2023 was a powerful teacher in self love for me. And not because I had asked for it and certainly not because I thought I needed it. In fact, quite the opposite; I thought I was ready to re-enter into a relationship with another. But, as it turns out, I still had a lot of learning to do about how to love myself, truly and authenticallly love myself first.
And now, as I sit and write this while overlooking the stillness of a beautiful snowy day, I am bearing witness to the Great Reveal which is known as My Life. And it’s wonderful. And scary. And invigorating. And joyful. And daunting. And exactly the wild adventurous ride that I’ve asked for.
The best part is, along the rough and bumpy road that I lovingly call 2023, I learned how to feel good in my own skin. I learned how to truly enjoy being alone. I learned what lights me up and what weighs me down. And I discovered the 4 pillars of strength upon which I now stand: having a creative outlet, connecting to something bigger, moving the energy through me and following the fun. Perhaps they can help you stand in your authentic strength too? There’s one thing I guarantee about these pillars…if you embrace them, you are guaranteed to have a wild and joyful ride!
Fasten your safety harness, here we go!
Pillar One: having a creative outlet
5 years ago, if you had asked me what “I do”, I would’ve answered that I’m a Mom, a wife, and a teacher. The word “writer” would not have made the cut, even though I’ve been chronicaling my life in journals since about age 8. Today, however, writing is like oxygen. I’m still in awe of that fateful day in April of 2021 when I moved my writing out of my journals and onto public display with my first blog entry “Looking For Space: Day One” The chain reaction from that tiny action step, lead me to discover the work of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and began my morning practice of writing, then onward to Mike Dooley’s “Automatic Writing Adventure” with Michael Sandler, who have both inspired me to establish a daily writing practice that comes from a divine whisper within.
Mostly, I write for myself and my clarity of thought. I write to express everything that’s swirling around in the recesses of my mind. I’m learning that it’s the process of writing that fills me up, not the end result of what I write (although, that does bear it’s own fulfilling reward from time to time). I write because I love how it feels to have pen and paper in hand and a sacred moment with my thoughts and creativity.
Writing isn’t for everyone. But everyone does have a creative passion that they can tap into. Perhaps for you it’s card-making, or crocheting, or painting, or coding, or training hawks, or dancing, or flying airplanes. Finding a way to express yourself creatively is a powerful pillar of self love. Because by tapping into your creative passion, you are saying YES to you. Maybe today is the day for you to brush off the dust from that unpainted canvas or dance like no one is watching. This pillar is about self love through self-expression. Are you making the time for that this year?
Pillar Two: connecting to Something bigger
I’ll never forget the day when my friend and former boss was driving me and a bunch of friends home from the Chicks concert and she turned to me and said “Remember when you used to love Jesus?” I laughed out loud by the shock of such an out-of-the-blue question, then quickly replied “I still love Jesus; he’s the original man bun hippy who turns water into wine! Imagine that party! I just don’t love the constrictions of the patriarchal church anymore.”
It was fascinating to see how quickly I dropped my “religion” after my divorce and fell back into the loving, expansive arms of the Universe. Apparently she noticed the shift in me too. Looking to the stars and the moon above takes me back to stargazing with my dad as a child, and each time I catch a glimpse of that beautiful starlight sky, it takes my breath away. The mystery and awe overwhelm me and I feel no judgement from the moon and the stars, just love.
These days, I I begin each day by checking in with the energy of the Universe. How are the planets speaking to me? How are they affecting the collective? In 2023, Pluto, the planet of transformation, dipped his toe into the sign of Aquarius–his first change of sign since 2008. Next Saturday, he’ll move back into Aquarius where he’ll have his second dance before taking up a 20-year residence there in November of this year (2024). I won’t get political here, but let’s just say that the planet of transformation was last in Aquarius during the French, American and industrial revolutions of the late 1700’s. The November elections ought to be very interesting this year! As for me personally, in my chart Pluto lives in the sign of Libra, in my 7th house of committed relationships. Transformation indeed.
And then there’s Venus, the planet of love, creativity and beauty, who had a 40-day retrograde in Leo, the courageous Lion who often leads with ego, in my 5th house of creativity, sex, children and passion. I had so much to review about how I showed up in these areas of my life this past year. If those two powerful energies weren’t transformational enough, there was this major lunar eclipse on the Scorpio-Taurus axis, which ended a 2.5 year cycle. Have I mentioned what a bullheaded Taurus I am? Yeah, I thought so. Let’s just say, I had some releasing to do.
Knowing the astrology helped me to face what was coming my way energetically. That, along with studying the Cards of Destiny, which always point my attention towards the areas of growth and the lessons in life that my soul came here to learn. Armed by my connection to something bigger, I can then choose how to live out my life on a daily basis.
Whether you believe in astrology or not, we all benefit from having bigger perspective. A perspective where we are like that speck of dust from Horton Hears a Who. Or like the opening scene from the movie Contact. We are tiny in comparison to All That Is (known and unknown). And for me, this brings me incredible peace and reminds me to not take myself so seriously. And you? What brings you inner peace? Maybe it’s the music of Mozart or a walk in the woods or the quiet sanctuary of a cathedral. Whatever it is, this second pillar is about finding a way to connect to something bigger, and then connect as often as possible, in as enjoyable and personal of a way as possible.
Pillar three: moving the energy through you
I believe that the body talks (did anyone else just hear the echos of our dearly departed Olivia Newton John sing a bit of “let’s get physical? SIDE NOTE: if you’re still reading this lengthier-than-normal post, why not take a 3m43 break to induldge in her cutting edge video, linked above. You can thank me later 🙂
Our bodies are sending us daily signals of where it feels stress, or is holding on to anger, or is crying out for more compassion or maybe needs forgiveness. The energy that is trapped inside us is calling to be released and it’s our duty to find a way to allow that energy to flow through us.
For me, my healing journey began with yoga, then started to incorporate some dancing, and finally I started to sing again. This last year I launched a class that I offer on the Full Moon called Spirit Flow, and that’s when I realized that all those dark days of doing yoga alone in my bedroom and dancing with Daybreaker during the pandemic and “sparkle nights” that turned karaoke into a form of musical healing, were an essential part of my healing journey. By doing what felt good in my body, I released so much anger, sorrow, heartbreak, and sometimes I even released butterflies of joy into the air too!
The bottom line of Pillar Three is that we don’t allow the trauma & grief to remain trapped inside our bodies. I, for one, have had enough trauma for a lifetime; I don’t want to add any physical ailments to the lsit. So nowadays I move in ways that feel loving and supportive. Perhaps you might find pickleball or hiking or swimming or marathon running or playing the guitar as a more aligned way of moving the energy through you. Find what feels good, as Adriene Mishler would say. And do it regularly. Your body and mind thank you. And the best part is? You discover a new way of taking care of yourself, because we do have to carry these earthly bodies around with us all the damn time. Might as well help it feel good, right?
Pillar Four: Following the fun
I have had the good fortune of having the most playful group of friends (Law of Attraction says what?). I mean, seriously, for as long as I can remember I have had such a fun life, which includes a dress up box that’s NOT just for Halloween. So when I fell from my Golden Pedistal and landed in a deep depression that was riddled with anxiety and fear of the unknown, I didn’t know what to do. I fell hard and it hurt like hell. All I knew was that I wanted to feel happy again, so I started to seek it out with great intention (thank you Julia Cameron). I was quickly able to discern what activities would fill me up and which ones would not. Does it sound like fun? Is it a double or triple YESSS? Then count me in! Does it feel like an obligation? Or does it compromise my values? Then hard pass. I am being intentionally selfish for the first time in my life and it feels so good! Joseph Campbell said it best when he said “Follow Your Bliss”.
My bliss includes rainbows and glitter and tutus and singing and dancing under the moonlight, preferably to live music. Your bliss may include a book and a blanket and an afternoon to indulge in 100+ pages of escapism (mine looks like that sometimes too!). Or maybe it’s playing competitive chess, or attending an animé conference (in full regalia of course), or having lunch with a good friend, or taking a mountain drive to watch the sunset.
In a world that has been so dramatically changed from what it was a mere 4 years ago, I want to remind you that we have a CHOICE in the life we want to live. When in doubt, follow the fun! It’s okay to say NO to others, so that you can say YESSS to yourself. It’s okay to be selfish, when that comes from a place of needing to love and nurture yourself. This final pilar is that one that I turn to when decision making; it helps me to decide what is best for me in the moment. And I hope it can help you too. When was the last time you laughed so hard that you almost peed yourself? Mine was on Christmas day and you can watch that video here.
Final thoughts for today
Back in April of 2021 when I started writing on this little blog called Let Love Rise, I had no idea that it would be the first domino in a chain reaction that would lead me on a magical adventure to where I now sit and type on this snowy day in Boise, Idaho. I shouldn’t be suprised, knowing what I know now about the Law of Attraction and my strong desire to seek a life of more joy, creativity, fun, and fullfillment. I guess I would say I’m more in awe. And so very grateful.
2023 didn’t give me the love that I was seeking; it gave me something even better. 2023 gave me the 4 pillars of self love. And as I stand in my newly rediscovered strength of divine feminine power, I cannot wait to see where the adventure of 2024 will take me!
If any of these stories or pillars of self love resonate with you, I invite you to join me on the Rewrite Your Story Adventure for 2024 and become the author of your most courageously authentic story yet!