We Belong Awake

“That’s the one thing

There’s no safety in desire

Preserving life is as good as dying”

🎵Andrew MacMahon

As 2017 comes to an end, one thing has become crystal clear. If you want magic in your life, you have to create it. Magic doesn’t find you. You have to bring it to your life.

Living life awake doesn’t just happen. Every day you have to deliberately make the choice to wake up.

It’s risky. Sometimes it hurts. It leaves you exposed. And it’s magical.

Maybe that’s what makes New Year’ Eve and the New Year so appealing. It’s an ending and a beginning all within one second of each other. The ball drops, and you get a brand new year.

That’s the magic. That’s being awake.

Within one second of everything in life is being alive. You never know when your one breath away from your best or your worst. When the ball drops or things fall apart, you get to start again. If we never let the ball drop, we never get a new beginning.

As 2018 approaches, I have one goal. It’s to observe life without judgement. It’s to allow myself (and others) to exist as I am.

I belong awake.

We belong awake.

The only way to live is to allow ourselves to be one second and one breath away from our best or maybe our worst.

Cheers to a life of magic. Cheers to being awake.

“You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert

Cheers to 2018, a year to let go of judgement, to observe, and to participate relentlessly in living life awake!

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Remaining Small

In a yoga class a few weeks ago lead by Jessica Johnson, co-founder of the Bhav Brigade, my body felt unsettled. I was unsure before I even arrived in class. I convinced myself to show up, to walk inside and to unroll my mat. Unsure of my place in the class, feeling unsettled in my body, pushed beyond my physical comfort zone, I wanted to flee. And then Jess guided us. Sharing the words of Glennon Doyle, she created a welcome mat for my practice.

we’ve got it all backward down here. We want to be on the mountaintops, but we’re not called to be victorious. We’re called to be wise, strong and kind. We are admired on the mountaintops, but we are beloved in the valleys. All the magic is in the space between mountains, where we have to unbecome everything we thought we were and start from scratch. This is hard to do, because when pain comes in the form of uncertainty, our instinct is to scramble out of it, to grab blindly for the familiar. But when we rush out of the valley, we miss gathering all the wisdom, strength and kindness we need for the next climb. We have to learn how to sit by the river and be still enough to claim its gifts. ~Glennon Doyle Melton

So here I am again. I’m in the middle again, the middle of the mountain. This is where the magic happens. But this is also such a hard place to exist. It’s a daily battle to not give up or give in.

The yoga practice that night challenged me. With sweat rolling down my back, I wanted to retreat to child’s pose. It’s always available, but did I need it. I knew I didn’t need it. I just wanted easy. I stuck with hard.

I was still unsure when I left class that night. I still didn’t feel settled, but that practice has remained a constant in my daily thoughts. Jess asked us in the moments when our legs want to give up, when our hearts are straining, to observe. What we are feeling doesn’t matter, but making note of how we are feeling does. When we are challenged, how do we respond? There is no right answer. There is only our answer.

What is my answer? I scramble. I flee. I feel panic. I become unsettled.

I sat with my feelings of being unsettled that night. I used my breath to calm me. I used the flow of my body to feel alive. The more I felt graceful and powerful in my movement, the more my anxiety disappeared.

Yoga is more than a class. It’s called a practice because it’s something we do every day. It’s something we practice in every aspect of our lives.

This Saturday before sunrise I drove to the trails. As I drove passed the Chesapeake Bay, I found my mind wandering. How can I feel so alive and so unsettled at the same time? This is the best I’ve felt mentally, physically and emotionally in a very long time yet part of me is still so unsettled. My thoughts wandered some more. I was drawn back to my yoga practice. If the movement of my physical body is what settles me, I need to move more. I was headed to the perfect place to move my body. The trails are my yoga practice.

That morning the trails were flooded with light and frost. They were flooded with fog and mist. They were alive, and my body carried me to a place of feeling settled. My running feels fluid again. It moves with ease.

As I ran with the trees I was reminded of all the shared stories and dreams I’ve whispered to these trees. I’ve spent so many years and miles wandering through these woods they are part of who I am. The trees with the greatest reach also have to strongest roots. To reach high, you have to be deeply rooted.

I feel myself reaching higher and higher every single day. I can’t help but wonder if my roots are a little shaky? For the rest of December, I’m returning to my yoga mat and the trails. I’m returning to the relationships that nurture me. Instead of glancing up to the top of the mountain, I think I’ll take a few steps back to the valley. Dig in, get dirty, and allow the movement of my body to settle me.

In my roots, at the base of the mountain, I am reminded that I am small. When I am small, I am reminded that I’m part of a much bigger journey. I am much bigger than myself. I am small, but I matter. This is the space that feels like home to me. This is were I become settled.

To read Glennon’s full article, click here.

Magical Maine

What if there are no rain clouds? What if there is only sunshine? 

A very good friend said this to me as we discussed sharing our joy! I have no problem exposing my weakness, sharing my heartache, and exploring my failures. Sharing my success is hard. Existing in a place of joy doesn’t always seem to fit. It’s what I’m trying to grow into right now. I am forcing myself to be comfortable with joy! 

Last week my boys and I boarded a plane heading to Maine. It’s been my dream to show my boys the world. When I was pregnant I would daydream about exploring with my children. I wanted to wander into nature and get lost with them. It always felt like a dream. After having Cole, I quickly became a single mom. When we moved back to Virginia, my dream was to create a life for the two of us. I craved roots and my dreams of wandering shifted to creating stability. 


As I boarded that plane last week I couldn’t help but feel proud. It was a dream come true. I was taking my boys to see part of world that remains untouched beauty. We’d hike and explore. We’d climb mountains. We’d splurge on ice cream every night and lobster dinners. I’d say yes more than no. As I boarded that plane, I was exactly the mother I have always wanted to be. 

Maine was magical. Every morning I woke up feeling alive. In my unwashed hair and no makeup face, in my recycled outfit from the day before, I felt at peace in my own skin. I felt my most beautiful. I’ve found this feeling in so many places around the world. I’ve found it in movement. I’ve found it in friendships. 

As I climbed mountains with my boys and discovered tidal pools filled with ocean treasurers, I realized my dream isn’t to show the boys the world. My dream is for my boys to discover a place of existence where they feel like their authentic self. For one week they got to see me at my best. I got to show them how I embrace life. 


They sat beside me in an old theater as we listened to an acoustic concert by Brett Dennen. Tears freely fell down my cheeks as his words healed my recent heartbreak. My boys stood beside me on the top of a mountain as we took in the beauty of the world from up above. We watched humpback whales breach. We explored islands that can only be reached at high tide. We skipped rocks on a secluded beach. 

Every night we sat down at dinner, and we all took a turn saying our favorite moment of the vacation so far. I can’t pick a favorite. The entire week is woven together to create this magical masterpiece that I’ll never forget. 


As I write this I feel compelled to tell you about our struggles during the week. I want to tell you how Chet wouldn’t eat. And how Cole and Chet battled over silly things. I want to tell you how Christian and I didn’t agree on our approach to both situations. That’s my habit. I highlight my weakness. In this new space of growth I’m deliberately  (and some what uncomfortably) focusing on the sunshine. 

I feel myself shifting to this new space. I feel myself expanding. I’m in a place in my life that feels like my own. I’m my best self right now, and I’m surrounded by people who are helping cultivate it. 

What if their is only sunshine? What if I really am stronger than I think? What if I finally give myself permission to be my best self? What if I learn to grow from my happiness in addition to my heartache? 

I’ve arrived at a place where I get to live my dreams, and I get to dream new ones I never thought would be within my reach. It’s amazing what happens when you give yourself permission to celebrate your own joy. 

What if there is only sunshine? It’s time to find out. 

Illuminators and Lighthouses. 

It’s every where: t-shirts, mugs, pretty graphics on social media, and even my blog. Staring back at us daily are messages of courage, strength, dreaming big, living bold, choosing joy, etc. We must live big. We must embrace the present. We must chase big dreams and push harder than we expected. We must over come. 

I believe all of this. I do. I embrace it. I try to live it. But sometimes life demands you stop. It slams on the brakes. If you don’t stop, you’ll crash. Thursday was one of those days for me. As I got out of the shower, I saw the look on Christian’s face. I hoped he wasn’t grumpy because we had a vacation waiting for us on the other side of the work day. When he opened his mouth and no words came out, I knew it was so much more. Then words came out, and I couldn’t comprehend them. Justin died. I made him repeat it over and over again. There was no way. Those two words never belonged together. We just talked. They just went surfing and had beers. 

Justin wasn’t just a friend. He was our glue. He was the one person who could always steer Christian. He was honest. He was authentic. He saw the path people needed to take for themselves. He was light. He was an illuminator. 

When Christian and I started to plan our wedding our biggest challenge was how we’d actually get married. Church isn’t our place. Getting married in a courtroom didn’t feel authentic to our marriage. We wanted intimacy. We wanted someone who knew us, saw us, and celebrated with us. Justin was that person. He married Christian and I on the beach 7 years ago. It was everything we wanted. 

With tears I made it through the work day Thursday. Christian and I hazily packed up our truck and our kids, and we headed south. We were headed in the direction Justin had just headed days before. 

******

This weekend was bitter sweet. For every squeal of delight as my boys caught wave after wave, a quiet sadness followed. All of a sudden being strong and courageous has no appeal. Chasing big dreams doesn’t matter. Existing in the small moments does. I’m embarrassed for ever claiming something bigger mattered more. 

Catching Waves

******

Saturday morning I headed out for my first long run of this training cycle. I had 8 miles to conquer. I made it a block. The feels-like temperature of 90 degrees at 6:00am took my breath away. I made it another block. Sadness clung to me. I ran one more block, and I gave in. 

I’m sad. And it’s okay. I don’t have to be strong or brave. I don’t have to be anything other than sad. I walked for two miles. I reached out to a trusted friend. I sat on a bench overlooking the sound, and I let the wind blow away my tears. 

I walked back to the beach house. I still let myself be sad. 

Initially I felt defeated. All my teammates overcame the heat. They overcame their obstacles. They fought back, and they won. I lost. I gave in. 

*******

Today we took a detour on our way home. Every summer I say I want to climb to the top of a lighthouse. I never go. Today that changed. 

Today more sadness clung to me. I learned of another loss with a nearly identical story to Justin’s: a medical emergency that ended in loss. Another illuminator in my life is gone. A person I secretly had a crush on is gone. The person who made me feel pretty during my divorce is gone. 

I don’t think my boys realized how much I needed to see that lighthouse today, but I’m so grateful they all wanted to go.  I needed to stand on the ground of a home that illuminates. I wanted to climb to the top to see a path before me. I wanted to share it with my boys. 

At the Top

Today as the weekend comes to end, I don’t care about 8 miles turned into a 2 mile walk. I don’t care about dreaming big or living large. Living small feels really important right now. Living exactly where I’m at feels really important right now. 

******

I’m fortunate to have an office across the hall from my running coach. I’m also down the hall from my other running coach. I’m surround by mentorship and inspiration. I’m surrounded by people who shine their light on me. A day doesn’t pass that I’m not given a tidbit or a reminder of how to thrive. This work environment is nurturing me to be my best. 

Before my first run of this training cycle I was reminded that my gift in life isn’t running. It’s not my writing. It’s my ability to connect. This training cycle is another opportunity to tell a story someone may need to hear. 

Today all I want is to abandon being strong. I don’t want to show anyone that they can tough it out through hard times. I am not an example of overcoming. I am sad, I feel a hole in my being, and I walked 2 miles instead of running 8. 

Today I’m existing. Today my existence includes sadness. This weekend getting out of bed and stepping outside took all my strength. I couldn’t run. I walked slowly. I allowed myself to be sad. I allowed fresh air to nurture me. That is all I had to give. 

The timing of this couldn’t be more perfect. I’m not pacing this season. My friends are getting speedy. I’m slowing down. Now is the time to turn inward. It’s time for selfcare. It’s time for me to give to myself. 

I’m craving small and real. I want meaning. I want to feel whatever the sunrise gives me. Last training cycle I want an exclamation point. This training cycle I want the empty space between paragraphs. I want the pause between moments. 

Somehow I’m hitting pause and running a marathon. They don’t naturally go together. I’ll figure it out as I go.

Sunrise over the Atlantic

Follow your Breath

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival” ~Rumi

Last Wednesday I unrolled my yoga mat with nearly 500 other yogis. Together we lined up with only inches to spare on the deck of the USS Wisconsin. The class was a celebration of endings and beginnings. The community of Norfolk is rich with culture. It is vibrant. It is alive. Part of that community is Bhav Brigade – a group of yoga instructors determined to make yoga accessible to everyone by eliminating barriers and bringing openness to each practice. This class was a farewell to one of their founders, but also a congratulations as she steps into the next chapter of her life.

Every time I unroll my yoga mat, I believe it’s an opportunity to welcome something new. It is a beginning. When I show up empty and open, I am always gifted with exactly what I need. This class was no different.

While the deck of the boat was filled with my friends, I found myself shoulder to shoulder with strangers. Before class even began, I knew this class belonged to me. As I sat on my mat staring over the river, I was flooded by the urge to shed: emotions, anxiety, and the weight on my body. Everything felt heavy.

📷: Shannon Wade
The yoga practice began, and my body resisted the movement. My head fought back as I tried to settle myself. Finally it happened. I arrived on my mat.

Prompted by the yoga instructor, I brought my attention to what I was holding on to? What are you holding on to? What of that is no longer serving you? As I took physical inventory, my body melted. My jaw relaxed. My shoulders dropped. My chest opened. I found the way into my practice.

📷: Peter Squicciarini

Just like the best runs, my physical existence always directly connects to my emotional existences. Moving my body always exposes every aspect of my life. My yoga practice is the same. When I relax my jaw, I relax my heart. When my shoulders drop, my breath deepens. When I settle into my yoga mat or my stride, I settle into my life.

Life has felt a little chaotic lately. The full moon brought with it full energy. My pace has been a little too fast to feel settled. I have found myself asking the same questions my yoga instructor asked me last Wednesday. What am I holding on to? What is no longer serving me?

rumiquote

Life is reminding me to slow down. It is reminding me to be intentional. It’s reminding me to take inventory of what I’m holding on to and what is serving me. Every morning, every time I unroll my yoga mat or I put on my running shoes, I have a choice. I can show up empty and open, I can welcome what arrives, or I can hold myself back.

Embracing the flow of life is my greatest struggle. I speed things up, I push too fast, and I forget to settle.

Today I took my practice to the trails. Tired is clinging to me. Instead of forcing the run, I listened. I slowed down. I walked. I enjoyed the views, the fresh air, and the dirt beneath my feet. Movement is movement. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far I go. Real growth in life comes from the moments when we let go and met ourselves where we are at in life. 


I am craving depth and light. Every part of me wants to shed the extra weight I’m carrying with me. I want openness. This is where I’m placing my priority this season. I know that summer can be a hard season for me. Heat can be restrictive. It makes it hard for me to breathe. I’m not fighting it this season. I’m welcoming it, and I’m giving myself the tools I need to remain open. 

Embracing the flow of life, existing without expectations, and following the path that allows me to breath deeply is the only direction I’m willing to head this summer. 

Where do you throw your Rock?

Life is back in full swing. The boys are in school. Work is back on a Monday – Friday routine. It’s a new year with the same schedule, same responsibilities, and same life. Except it feels different. It is never the change of the calander that causes me to reflect. It is the ebb and flow of the seasons. It’s the cycle of the moon. Life always seems to follow their rhythm regardless of what the calander says and my routine dictates.

We are making our way towards light. Between now and June, we will see more sun. Although we are currently in the midst of hibernation, we are preparing for the hot days of summer.

I’m not like most. Summer leaves me depressed. Winter is when I come alive. Even if January 1, 2017 feels the exact same as December 31, 2016, it is an opportunity to take a inventory of life. Where am I? Where do I want to be?

This year I’ve held on to more anxiety than I’d like. My nervous system never seems to take a break. I’m alive and frantic or I’m sitting in a sad solitude. This isn’t my norm. Winter is my season. In winter I thrive. I feel alive and calm.

As I start writing 2017 on all my work correspondences, I’m taking inventory. What layers of my life have caused this pulse of anxiety.

Instead of running errands on my lunch break today, I’ve decided to pause. It’s a gorgeous winter day. The air is brisk. The sky is full of fog. Rain (and maybe snow) is in the forecast. I’ve bundled myself up on my lunch break. I need air. Fresh air. Cold air. The air that settles my nerves and blankets me with peace.


With chilled hands, I’ve doodled. I’m making a visual mental inventory. What is at the center of my world? What is my priority?

Add a layer. Create a ripple.

What comes next? Outside of the very heart of who I am, what is next?

Add a layer. Create a ripple.

And next? Another ripple. And next? Another ripple. Until my life feels both alive and relaxed. That center of my world, that’s where I need to throw my rock. It’s what needs my attention. It’s why my heart whispers Let me Mother. Let that be my ripple. 

When you throw your rock, your energy, at the right place, your life will become filled with all the right ripples. Throw your rock in the wrong direction, and the things you love get washed out and pushes away.


I needed this exercise today. I needed this moment with my notebook and my words in the weather that is made for me to continue to ebb and flow with life.

It’s a new year. I need to make sure I’m throwing my rock in the right direction.

Gratitude creates Magic 

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~Ronald Dahl

Five years ago I sat in my prenatal class with my (still) favorite yoga instructor Katie. Every year as the season shifts from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I hear her words. Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude. From gratitude we shift to the magic of the Christmas season.

Gratitude  creates magic.

When the world starts spinning fast, like it seems to do every year when the calendar approaches the end of the year, it is gratitude that roots us. It is gratitude that brings magic to our world.

Today my world started spinning. It was a domino effect. The morning started off on a high. Great news from friends. A exciting conversation with my running coach. I hit reply to his last email and said “this season is going to be magical.” Then the dominos started to fall. Heartbreaking news. Domino falls. Facebook status. Domino falls. More updates. Domino falls. I felt myself getting emotional and overwhelmed. I took a break.

Fresh air is always my cure. I took my lunch break outside, and in route to get a coffee I saw a man running down the street. He attacked another man. Punches were thrown. They continued to fight while I called 9-1-1. Another domino fell.

The dominos kept falling. One after the other today, I couldn’t stop the process. How had a morning that started off magical unraveled so quickly. 

The dominos fell for the rest of the day. A temper tantrum in the middle of the store, a car accident beside us, the dominos fell. 

As I safely pulled into my driveway twelve hours after I left this morning, I let out another audible exhale. Today was a lot. How do I get the magic back in my day? 

My boys bounced towards the front door past the dozen illuminated snowman faces, the blow up Christmas tree and penguins. My dog greeted us with kisses. My husband is on his way home from Arizona. 

For a moment I paused. This time I inhaled. I inhaled the life that is mine. I was flooded with gratitude. 

While my heart aches for people I’ve never met and a few I love dearly, today I’m reminded how magical the world can be, how magical the world is. I’m reminded that the best intentions are rooted in gratitude. When the dominos start to fall, the only way to stop them is by giving thanks. 

My boys

 

Broken Open and Renewed

As I approached the beginning of a new phase of life this summer, I stared at a stack of books wondering which book I should read first. I was ready to tackle my new path, new job and new training cycle. I was ready to push for my potential. 

Posted:August 12

My friend Jim kindly suggested a very logical reading order. Broken Open. Your Survival Instinct is Killing You. How Bad Do You Want It? His suggestion seemed to follow life, so I began. 

One day at lunch on a bench overlooking the river behind my new office, I’ve started reading Broken Open. I’ve read every word. I highlighted, scribbled and photographed passages. I’ve sent images to friends. I’ve wrote about it. I’ve digested it. 

I have adored every page of this book, and I imagined I’d finish reading it with the sun on my face and a coffee in my hand. I thought I’d finish the book and use my hour of quiet that day to do my own personal reflection. Today I finished it. With only ten pages left, it was calling to me from beside my bed. I was hesitate to open it because I wanted that picture perfect ending. Instead I finished the book on my couch with body aches and a low fever. 

I let out a audible exhale when I reached the final period. I didn’t want it to end yet it had filled me to the brim. I have no more room left to absorb the words in this book. I am full. 

As I stared blankly at the book wondering what I should do next, Chet tugged on my arm and said “Mama today can we do yoga? We haven’t done it in a year.”

How did he know? 

How does one say no to that request when my intention for the week was to practice daily. So I unrolled my mat with this tiny human I’m trying to raise to be a gentle loving man. Together we did yoga. It was filled with giggles, Chet-modified poses, and an awareness of how tight my body has become. Today’s practice focused on renewing. 

“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.” ~Elizabeth Lesser

As I’m living my new chapter, as I finish the last chapter of the book that has confirmed my approach to life, and while I let my body release everything it holds on to, it has become clear. The work that I need to do is in my home. 

As I work on transforming myself, let me create an environment for my boys to transform. While I renew myself, let me create an environment for my boys to renew. As I create a space for me to exist whole heartedly, let me create an environment that encourages my boys to do the same. 

Their journey will always be their own, but I hope by having the courage and the strength to live my journey, I am gifting them the same courage and strength. 

While on my mat in pigeon pose, I looked over at Chet in the same pose and I know for certain I’ve done everything right. As I finished Broken Open, I know I want to bring the book to life. 

Life is a constant cycle, and it’s a constant reminder to stay present. Today my life feels abundantly full. A few months ago my life felt stuck. Each moment equally important and valid in the process of living. 

Today my only wish is that I continue to live in each moment and that I show my boys how to rise and fall. 

“May you listen to the voice within the beat even when you are tired. When you feel yourself breaking down, may you break open instead. May every experience in life be a door that opens your heart, expands your understanding, and leads you to freedom. If you are weary, may you be aroused by passion and purpose. If you are blameful and bitter, may you be sweetened by hope and humor. If you are frightened, may you be emboldened by a big consciousness far wiser than your fear. If you are lonely, may you find love, may you find friendship. If you are lost, may you understand that we are all lost, and still we are guided—by Strange Angels and Sleeping Giants, by our better and kinder natures, by the vibrant voice within the beat. May you follow that voice, for This is the way—the hero’s journey, the life worth living, the reason we are here.” ~Elizabeth Lesser

A Rising.

I woke up this morning after very little sleep way before my alarm went off to the news that Donald Trump was elected. I cried. I cried not because Hillary lost, but because  a campaign that we built on fear, hate, and prejudice won. I cried because the man who was elected has a court date set for December for raping a child. I cried because I couldn’t find any words to tell my boys when they woke up.

I sat on Cole’s bed for a long time before he woke up. What was I going to say? As the sun started to peak above the horizon and into his bedroom windows, he spoke before his eyes opened. Who won? Trump did. Trump won. We are all going to die.

As I told him we would be okay, that we would rally, that we would take care of our community and our world, I realized something. I was afraid. Not for me, but for this little boy tiptoeing into puberty because a man who isn’t respected by the world was just elected President, and my little boy’s (who is almost 13) dad is flying a helicopter in a warzone in a location we can’t know because he has dedicated his life to protect our country. My fear became real, and I could see on his face he was worried about his dad.

In the midst of my tears and heartbreak, I needed comfort. I needed something to believe in about the man who was just elected President. I reached out to my cousin Mike who is as opposite as it comes to me in his political views, but is someone I love and respect. I knew we could have a honest dialogue. I knew we could talk without judgment of emotion, without taking personal each others opinions, and I knew he could tell me why he voted for Trump. I love and respect his family. I trust his family. We’ve had so many healthy conversations about life, politics, and raising our families that I know he wants what I want in life. He welcomed my questions. He took time to explain his perspective. I found comfort in his words.

I would describe Mike as a conservative Christian.

Mike would describe me as a liberal hippie.

But for the past few months we engaged in so many healthy conversation about how to raise our families and how to shape our country. Our approach may be different, but our outcome is always the same. We’ve never offended. We’ve never insulted. We’ve never defended. We’ve discussed. Although my heart is sad today and my mind is in disbelief, I am choosing to trust that the rest of this country voted for Donald Trump for the same reason as my cousin. I’m choosing to trust that it is because they want change in politics and not because they believe in the fear and hate based rhetoric of the Trump campaign.

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grateful for family in spite of our differences

As I was getting ready to walk out the door to work this morning, my husband said to me You look pretty today.

Do you know how I responded? I said Great because that’s all I’ll amount to in this country.

And for a moment I believed it. Shame on me. We didn’t elect our first female president yesterday. We didn’t support a campaign that is based on human rights for all humans, but no one will ever determine my value. Only I can decide if I’m worthy, and I know I’m more than just a pretty face.

With my Rise mala around my neck, I drove to work today and one thought kept echoing in my heart. Now is not the time to sit pretty and be quiet. Now is the time to rise. Now is the time to feed my passion, to use my voice, and to push so generations after me don’t have to push so hard. Change never starts at the top. Change starts at the bottom. It starts in our communities and with our families. It starts with the individual.

From our roots we rise
When every single person in this country knows that they have value, we will have succeeded. When we all feel safe, we will have won. When we all know our voices are heard (even if it’s just healthy dialogue with the cousin who appears to be nothing like you), we won’t be threatened by the voice of an other. We will celebrate our diversity. We will change the world.

I’m starting small. I’m starting with my boys, and I’m starting with the girls who are just like me. I reached out to our local YWCA on my lunch break to inquire about working with their Sexual Assault Support Service group (Find your local group through the RAINN website). I found my voice, my courage, and my strength after I was raped. Maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else find their voice too. This year and this election have left my scars and my wounds feeling raw, but I know how to rise above it. I can share that gift.

Changing the energy of our world with one confident worthy individual at a time. I can’t control the next four years, but I can continue the campaign of human rights and equality. I can share my voice.

A rising is coming regardless of if we support today’s outcome or not. Let this election mobilize us. Let it stun us into action. Let us begin. We all have a lot of work to do.

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Rising. Everyday. Always.