Gifts from a song-bird…..

I want to share some birdsong I’ve been grooving on,
some sweet shots of sanity
that sift  the kool-aid to the top
so truth can skim it off and toss it,
leaving clearer waters inside.

Because, geez, this world gets noisy,
so much hype and clatter
drummed down harsh on living things
and we seem somehow to reserve the cruelest prattle for ourselves.

Into the thick of some sludge and syrup,
God sent me a bird.
Mandy Bird.
I want to share some words from her perch.
Because maybe you need her healing music just now,  too.

“Something very beautiful happens to people
when their world has fallen apart:
a humility,
a nobility,
a higher intelligence
emerges just at the point
when our knees hit the floor.”
– Marianne Williamson

To this rich quote Mandy responds,
“This is the blessing of huge struggle……
don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is bullshit.
Putting on your big girl panties usually means avoiding your grief.
Those statements are designed to shame you for being so beautifully human.
Tell shame to kiss off.

Don’t fall for that numbed out bravado.
Let’s actually learn to be heart-awake and emotionally intelligent.
Be courageous by keeping your heart open.
Now that’s big courage!”
– Mandy Bird

I know,  right?
And this.

“Don’t lessen your intensity to make others feel comfortable.
Don’t pour water on the fire of your heart.
The world needs your fire and passion.
Tell shame to kiss off.
Be you.”
– Mandy Bird

I’m in the thick of writing and writing and more writing
so I wanted to share Mandy with you this week instead.
Because her voice is one of the ways I listen for God above the fray
and I love her humor and heart and way.

You can find her on Instagram @bird_mandy

“The Ocean says ‘quit pretending to be clear.
That pretense keeps you from receiving what I can give you.’ ”
– Rumi

The breath and belly of it all….

weeping

Winter rolls into Spring and my heart rides the growing waves
that lift and toss and throw me sometimes further out
as I begin to set my hope on a door that slowly opens,
then closes sudden and an undertow sweeps me into a tailspin
and I’m struggling breathless and unable to work my wings
and here is where I learn at last to fly,
because it’s sometimes into the jaws of a strong wind
that we get our bearings because we’re ready to dig in
and maybe this is the gift in going down and out

I do the work with a gifted grief counselor – she’s a bird on a breeze
with a gentle way and healing words that call to me through the dark
and she sings a song of paradox and the eyes of my heart soften into the  hope
that doesn’t disappoint and it’s a strong tow out of fearful waters.
Because when life hurts it isn’t black or white – there’s and and both to all deep pain.
The sad and scared and mad of grief are real and but that’s only one side
and if we try to survive with just that one wing flapping helpless
we tank,  unsteady,  and helter-skelter from the sky where we were born to soar
because we need both wings set to be fully alive.

As I become less dropsy at holding paradox,
keeping journal where I puddle my hurt onto the left page and record beauty and thanks
on the right – side by side together like a perfect pair of wings,
I begin to toddle this grief out,  a fledgling,
learning to hold the full of my pain and the joy,
my love and the disappointment,  the comfort and the hurt
because there’s medicine in embracing the breath and belly of it all.

And,  yes,  showing up can expose a heart for the breaking
but I want a love that doesn’t shy or go false,
to feel it when the Comforter whispers let me hold your hand
and not draw back or slap it away
but take deep drinks of compassion offered and continue to stand,
loved and wanted by a mystery so beautiful and grand
that I lean wholehearted into the turns,  more curious than perplexed or in dread.

Because life is happening bodacious and I don’t want to miss it or be passed by
because I’m holding on tight to one version of happy
when there are a million shades
and seeing narrow makes a chest fold over bitter on itself
while healing breezes kiss a heart stretched wide.

And it helps to have a caring hand to help untie the knots
of what’s true and what’s not.

DSC00419edited

~ The humiliation? – no.
Dig deep and don’t personalize this.

~ The shame? – hell no.  The brazen way it twists and mimics
and tries to impersonate the voice of God,
lying boldfaced that this generous goodness is harsh – Defy it.

~ the Heartbreak?  Yes. Be unapologetic about it.
The hurt is real.  Cry it out with someone safe.

~ The other painful parts of grief like anger and anxiety and sadness and loss?
Yes. Acknowledge. Feel it all.
Go there with all the help that you need.  But don’t live there.
With this wing alone,  we stay cut off from the sky.

Stretch wide the other wing as well.
There are gifts in grief,  and as I begin to unwrap them,
I see windows where before I saw only walls.

Some of the sweetest gifts,  for me,  have been learning to show up and do my best
but not more than my best,  because that’s stepping into someone else’s space.
That hardening the heart does not stop the hurt.
That a soft heart heals faster.
To not waste the pain,  because pain itself is gift.
It means you care deeply about something,  and if you’re willing to go along for the ride,
it can lead you to discover your deepest desires.

Holding paradox is sanity,
and humility
and flight.

I was going to end by telling you that I haven’t heard again from my baby girl grown
and that this road I’ve traveled to learn to hold the pain and disappointment,
alongside the joy and love and peace of letting go,
is one that I’m learning to cherish and carry
with a strong and honest hope
– it’s the story that I’ve been living.

But I get to write a different ending this week.

Because I did hear back.
Just days ago.
So beautiful and true and I will hold her trust with the tenderest care.
It’s pure gift,  sweet and sacred and unspeakably dear
but there’s nothing in me that feels any longer desperate,
like this is needed for repair
and so I can celebrate the timing of it all
because this is maybe gift-wrapped,  too:)

eye of the tiger
Your words have been balm and bread and broad strokes of grace,
finding me where my eyes were squeezed shut
to what a face may silently say,
speaking life and friendship and a healing song
that the girl of me needed to hear.
I hope we’ve been good for each other that way.
Thank you.  With love.  From the whole of my heart.

“Limitless, undying love which shines around me like a million suns
it calls me on and on across the universe.
– John Lennon

If you’re interested in some of the tools I’ve been using
in your own journey,

to help grieve it out and get stretched wide your wings,
i so recommend this DVD series by Mandy Bird and her collaborator,  Chris Saade.
A tall glass of comfort and hope,  this.

Cry baby cry…..

insta simple

I’ve had my heart broken,
the air knocked out of my voice
so it’s been quiet here for a little while,
giving myself instead to the work of breathing in and back out
and then repeating all over again.
And I’ve given myself over to the tears which
seem to flow unchecked and without warning.

I’m wildly grateful for the sunglasses I get to work behind,
the way my work lets me wander and wobble without fanfare,
and for the spilling-over-healing wonder of the tears themselves,
as if the sea finds me exactly where I am
and strokes my cheek with salty fingers
in the spacious,  windy way that I love.

I’ve given myself permission to let the sad be,
to let the tears rain down comfort,
let the petals be crushed
and the kleenex disappear extravagently.

5 insta

And as I’ve cried it out,  not pulling away from the pain
but letting it say it’s part in this story still unfolding,
I’ve been reminded to stretch wide my other wing,  too,
the one that lets beauty sing her grateful joy
until they’re both unfurled,  these powerful wings,
both joy and pain in harmony,
making music that pulls me deeper into life.

Life.  My God,  how I love it.
Raw and unscripted and teeming with things that scare and scald
and heal and delight and stretch and surprise and shave our rough edges smooth.
Life lived bare with the soundtrack unplugged
and the feeling turned up strong.

Tears unhindered,
smiles unforced,
heart unguarded
and freckles wet and nourished with saltwater peace.
Life not false.

Unblocked.
Unsunk.
But unbroken?
Hardly.

And my hope and I are okay with that:)

insta playful heart


I want to share a tool I’ve been using,
something offered by  Mandy Bird,  the gifted and compassionate grief counselor
I’ve been working with.  You can recieve her wise, intuitive care,
along with her collaborator, Chris Saade,
in their DVD series The Model of Heart-Centered Grief .
It’s a tall glass of hope and help for the hurting.
I so recommend.  Worth every
shiny penny.

“Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering
end up disconnecting our suffering from God’s suffering for us.
The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through.” -Henry Nouwen

I’ll be drawing a name from comments to send a care package from my heart to yours. For the love:)