against woman and woman against man, liberals against conservatives and vice versa. Leaders, leading from sociopathic delusion~ marginalizing, excluding, projecting onto that which they are afraid of and seek to control. The righteous, hateful, venemous blame this naturally invokes in return.

And there is so much true need for voicing and taking a stand for what’s right and just and true in these times. As well as a need for prayer and powerful self-examination. Our world is our mirror. So what is our part in this? And what can we do~ in our daily lives, aside from align and realign with what our lives stand for?

I don’t know about you, but I’m praying~ deeply, seriously, fiercely. Praying as I write, as I mother my children, as I cook, as I drive, as I meet with people, as I attend to all that begs attending in this full life I lead.

And I’m examining myself~ my whole self, every side of myself~ not just that which is beautifully clear-eyed, courageously leading from healing intent for our world, but this within me that has been hiding in subtle forms of self-betrayal~ masked as attachment, or denial, or postponement, or spiritual pride.

I’m examining that within me which appears to deny all responsibility like a fool, pointing my finger out there; as well as that which tends to assume all responsibility like a martyr; overwhelmed and collapsed in guilt. I’m looking at my part of the drama and mess, and the fear and distrust and shame that has sourced it.

I remember about a year after I got divorced from my children’s father, there was a pivotal point of healing for me around a toxic dynamic in which we both were suffering. I had to finally see a painful way in which I was actually attached to him being wrong, attached to judging him as the one to blame, attached to him appearing as the “lesser parent.” A way that I had projected my own dark masculine onto him, for him to carry~ which in many ways he continuously embodied and confirmed, justifying the projection in my mind. This projection secured my own identification with righteous innocence, light and goodness.

When I finally saw what was happening, what my part was in this dynamic that was harming my precious family, I had to take it all back, meet and claim the projection inside myself. All the ways I subtly and at times blatantly judged him and blamed him; the darkness, the laziness, the brokenness, his  refusal to heal, his resistance to love. I had to find all those same qualities and tendencies in myself. What a relief for him, when I finally took that back. I could immediately see and feel a freedom come over him, and our co-parenting relationship lightened in the absence of this toxic load of my blame and projection.

If we can really look at the darkest parts that we have projected outside ourselves, asking others in our life, or public figures to hold on our behalf; if we can turn and meet inside our very own hearts the ego of fierce self-defense, the heartbroken lost one, the wounded longing that sources terror and greed, then maybe the dichotomization that is being so dangerously enacted out in our world won’t need to manifest so powerfully. Can I find that darkness inside my own self, and bring it deeper home to love? 

I’m looking at my own innocence, at the heart of it all, at the heart of every single human being of our world~ the innocence that is unblemished~ holy and whole. 

Deeper than all the splits I have embodied~ the good and bad, awake and sleeping, the sacred and profane, the blamer and the blamed~ I’m humbled by the simple heart of my own true love.
I’m discovering a deeper place of humility and human compassion and the living prayer that blossoms from the core of this. True compassion~ what a healing wonder this is~ how it rectifies all the splits that source the wars~ within us and without.

I’m seeing that life’s invitation to us at this time is to wake up deeper, to stay present, to be still in the face of our own tendencies to react or collapse, while daring us to take a stand for truth and right action however we are called ~ be that in the deepest meditation, or in raising our children to be compassionately engaged self-loving citizens of Planet Earth,  or by making calls, donating money, writing letters, and marching the streets with our signs voicing our hearts.

I’m looking at how my spiritual identification with being “free of drama” has actually just been a subtle avoidance of being awake inside the drama that life IS, that human relationship IS.

I’m seeing that being fully alive is not about rising above the drama that’s here, in some kind of inflated spiritual posture of untouchable invulnerability, but rather about staying awake and clear and present, at the heart of all the drama that continuously swirls around us, touching us deeply and impacting our tenderly alive hearts.

I take refuge in a Truth that is large enough to include every side of what I have wanted to deny within myself, and what we as a culture have wanted to shamefully shove under the rug of our own human consciousness~ yours and mine and theirs. A truth that is wide enough to include the ugliest, scariest, most shameful dramas of our world, and the ways these perfectly mirror the hidden wars happening inside us and our tender human lives. A truth that celebrates a oneness of humanity, that annihilates all false division. A truth that includes and reveals an exquisite purity of silence which none of this ever touches.

Do we dare come to peace, to compassionate action, right here, right now, inside our own little life? Do we dare to actively mend the gaps in our own heart~ between our love and what we deem unloveable?

I take refuge in the simple heart of my own true love; an innocence that is deeper than any dichotomy of blame and defense; a trust that doesn’t require life or other people or our world to be  trustworthy, a forgiveness that includes the unforgiveable; a compassion for the innocent wound at the heart of every sin.

I take refuge in you, in your earnest self-inquiry, in your tender vulnerability, in your courageous honesty and bold commitment to love.

Thank you. I love you. xo Jesua


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