#TBT: Clearing Clutter
In clearing out my old drafts folder, I’ve found some writings that I never posted but now wish I did. They span from the last 4 years but it’s not too late. I just want them out in the universe.
Part of my mission for this fall has been to clear out the clutter. I’ve noticed that clutter in all forms, physical, emotional, digital, energetic (and the like) can cloud our visions and can keep us shrouded in the past. I’ve done a lot of cleaning house and it has allowed for many positive things to enter into my life. It’s also been a walk down memory lane finding old parts of self, painful old ways of being and uncomfortable memories stored in computer files, captured in photos or lingering in old clothes. Not that life has been so horrible (AT ALL), but they were growing pains and egos get bruised.
I’ve also been working doing some full moon release intentions: writing down things I want to work on releasing in this full moon cycle. One piece is releasing guilt of what I deem to be poor decisions or about situations in which clearing clutter did not end well. I’ve been thinking heavily on the ideas that the past does not dictate the future (thanks sister Tisa for the simple yet wise reminder) and as the magnet on my refrigerator says: always make new mistakes.
I’m in the process of cleaning out digital files so I can open some new things in my world and I found some stream-of-consciousness poetry I wrote a lil’ over 2 years ago. I think it speaks directly to these ideas of jumping into things, learning from mistakes and not letting past (fear) dictate the future. These kinds of discoveries are part of the joy of taking inventory and dusting off the shadows. Perhaps our past selves sending some advice to our future selves.
This cleansing process serves as a reminder of how I’ve grown, changed, adapted and learned from making mistakes. I can say I had conviction in my choices even if they were absolutely ridiculous. I think that’s part of what makes living entertaining at least.
3 Life Lessons
Viva La Vida
The exhibit cited that she referred to her body as “less than perfect” because of the effects of polio on her body and near-fatal bus accident in her late teens. The feeling I got is that she wasn’t saying it to be entirely self-deprecating but more of an acknowledgement that her physical condition did not fit the ideal of what most people and society believes the “perfect” body looks like.
From what I see, hear and experience, most women today feel the same way about themselves regardless of their height, weight or physical ability: that we are less than perfect…or light years away from perfect. However, she chose to highlight parts of physical appearance that were deviations from the “norm,” from emphasizing her unibrow and mustache to painting several works about her physical challenges featuring rods in her body, casts and disembodied limbs.I’m still processing this trip to Mexico City and all of the amazing art and architecture I experienced. I’ll get around to that at some point. In the meantime, check out this piece along with some of my favorite pictures from the visit. (Also, I’m thankful for my homegirl, Ray who joined me through this experience and helped out with her better battery life smartphone and reminder to take my time and enjoy.)
My favorite painting is above entitled Viva La Vida. I write in the piece why it inspires me but I also must note I also feel the juicy spirit of Yemoja/Yemaya in it and that makes me happy. Today as we head towards the first day of spring, I’m reminding myself of that same lesson: to viva la vida and soak up all of the joys, pains, successes and challenges with an air of gratitude and surrender.
I Run With The Wolves
When my friend and colleague, Katie Milton, asked me to share a quote that has significant meaning in my life, I immediately thought of the above words by Clarissa Pinkola Estes from Women Who Run With the Wolves, my favorite book ever (my bible).
As women, we are socialized to be agreeable. To give of ourselves until we are depleted as to make others happy. To go along with what’s “expected” of us from family, friends, society. And when we don’t we are difficult. We are bossy. We are selfish. I’m over it. But nonetheless, I’m human and still get caught up in these thought patterns because it’s really easy to be a people pleaser. However it is also soul-crushing. This quote, and the book as a whole, reminds me that it’s okay to be criticized for following my truth and my “wild woman” intuition. I recommend this book to every woman walking this planet. I think there would be a lot more understanding in this world if men read it too. We are all held back by patriarchy. But I digress.
This quote was my answer to one of many questions Katie asked me as part of her ongoing blog series, “Traveler Spotlight,” and I did a bit of reflecting on my travels, where I’ve been and where I’m headed both geographically and personally. I hope you’ll check it out and visit the rest of the her blog…great posts and delicious recipes!
"Bodas Colectivas" & Valentine’s Day Wedding CrashingIt’s Valentine’s Day or el Dia del Amor y Amistad aqui en Isla Mujeres! I appreciate how the name directly translates to “Day of Love and Friendship” acknowledging more than romantic relationships.
For the last month of so, I’ve been fascinated by these signs for “Bodas Colectivas.” While I understand that literally means “collective weddings,” I was really curious. From the announcements I knew the date (February 14th), the time and place, the registration deadline and that it was some sort of local government sponsored civil ceremony. I figured that since it was a publicly advertised, I should go investigate.
This morning’s wedding festivities were held at the DIF Municipal Building which is the home of the “Sistema para el Desarollo Integral para la Familia, Isla Mujeres,” a state sponsored agency that deals with social services for children, the elderly, and vulnerable populations who need public assistance. It’s a brilliant white building that I’ve walked by dozens of times and often wondered about.
About 15 couples made their union official this morning. Under a pretty white tent with red chairs and balloons, couples of various ages with and without kids signed their wedding papers. The President of the DIF Isla Mujeres presided along with the official civil wedding registrant.
While the idea of this annual event is to promote family through a “traditional” legal marriage between a man and a woman, politics aside it’s a beautiful idea to have a communal ceremony for people who might not otherwise have one. If people want to get married but don’t have the means to have a fancy wedding, this was a way for them to celebrate themselves with close friends and family.
I admit I got a little emotional. Below are some photos of the lovely couples.
Happy Valentine’s Day/Dia del Amor y Amistad!
Day Trippin’: La Tortugranja
So Wait…Why Are You in Mexico?
Transformational Travels: Celebrating International Women’s Day on the Island of Women
"All this amazing scenery, food, music and culture is the perfect backdrop for a conference that is all about living your best life and connecting with your passions. It wouldn’t have had the same impact if I was sitting in a hotel conference room in New York City, or Minneapolis, or Denver. They are all great cities but there’s something significant about the beauty of Isla Mujeres that allows for introspection and transformation. The calm rubs off on you. Things that seemed so serious before you got here seem manageable. Not in an escapist way but the nature and pace opens your perspective once you allow yourself to go with the flow. That’s not easy for a speedwalking and speedtalking New York businesswoman who earns a living following the 24/7 news cycle and Internet chatter."
See more at: http://www.gogirlfriend.com/reviews/international-womens-day-isla-mujeres-29540#sthash.1oGcXi77.dpuf
Looking Out For Love
A couple of weeks ago, I checked another goal off my concert-going bucket list: seeing Fleetwood Mac live. Clearly I have a love for Stevie Nicks and her goddess-y presence but I will say that Lindsey Buckingham was giving everything on stage. Not only was the chemistry with him and Stevie palpable but my friends and I were joking that he could get it for a viejo. I won’t front, the closeups of his nimble guitar-strumming fingers on the jumbotron were pretty sexy if you’re into musicians or that sort of thing…
Anyhoo, one of the unexpected highlights was Lindsey Buckingham’s solo song called “Big Love.” I’ve always thought the song was cool but he introed the tune by explaining that when we wrote the song, it was about him putting walls up against love. He was looking out for (romantic) love because it was something dangerous and hurtful that he needed to push away and run from. He said that over time the song became a reminder that he no longer needed to look out for love…love wasn’t outside of him, it was within, always there available for him to access.
It reminded me of my own journey, and what many of us humans are going through. It’s so easy, perhaps ingrained, to look outside of ourselves to others for love and approval when really the most important loves are self-love and the love of God/dess, the Universe, Creator, our higher self or whatever you believe in. This love is always accessible because the spirit lives in us. Even if you don’t believe in the spiritual realm in that way, we can AND must unapologetically be our own best lover/supporter/cheerleader, and when we are comfortable doing that then we can best share love with others. It radiates from us effortlessly.
After a long while of putting up walls like Lindsey, I am looking for my own “Big Love,” one that’s more joyous and reciprocal than what Buckingham is singing about. One that is bigger than anything I’ve ever imagined and dreamed for myself, or anything I’ve been sold by Disney or tradition or my own restrictive expectations. And on this road, there came a point where I was so lost that all I could do is surrender to forces bigger than me and seek comfort in God’s love and learn to harness it to love myself for real. Not just when I felt pretty, people liked my writing, I said something “smart” or I got some attention from a cutie but truly love myself unconditionally as I have loved others. I broke down and was rebuilt. I work on growing this love every day and sometimes it’s a struggle but it gets easier with practice (and for me, meditation).
Here’s the lyrics to the song because I only caught the tail end of the song on video. I found the pain, surrender and vulnerability in his voice to be an incredibly potent juxtaposition to his erratic and frenetic acoustic guitar. I almost cried but that’s nothing new :) Take a listen and soak it up. (Yes, listen since the video from the nosebleeds is less than stellar.)
And no post about a Fleetwood Mac Live show would be complete without “Landslide” live and direct from Newark’s Prudential Center because Stevie is divine. Enjoy. (And yes, that’s us getting hype in the background at the beginning.)
"After ‘Pro-Choice’: What’s Next For Our Messaging"
After being frustrated by the coverage of Roe v. Wade’s 40th anniversary and the term “reproductive justice” being thrown around with no context or critical discussion, I decided to write about mainstream media’s challenges in talking about reproductive justice, and what our community can do to change that. Sally Kohn, Fox News commentator, said to me at a WAM! NYC mentoring event that it’s much more fun (and productive) to funnel your anger publicly via commentary rather than yelling at the TV. Message received.
Thus, I wrote this piece and interviewed some of my favorite badass activists and advocates to see what they thought about how we can use reproductive justice frameworks now that “pro-choice” is passe. Thank you to RH Reality Check, especially Jodi Jacobson, for giving me the space to write this; and to Aimee Thorne-Thomsen, Andrea Plaid, Eesha Pandit, Miriam Perez, Shanelle Matthews and Jasmine Burnett for their words, thoughts and conversation.
Here’s an excerpt but you can read the full piece here:
"This debate reminds me of how liberals scoff at the irrelevance of the GOP, with its narrow platform that doesn’t represent our diversifying country. The reproductive rights, reproductive health, and “pro-choice” movements could take a note from that critique."