home, love, vulnerability, life

I wake for words and feelings.
I release them like rescued animals into the wild.
The moon lights up many paths.
I turn back into the warm house of my dreams,
grateful for rituals
and visitations.

i recently heard a date (ish) by when i have to move out of my beautiful detroit apartment. for good reasons, reasons i understand. but it hurts! i love this particular set of rooms, combination of wood, the way the light pours into this wide open space, and how full it is of memories. dance, love, healing and ritual. the first time i saw it was a soulmate moment, i knew it was my home. this space has been my companion through these last five years of my transformation and learning.

i heard the date yesterday and thought, ok! then i woke up last night full of grief. i walked through my house in the sharp moonlight, and just felt feelings, which this house has earned from me, has offered me.

i will land in the right next place, there are many many options available. but first i have to kiss all the corners and gather up myself in here.

hide nothing, withhold nothing. the love you seek wants and needs all of you.

this year i am working with a commitment around authentic, wholistic intimacy. in my somatic study, we pick commitments which feel aspirational, which feel like what we want to embody with our whole lives.

i have a facilitative, coach-like manner. while i appreciate the ways i show up, it can be hard for me to drop out of that bird’s eye/root system view and land in the current moment, in my own feelings.

i’ve contained or controlled a lot of my feelings in the course of my work, tucking them away or transforming them into the energy a group needs. but it can be isolating, to always be holding and never be held. love is a wondrous practice ground for this stepping into the fray, the feelings.

love isn’t something to facilitate, manage, direct. i can’t leave any of myself at the door of love and expect the experiment of it to work. it is magnificent to confess and keep confessing – not for punishment, not to determine right and wrong, but simply because i need to tell my whole truth to survive, to learn who i am in this world at this time, to be part of humans growing.

i also feel this is the major lesson from the elders who are becoming ancestors in droves right now. i feel the changing of the guard. and i notice that i feel most moved by those elder-ancestors who lived with the least compromise. it thrills me to be reminded of maya angelou’s sex work, ruby dee’s experimentation and learning around open marriage.

the more whole our elders and ancestors are, the more whole we have permission to be.

vulnerability is the least obvious path to the life i want, and the most liberating. it transforms the unknown from terror to possibility, evolves my actions from control to complexity.

since sister warrior charity hicks went into the hospital i have been reflecting on her strengths, her magic, the kind of space she occupies. one thing i keep coming back to is the immense vulnerability she regularly shows, publicly. she speaks of ‘getting naked’, of feeling the pain of being in detroit with water shut offs, evictions, winter, gentrification, emergency management and all of it – to be inside of that whirlwind and not grow numb, to keep being a vulnerable human being as an act of strength.

i have been pulling that into my personal life with my beloved, with my friends. vulnerability feels like an understanding of change: i am vulnerable to the changes of life, i know i am not all powerful, i know i can be and am impacted, i can be and am fragile.

but the liberation too – i cannot control the happenings of this multi-layered world, but i can be complex, have history and future and just show up somewhere between the two. i can feel within and through the layers. i can grieve and release. i can and must live.

and another friend reminded me today, i can just BE and not have to DO anything – which is vulnerable. when i am doing, it gives me the false sense of having some control, even if it is only of my dishes and dust. but even in that doing, that myth of my important task, my urgent deadline, my well-laid basically perfect plans – everything could change.

waiting for the bus, everything can change.

i accept my vulnerability.
i accept that there is more unknown than known in my life.
utmost amongst the unknown things is how long i have to BE.

and in fact that is my respite from terror! yes to try and understand it all is terrorizing, we live in a moment of terror for humans and for our home. and yet we can cultivate the good, with our attention, by letting it flow through us and swell between us. without trying to control or change each other, we can be vulnerable to each other. and learn.

then it becomes another radical front – to feel your life, to be honest with your feelings, to offer to each other the truth of where we hurt and what we long for and what brings us joy.

and then the possibilities burst open. i realize at any moment it is possible to just be in the present, which can be beyond good or bad, which can be that tender fleeting extraordinarily precious thing: life.

Home is Here (repost of Autumn Brown)

(i wanted to share this gorgeous post with you all. as most of you know i spend a week of each month with my sister and her growing family in rural minnesota. here, autumn brown offers a glimpse into the living, rooting, healing and learning happening there.)

Hello good people!

And welcome spring! Maybe you noticed: it’s been awhile since I’ve sent a newsletter. For those of you who follow my writing, I apologize for the long delay. The last seven months I have been in a sort of hibernation, learning the ropes and loving the challenge of my still-quite-new job leading a young non-profit; stoking the fire in the wood burning furnace that heated my new home in the woods all winter long; and growing a new child (Mairead Irene was born on January 19th, at home in a tub, assisted by my sister, my midwife, my husband, and my mother). I was inwardly focused on growth and expansion, and I gave myself the space to fall inward, without commentary.

And as the winter wore on, I felt that my emotional well being was quite literally tested by the weather. Several snows came during the month of April; and yes, that is strange even for Minnesota. I began to have an actual, quite irrational fear that spring would never come.

And then it arrived. Yesterday I walked barefoot between long dead leaves, new grass, and sponges of melting snow, learning the outdoor landscape of my new home, a place I have never been in the spring. We are discovering that our house is surrounded by a carpet of tulips and crocuses that are just beginning to peek through the dirt. We planted our first trees: White spruce, scotch pine, and chokeberry. Mairead had her first taste of full sun, and loved it. Siobhan and Finn ran around naked, covering themselves in mud, and working hard with their father and grandfather to hang a bat box in the tree near our pond to attract mosquito eaters. We are preparing our garden, eager to get our seedlings into the ground: they grow taller every day and begin to smell like tomatoes and peppers.

Today I have that absolute sense of rebirth that I can only credit to having spent a winter so close to the land, and at the mercy of the physical climate. Surrounded by the silence of snow and dormant life, now the sounds of life return to our woods, and I truly feel them to be ours.

So I write to you now from a place of joyful understanding. I can feel myself in the balance, and always this is my experience after giving birth (I can really say “always” now, since it has been true three times). After giving birth, I become keenly aware of my own death and the future deaths of everyone I love, but I am less and less cowed by it. Death is just what is, in the same way that life is just what is. Life is painful and immeasurably sad, and then it is pleasure, release, the taste of boundlessness. Life is fear and not knowing, and then it is sudden immediate knowing. Life is hard. And then it’s not.

What I am feeling now can only be expressed as gratitude, though there is something deeper too. Something this army brat has only ever felt hints of before, but is coming closer each day to knowing: an actual place called home. Home for me has always been migrating. Home is where my family is, or home is where I’ve lived the longest. But for home to be an actual place, a piece of land with it’s own memory – that is a kind of magic I have never experienced. So here it is. My home, all around me. Home is here.