For My Daughter: “Tonight I can write the saddest lines”

For My Daughter: “Tonight I can write the saddest lines”

“Tonight I can write the saddest lines…”

Neruda’s sentiments echo through me this evening as I recall my 10 year old daughter’s words:

“I don’t think it’s smart to keep being myself. It makes things worse. People say I’m weird, crazy, psycho, strange. I think I have to change and just be the same. The same — like how they are all the same.”

She went stiff when I tried to pull her towards me. Her upper body tight, arms down like a straight jacket. Eyes diverted, jaw clenched. I knew then not to touch her.

“…my heart looks for her, and she is not with me.” – Neruda

I breathed deeply, tried to center myself, and not immediately react, even though I could feel my throat close in, my heart beat fast.

“Sweetheart, those kids are jealous. They see that you are free … that you’re free to be who you truly are.”

She didn’t buy it.

Her response was probably accurate: The kids don’t even know they conform, fit the mold, follow the crowd, do the ‘typical, acceptable’ things so they don’t stand out (or stand out for the ‘right’ and ‘popular’ reasons). Most of them probably don’t realize they aren’t raised to have their unique, quirky personalities celebrated, encouraged, and never dimmed.

After all, quiet, smiling, unassuming, and accommodating are better than opinionated, expressive, and self-assured, right?

Most of us were raised to fit in.
Taught that different was bad.
…if not at home, then at least through societal constructs.

“I don’t belong…” She began to cry.

I, too, want to cry.

“We, of that time, are no longer the same.” – Neruda

I want to cry for her.

For all of us — collectively — who carry this wound of feeling we don’t belong, that we are not part of something (our family, our community, our school, our church, our sisterhood, ourselves!).

I want to cry for the primordial hurt most of us have felt — at least once — that we are utterly disconnected from one another, from Source, from our hearts, from our inner-knowing.

This slicing separation is what causes us to believe we are not worthy, that we are alone, and that we simply don’t belong.

This is THE collective wound that from the core of our bellies rings out in red ache.

Is there anything more crushing?

It is the part of us that clings to whatever feels solid/stable, tells us we’re OK, lets us slip in and out — cloaked — without causing too much attention (at least in any perceived ‘negative’ way).

It’s where we compromise our truth and constantly ask others their opinions, beliefs, thoughts, ideas on what we should do instead of getting quiet and listening to our heart.

It’s where we give ourselves away.

The spiral of forgetting our truth, our Essence begins.

We begin to feel untethered.

As I listened to my daughter, I was aware of how intimately I know this wound.

It’s this very scar that I consciously … mindfully, trace my fingers over and over and over … with love.

It’s this very scar that kept me feeling separate, not-so-worthy, hidden, fairly unsafe, and much more guarded than I wanted to admit — for most of my life.

I’m 43 and only figuring it out now.

I don’t want her to feel this one.

So, I tell her how magnificent she is. How our greatest gift to the world is our uniqueness. That there is nothing, nothing, nothing she needs to change.

And it’s a tough one because my daughter is NOT a typical kid.

She’s on the Autism spectrum and she’s a girl on the spectrum. That makes a difference.

She’s intelligent, quirky, rigid, imaginative, adventurous, deeply — intensely — empathetic towards nature and animals … so much so that she cries when trees have been destroyed in a forest fire, when I cut chicken breasts, or at the thought of an animal being hunted and killed. And that’s REAL for her. Not dramatics.

(For the record, I love her wide-open heart.)

So, her pull to dull her energetic self-expression — to numb down and become chameleon-like — would create enormous distress and pressure on her (as it would anyone) … and even more so in her case since it would take incredible measures on her part to even attempt doing so.

I feel tired just thinking about it!

And that’s exactly what we have done to ourselves, by the way: Exhausted ourselves by dimming our light.

It takes a lot of work to appear the same as everyone else…

 

I’m going to “out” us ALL, right now.

None of us are the same.
Or typical.
Or normal.

Neither are your kids.

We’ve been playing the biggest game of make-believe — ever.

 

How does this affect us?

We:

  • Choose and stay in careers that don’t bring us joy
  • Marry the wrong person
  • Desperately hold onto unhealthy relationships
  • Say yes when we mean no
  • Blame outside circumstances (and others) for our not-so-happy lives
  • Disconnect from our purpose, our passions, our Essence
  • Feel afraid, overwhelmed, or numbed-out — regularly
  • Sell ourselves out over, and over, and over…

…so that we feel we “belong.”

To what?
To anything.

Even if it hurts.

 

This is what I have to say:
Fuck that shit.

Really.

 

Enough is enough.

It’s time to come out of the shadows.

It’s time to parent our children in a way that allows their audacious, wild, primal, gypsy, freedom-seeking, truth-speaking, flagrant, unapologetic selves LIVE.

It’s time to for us to love those same parts of ourselves back into liberation, too … because I know I’m not the only one who was raised to be a Nice Girl … the girl who keeps a polite smile on her face and swallows her words: That girl isn’t around here much anymore.

It’s time for our men to feel allowed to experience and express rapture under their skin, streaming hot tears, and expansive, explosive, heart-warming tenderness and Love.

It’s time to lick the salt off our tongues, arrive with full-bodied, overflowing heart-presence, and be whoever the hell we were created to be.

Stop hushing.
Stop shushing.
Stop rolling eyes.
Stop snickering.
Stop teasing.
Stop with the: tone it down; no crying; pull-it-together nonsense.
Stop telling your child to be quiet when they’re laughing so hard, they pee their pants.
Laugh WITH them.
Pee your own goddamned pants.

Be alive.
Be HERE.

And let’s remember, remember, remember that we have this particular life only once.

Shall we fill it with a sense of belonging?

Shall we embrace it with Love?

Shall we adore the hell out of every quirk we see in one another — and ourselves?

Especially in these precious children?
(Even if your son wants a Barbie and your daughter wants to wrestle.)

Shall we try?

 

…I do NOT want to feel this line from Neruda:

“Because through nights like this I one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.”

I’m not willing to lose my daughter to the so-called dulled-out ‘normalcy’ of life.

…It takes too long to get the spirit back.

And that’s not OK.

Because:

She belongs.

You belong.

We all belong.

(And in case you didn’t catch it: You, too, are magnificent — just the way you TRULY are.)

The Promise of False Promises

The Promise of False Promises

There are certain promises you cannot make.

You cannot promise that you will always be there.

You cannot promise that you will always love someone, exactly the same way you love them today.

You cannot promise that you will never hurt them.

These are the false promises.

The promises we want to believe.

The romanticized promises that create such unrealistic expectations, that they will surely fail.

We need new promises. New commitments. New ways of being with one another. 

You may not always be there for someone you care for. You may not always be there the way the explicitly need in that exact moment. You may not even know they need you. You may not know how to show up for them. Gosh, even the beloved other may not be clear how they need you to support them!

There is a more honest promise to make: We can do our best, with the greatest, loving intention, to support another in the way they need, at the right time. 

….And like all promises, to fulfill it, it takes both people. The other must tell you you’re needed. That may sound silly and obvious; …but how many times have you needed, desired someone to be there to have your back, but they had no idea that you were struggling?

Uh huh. Raise your hand. I’m raising mine high. Very high.

Often, we do not share our vulnerable selves with another; instead, we suck in our hurt, our grief, and label that as strength. (I know you know what I’m talking about.) And what I have painstakingly learned is that doing so does not mean you’re strong. Sharing our raw, razor-edged sensitivities is real strength … and it’s what births true intimacy.

Then there is the promise of everlasting love. 

I will love you forever. Unconditionally. 

It feels what people really mean – but don’t say – is: Everything will stay the same. Nothing – from this moment of bliss and ecstasy – will ever be different. I will be with you forever and nothing will ever change.

And therein lies the lie: Nothing will ever change. 

Everything changes. 

Every moment.

Every breath.

Every evening.

Every season.

Every-thing changes.

This is the spiral of life. This is the nature of our planets, universe, of life force itself. It is in a constant state of flux, regeneration, dying to be reborn.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing stays the same. 

Even love.

Love evolves. Love circles. Love stretches.

Love is the ultimate shapeshifter.

Love can be erotically alive, kissing the nape of your neck, then swirl itself into a protective mother, blanketing you in comfort.

Yes, we can, in truth, promise to love another, forever … yet we cannot promise what that love will look like.

It could, quite possibly, mean you love someone without ever seeing or speaking to them again. It could mean that your romantic love slipped into an abiding friendship.

Love changes.

“I will never hurt you. I swear. I promise. I will never, ever do anything to ever hurt you.”

Oh, how we want to wrap our arms around this one and fling our wide hearts open. I do. I want to grasp this promise and hold on for dear life. The part of me that has felt abandoned, unloved, unaccepted is almost willing to believe this promise could be true, if spoken from the sweet mouth of a strong man.

But..

We are imperfect.

We are humans with a divine bundle of glorious wounds.

We have been hurt.

We have been scarred.

We have experienced the explicit slice of pain.

You cannot be in this world and come out unscathed.

So when we come to another, our wounds (hopefully) healing up, we will still have tender parts of our hearts that ache to the touch: The fear of abandonment, of being left. The fear of not being enough. The fear of not being seen – or being seen! The fear of being hurt all over again.

Every one of us carry these to some degree. And it is because we have these beautiful scars on our hearts, that we will, of course, feel hurt from time to time. It’s unavoidable.

I’ll take it a step further: It’s my belief that we come into relationship with others, in part, to help identify where some of those cracked lines still get activated, so that we can heal them into wholeness … hopefully witnessed by a strong partner who will kiss those wounds with love and honor … just as we must do for ourselves.

So, no: We cannot promise to never hurt someone we love.

Instead, let us promise to be honest.

Let us promise to show our vulnerable aches to one another.

Let us promise to hold the other’s vulnerability with compassion, listening to it, soothing it.

Let us promise to hear our personal pain and love it, bless it, sanctify it.

Let us make new promises … promises that are honest, fiercely gentle, and lovingly clear.

What will you promise?

On Healing Ourselves + the World

On Healing Ourselves + the World

Chances are – the sensitive soul you are – you’re feeling the heaviness of what’s going on in the world.

We are in the midst of turbulent times.
Countries are aching.
Families are aching.
Communities are crying out to be seen, to be recognized as equal, to feel free.

As an empath, one of the things that’s been a challenge for me is learning how to discern whether what I’m feeling is mine, or someone else’s…

I imagine you can relate.

While our collective is in pain, many individuals are finding a mirror between the anguish and disconnect seen in the world and the disconnect felt within themselves.They are excavating the depths of their hearts and recognizing old patterns that no longer serve them.

This isn’t easy work. It takes courage, tenacity, and resilience.

During times of chaos, we can feel more tender, more vulnerable than usual. We can feel the world and our inner heart swinging on a pendulum. It takes practice to come still, find our center, and listen into what is true.

…And the truth is:
We all want to belong.
We all want to feel we matter.
We all want to sense the connection of Oneness.

It takes finding our connection to self, first. This means feeling the depths of our emotions: the not-so-pretty, the drop-you-to-your-knees feelings … and the elation and ecstasy that comes with being human.

All.Of. It. Without hiding.

Recently, I came to remember an old, personal trauma. Feeling the cracks and crevices of it – really facing it and feeling it – has been one of the most raw and loving things I’ve ever done for myself.

Being committed to experiencing memory that I’ve held onto in my body (it does get encoded in our bodies), and unraveling it from the intention of understanding patterns and choices in my life and loving myself from that place, has made for a more graceful healing.

This is the crux of being present.

Imagine how our world and our communities could shift if we started becoming present with ourselves.

Instead of reacting, we stop and feel into our bodies, connecting into what is actually true.

…Imagine if leaders of nations did this.
…Imagine if we each had the courage to feel our humanness – with compassionate love.

We start there.
We start with self-honor.
We start with not abandoning ourselves.
We start with not rejecting, judging, and ridiculing our perceived “weakness” and vulnerabilities.
We start with giving a voice to the unspoken parts of ourselves, silently screaming in plain view.

From there, we can begin to do the same with others. Honor them. Honor the parts we judge in them. The differences. The parts that make us uncomfortable. Maybe we can heal the world this way.

The other day, this poem came through me as I was sitting with all that has transpired in my life and with what’s going on globally. It is my hope that it offers you some love and peace.

 

 Find the center of mourning.
Gently press your palm upon it.
Hear its sharp rhythm,
its slicing moan,
its cry of release –…even when you feel the scrape of humanity
etching hurt across division lines;
…even when your body reveals
fallow aches,
secrets buried in plain view:

Stay Here.
There’s no hiding.

Wrap your gasp of
nauseous recognition,
the cold flood of truth
(chiseled on your bones)
in self-honor.

Then…
Find the center of mourning.
Gently press your palm upon it.
Feel the tenderness of raw presence
bring you home.
©becky cavender, 2016

So much love to you.
Getting Angry

Getting Angry

There are times we need to call on the forces of anger … anger that rises to inform us of when a line has been crossed, when a boundary has been obliterated, or when we turned our backs on ourselves, forgetting we are powerful beings of beauty.

I’ve had a challenging relationship with anger. Most of my life, I’ve vacillated between either being afraid (sometimes terrified!) of it to judging it as as incredibly base, human, and – well – wrong. I’d reject the bubbling of anger, dismiss it, and tell myself that I could transform that feeling into loving, compassionate forgiveness. Wrapped in the tightly held story of being a Nice Girl, I choose to believe anger wasn’t a viable option in my world. Nice Girls don’t get angry…

But, the funny thing is, I’m human. (Gasp.) Which means I really did – and do! – feel anger. Oh, I hated admitting that to myself! It angered me that I could feel angry! See what I mean? Ridiculous, right?

It has taken me awhile to come to a place where I can now feel the fire of anger ignite within my body – usually in my throat or belly – and simply acknowledge it. I’m learning it’s the fuel of self-will. Use it to take a firm stand. To say, “no!”

That kind of power is undeniable.

That kind of power supersedes rage and reactive anger.

This anger is proactive. It serves as kindling for self-honor, self-love. It not only penetrates through any kind of bullshit (like a bullshit meter reader), but radiates a shield of respectful self-authority that declares, “Not in my house!”

(Oohh, that feels good to say! I dare you to try it!)

Voices don’t need to be raised. Nothing needs to be thrown. Forget foaming at the mouth (please tell me you don’t do that when you’re mad!).

Simply place your hands in the center of your body and feel the fire burning you like the beating of a drum.

And if that happens to not be the easiest thing in your world, this poem is for you.

(Yes, I wrote it.)

Hisss. 
Bang the drum. 
Take a stand.
 
Feel the grounded force rise through your veins.
 
You awaken to the once-desired: now double-crossed; 
a vanquished line washed in sand.
The line you crossed so another could cross:
Closer-further-closer-further…
 the dance of unworthiness.
 
The sun’s singular, polarized ray 
magnetizes your self-denial 
(the ways you give yourself away).
 
A smoldering flame ignites on the horizon.
A fire in your heart.
And nostrils flare with the scent of misalignment.
 
Smell the anger burn through your skin.
 
You cannot ignore what you want.
You cannot lay down your freedom. 
You cannot play false liberation games.
 
Hear the call of your inner heart light the sky ablaze.
 
Hisss. 
Bang the drum.

Take your stand.

Stand your ground. Stand your ground. Stand your ground.

Do you know you’re worth it?

A Love Song to Essence

A Love Song to Essence

To: All of you who have forgotten who you really are. So much love to you.

Come sit with me.
There.
Across the fire.
Shhh.
Come sit with me.

Let me gaze into you.
Let me breathe you in.
Let me see your flame rising,
engulfing you in the light of Love.

I feel your luminous reflections rippling out to sea.
Like the tide, they return,
beckoning you,
licking the ankles of your soul’s shore:

See me.
See me.
Please…
See me.

It is time to remember.
It is time to fuel the consumption of desire.
It is time to witness the crystal heart of illumination in the center of your chest,
calling you home.

Come home.

Breathe.
Stay with me.
Let the fire between us become us.
Let it burn away the facade: your hiding places, your distant lines.
Shhh.
Come closer.

The embers glow upon your face.
The crackling sparks cascade down your arms,
lighting up the stars, the mysteries, the stories you carry.

Free of illusions, of fear, of holding back:

You are a bright sky of luminescent Love.
You are the golden, open palm
radiating,
radiating,
radiating
a whirling stillness within the sanctity of who you are.

I see:
Your staff of resonant, vibrational love standing within your spine,
a pointed sword of truth, the sharp strength of loving discernment:               I see you:

Vertical Queen,
expansive as an echoed horizon,
spinning your ecstatic magic,
your gifts of words and sound,
of music and laughter,
of touch that heals.
An ancient cosmic light-dance of Love.

I
see
you.

Recognize this power: the flames of your existence, burning you whole.
Your solar rays, electrified in the rhythm of honor.
The drum beats of grace.
The pulsation of bliss.
The liberation of Essence.

You are here now.
You are home.
You are here now.

Come.
Sit with me.
Across this fire,
within this fire,
inside this fire,
becoming this fire.
Shhh.
Come.

©becky cavender, 2016
{Artist Unknown – sourced from Pinterest}

 

On My Birthday

On My Birthday

In less than an hour it will be my birthday. My 42nd time around the sun.

Before the day gently folds into the next, I’m finding a tender moment of reflection.

…I’m listening to what my heart wants from me this year: A bit more grace. A little more kindness. Space to breathe between the lightning bolts of intensity. Burning all the ways I hide in plain view. Allowing for the ecstasy of life to surge through me while honoring the times I need the sanctity of a quiet hush.

This year, as a dear friend said: it’s time to become comfortable being uncomfortable, to accept the parts of me that are paradoxical … and trust me: there are quite a few of them.

I have judged myself – often harshly – for being traditional and untethered; wild, yet rooted; distant and then present; lovingly open and withdrawn; generous yet self-absorbed; unattached to outcome, fully surrendered to the moment (or a relationship) and occasionally completely attached, full of expectations.

But … Life wants us to love ourselves regardless. Even the messy, complex, unsavory, shadowy, human parts.

So this year, I will attempt to gracefully accept who I am right now. Imperfections and all.

Maybe it’s not our “Divine” and “Light” parts of ourselves that make us luminous and radiant … perhaps its the raw edge of our humanness, embraced with love.

Here’s to your imperfect beauty, your perfectly imperfect human-ness.