The Universe is expanding.
There is nothing more natural to the universe than growth and creation. To create, destroy, and recreate is the essence of the world we live in. The Universe creates planets, waits billions of years, smashes them into stars, destroys it all, and then once again melds all that potential into something new.
It's all in a constant state of motion. Planets are swinging around stars like children on a carnival ride. Stars are swallowing up planets and filling their bellies until they explode. Collapsed stars are reaching out with open arms, pulling everything into their black center, and then flinging it all to places and dimensions we can only dream of.
What's not natural to the universe is stagnation.
To stay fixed and unmoving goes against the energy that is constantly trying to push up, out, inwards, and out again. The energy of the Universe wants to move and dance. It wants to sway side to side and sashay back again. It wants to move and groove, and it wants to move and groove with you.
When you embrace feelings of growth and creation, you are in harmony with the Universe.
Creativity isn't always about being an artist. Sometimes the most beautiful and inspired creative work we do is with our own self. We tear down the idea of who we were, rip up the canvas of our identity, and spread a blank sheet before us. And on that sheet we paint the vibrant new Self taking birth within us.
But sometimes creativity is being an artist. Sometimes it's taking clay and squishing wet, earthy material through our fingers. Sometimes it's scribbling black, ominous lines in no particular pattern or design because that's how we feel and we must express it or suffocate. Sometimes art is planting rows of succulents in our yard, turning our homes into one giant work of self-expression.
However creativity shows up for you, embrace it. Your vitality and life force are depending on it.
There's a reason people feel incredible after they've created something. It's because the process of creation brought them into harmony with all the energy and power of the cosmos. In our moments of creation and expansion, we are flowing with the river of All That Is. We are in a state of non-resistance.
When we stop creating, stop expanding, and stop embracing the pulse of vitality, we slam up against that river.
It punches us in the gut and knocks us on our ass. And while we're knocked down, it's flowing over us, reaching a hand out, asking us to jump back in. But from down there, from that place of frozen resistance, it can look terrifying. It's moving so FAST and it's so damn POWERFUL.
The more you resist the flow of vitality, the more it can seem you want to cower down in a hole. The more it can seem you'll drown if you try to dive back in. But it only looks that way. The moment you dive back in, let go, and throw your paint across the sky, you instantly become one with the Universe. There is no delay. There isn't a nanosecond of reorienting. Because the thing is, you only believed you were separate.
The moment you dive back in, you can see the illusion clearly. You were always in the river. You were always one with it all.
It wasn't the energy of the Universe that scared you and kept you down. It was your fear of your own self. You could never be over powered by the flow of the Universe because you are the Universe. It isn't the power of the Universe that scares you. It's the power within you, waiting to unleash like a live wire.
And once you unleash it, all that scattering will focus, and your power will come into clear focus. It will focus on creating and expanding and creating more. And it will all be in harmony with you, because when you are one with the Universe, the Universe is one with you. It feels what you feel, and as you feel yes, I love this, your love explodes out and rains back down on you in a million glitter filled moments.
If it feels as if life just keeps getting harder, and nothing is going your way, make something.
Draw. Paint. Create. Push your hand through the dirt and draw a circle. Do something that allows you to express in some way. Pile up stones in a way they've never been piled before. Creation will catapult you back into alignment with the source of your existence. It will realign your energy with the energy of the Universe and unlock all the power that is trapped inside of you. The more you resist your natural need to create and expand with the Universe, the more life will resist you.
I can't wait to see what you do with your unique perspective and personality. If you want to share your creation with the world, put it below. I would love to share in the joy of your creativity with you. Because honestly, my life force is depending on it too. I need the color and beauty you add more than you know.
Last night, I watched Michelle Obama's "Becoming" on Netflix. It centers around the time she did her book tour for her memoir of the same name (late 2018 into early 2019), which took place a year after she moved out of the White House. There were so many amazing quotes in this film. I've listed some below and why they stood out to me. If you have a favorite quote yourself, share it in the comments!
When Michelle met with a group of teenage girls, one of them asked her how she feels about transitioning back to her normal life. How would Michelle navigate the leap from First Lady back to the life she was living before? How would she get back on track?
I love this quote because so many of us are currently in a place of transition. Due to the current circumstances, many of us are facing the reality that we cannot do, or don't want to do, what we've been doing. We're also acknowledging that life won't be like it was before, and we have to create a new track. Considering what it would be like to go from the all-consuming role as First Lady onto a completely new, unknown role, inspired me to embrace the unknown and the new with courage and integrity.
In a later group meeting with young black women (Michelle speaks often in the film about her passion for working with the youth), Rayven asked a powerful question:
"I just want to know, how did you, as a black woman, persevere through invisibility?"
One thing I loved about this film was how open Michelle was about racial inequality in this country. It's something she wasn't able to speak so directly to while she was First Lady. And I also love how she empowered each one of those women with her words. She didn't ask them to wait for something outside of them to change. She asked them to change their circumstances within while at the same time acknowledging we are not on an even playing field. This is so important because I see so many people who say the first part - change begins within. But they don't do the second part, which is to validate the affect that oppression and bias has.
"I have high expectations of young people. It's the same expectations my family had of me. My grandfather, Dandy, expected us to be great. But he went through life being underestimated. Growing up, he was a brilliant young man, somebody that loved to read books, to delve into things in a deep and meaningful way. He could have been a professor. He could have been a doctor. But because of race and class, he couldn't get into colleges. He didn't have the money or the resources. And imagine walking around with all this ability and the world telling you, "No. No, you're not good enough. No, you're not ready." Watching people half your intelligence being promoted past you. Watching opportunities slip away, Not because you're not able, but because nobody thinks you deserve it.That caused him a lot of disappointment and anger. That made him push us to be better." - Michelle Obama, Becoming
Of all the quotes in the movie, this one stood out to me the most. It struck me not only because of the anger I would feel if I was Dandy's granddaughter, but because this is still the world we live in. We still promote people based on the fact that they fit an inner ideal of what we think a successful person should look like. Until we tear down all our prejudices, we will continue to all lose out on the brilliance and ingenuity of so many of our fellow citizens.
"I ended up going to Princeton. I was one of a handful of minority students. It was the first time in my life where I stood out like that. I learned that one of my roommates moved out because her mother was horrified that I was black. She felt her daughter was in danger. I wasn't prepared for that." - Michelle Obama, Becoming
This quote also stood out to me above all the others. If someone couldn't live with me because my skin color made them afraid, and I was a young girl, finding my place in the world, I wouldn't know what to do. Can you imagine the impact that would have on a young, developing psyche? And as with the quote above, this is still the reality of the world we live in. No one should have to question their worthiness or their humanity because of the ignorance of another person.
"The energy that's out there is much better than what we see. I wish people didn't feel badly, because this country is good. People are good. People are decent... One of the things we do miss about Barack Obama is that he would get out into the country and he would campaign around hope, and he would fill arenas." - Michelle Obama, Becoming
This was one of the last quotes I noted. I had about six other quotes highlighted, which I cut because I wanted to end with this one. What stands out to me about this quote is the reminder that Obama filled arenas on hope. It's such a powerful reminder because I so often see our current president filling arenas based on anger, division, and bullying. I had forgotten that not long ago, hundreds of thousands of people also filled arenas, and on a message of hope and unity. Those people are still out there. And if, after all she's been through, Michelle can still believe in the goodness of people and this country, then I can too.
I wish I could have put down all the quotes from the film I'd saved. There were so many moments I paused, reflected on her words, and thought about the class and gracefulness she brought to everything she did and does. But the thing that really surprised me was how funny Michelle is. We all know she has a brilliant mind and an inspiring, forward thinking spirit. What I had never seen before was how funny and charismatic she is.
Becoming is available to stream on Netflix. I hope you get a chance to see it also! And now I'm off to download the audio book because I love hearing author's tell me their story in their own voice.
I am currently reading The Artists Way and on chapter 6. This chapter is all about rediscovering a sense of abundance. Two of the tasks were to find five flowers or leaves I loved, and then to find five stones or pebbles.
I really thought this sounded silly and was putting it off. I didnt believe I would feel more abundant by going through the yard and picking up leaves.
But as I went around this morning, drinking my coffee, admiring how the light changes with the rising sun, listening to the birds, I felt quite happy. I loved noticing all the colors and how each little bud really is a gift from nature. I felt a genuine sense of delight as I bent over the soil and looked for abundance in the earth around me.
As I collected my garden treasures I thought of how the author says we will often think a task we are given is silly and pointless. This is because we are so conditioned to disregard the delicate joys of life and to focus on the big, heavy problems at hand.
I now have my colorful collection of leaves and rocks on my desk. I cannot say this solved any problems for me or changed my situation at all. But for a moment this morning, I did forget everything and held a soft pink petal as the wind caressed my face. Small miracles. That's all I got right now.
I am wishing you your own small miracle today and everyday for the rest of this week.
I recently downloaded the audiobook Endurance by Scott Kelly. It's about his year living aboard the International Space Station. Kelly agreed to embark upon this mission for the purposes of studying long duration space missions. More precisely, to study the physical and psychological obstacles astronauts will face during the extensive travel to Mars. For example, the lack of gravity for long periods alters astronauts' vision. This is due to the fact that cerebral spinal fluid pools around the eyes when our bodies are weightless for months on end.
I bought this book because I had followed Kelly's mission while it was unfolding. I was fascinated by the isolation, the disconnect, and the sacrifice he was willing to make for the greater good of human knowledge. What I hadn't considered when I bought the book was it was an uncanny parallel to where we are now. If there was ever a book to capture the spirit of quarantine, this is it.
What I love most about this book is it's accessible to all people. I've played it on long drives with my 71 year old dad in the car. I've played it while working in my family's garden with family members around. I've played it with all types of people who quickly became engrossed in the saga. It's a captivating story about Kelly's journey to being an astronaut, the science of space travel, and what astronauts actually do all day.
If you're looking for something you can listen to with kids, spouses, or roommates, this book might be something everyone can agree on. There are some f-bombs and other occasional curse words, but other than that, it's family friendly, entertaining, educational, and a spirited adventure that might make your quarantine a little more tolerable.
“Some parts of the world, especially in Asia, are so blanketed by air pollution that they appear sick, in need of treatment or at least a chance to heal. The line of our atmosphere at the horizon looks as thin as a contact lens over an eye, and its fragility seems to demand our protection.” - Scott Kelly, Endurance
"Embracing the vulnerability it takes to rise up from a fall and grow stronger makes us a little dangerous. People who don't stay down after they fall or are tripped are often troublemakers. Hard to control. Which is the best kind of dangerous possible. They are the artists, the innovators, the change makers."
- Brene Brown, Rising Strong
For this new week, I choose to live in faith rather than fear
I choose to surrender my doubts and fears to the Universe
I choose to breathe in my connection to a Higher Power
I choose to breathe out everything else
I choose to know, with my whole being, everything is working out for me
I choose to know that I am guided by powerful forces
I choose to know I am safe and I am taken care of
I choose to feel my connection to my infinite self
I choose to relish in my role as the creator of my life
For this new week, I choose to let go of my need to do it all alone
I choose to hand my problems over and to allow myself to be loved and supported
I choose to let the Universe love me and guide me and show me every step of the way,
I am loved and I am held
For this new week, I choose to live in faith rather than fear
I choose to live in trust
I choose to live from a place of love
I choose to breathe that in
I choose to breathe out everything else
I wish you an amazing week full of love and blessings!
Last night, I went out with two lovely ladies for Halloween and we happened upon a burlesque show.
I had seen photos from this particular troupe of girls and their show before. From the snapshots, I thought the shows were silly fun, and everyone was meant to laugh and revel in feelings of freedom and self-expression.
What I didn't realize was that the shows were a powerful experience in self-love. So powerful that I'm still thinking about it today, feeling the impact of what I saw seeping deeper into me.
It wasn't until I saw it in person that I understood what was actually happening in those photos. In the photos, it seems as if the women perform and everyone is apart from them, watching, maybe gaping, maybe laughing uncomfortably. In person, none of that was happening. There was laughter, but we weren't laughing at anyone - we were laughing with them and with each other because it was so damn fun.
Being there, I came to understand how dynamic the whole thing is. Nobody is just "watching". The audience is as much a part of the show as the girls are. The energy of the audience, and their willingness to let go and cheer and scream, is a vital part of the experience.
This sense of togetherness, of sharing in this as a group, is one part of what made it feel alive and electric. The other part is how empowered the women are.
In my life, I have always associated empowered women with perfect bodies. It's the message we're forcefed over and over. We're told that until you look perfect, you can't claim your perfection.
But last night, I saw something totally different.
I saw back fat and cellulite. I saw wide hips and big booties. I saw small boobs and small booties.
I saw it all, and it all felt so damn perfect I can't even describe how powerful it was. Not one woman was ashamed of any part of her body. Each woman was sexual and confident. Free and feisty. Nobody was asking for permission to exude ownership of their bodies and their beauty. They owned it, and we all bowed down in awe.
And on top of that, they owned that room.
As they undressed, there was never a sense their sexuality was for us. It was always for them. It was theirs to do with as they pleased. Even as they walked through the room, throwing gloves on people, touching people's shoulders, swinging their breasts around, there was never a feeling things were about to get out of hand. There was no question who was in control.
I feel cheesy admitting this, but thinking about it today makes me a little emotional. I feel as if someone has given me permission to love myself. To really love myself. I can no longer look in the mirror after last night's show and start picking apart my perceived flaws. It feels so wrong now. It feels like a disservice to the goddesses I witnessed. It feels like a lie, like a crazy lie that needs to be cast out of my mind.
I had no idea seeing a burlesque show would have such an impact on me. I wish I had better pictures to share with you - I was so in the moment I didn't want to stop and get out my phone.
I am eternally grateful to the bold and amazing women who performed last night. You are my new standard for perfection. You are my goal for empowerment and femininity. Thank you.