Summoning Mythical Beasts

Photo by Igor Saveliev

What does love look like when you’ve exhausted every convention, and tried everything you knew how to do to make it last? Does one resign oneself to the notion that they ‘aren’t the marrying kind’? Do they give up on any type of domesticity with a person to share that with?

I see a path where I’m a lone wolf, only keeping company when mood and opportunity align. There’s something deeply alluring about that path. And yet…I just can’t stop chasing this notion that somewhere out there, a true Pegasus awaits. Some mythical, winged beast of a man who can land in my unicorn pasture and slay convention by my side.

Here’s what I know about love and partnership. Here’s how I’m working to define what love could look like again:

Truth and transparency is more important than monogamy.

Truth can only come from self-awareness. I need a partner committed to realizing their higher self and understanding and articulating their own needs. 

All we have is the present moment. I want someone who can occupy the present with me and who will strive to remain there.

My sexuality is sacred. My passion runs deep. In the rare instances where I’ve been met with chemistry and connection that seem equally balanced, my heart and soul get involved faster than I want them to. I need to learn to be the master of that powerful energy.

I want to cook with someone, nurture them and care for them. Help them articulate and realize their dreams while feeding my own fire and realizing my own dreams. I want to lavish them with love, and I want that kind of willingness to reciprocate.

My children deserve someone who will adore them and bring something beautiful into their lives. I want someone who will love my children as their own, while understanding that their role isn’t entirely parental.

My place of pain limits me just as anyone else’s does. I don’t want to be on a pedestal. I want someone who will navigate the dark waters with me. 

Family and my family of friends are deep and powerful connections in my life. I need someone who also knows what this means. I want to merge our tribes and have a house full of memory-making.

I want to see someone as they truly are and still love what I see.

I want a lifetime of playful, adventurous, sacred sexuality. I want to feed and nurture that with my partner with as much loving attention as we give to all of the other important facets of our life. I want to honor that space by showing up in my honesty and vulnerability, by exploring and experimenting, by challenging boundaries, and I want to do this as a unit.

I want a horned god that I can worship, who will fall to his knees before the goddess in me.

I want an intense and visceral physical attraction that is reciprocated. I want to know how much my partner loves the way I look, feel, smell and taste.

I need someone with true alpha energy, not that bullshit toxic masculinity, to create space for me to enjoy my alpha female tendencies. I want that primal shit, but back when they worshiped voluptuous goddesses. (Does anyone else feel like this is an entire blog post right here?)

I am an artist. I need someone who has their own passions that they are compelled to explore, just as I am compelled to lose myself in my writing. I need my partner to have tremendous respect for my artistic space and my talent.

I want a kind of hedonism that is tempered by consciousness, financial responsibility, healthy living, and self-care. Is that a thing? Can we start a movement?

As I type these words I find myself laughing. How could any one person tick off these boxes? Have I become so jaded that I’ve raised the bar to Olympian heights because I’m too afraid to be hurt again? 

Some of you will read this and say, “Why not be all of those things to yourself?” I am. I strive to be, every damn day. I’m really nailing this, as a matter of fact. It’s a good exercise; list everything you dream of in a partner, and then be all of those things.

I’m not lonely, and I’m okay alone, but to allow myself to imagine the kind of life I could live, with my flanks cooled by the powerful wings of a Pegasus? Now that’s the kind of magic that I want. 

Meanwhile, the grass is tasting pretty sweet in this unicorn pasture of mine.

My Crucial Night

“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.” – Peter Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about the year that’s about to begin. One of my great lessons from 2018 is that I can do very little to control how things will unfold in life, so it seems a bit silly to think of what kind of year I’d like to have in 2019. 

The other most powerful lesson from 2018 is how much I can influence the way I feel about whatever life throws. I can consciously choose where to focus my emotion and intent. And so, as far as resolutions go, this is my plan. I’ll focus on where to put my energy.

Saturday was a perfect day. It began in the waters at Body Blitz, surrounded by beautiful, powerful women. I was in heaven; so calm and so glorious in my body. Then we shared a meal with some of our babies and some of our men. There was love and sweetness all around me, and I carried all of that glow into what turned out to be a completely magical evening.

The holidays surprised me. I’ve done enough repair with my exes that we could share time over the course of three whole days, to be with our kids. It was bittersweet, but I was so grateful for that restored sense of family and connection. I knew that it wasn’t home, but it was a place I could visit and feel loved and welcome. 

I had a difficult conversation with someone who I love about my ability to occupy space that resembles a traditional relationship. About where my heart is, and what it needs. About really looking at where our own connection was headed. With truth and love, I honored my own boundaries when my gut told me loud and clear that I needed to pay attention and make a change. Transparency is the only way for me. Listening to my gut is everything.

Recently, I asked myself to stay present and witness the depth of my own ability to connect, instead of numbing myself in the ways that I sometimes do. I reached into the places in someone that call for my ministrations and I filled that space with my pure and loving intention. I am blessed with a deep capacity to give and receive love; a well that cannot run dry as long as I am the water bearer. That goodness must be doled out in a way that feels clear and true.

I’m percolating ideas for welcoming 2019. There is so much in my life already. I think of all the things I could wish for, what I truly want is passion. I can humble myself before the universe, in the face of all of the pain and loss I lived through in 2018 and ask for this year to be different. I am brave enough to ask for more.

In 2019 I will be the queen of my own domain. The home that I return to. The safety I have created. I will be the keeper of my heart; this enormous love-soaked heart that wants to give and give and give of my fire.

I will pour my passion into writing, into mothering, into my tribe of fierce women who bolster and inspire me, into my exploration of the sacred feminine, into my love of nature, into my education, into my businesses, into the lovers I select to share intimacy with. I will pour out that passion and take it in all of the forms that it may return to me.

As I allow myself to be this vessel, I will articulate and define exactly what this life of mine will be. This sweet and wondrous life that lives in the few short breaths remaining between now and the twilight of my days.

Will you walk with me in passion? Will you taste my fire? Will you conjure with me sighs of satisfaction so deep that they will serve us like blankets against the cold and darker days? Will you join my tribe, and live in my heart, and stay in this light for a while?

Happy New Year to you all. May your dear hearts be light and ready to receive a bounty of love in 2019.

The Burning Bowl – A Ritual of Release & Attraction

Items Required:

Paper

Writing implement

Matches

Fireproof vessel

Create space that feels still and sacred. Light a candle, burn some incense, purify the air with essential oil or sage. Whatever it means to you to have sacred space.

Select two sheets of paper.

Close your eyes and reflect on the year that has passed. Consider the milestones and passages. The pain and the pleasure. The lessons learned and the knowledge yet to be gained. When you are ready, list six things that you would like to leave behind in the year to come. They can be actual objects, or experiences, or emotional states, or personality traits that no longer serve you.

Fold this piece of paper up. Place the paper into the fireproof vessel.

Light the paper on fire as you set an intention to let these six things leave your life.

On the second sheet of paper, repeat this process, but this time consider six things you would like to draw into your life for the new year. Write those things down. Allow yourself a moment to imagine how your life will be enriched by these things.

Now fold this paper, and place it into the vessel. Repeat step 5, while silently calling forth the things you’ve written on this list.

Release the space you’ve created with gratitude and love.

Scatter any remaining ashes outdoors. You can bury these in the ground, let the wind take them, or empty them into a body of water.

Glad Tidings

I’m toasting these shadows, those ghosts of Christmas past, with almond eggnog and spiced rum, and I’m doing the best that I can. This holiday is bittersweet, but I’m pleased to tell you there is greater emphasis on the sweet.

Two of my kiddos trimming my tree.

2018 was a year of surprises, the greatest of which is how I have surprised myself. With my strength. With the depth of my love. With my fierce dedication to reaching for the beauty that exists in every frame.

I want to turn all of this pain and transformation into something beautiful.

I’ve had a week of self-imposed solitude and it’s been exquisite. I love my friends who have been filling my days with warmth and goodness. I love those undefined people in my life who send me hope and light in a variety of ways. However, I’ve come to realize that I need to fall deeply into a time of reflection and creativity. Repair and rebuilding. I need to take everything I’ve learned and shape it into a way forward for anyone who arrives at this place of grief and change.

My ex and I have been able to sit down and begin some difficult conversations. I’ll talk more about that later on, but the outcome has been the decision to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together with the kids.

‘You’ll make new traditions’. This is a mantra that I hear over and over again. Here are some of the traditions I’ve tasted, or will taste this holiday season. I’d like to embrace these and add to them for years to come:

Decorating my home and my altar with boughs of fresh evergreen.

Putting up a real tree.

Crafting decorations for my tree with my children, so there are pieces of them to keep me warm when they are at their other home.

Giving my time to charitable organizations. 

Baking gingerbread cookies and eating too many of them with good coffee.
Thoughtful gift-giving. Next year I’m making gifts.

Honoring the Solstice with ritual and celebration, and teaching my children about the meaning of this special time.

Finding the perfect nativity set and stable.

Giving books on Christmas Eve.

Spending Christmas Day in my pajamas.

Feasting with family.

Watching my favorite holiday movies.

Holiday parties with wonderful friends.

Kissing someone on New Year’s Eve.

Spending a whole day/week dreaming and goal-setting during the first week of January. Someday I’m going to do this from a winterized cabin or a resort. All.By.Myself.

Here’s how I want to feel this holiday:

Full of light. Deeply illuminated with the knowledge that I am good, and that I have a lot to offer the people in my life.

Rich with love. Aware of my ability to love deeply and profoundly. Comforted by the knowledge that I am loved deeply and profoundly.

Strong. Able to sit with difficult emotion and listen to the teachings therein. Aware of my power to transcend that which doesn’t serve me, and to reach for that which makes me whole. Proud of how I have survived. Clear on what I need to thrive.

Joyful. I believe in the magic of the season. I want to see that reflected in my son, and my own child-like heart. I want space to play and dream and laugh.

Cherished. I want to be with the people I belong to. Who love me despite my faults. Who see the value in me and feel proud of me. 

Beautiful. I’ve struggled here, especially through this time of change. I want to attach more beauty to my inner light. I want to be loving and kind to my body. I want to believe that the change and the sorrow that now seems etched on my face makes me seem wise and sacred rather than tired. I want to feel like none of this matters. 

Grateful. For my healthy children. For the many people who have lifted me up in the darkest moments I’ve known. For my own health. For having my parents and my brother so close. For the universe continuing to provide me with what I truly need. For everything I see now that I couldn’t see before.

For all of you who are reading; I wish you profound peace during this sacred time of light and love. May your hearts be full of the knowledge that you are important, and valued, and needed. May you take comfort in food prepared by people who matter to you. May music and laughter surround you. May the people who you consider family be blessed with good health and prosperity. May you truly feel that your presence has made a difference.

It’s made a difference to me; to know that you are listening, and feeling many of these things that I have felt, had made me realize that no matter how my love may shift, I will never truly be alone.

Blessed Solstice
Merry Christmas
Peace and Light 

The In Between Moments

It’s not that I’m afraid of being alone.

I don’t despair about the notion of getting old without a husband. I don’t worry that I’ll choke to death and nobody will come to my rescue. I don’t fret about my beauty shriveling up or my vitality fizzling out if I cloister myself for a while.

It’s just that when it’s me and these four walls, the pain floods in. The wasted, reckless ruin of my love sits like a specter in the corner. Time can tick, death can loom, it’s the grief I can’t make peace with. I don’t want to. But I can’t feel like this a moment longer, and this feeling lurks just beneath the various masks I wear to get through each day.

How could I love like that, feel that way about someone, and end up where I am?

Why would I ever try to love again?

And so I won’t. I can’t right now. I could stand in a field of poppies and still not believe in the colour red.

I performed a wedding this evening. An intimate gathering of nearest and dearest in the home of the bride and groom. Their love was palpable. Every few weddings, I get to see that. Real love. People who might actually make it through the insane shit storm that is life. People who understand how rare and precious that kind of connection is. People who can transcend their own mess to meet where they each feel deserving of that kind of love, and unafraid of their ability to give it.

I yearn for that, and yet it’s so clear to me now that I have a long way to go before I’ve transcended this mess. I’m not being dramatic when I say that I may never completely transcend this. There are those lessons in life that we carry around forever.

I can’t give my heart away in pieces.

I don’t know how to put it back together.

So here I will hibernate, applying gentle pressure until the bleeding stops. Until the seal is affixed. Until the bond is secure.

I spoke to a friend last night, on the phone, old-fashioned like. My brother and I refer to this friend as ‘The Wizard’ for his uncanny ability to peer inside me, and for the way he seems to feel a disturbance in the force every time I think about him, or need an ear.

I’d drafted everything you’ve read above just before calling him, and here is what he said to me, without reading any of this, of course:

“You gathered up the pieces of your heart and put them in a bag, which you moved to that pretty little apartment you so love. The bag has been on the floor, and now you are unpacking those heart pieces, re-assembling them slowly, discovering where the pieces fit. You can’t rush that.”

I’ve stopped being gobsmacked by his ability to pick up on my consciousness. Instead, this idea gave me the image of a beautiful jigsaw puzzle, half-completed, on a table in my apartment. I need to spend some quiet moments, working on the puzzle. Sipping wine or tea, watching the snowfall from my panoramic view, that YouTube channel with the holiday music and roaring fireplace lighting up my television screen.

That’s all I really need right now. The in between moments. The space to make friends with this pain, who no doubt knows exactly how this puzzle fits back together again. As always, I’ll tackle the outside edges first and work my way into the middle once the framework is in place.

The Things I’m Forgetting

If you think that I’ve been quiet because I’ve fallen into a peacefully settled sort of happiness, you would be wrong.

There is happiness, to be sure, and love and light, but peace and any sense of settling continue to elude me.

In the 4 am hours when I spontaneously wake up each night, I wonder at this. I turn my life around and upside down over and over again. It’s been seven months. I should be in a much better place, shouldn’t I?

Here’s a snippet of the inside of my head these days:

I contemplate the constant hustle to pay the bills, never making enough to pay down debt and save a penny.

Living close to my kids’ other home and their schools seemed so essential post break up. There were no suitable roommates here, who could offer an appropriate home environment for my son. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough. Maybe I wasn’t thinking straight. How could I be?

I love my apartment. I love my community here. I love being minutes away from my children. But there’s so much more to consider.

When my relationship ended, I had a burgeoning online business that adequately contributed to our household expenses, split between three adults. I made some extra money on the weekends performing wedding ceremonies. It’s not enough to get by on, and I don’t have the time and space I need to grow either business because I’m working side jobs to pay the bills.

Do I look for a full-time job? Will anyone even interview me without a degree? Could I earn more this way? Feel a greater sense of accomplishment?

Do I walk away from this lovely apartment and move back home with my parents? Should I do that and go back to school? Realize my dream job of becoming a relationship and sex therapist? What am I doing with my life?

How can I save money for my son’s future?

What will I live on when I retire?

What if I get sick and can’t work? Or need major dental work? Or my car breaks down?

How did my life change so much, so fast?

How can I live with this pain? Why does it still hurt like this?

How dare I try to love anyone, other than myself and my children, at a time like this?

Why do my kids need me if they already have two parents?

I should be so much further ahead in life. What do I have to show for my time on this earth?

Maybe it’s the moon, or my hormones, or the thick blanket of sorrow I get wrapped in every November, but this noise is deafening even in the light of day.

I’ve started making gratitude lists and watching what I put in my body. I’m doing yoga again and trying to get outside. I’m talking to friends and trying to be social. Some of these things work for a few short minutes, and then it’s back to the cacophony.

This morning I realized that this current brain space exists because there are so many things I have forgotten. So many lessons I need to take another look at. Here are just a few:

1. There is no timeline for grief. Pain and loss and sorrow don’t expire at the six month mark, or the seven month mark, or the five year mark. They exist forever, until the space is shared with other emotions/memories/experiences that dull their sharp edges. Ironically, only the passage of time allows for this space. It cannot be controlled.

2. These changes were not your choice, and so moving into them cannot possibly be easy.

3. When day-to-day life is full of triggers, this will open old wounds until time serves to scab them over. (See lesson 1)

4. When the darkness is overwhelming, the search for light must become an active practice. You won’t find it if you don’t look.

5. No single person can make your individual pain go away. It is yours alone to bear, to examine, to process. If you think for a second that someone else has healed you, you’ve handed them the tools to take you down at the knees, even if that was never their intention. If you can love someone while still doing your own work, do it. If that love is distracting you from your work, it’s doomed. If you think that other person has done the work for you, there’s certain heartbreak in your future.

6. It is completely okay to make mistakes when you’re in the midst of a gigantic life overhaul. Seeing the ‘bigger picture’ is impossible when you’re performing emotional triage. Surviving is the most important thing. You can worry about thriving later.

7. Starting from scratch is a road that is paved with sacrifice and possibility. You will have to look within and decide which sacrifices are worth a peaceful and prosperous bigger picture.

8. The decisions that will affect your future, and the future of your children, are yours alone to make. This is a powerful, and absolutely daunting truth. You do not have to rush these decisions. You deserve to take the time to weigh them carefully and reflect on how each possibility makes you feel.

9. You loved deeply. You were as committed as you knew how to be. You chose to make a child. Seven months is nothing in the face of the time you were prepared to invest in that relationship, so it’s not reasonable that you should feel any differently than you do now.

10. November is brutal. Don’t expect anything to be different about this month, no matter how you decide to feel about it.

11. If you aren’t actively practicing self-care and mindfulness every single day, you will drown.

12. One of the biggest commitments you made to yourself when this relationship ended was financial health. You cannot ignore any opportunities to realize this. Your future, and your son’s future depend on you empowering yourself in this way. This could look like living with your parents for a few years, or this could look like going back to school to invest in a new career, or this could look like trying to find more secure work, or this could look like some combination of these ideas. It absolutely means staying put and being frugal until you know for sure what you’d like to do.

So I’m treading water right now. Sometimes I’m sinking, the cold black water of the unknown like vicious hands around my ankles. Sometimes it feels like floating. Sometimes I’d give anything to see the shore, but I suppose I should be glad to be adrift in the ocean of possibility.