Conclusion

new moon

I am sort of a freak for words that have dual meanings. Like the word, conclusion.

Especially since I am in the midst of both of its meanings this month.

con·clu·sion

kənˈklo͞oZHən/
1. the end or finish of an event or process.
2. a judgment or decision reached by reasoning.

Saturday, December 20 is the final day Secret Rebel Club will be online. It is fitting since Secret Rebel Club began on a New Moon and December 21st is both Winter Solstice and the date of New Moon for December.

It has been an empowering and invigorating experience to work with such amazing women!

This is a conclusion.
And a reasoned beginning.

It is not quitting or abandoning. It is not a reaction, or decision I have reached capriciously. There is no back-story … simply a conclusion.

And a celebration.
And a new season.

If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now. -Debbie Millman

Wishing you all the very best, Braveheart.

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Black Lives Matter

A'Driane Nieves

I wasn’t going to bring him. But then my husband and I talked about it and decided one of us needed to be here tonight and he should be with whoever came. So after school I told him where I was going and why and asked if he wanted to come. He said yes, which surprised me, but he’s been doing that a lot these days when we discuss a reality I’d rather shield him from but can’t. We put on our Because of Them We Can shirts, our walking shoes, filled our bellies and made the drive through rush hour traffic to stand in front of the courthouse in the falling darkness. The crowd starts to trickle in, some holding signs, others carrying their babies and leading their children. Some sit, others begin to line the sidewalk where he asks to go-front and center, in plain sight. I ask him if he’s ok, and he smiles back at me with a grin that shines in his eyes. Unprompted he grips the painting I knifed onto canvas in protest and holds it up in front of him. The crowd has grown, more are standing and the protest begins.

We’re here. Standing together, he and I, standing in the power of those who came before us and did the same. Here because it’s time to teach him to do no harm but take no shit. That his life matters and that he can make it known by gathering with others and expressing so in a peaceful and constructive manner if need be. That he has rights regardless of what society and lack of due process tells him. We’re here to watch and learn and so he can ask questions.  Second grade has already begun to teach him about American politics. He knows about government, the court system and democracy. At home we’ve talked about what protesting and peaceful assembly means and that it’s guaranteed by the Constitution, even though the rights of Black and Brown people weren’t considered when it was originally written. Tonight we’re talking about how sometimes police officers have hard jobs to do but that some don’t always do the right thing, and how important it is that they do because it’s their responsibility…and when they don’t, they should be held accountable. Nearly an hour in, he asks me:  “Mom, why are bad police officers shooting black men and boys?” and now we’re talking again about how racism and bias drive people to do bad things sometimes, doing my best to be honest but age appropriate. It’s not easy. It’s not a question I want to answer. It’s a question that fires shots at my heart as it comes from his mouth at nearly eight years old.

But I do it because even though this isn’t the America I’d thought I’d be raising him in, and I thought by the time I entered motherhood open season on Black life would have ended, it is my duty as his mother to answer him. It is my responsibility to answer him and to remain committed to teaching and showing him that not matter what, his Black is worthy and that he can say so proudly.

So we’re here. It’s loud and impassioned but peaceful. He’s high-fiving the other kids and showing them my painting, the one I made in protest of open season.  When I see him point to cars passing by and yell at the top of his voice “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” I’m fighting back tears, grateful that we’re here.


 

A’Driane Nieves is a writer and artist committed to mental health advocacy and social good. Prince is her first love and finding beauty in the chaotic and broken is her life’s quest. She writes about her personal life and offers social commentary on her blog butterfly-confessions.com and is a contributing editor for Postpartum Progress.

releasing to become

releasing to become ... #livefree

The crone has gone through many crossroads; she has reached a place of conscious surrender where her ego demands are no longer relevant. She is a surrendered instrument, and therefore detached. -Marion Woodman

A surrendered instrument. Detached. Unencumbered. Syllables pondered yesterday standing wholly at-ease in the wide open space of an endless muted gray sky and a freshly-plowed field of Oklahoma red dirt. Imagery of possibility: awaiting color and seed and the process of time.

becoming is not about control by stargardener

Becoming requires viewing work as the process of creating your-self. Work is not “a job” or what you get paid for — it is the process of doing as you become. Creating within the conscious surrender of your ego — your own demands and expectations and what “they” will think.

It takes guts. To release. To become. It is a process. To allow for silence and feeling lost and {wandery} in the midst of the many faces of your-self, the many reflections of your-self in the mirrors of others.

Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls. -Anais Nin

A life of purpose is creating by faith in the midst of deals and luck — and luck favors the prepared, Braveheart. Which is why it is vital to become your own mentor — your own hero — and to go where your ego demands are no longer relevant.


stargardener

People associate [discipline] with having to do what they’re told. But discipline is quite a lovely word. It comes from the same root as disciple, and it means seeing yourself through the eyes of the teacher who loves you. We have that teacher within ourselves … -Marion Woodman

No Guilt December

It’s that time of year.

The jingle bells jing
The sleigh bells ring
the choir sings,
It’s the most wonderful time of the year,
the hap-hap-happiest season of all.

Except when it isn’t.

For many this is the season that the grey clouds roll in or as I like to describe it,
the grey companion stops by for a visit.
I haven’t seen her yet this year but I sense a chill in the air.

She is close.

So I prepare.

This year, I have claimed December as my own.
My December, I am calling it.
Full of the practices that I need to be whole.

Art, writing, reading aloud
Questions, ponderings, and wonderings.
Digging deep, I am clearing out a storm shelter of sorts
A place to ride out the waves that are building in the distance
If I am lucky, they will pass right over me.

Then again, if I am lucky, I will have another chance to dance with the grey companion.

What’s that you say?
How is that I can call it lucky to face another struggle with depression?

The grey companion is part of me. She is me.  If I wish her away, I lose part of myself that I’ve always known. She is familiar and each visit she teaches me so much about myself. Familiar feels like home. I welcome familiar.

2014 has been the year of losing.

I lost my mom.
My mother-in-law lost her independence thus we lost her home when it sold this past summer.
It was essentially confirmed that I’ve lost my relationship with my step-mother when she sold my father’s home without telling us. No chance to say goodbye, to have a final visit. My own home doesn’t even feel familiar right now.

It feels like I have lost home and all sense of who I am within those homes. I’ve lost the roles that I play. For all intents and purposes, I am not someone’s daughter any more. All of this loss has shifted who I am in the world. I feel a bit unfamiliar to myself. It has been more than unsettling.

Something familiar to navigate doesn’t seem daunting at all. I’d welcome that. As I would with any visitor, I am preparing, getting ready.

That means this month is focused on self care, on nourishing and nurturing my body, mind, and soul. It means that I am somewhat unavailable to my family. Holiday celebrations haven’t been canceled and I am not opting out. I just have released myself from the pressure of performing and I am feeling no guilt about that.

No Guilt December includes hours at the table with my art journal, eating off paper plates, and naps in the nest of pillows on my bed. It means taking just one of my children to see a movie, not showing up to planned events, delegating tasks that I would normally do. I am taking this month to let the meals be simple, to schedule a fitness guide session with the Y, and I think I will make an appointment for a massage.

During December I will not try to solve problems. I won’t be the fixer. I will gift myself the time and space to properly grieve my mother’s passing. Let the anger and sadness boil over and just let it be. I won’t worry about not being there for others. No guilt.

I am ending 2014 in the way I want 2015 and beyond to be. I won’t apologize for how selfish it seems.  That is a warped view. What others define as self care and self preservation, I have seen as self-centric. It is time for that to stop. I am purging that thought this month by proclaiming no guilt.

no guilt.

no guilt.


grey companion “Feel no guilt. Getting married and giving birth does not mean that you have sold your life away to perfectly healthy people who can get their own damn socks.” ― Jennifer Crusie

Cynthia Lee is on a quest to reclaim her soul, to dig her bones up from the earth, to sing life into the skeleton woman. On the cusp of Cronehood, she is redefining herself through the process of intuitive art and writing. Follow her into the wild at JustCynthia.com

homing

homing

each day I am coming home again,
a soft pause,
eyes closed,
breath that stretches down,
within,
and moments later I feel my body and
mind circling back to nestle in the
quiet confines of Self.

this week
home feels like an allowing-
open hands, heart full
old paradigms dying hard
with abandon.
living intimately with expectations
while negating their
lasting hold on me.

home feels like a dance,
as the music reverberates within the gentle folds
of heart
and the mundane,
and the rhythm finds me
where I am.
one turn after another,
the choreography as natural as breath.

home tastes like broth and roots,
chopped and infused with a passion
of connecting past and present,
of weaving the lifelines of women who stood side by side
together
honoring their gifts,
their family,
the quiet platitudes constructed on a foundation of love
as an offering
of the hands.

home feels like guidance,
like cracking wide open
through practice and
whispered prayer,
as you ask for strength
and trusting that the sacred Divine
will walk beside you along the
altar of all you hope
to be in this moment,
as you are.

home is love at first sight
as you open your eyes to
the light of another day,
to a tender smile
and gentle words that find their way
to your lips
at the precise moment you feel as if you
will crumble into the messy
wash of failure and regret,
but instead find yourself filled with
a grace
so expansive that it empties your
soul of bitterness
releasing only tenderness
and acceptance for the beauty
of this life
as you take your next step
towards it.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Gina Kimmel

 

Extractor of connection.
Witness to nature’s divine beauty.
Pen to the truth that captures them both.
When she isn’t gazing at the clouds or documenting moments of beauty through the lens of her camera,
she is inviting others to embrace the ordinary and find splendor in the mundane at ginakimmel.com

when thanksgiving feels far away

faded flower

The holidays are magnifying glasses
Forcing us to see close up; too close
Surrounding us with lists for gratitude
Invitations to share thanksgiving

We stand behind the curtain
Busily pulling levels and hoping to convince
Until one day we yank the velvety curtains down
We stand in our own light

We decide we will be grateful for what we know
As a daily practice — from our personal experience
Not a calendar date or someone else’s story
We will celebrate our-self, our-story

Thanksgiving will look like we decide
It shall not be served with turkey and dressing
According to someone else’s schedule
We will begin new traditions


I am

Empathy is the antidote for shame, for the way you feel in the midst of offering yeses of habit instead of sacred no’s. Being true to what you need is a process — it takes as long as it takes, Braveheart. I offer this space to you with acceptance and compassion; I meet your shame and frustration with empathy.

I see you. I see you choosing to do what you must until you are able to do what you want. I see you moving in the direction of your dreams … ♥

 

feathered to fly

photo

I am laying on the table with my ankles crossed and my eyes on a small white fire alarm on the sloping ceiling.  There is the warm buzz of the needle sounding in my ear drums and pressing into my forearm.  It spreads like fire through my system though I hold perfectly still.  Everything is crystalline and muted, is in perfect focus and a light fog of becoming.  I don’t look away from the round alarm marked with round dots of its own and my mouth is hollow and round swallowing sacredness.

truth:

it doesn’t take much of you

to fill me.

a few rays slinking through the kitchen window

early.  i will sit on the wood floor

and soak you in.

both hands cupped around

coffee.

*

or in the afternoon when the

wind

dies down and i

stand at the corner of

here,

and there.

waiting for one bus or another.  and you

decide to appear.

maybe no one else notices,

my heart goes thick with swell

and i tip my head.

*

it doesn’t take much of you.

alight

on my lips, or the curve of my cheek,

or the back of my neck.

run yourself down the length

of erector spinae group,

press yourself into my thigh bone -

insistent that you exist,

even though the season

has turned again

and it is cold.  with a chill

that frightens me.

and tears track down my face when i am alone

at the kitchen table

wondering when you will arrive.

how on earth

i have come to be

here.

“I am not a virgin anymore,” I say as I shake his hand, “thank you.”  His eyes blink open before I look away.  “That was your first tattoo?”  It was.  Indeed it was and she told me, “It will change you.”  But, she is a woman of the light who doesn’t understand the way I have to worship at the edges of the sun just to stay this side of the earth.  She is the perfect counter balance to everything I carry.  So I didn’t believe her.  But here I am.  I can’t stop staring at my self.  I can’t help but feel the secret shame I have carried for so long.  The dark spots that no one can touch.  The way sometimes my blood runs thick black so I think no one will ever know me.  The shadows that lurk even when I am velocity itself, a healer and a writer and a light bringer, those etchings of darkness that always want attention as well – here they are.  Right on the surface of it all.  Blended just so into beauty.  Feather light.  Of this world and not.  Flight and angels and winged ones alike.  So I am strong yes, as I always have been.  I am here.  I am here.  I am still here.  Collecting it all.

truth:

even when you are

just a whisper

i believe.

which may gut me

as the days shorten towards

the darkness.

but it is my map.

my map alone.

and it doesn’t take much of

you

to fill me.

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robin e. sandomirsky

luminary explorer.  freedom igniter.  warrior blooded game changer.

truth.  velocity.  embodiment.

i am a writer.  i am a healer.  i am home.

soyala