RAISING BOYS

“How many boys have to kill themselves before this country acknowledges the problem.” – Guante

I am blown away by the influx of information that is coming to me about raising men these days, the importance of reconstructing ‘masculinity’, even going without any definition and just letting men be human.  I have been so connected to the health and wellbeing of women and body image for the last several years; what about our boys, our men? We must give them space. I have already vetoed any name for my son that means warrior, or to fight. I don’t believe that we need our men to fight any more.

Raising conscious, feeling men? What a fabulous new life challenge. It’s already begun… 

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FEAR, PASSION, DETACHMENT

It’s 12:21am on Wednesday February 5th and I am 29 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I can hear the freezing rain falling outside, and my imagination runs wild. Many of my fears have visited me this evening as I prepared for a warning that power may be cut again tomorrow due to frozen boughs and downed power lines. I drove in the snowy aftermath of Monday’s storm as the sun headed over the mountains, headed towards the store as soon as power was cut. My first instinct was to fill the bathtub, and get more water. I remember Sandy well. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for the wellbeing of my baby.

So now even though my eyes are heavy with fatigue, I am awake writing. What else do I want to say? I feel incredibly vulnerable, sensitive, porous. I am afraid of many things, and yet I know that whatever happens, I will get through it. I know that no matter what happens, I will get stronger, more resilient. Dear God please protect us, send me your grace, your love, guide your way. Angels, show me the best route to take as I navigate this new time in my life, this ending, this beginning.

I don’t know what is coming. I pray that you will spare me as much hardship and heartache as possible. I am seeing that gratitude, patience and acceptance are some of my most powerful allies, guarding against sadness, hopelessness and despair. I must keep writing in my gratitude journal, and training my mind to be happy, even when Isaac is not here. This too shall pass. There will come a time when we will all be together, either on the road or in a house or who knows where. Until then, this is my life, and it is magnificent in all its manifestations.

Isaac writes to me about his love for our boy and I am overcome with emotion. The baby moves at night and in the mornings, and Isaac is with him, even though he’s in a plane over Canada, a truck in Arizona or a tour bus in Austin. I know we will be together, somehow, that the dreams we have are possible because we dream them together.

“This much I know. I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness. No matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities that itself creates new potential.’

“I’ve learned from the Bhagavad Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of whatever I do. Because those are not in my hands. The context is not in your control. But your commitment is yours to make and you can make the deepest commitment with a total detachment from where it will take you. You want it to lead to a better world and you share your actions and take full responsibility for them but then you have detachment.’

“That combination of deep passion and deep detachment allows me to take on the next challenge. Because I don’t cripple myself. I don’t tie myself in knots. I function like a free being. I think getting that freedom is a social duty because I think we owe it to each other not to burden one another with prescription and demands. I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.”

– Vandana Shiva

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ONLY THIS

‘Look closer [..] and you’ll see the true interconnection of love and loss. “You can’t really experience connection if you don’t also have a sense of separation,” says Douglas Brooks, a scholar of Hinduism and professor of religion at the University of Rochester. ”Heartbreak is part of the human condition – if it comes off the table, so does love itself. Vulnerability is what makes life worth living; without it we’d lack meaning and purpose.”

‘Since you can’t transcend heartache, you should embrace it. “We were all created out of love, but born into separation the moment the cord was cut,” he says. “That’s what it is to be human. Heartbreak is not the end of love. It’s the beginning.”‘

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THE PRIMAL FLUX

“The best thing about writing is not the actual labor of putting word against word, brick upon brick, but the preliminaries, the spade work, which is done in silence, under any circumstances, in dream as well as in the waking state. In short, the period of gestation.’ 

“No man ever puts down what he intended to say: the original creation, which is taking place all the time, whether one writes or doesn’t write, belongs to the primal flux: it has no dimensions, no form, no time element. In this preliminary state, which is creation and not birth, what disappears suffers no destruction; something which was already there, something imperishable, like memory, or matter, or God, is summoned and in it one flings himself like a twig into a torrent.’ 

“Words, sentences, ideas, no matter how subtle or ingenious, the maddest flights of poetry, the most profound dreams, the most hallucinating visions, are but crude hieroglyphs chiseled in pain and sorrow to commemorate an event which is untransmissible.” (Henry Miller, ’On Artistic Action’, from Henry Miller On Writing, 1964)

All creation is the same then, a summoning of crude markings against the unfathomable wonder which infuses the phenomena of life. How is it possible that I am creating a tiny human body within my own? What magic is this? I have huge bursts of energy and then cravings for slumber. I blaze like a hurricane across the floorboards of my house, the concrete of New York, and occasionally remember to look up at the sky and take a breath. There is much being born and much dying off. I am embedded in the cosmos, and so, I am it. I want to remember that forever.

When I began writing, I recognized that one of the predominant drives I had to capture a moment, a feeling, an image, was the overwhelming sense that it would be gone so soon. Then I realized at nineteen that I couldn’t possibly capture everything I had felt or been moved by. There was just too much. I have stopped that endeavor in many ways, stopped putting my cup in the water to fill my bucket, like a child who wants to hold the ocean in a fishbowl. I turned from cup to hand, feeling the water, putting arm then body into it. Now on this shelf of pregnant contemplation, I am able (encouraged) to climb out of the water and tip out the contents of my cup again, shake the water from my hair.

I can’t imagine the emotions to come, the waves of the sea, the surfing I will learn. I can’t imagine how it will feel to give birth, to hold a small baby in my arms whose body I built with my own. Contemplating the journey our son has been on from conception to eventual birth, dwarfs all worldly concern I have. What a gift it is to be a woman. What a responsibility, a blessing, an opportunity. How else does one prepare but right here, in the inquiry? Watching, feeling, breathing the sky, flinging oneself “like a twig into a torrent…” 

 

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TAKE THE LOVE YOU HAVE FOR ME

In the interest of documenting this sacred transition, I am planning to write a little something here every day. There is simply so much to reflect upon and share. It’s also lovely to connect with you my community, to express what inspires, moves, and gets me up in the morning! The trick is stopping myself from spending hours here; I could write long into the night. I’ll do my best to keep it brief. After all, there is always tomorrow.

I’m noticing as I grow older that there are all kinds of times. In the words of the Byrds, “a time to build up, a time to break down, a time to dance, a time to mourn…” Through it all there is inner peace, an inner me. I fly high as a kite and fall hard into the caves of my heart. Through it all, the sun rises and sets in an arc each day. The days keep coming. This is my life. I must now more than any other time, let go of those things I don’t need to carry anymore. The more I drop what I’ve been carrying, the easier it is to climb this mountain.

Just over this last week I have grown and my baby has grown. I know because I wake up hungry and sore, like I’ve been kicked in the vagina (!) which I’ve learnt are the ’round ligaments’ of my uterus expanding. Some people describe it like sitting on a catamaran. Yeah. Even with the pains and pushes, I am grateful for the opportunity to grow. This is what I wanted, to expand, to test the limits of who I knew myself to be. I am not who I was on Monday.

When Isaac was driving us into the city this week, I told him about something I’d read. My brother had given me the Humans of New York book for Christmas, and on one particular page, a captivating face peered through the paper. The caption read, “When my husband was dying, I said, ‘Moe, how am I supposed to live without you?’ He told me ‘Take the love you have for me and spread it around.‘”

That is what I will do for you, I said to Isaac. He didn’t say anything, but took my hand and I knew we would be okay.

While facing months of time at home as Isaac tours the US with The Kin and P!NK, I have come to reframe everything. For a long time, my inner two year old ran the show, essentially wailing and expressing how unjust this was. It wasn’t pretty. But this week, I saw that she doesn’t have to hurt anymore, because I’m here. I decided to take over, told her to rest in peace, and that her behavior is not acceptable. Her presence in my psyche represents my oldest wound and earliest memory. It’s why I have such a hard time saying goodbye at airports and at the end of family holidays, but also possibly why I chose Isaac as my partner.

I am back. What’s the point in wishing things were different? This moment now is where our life happens, and yet we spend so much time living elsewhere, we miss the real activity of our life, which is this. I decided that if I want to change something, I will take real action to actually change it. The two year old felt completely powerless when her mother went out for the night, felt defeated that no matter how hard she kicked the ground, how hoarsely she screamed, how tightly she held onto those stockinged legs, she still left.

I remember being at my grandmothers house that night in a grey, curtained room as the sun dropped deep beneath the horizon. My survival and identity had depended on her. What if she doesn’t come back? I thought. In that moment, I decided that I wasn’t going to get close to people, because they will leave me anyway and it will hurt. It took me years to unravel that one. Every time someone has said goodbye or left for a long time, the small girl in me remembers all of that. I must put her to bed now, comfort her. I am all that she has left.

What of the future? I used to wonder. How will I cope when Isaac is on tour and I am waking every few hours to feed a baby by myself? You will cope, says something in me. You are more powerful than you know. You can do this. Yes, if Gwyneth Paltrow can do it, so can I! I tell myself. If army wives can do it, so can I. If nomadic tribes can do it, so can I. Women have weathered everything for the progeny of their families. And since Isaac’s work is away from home, I plan to bring home to him. There’s a reason I started this Pinterest board.

Anything is possible. This blog is where I am documenting my inexplicable journey through this experience called life. The lessons are hard sometimes, in fact they take my breath away. But as long as we stay present, let the river flood its banks. Cry. Feel it all. I have. The hollowing helps the music come through.

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AN INCREMENTAL BURGEONING

Photo by Henry Ward

What a fortnight it has been. I can hardly believe I was in Los Angeles last week for New Years eve. We lay in the sun by the bluest pool and I took my vacation – an hour or so with a magazine, some gelato, the sun on my skin. It’s almost unbelievable to consider that in a few months we will meet our son. I am overcome with thoughts and feelings. How do I express this emotion? Anticipation doesn’t fully capture what I want to share. I sense one layer of my life closing and another opening. I once considered this like a chapter ending and another starting. I mourned the loss of my girl self, my freedom and ‘innocence.’ But I don’t see it like that anymore.  There is constant overlap, evolution, an incremental burgeoning towards fulfillment.

What do I know now that I didn’t before? What will I know in six months that I didn’t before? I know that even after the roughest climb, there are valleys. I know that even after the well is emptied, there is more water. I know that no matter what I go through or where I am, these days are pages in my life and I am the author, the flint and the spark. I have given up wishing to be elsewhere – my life is only happening now. It is a great blessing to be reminded just how easily I can take the reins of my life, to sail on an infinite horizon upon which I paint. It takes a lot of courage to dream your own dreams, and even more to actually create them, to move towards them. New friends, new adventures, new hobbies, new life.

Death too. I see how much of my past life has withered away into the earth, how I stood in the winter forest praying for the sun. Instead of running from that passage of my life, I understand it now. This needed to happen. Death, birth, rebirth. I needed to raze the forest to plant new seeds. I have killed and been killed. Now I am building a village. I am starting again. I am reinventing myself, just as I am inventing a soul. What else is there to say? Words fail me. The baby kicks against the wall my abdomen; he is here too. What adventures await us? I know I couldn’t possibly imagine. Even now, no mountain seems too high, too daunting. What courage will birth bring? I am not afraid.

The most difficult part of birth is the first year afterwards. It is the year of travail - when the soul of a woman must birth the mother inside her. The emotional labor pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pains of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love. It is a private and silent birth of the soul, but it is no less holy then the event of childbirth, perhaps it is even more sacred.

– Joy Kusek LCCE

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THE RECKONING

I suddenly feel as if birth is right around the corner, only a few months away, and I want to prepare myself. The sensation of an event such as birth approaching as the logical end to pregnancy is a profound reckoning. As I write this a baby boy nudges my abdomen reminding me that he is alive and well, strong, vigorous and preparing to change my life. How does one prepare for something unpreparable for?

reckoning |ˈrekəni ng | noun:  the action or process of calculating or estimating something

There is much to be done, and little to fret about. The inner world is where I have been dwelling, and yet at the same time navigating the path towards that which I need. The first step is recognizing the needs and desires. Some days it feels as if the baby is commanding the ship and I curiously follow his strong handed steer. I wake up thinking about cream or croissants and can spend the better part of an hour considering what kind of sandwich I’d like to consume.

I hardly ate meat before I became pregnant with this boy. Now when I walk along the river in the winter, I wonder how I would do in the wild. In the fall, I saw the green shoots pushing up through the ground and thought of the deer. If that was all there was to eat, I would graze that patch too. But my body said – no, I want you to hunt a wild pig and spit-roast it over a fire. I don’t even like pork. I generally steered clear of saturated fat and animal protein. Oh how this pregnancy is teaching me to stay fluid, to let go of every habit, to honor the body’s wisdom – both my own and the boy growing within.

It is heavenly to be home with Isaac. The baby kicks my insides while Isaac sings and talks through my body. How is it possible that a small person is growing inside me? From two single cells, we have created life. I think of his heart beating deep and regular, and realize that it too will feel love and pain, desire and loss. I think of his mind and how it will grasp the things of the world and learn the non-things too, how it will grapple with the concepts we have created to make sense of it all.

How can I possibly capture everything?

Some nights as I lay in my husband’s arms laughing, smiling, blissfully alive, I think of death. It brings tears to my eyes. I don’t want it to end. I believe the experience of pregnancy and the imminence of birth reminds me of the presence of death. As we create life, we also create death. I have mourned the transience of life since my teens. “Don’t go soon,” says Isaac. “I don’t want to go!” How is it possible that we die? Everyone we know will die. I’m still coming to terms with this fact of life. The question becomes then, how to live life well? How do I want to spend these days? Down to this very moment? Isaac holds me in his arms and I cry and we drift towards sleep. I can’t imagine life without this love, which simply keeps expanding.

Pregnancy also reminds me of my own childhood and how far away it feels, which naturally summons the thought that each day brings me deeper into my life, towards death. I never imagined that the joy of bringing forth life would instigate thoughts about my own mortality, but it seems completely natural. Birth and death are inextricably linked. I have the sense that we both come from and return to the same place.

I have lost all sense of ambition. There is nowhere to get to, and yet, I am more committed than ever to the greater things of life: love, laughter, family, community. I am the creator of my life, and together we will steer our ship, sturdy that it is.

(Other strange requests from baby boy: loud dance music right by my abdomen. The way I interpret this is that he has his fathers’ love of the arena in his blood and is preparing for many trips on tour. I wonder if he’ll recognize Lady Gaga’s music when he comes out of the womb…)

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I WILL ELEVATE YOU IN THE DARKEST NIGHT

“The roads are straight, three lanes, dotted with white and edged with yellow. The leaves of the trees are golden, orange, red, taupe, sage. I am with my love, my heart, my husband. We are on tour with The Kin.”

There was a very special moment this week that I do not want to let pass without honoring it with words. But first, some history.

Many months ago, when Isaac and I were just home from our honeymoon, he returned for a few days to work in Los Angeles. We had just left L.A. where I’d had a soul-shifting moment in a beachside hotel room. I needed to being doing something. My new husband was with his band recording music in a studio a few blocks away. I needed to be at work too, but I’d forgotten what that was while I waited for him. I needed to be chipping away at something that had meaning to me and meant something to others, too. Days spent strolling the beach, having lunch in cafes and riding bicycles on a boulevard, were not enough for me. I needed to chip.

Finding myself then in our house, alone, on the other side of the country after the bliss of two weeks together was a little too much to digest at the time. We’d landed in San Francisco, explored sequoia and redwood forests, seen Big Sur, the Houdini museum, Henry Millers’ Library, laughed on the balcony of Nepenthe and watched whales as we sipped Bloody Marys. It was a rare two weeks “alone together” and having married within four months of meeting each other, I was still head over heels and irreversibly attached.

Then things got ugly. I hadn’t been in our house alone, ever, for more than a couple of days, and now I had a week to myself. Here was my chance to chip at something! Anything! But it was also Valentines Day, so instead that first week brought tears which I know now as the pains of attachment. They always sprang fastest on the night before he’d return, my stoicism pent up and the dam fit to bursting. I was afraid of what was out there, uncertain of my safety, and acclimating to life after a life-changing wedding with the life-changing man of my dreams. Little did I know that I would soon spend many days in our home ‘by myself’ and yet, I would very quickly learn to love this time in solitude.

First it was five days, then ten, then three weeks, then five. Acceptance brings the greatest ease, a flow with what is, all of that magic. Soon I was learning how to make dreamcatchers from materials I found in the forest nearby. I was leaving the door unlocked, not having nightmares about axe murdering rapists hunting me down for no reason. I was learning to trust, to let go, to be with what is, no matter how much I squirmed (Oh, how I squirmed!) I spent weekends in new places, made new friends and connected with old ones. I learnt to separate myself from my lover and husband, the man I am co-creating a life with – a beautiful, epic, adventure filled life. However, there is nothing predictable about adventure!

Practicing my self-defense (it's a bb gun, Dad)

The process of disentangling my ego from its attachments has taken time. I remember a point not so long ago when I realized how afraid I was of (the idea of) being apart from my husband while he toured potentially ever more frequently and ever more successfully. I was so conflicted wanting to support his dreams, terrified that I was losing sight of my own. I scoured the web for writing by women whose husbands were touring musicians, and became more afraid the more I read. “A tour bus is no place for children.” It wasn’t okay. I didn’t want to lead two separate existences.

Needing to feel at peace with it all, I went through the eye of the needle and learnt to let go of needing to be near. I came back to my self. Who am I without a partner to define me? It was almost like being single again, but WAY better. I was in love! I started writing letters to Isaac every night. I realized that the love Isaac and I share is beyond proximity. I’ve seen how it grows stronger, regardless of (and sometimes in direct proportion to) physical distance. We are never very far from each other, really. Our hearts are so near, and our love for each other so strong, that after a while, I stopped noticing the distance.

The truth has always been that our happiness, and therefore the happiness of each other, must come first. We wrote our own wedding vows, and I’m reminded now that one reads:  “I will elevate you in the darkest night.” Another that “I am a stand for your wildest aspirations and highest goals.” Frankly there have been times when I’ve wondered how on earth to stitch Isaac’s dream of touring the world regularly on a man-filled tour bus with my dream of raising children in a natural, grounded environment.

But no matter what, we are absolutely committed to each others’ bliss and so to each others’ dreams. We share them. I adore my music-filled life and am thrilled by all the tours that Isaac undertakes. I am so proud of who he is and cherish the way he shares his gifts with the world. He also needs home as much as I do and treasures his time here. We both want to raise our children in a natural and grounded environment. What happened in the catacombs of my mind was that I realized the cliche of ‘rock star on tour’ doesn’t have to be insoluble with that other cliche, ‘home with the kids.’ Who says they can’t mix? Why can’t we have both? My father once said to me, “Sophie, you could be happy living in a caravan park. The thing is you would make it amazing.

House on wheels!

Perhaps he was onto something there. Suddenly the idea of a converted RV or custom tour bus became very attractive, and as you know, I leapt full in. The marrying of our dreams was nothing short of effervescent. Let’s get a yurt! A guard llama! Let’s tour the country and raise our children on the road surrounded by music, friends and family! (Isaac’s brother is his partner in their band The Kin, all of whom I absolutely adore.)

Soon enough, I had a chance to experience this vision first hand. It was time to visit my husband on tour after four weeks away. The days had flown by this time. As mentioned earlier, one of the ways I have dealt with the sense of living separate lives is that for every single night that we are apart, without fail, I pen a missive to Isaac (well, it’s an email.) I call them Letters from Home, each numbered in accordance with the number of nights we have left to see each other. In them I share anything I want from my day, without the constraint of time – which is often short on the road with big acts like P!NK. He loves those letters, and I love writing them. I have found nothing else that keeps me so connected, and I cannot give them up. I’ll probably be writing them for years to come.

I arrived in Minneapolis and stepped onto an escalator heading down towards baggage claim. A feeling came over me, so I looked over to where a stunning young man stood in the airy sunlight with a huge smile on his face. He did a little celebration dance and then stood watching me, grinning. It had been four weeks since he’d seen my growing belly, the burgeoning form of our first child taking shape. “Ya’ll warm my heart, you two!” said a woman who saw us kissing and embracing by a suitcase in that sunlit airport. We didn’t take our arms or hands from each other for several hours.

Somehow this reunion was different than the others. Perhaps because I was on tour with Isaac and his band, and was overjoyed at the opportunity. Cuddling has never felt so good in an RV on the edge of a Walmart in Idaho. Then came the special moment I wanted to share, while walking along the edge of a geese-filled creek in Ann Arbor. It was a chilly overcast day, and as we walked arm in arm, I realized how much I loved being “alone together”, and that the arrival of our baby in several months heralded the end of this unique time. Tears sprang to my eyes as we shuffled through the fallen leaves. At the same time, I saw the happy apparition of a small child in my mind, running ahead to chase geese from the shore. There were so many questions. Isaac reassured me and kissed me and held my hand and I learnt to let go a little more.

As we looped back around to return home, Isaac’s stride outpaced mine. Being four months pregnant my breath is different now. I need more oxygen to fuel both my body and our baby’s. One of my first instincts was to ask Isaac to slow down, to wait for me, to walk with me. But I didn’t say it. I waited. I recognized that as ye old attachment again. I didn’t need anything. In fact, I was very content to walk at my pace, to enjoy the air and the leaves and the sounds of the geese and children playing in the distance.

I let my love walk beyond me, at his own pace, on his own journey, feeling his own feelings. I let him go, while loving him more. He didn’t turn back, and I didn’t call out. We just moved how we needed to move. I felt my love for him grow larger. This must be what it’s like to have children, I thought, as the voices of the girls in the playground reminded me of games I used to play in those places, too. To let your heart walk outside of your body, and love them from a distance. That’s what I’ve heard it’s like. It was already happening.

When we got to the top of a hill, Isaac walked directly into the middle of the quiet road and turned towards me. The look on his face was very special. I felt his acknowledgment for what I had done, whether he knew it or not. Something had shifted.

“Then you stopped in the middle of the road on top of the hill, and watched me. Your face had a look on it that I can only interpret as pure love and gratitude. I don’t know what you were thinking, but I felt that moment of acknowledgement and basked in your gaze. I see that when I choose how to respond without attaching to how something ‘should’ be, I am able to just enjoy the delight of the moment. It’s a precious gift.”  

May we all learn to love deeply, and let go a little more. It may be one of the hardest things to do, loving and leaving. One day though, we won’t be here any more. Who knows who will enter the halls of the afterlife first, but one thing is certain, we’re all going there. To love without attachment helps me find peace in the distance. The lump in my throat however, that’s still there.

Our wedding vows, January 7th 2012

I AM MY WORD

I SHALL LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEART

I SHALL CHERISH YOU WITH ALL OF MY BEING

I SHALL STAND BY YOU AS YOUR CHAMPION

I SHALL BE HONEST WITH YOU NO MATTER WHAT THE COST

I WILL CHOOSE YOU EVERY DAY NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE

I WILL ELEVATE YOU IN THE DARKEST NIGHT

I COMMIT TO PROTECTING YOU AND DEFENDING YOUR HONOUR

I COMMIT TO YOUR FAMILY, TO EMBRACE THEM AS MY FAMILY

I COMMIT TO THE EVER EXPANSIVE NATURE OF OUR LOVE

I AM A STAND FOR YOUR WILDEST ASPIRATIONS AND HIGHEST GOALS

I COMMIT TO SATISFYING YOUR EVERY DESIRE

I WILL MAKE SACRED TIME AND SPACE FOR OUR LOVE

I SHALL HOLD YOUR HEART IN MY HEART

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FURNISHING A SOUL

Watercolor by me from before I was pregnant. It really is like this!

“It’s the best thing.

I should always want to be pregnant

Tummy thickening like a yogurt.

Unbelievable flower.”

- Sandra McPherson

Today I am 117 days pregnant. I have waited until now to share with you about this incredible feeling. How does one begin to describe what is happening? What am I feeling? How can I put words to this sensation? It has been four months, and I feel (I am) blessed. I feel strong, full of eternal life energy and coursing with love. It is a buoyancy I am somewhat familiar with, but unaccustomed to living amongst constantly. There are so few moments that take me out of this sensation.

I am furnishing a soul with a body. Who is this soul? Who are you that dreams in utero amongst the body my mother furnished for me? I have the undeniable sense of being used, utilized, filled up, full, fulfilled and complete. I have a sense of being able to do (almost) anything. Contrary to popular belief, my mind is sharpening in subtle ways. Or perhaps, it is not my mind, but my heart, which has expanded yet again, ballooning outwards across the planet.

What a gift it is to feel so utilized. Being a woman, it seems that my entire body is being employed for a purpose. I have a uterus! I have breasts! And they are engaged in their life’s work! I’ve never known this feeling – only the regular release and increase of blood shedding, and a powerful sense of when. Part of me knows I am born to mother. Perhaps born to mother this being, and then the others who will join him or her.

At first I wondered, when, then how, now who. There isn’t much to do except prepare myself for the journey and adventure that awaits as I follow this path – yet another inexplicable journey.

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I FOUND THE HEART OF A LION, IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST

I wrote an article for the Sunday Times Magazine in Western Australia which ran last Sunday, and was syndicated nationally via The Australian. I am very proud of the response the story has received and am humbled by the courage I’ve found to share the journey that I went upon.

Photo by Stef Mitchell

That courage, clarity and honesty are testament to the two women who have been working with me on the topic, not only of disordered eating, but the disempowered thinking that accompanies so many women on their passage through adolescence and well into adulthood. What began as an essay sent to me by my best friend, written by a woman I’d never met, became the seed of a book. All that was needed to germinate that seed was ‘YES.’

I was moved by the essay written by de Vie, now co-author of the book we are co-creating. Her stark honesty about the realm she called ‘Eatingdisorderland’ inspired me on that day in New York as I crossed a street to my apartment. I suggested via email that we co-author something on the topic with my friend Libby, an utterly passionate advocate of health and wellbeing, and the woman who had shared the essay with me.

Their response was a resounding ‘YES.’

Image by Erica Ruby via MYSTICMAMMA

Approximately four years later, the seed is sprouting leaves, its flower yet to bloom. I am so very grateful to these two courageous, inquisitive, focused, impassioned women, without whom this soil may have been left untilled. Now we have planted a garden, and the delight it brings to others is its gift and legacy. From the ashes, a phoenix. From the rain, a silver lining. May our message inspire you towards a life filled completely with love, joy, peace and fulfillment.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“I couldn’t keep it up any longer. Anorexia had given me a sense of stability, now it was eating me alive. I didn’t feel vital. Certain organs in my body had completely shut down. I didn’t menstruate for years. Acknowledging I had a problem was the first step out. I realized that my appearance was not worth my health, nor my sense of self-worth.’

“Like countless others, I’d been swept away by the beauty myth, the promise that we could just be better – or even perfect – if we bought this or looked like that. What I didn’t know at the time was that the images I struggled to emulate were airbrushed to the tune of an unattainable ideal. I’d bitten the apple and fell under the spell. It was good advertising. But I was smarter.’

“Yearning for some other model of wellbeing, I paid attention to women who had broken the spell, some of them ex-models. These women made a huge difference in how I saw the world and my potential place in it. It took immense courage to step beyond the confines of the tribe I was in, to leave its members for new horizons.

“When we take this step with an authentic desire for something different, we can begin to seek alternatives to the prison we have locked ourselves into. In the end, I had the key the entire time. Only I knew how to release the lock.’

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ONLINE HERE.

** The title to this post is a lyric from Grace Potter & The Nocturnal’s song ‘The Lion, the Beast, The Beat’

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