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how to use the F word

How many times are we told to forgive a transgression? Like it’s a prescription. It’s supposed to make us better or so the story goes.

The point being what? Enlightenment? Brownie points in heaven? Feeling good inside? I wrote recently about how yoga has made me feel more vulnerable and more forgiving towards myself and sometimes others. It’s true. I mostly feel more open and aware of my own heart.

It’s also unlocked some deeply buried pain.  Pain most especially from the men in my life who haven’t just hurt me but keep coming back to hurt me again.

And again.

And I have let them.

And let them.

(I take responsibility for that, for the record.)

Recently in yoga, my teacher said, “Yoga stirs things up.  It brings out the darkness and the light.”  It does.  Life does.  As a reflective person, I’m realizing how important it is to truly honor all the parts that come up.   She said, “Namaste means honoring all the parts of us.  The light.  The dark.  The demons and the demigods. ”  I gave a very emphatic Namaste in class that day.

This is the work.  Honoring all of it.

But as a “good Christian woman” I was only taught the forgiveness part.  I wasn’t taught about boundaries.  I wasn’t taught how to use the F word.  Wasn’t taught to say FUCK YOU nearly enough.

I wasn’t taught to draw some boundaries around myself and my own psyche with an energetic sword.  With my tongue.

In the past, I’ve received negative feedback about having a sharp tongue.   Guess what?  I no longer give a fuck.  I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how I say something; if the person who did something hurtful doesn’t want to be held accountable, they will push against whatever words are spoken.  After years of therapy, I’ve learned that it’s really okay to speak my truth and ask for what I need.  That’s how trust is built.

I can forgive people but not let them off the hook.  Amends need to start being made for bad behavior.   We are doomed to keep repeating old patterns until we stop the cycle.  Sometimes the cycle is stopped by a good, solid FUCK OFF.

Today,  I honor my demons and demigods.  I honor my Mars in Aries self.  I didn’t come here to fuck around.  I didn’t come here to play small.

So I won’t.

The glorious Helen Mirren was quoted as saying,

“At 70 years old, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to use the words ‘fuck off’ much more frequently.”

I find myself wondering how different things might have been for me in my life if I had been raised in a culture where women were encouraged to draw boundaries more often.  I wonder if so many women would have fallen prey the abuse from Harvey Weinstein if we were encouraged to speak truth to power and expect to be listened to instead of told to forgive and carry on or worse, threatened for doing so.

So, lovelies, now you have permission.  Like most powerful tools, use it judiciously but use it all the same.  I did recently and guess what?  It felt amazing.

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changing the room of my mind

There’s so much I want to say.  So much I could say about friendship, and belonging, and how care (or the absence of it) feels deep in the center of my being.  About feeling dehumanized so often.  Objectified.  Plunked into the fantasies and projections of men who said they loved me but didn’t show me care.

I could talk about how my ache for belonging has led me to saying yes when I knew it should be a “no”.  About how finding the courage to finally say “no” meant being cast out.  Shut out.  (Or worse.)

About how that makes me not trust anyone, especially myself.

I will write about those things and more. I  know there are others who need to these stories but today, just for today, I’ll linger on the sweet sustenance of this poem by Hafiz and just let my heart rest deep inside my animal body.

“All the Hemispheres
Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadow and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new watermark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of


Update:  After I wrote this, I went to yoga with one of my favorite teachers, Ashley.  At the end of class, she put my head in her hands and gently said, “I’ve got you girl.”  Quiet tears rolled down my cheeks.

Trust is earned but we have to remember to open to it.  Opening…

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we mend (and love) what is within our reach

I’ve taken to daily mediation walks. It’s nourishing to my spirit and helps ground me to my purpose. I walk for 30 minutes then journal until I feel complete.  Here is today’s reflection:

A cat visits, twining itself around my legs for a while. I pet it and also just let it be , allowing it to enjoy the feeling of its fur on my bare legs (I enjoyed that too).

A little girl in a black, velvet dress rocks gently in a swing. The kind of swing with a back. She smiles. I tell her she looks peaceful. She nods.

Three older girls are playing on the hill above her. In the dirt. The kick it up then oddly dust themselves off. Then get dirty again. I want to tell them it’s okay to be dirty. To get dirty and messy and stay that way.

A hummingbird flies straight up into the blue sky. Like an elevator. I am in awe not only of their abilities but their ability to fill my heart with joy every time I see them.

This moment is saturated in peace and yet I want to leave. This is always true for me. I have such a restless soul. When something is peaceful and beautiful, I appreciate it but then want to explore something new.  I’ve come to accept this about myself.

I move a small snail off the pavement. It’s dry and would take a long time for it to reach the grass. It’s a small act of kindness.  It will die anyway. Maybe today. Maybe by a small child climbing the enormous cedar tree I placed it under.

But we do what we can, we tend to what is in our reach.  Reminds me of this quote by one of my favorite teachers:

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”  ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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casting spells of liberation

He found this tiny black feather and gave it to me.  He said he thought it was a crow feather and told me not to cast a spell with it.  Ha!  I told him that even if I did cast a spell, it would be good magic, it would be in service to love and liberation.

So here we go.  Let’s cast a little spell together.   I’ve put the feather on a piece of art infused with intention.  A little bricolage.  This is similar to the mantra my yoga teacher said in hot yoga the other day. A spell is a prayer is a mantra.

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be well.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings be wild and free.

And so it is.

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yoga of vulnerability

The other day in yoga I was in “Happy Baby” pose and suddenly I felt very small.  And vulnerable.

I found myself saying, “It’s okay, sweetie.  I’m sorry that you were hurt.  I’m sorry that you were lied to.  I’m sorry that has made it hard for you to trust people.”

I started crying as I thought of all the people that I have loved. All the people that I haven’t treated as kindly as I wished.  And all the people who haven’t treated me as kindly as I wished.

I just let myself really feel that sadness.   Then I whispered, 

“It’s okay.  I forgive you.”

Then my body just relaxed and I felt something shift inside me.  Like a lotus flower opening.  I opened to that feeling of deep compassion for myself and others and awakened to the realization that we are doing our best at any given time.  It’s often only through a reflective practice that I realize that I could have done better.  And how I could have done better.  Even with that kind of practice, I still mess up, because I’m a messy human.

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