Somehow, it happened. A man was elected as U.S. President who does not embody the values of kindness and integrity. Many people despise what he stands for. Many people are afraid. Since he was elected, there have been increases of anger and rage, name calling and threats.
Some people voted for him because they resonate with his hatred of others (which stems from self-hatred, admit it or not). Some people voted for him because they are really fed-up with many things about this country. With that, I can empathize. With the hatred, I cannot.
Hatred is a terrible waste of precious life. Let's get real.
We live on a planet with flowers that bloom open into the sun, light that dances off ocean waves, children whose laughter could erupt away all our wounds and pain, if we allowed it to.
Why waste any of this life on hatred or other forms of fear?
Each human soul is so beautiful, so worthy of love. Yes, every single soul.
Easy to say, but how do we actually live from love? It's simple; it's what we're made of. We do it one breath at a time. One thought at a time. That is the only way to do it. And yet, however simple this is, there are 100s of 1000s of books written instructing people on how. It is far from easy.
With all the horror stirred up in the U.S. right now, we are being called forth massively, to lead from love. To lead our lives from love.
Equally, we are being invited -- by ego, by fear itself, by the idea that we are separate from the divine -- to enter and embody tremendous fear. Many are accepting this invitation, over the invitation to choose love.
I'd rather die out of this body tomorrow choosing love, than live 50 more years in fear. That is the modeling my daughter is worth. And as we know, our children tend to do what we do.
So how do we respond to what's in the air right now, from a place of love?
How does this actually look, on a practical level?
Is it something any of us can do, or is it only for people who've been meditating for a decade or two?
Whether it's you, or me, or an entire country or religion, let's face it: the idea that there is one right way just doesn't work for life. It doesn't work to create a world of respect, forgiveness, compassion and diversity. It works to create a world that feels divided and increasingly upset.
Each person has a unique contribution to make. Life thrives when we respect and honor this diversity. So as I step up to express my own leadership, I am not here to say that someone else's way is wrong. I will not add power to hatred by blowing on its blaze.
With courage I will look within, for the love I am made of, to find a way to light-up love instead.
If someone wants to fly a Confederate Flag or insult women, I am quite uninterested in adding to the mountainous pain inside their soul. When I look at Donald Trump, I see a very hurt person who must have experienced horrible things in his life. I would much rather he and his companions find healing for their deeply broken hearts, so that this world receives beauty from their breath, not hate.
Genuinely, with every bone in my body, I want a world of love. Therefore my only choice is to embody love -- to live it with my thoughts, feelings and actions -- and to return to love whenever I stray.
Women play a huge role in creating a world led from love. As I wrote in a blog post the day after the election, women must lead us out of the mess we are in. It is time we step into our leadership skin, all of us, and trust the ancient wisdom of the womb.
Stay tuned. In the next 3-4 weeks I will lead an in-person workshop in Petaluma, California called WOMEN'S POST-ELECTION POW-WOW. And around the same time, an online version that is free to join.
Men will be welcome too. Women's leadership is essential to bring us into brighter times. The wisdom of the womb needs to take the mic far more often in our world. Men who respect women, who value our role, perspectives, voices and wisdom, are most welcome at the table too.
We will focus on HOW we want to BE in response to this election -- not with the reactionary, fearful part of us, but with the mindful, intelligent part of us leading.
We will honor what's happening around us.
We will honor fear, anger, confusion, despair.
We will name what we want more of.
We will pull courage from our core to live in INTEGRITY -- from our power, from the place that will bring us more of what we want, not more of what we don't want.
From there we will take action. And it will be a very simple, profoundly powerful action.
Join me! If you're not already signed up for our newsletter, sign up to be sure you know about these gatherings. The in-person gathering will be limited to 20 participants. The online call will be limited to 250.
In unity with the Love inside EACH and EVERY one of us~
Afterthoughts... December 4th, 2016
Ta-da! Nevermind! Not right now!
Do you ever have those moments when you are super motivated to do something, and then after a few days, you get this feeling of, Hmmm... I'm not so sure anymore... and you surrender and let it go?
Well, that happened with this women's workshop. I still might do it in some way, but here's the deal.
I've been leading groups of women, and sometimes men too, through transformative experiences for 20 years. I dig it, they dig it, it's good stuff. And yet--
The art at the core of my essence is calling more passionately these days than anything else I might do. It wants to be woven into my life far more intricately than ever before. And I want that too.
Just because I CAN do this kind of thing, doesn't mean I should let an ounce of me go toward something that takes away from time I could spend on my core art, which is ::: loving the world through letter writing.
I want to know and honor my art inside-and-out, 1,000%.
So for now-->
Both this online gathering and the in-person one in Petaluma are on hold. If my art guides me to bring it more centrally into the focus for these gatherings, I'll do that. But for now I'm waiting to be spacious, and listen. And it feels GOOD! (She pats herself deliciously on the back.)
Over the course of my lifetime, I'd guess I have written somewhere between 1,000-10,000 cards and letters. Starting at age five, the art of hand written cards and letters became a devoted practice. My mom role modeled the way with her gorgeous, kind hearted penmanship and patient hands.
With every piece of mail I send, someone smiles on the other end. The receiver feels loved and valued, and I enjoy every part of the process: choosing paper or a card and a pen, the feel of the pen on the paper, making the envelope beautiful, however simple. It's all so yummy.
A hand written letter is a ritual of sensual pleasure, self-worth, therapy and self-awareness for the writer.
What a gift for this to be my lifelong art! Until recently it never crossed my mind that I could be a professional letter writer. But the ease with which I write letters, I mean, it comes so naturally...
Why not? Plenty of people want to convey things they may not feel equipped to convey, without a little help.
Letters of feeling, letters of heart, letters that value relationships. Those are the kind of letters I write.
Letters that heal the self and extend forgiveness, truth and gratitude with others.
Letters that invite connection and understanding, without placing blame or extending dissonance.
After all, this is humanity's invitation today: to step into being in relationship in a way that reveals both our interdependence and our freedom. To step into relationships not from a place of fear and disconnection but from a place of love -- the universal force of goodness that is the most powerful force in the universe and spans all relationship types.
"You put into words exactly how I feel," a recent client said, "There's no way I would have come up with that. Your letter really moved me."
It is an enormous pleasure for me to share my lifelong love of letter writing, with others.
Send me an email to be in touch about my letter writing services.
Shock. Just as I felt when two healthy friends died suddenly in the last two years of my life… Shock. That didn’t really happen, did it? We had a chance for a woman president and we chose hate instead? We aren’t living a “real life” soap opera, are we?
Oh yes, we are.
In shock, with millions and millions of Americans and international citizens on Planet Earth right beside me. Somehow, surely with large doses of fraud yet, still — somehow — we have elected a new President whose candidacy was based on hate. How could we not be in shock? If there’s any dose of innocence within us, any dose of that Inner Child who simply expects honesty and respect, how could we not be shocked by what just transpired? When a baby boy is physically abused, does he think, “Oh yeah, this is just the way I’m treated…” or does his core reject this hatefulness, in shock? “It should not be so. I am Love. This is not a reflection of who I am.”
I refuse to go into blame.
There are many who played a role in this despicable outcome, this atrocious revealing of the darkness under the surface of our American soil. Unspeakable fraud is at play and has been for years in this country — in business and politics. I salute those who courageously move to expose the shadows and bring them to widespread awareness.
A deep bow to all the whistleblowers, the truth tellers of every color, shape and age. We are united.
Yet, my greatest leverage is at these fingertips. In this heart. It is... this mouth. This female body. My WOMB.
There are no words strong enough to convey what I want to say right now. To women. All over this planet. And especially to women in America. Prepare for strong words, and this is not personal. I use strong words because Tiger Mama is ferocious and she is rising.
DEAR WOMEN OF AMERICA,
Wake the ________ up. That glass ceiling over our heads? We can blast that bull_____ off the roof if we want to.
No one has power over us. Your thoughts and actions belong to YOU. You can hear insults and feel oppressed, and you can CLAIM that you are not oppressed. You can RETURN to your natural state of freedom. Many people in history who have sure seemed oppressed on the surface, have chosen not to buy into it.
Are you pissed off? Great!
FEEL it in your Mama Bear womb. Let it burn your heart bigger and bolder so you REFUSE not to stand for Love. You know how. It is what you’re made of. Stand for LOVE.
Stop valuing the surface of you — how you look, whether other people, especially men, approve of you — more than the real jewels inside. Are YOU okay with who you are? Do YOU think you’re awesome? If you don't, get on it! Wake UP. You have SUPERPOWERS, woman! They are your instinct, your intuition, your heart. GROW THEM. FEED THEM. Focus there.
You can carry and birth new life, women. What MORE do you need to hear, to see your value in this world?
This isn’t about women having power over men. Our sons are treasured gems. And all men are sons. We do not lead from “power over.” This is about leading from Love. Leading for Life. We know, and are uniquely equipped, to lead this way. The time is NOW.
We make the majority of decisions in households. Our capacity to hold complex details and tasks and relations, is unparalleled. When we stand in our power — in the power of Love — with courage, with certainty, with ease… Nothing can stand in our way.
Let us not allow children and women on other continents to be blasted with violence, their bodies shattered in blood. War is not the way of Woman. It is not the way of Love. We shall not stand for this. And it WILL stop when we RISE.
Take my hand, dear sisters. I am holding yours. And the hands of your children.
The earthquake that hit American soil yesterday guarantees aftershocks that we, as women, must step forth to soothe.
Deep, dripping tears spill from my soul at the pain we humans choose to experience before we wake up. Each and every one of us. Is this not part of the human condition? Where do you keep pretending not to know how to love yourself? Where do you withhold love? And where do you project hatred for others? Because guess what? That’s the greatest violation you could ever stab into your very own chest.
So I grieve.
I face the darkness within myself.
I Pledge Allegiance to the Love I AM.
It’s what we’re made of, Mamacitas.
So from the pit of our wombs, from the very blood and placenta-pulsing beauty of these sacred bodies that ALL of life comes through…
Let’s fucking ROAR!
All my love, all shimmering in thousands of shards of broken glass~
* * *
P.S. Look, ladies.
My daughter doesn’t stand for disrespect. She doesn’t tolerate it. Does yours? Let's guide them not to. There are many children who’ve been treated with endless doses of kindness and respect, so their foundation would never consider the horror of leading from hatred. They know it’d kill their souls.
Our future will be made of things much sweeter than this nightmare that unfolded on our TV screens last night. Children know better than to fall prey to the horrendous lie that leading from hate will bring anything good AT ALL.
Meanwhile, it is up to each of us to stand in our power — women and men, mothers and fathers, teens and anyone who noticed the gaping spiritual wound we just unbandaged in the USA.
Our power is LOVE. Nothing more powerful exists.
Things don’t shift overnight on the big scale — they take time — but YOU and I, we can change our minds instantly. That’s where our greatest power is. From anger to forgiveness, from resentment to curiosity, from hatred to joy. It is in our capacity, all of this. ONE choice at a time. It's 11:42 right now, and I have a choice. At 11:43 I'll have another choice. Do I speak and act from love or fear?
Years ago MLK Jr. said it, “Only love can drive out hatred.”
Today these words were shared on Instagram by Erin Merriman, “I feel strangely liberated. It’s over. Our sad government that has been limping along has finally come to a conclusion so absurd that it seems unlikely we will continue to give our power away. It feels like permission from the universe to do whatever it takes to take care of each other and not wait for the government to do that. Now that we have a green light to ignore false authority altogether!.. People call Trump an asshole. Let’s play with this a little, because now, he’s our asshole! He is the collective asshole, and is just doing what assholes are designed to do, fulfilling his divine purpose of allowing our shit to come out.”
Really though people, he IS inviting us to look within ourselves and decide HOW we want to SHOW UP in our lives. For truth, for love, or for the damp dark walls of hatred and judgment? It is an invitation. Not his, because oh dear, Donald Trump is the loudest call for help I think I’ve ever seen in human skin. It is our collective invitation to ourselves.
So let’s be pissed. Let’s be outright completely WTF shocked. And then let’s get our shovels out and dig under that soil a little bit.
This is the Great Collective at work. We created this. Doesn’t matter who you voted for or any single thing you did or didn’t do: WE ARE ONE, baby. This is us. (Waaah, Bernie come baaaack!)
Hello, Invitation. Let me open you.
Our new U.S. President is one of the most sorrowful, self-hateful souls we’ve ever seen. Can we not see how lost he is? It is GLARING. How completely deep-down-hurt, how shallow and clueless… This is not something to add pain to. This is very sad. And what’s sadder is that many, many Americans relate to that darkness.
So let’s send light.
Last I checked, the sun was pretty damn good at blasting glass ceilings to pieces.
These days a gigantic contrast stares me down, every single day.
On one hand there’s my 3.5-year-old daughter who, almost entirely unexposed to violence and other unpleasant aspects of the world, still simmers with innocence and purity. This summer when she saw a pinata being hit with a bat, she shuddered. (Whacking a creature with a bat!?) She expects utmost respect and kindness. She leads our daily gratitude ritual at dinnertime. She talks about how her heart is full of love. She sings about her two grandmothers, and how much she likes them both. Every week as I head out the door for acupuncture, she runs to me squealing, “Another kiss Mama! Another kiss!”
On the other hand is the pain of the world. Several states east of us in North Dakota there’s a militarized squad of armed men in black standing on the sacred soil of Native American ancestral burial grounds, spraying tear gas at non-violent people trying to protect the water. Signing the paychecks for the squad of violent men are corporations "too big to fail" like Marathon Petroleum, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. And our own government — in this case not “by the people and for the people” — is supporting this violence.
Welcome to the human experience, Mama Jess. In the words of our friend Nina in Sweden, the world is “sad and beautiful.”
Yet as a mother, this is big stuff. What does this mean for my daughter? How do I help her to face all this? It’s bewildering.
And there’s no escaping it, because there’s as much pain inside the human soul as there is in the world that appears to be outside of us. As her mother I must show her how to be with what shows up, not how to avoid it, deny it, pretend it’s not there.
Contrast. What a teacher.
So where did I turn? To women.
Women. The most natural place for me to turn to. Women’s wisdom — from intuition, from instinct, from the heart — is ancient, instantly accessible and generously offered.
I asked some of my dearest girlfriends to write a letter to their inner-6-year-old. Looking back, what would they tell themselves at six years old, knowing what they know now? What do they see? What wants to be said or seen or soothed?
They dove in, and here’s what came through. Some used their real names, some not. Some signed it as themselves, one as Auntie.
What they wrote is already helpful to me, and will continue being helpful for the sometimes-dreaded, inevitable, bubble-busting moments ahead in my mothering path.
A few of them said this exercise was deeply therapeutic, healing, they really enjoyed it. My hope is that other women and mothers living on this beautiful Planet Earth might write their own letters to their inner-6-year-old girl. As we unwind the wounds of our own past, weaving in the wisdom of ourselves in our 30s and 40s and beyond, we create a brighter and more gentle future for all.
Dear Six-Year-Old Shirley Marie,
I look back and see how alone and afraid you were.
You needed a wise, grounded, sober adult to take care of you. You needed someone to NOTICE what was happening, and essentially rescue you. A mentor. A bold and strong auntie. Your sister. You needed someone to sit down, to look into your eyes, to smile a full and sincere smile, to hold you and rub your back and say: “Your experience matters."
You were given no guidance, no example. You needed safety.
With all of my love,
Dearest sweet Pamela:
You are smart, intuitive and kind. This kind of intelligence requires you to stay wildly connected to your body, my sweet, so dance, play, sing… my darling.
Pamela, mother of four
You get one life. Live hard. Fear is a bitch.
You are so loved by your friends and family. Love yourself at your worst and best. Always.
I have grown up knowing there is more. Don't regret what you missed or never had.
Nature never disappoints. Fresh air solves most of the noise in your head.
Your biggest strength will be your ability to find good in all people .
Childhood ends at one point but being spontaneous, fun, active, silly, courageous, proud, and optimistic doesn't ever have to end.
You, Sylvie, are a bad ass.
Me at 40
Listen and trust the voice in your heart to make it through the ups and downs of life. There is a light in there that will help you see the way. There is a light in there that will remind you that you are never alone.
Every ounce of you is meant to be here. Enjoy every ounce of you.
Never stop playing...
Auntie, 33 years old
Dear 6-Year-Old Irene,
I want to tell you that… you are good and loved.
I see that you are confused and insecure and this has caused you to suppress who you are, and I want to share something with you… Even though your life circumstances have put you into “flight" mode and caused you to feel you cannot fully trust the world around you, these circumstances that you have lived through in this life, and all others, are leading you down the path that you will walk this lifetime. If you can release the fear and doubt, you will realize that God is everywhere and is offering you guidance in every moment. You don't have to know everything, you don't have to have things figured out. You just need to build trust and depend on God.
I wish for you to believe in yourself and in life and believe in the amazing possibilities that God has in store...
As I've grown older I've seen how quickly things can change and how fast time goes by. This is something many people will tell you, and that you will not understand until you have reached a certain age. But please don't delay in putting everything you are on the line for what you believe in, for what you know to be true. Jump now, and you will see that you can fly!
Dearest little wild one,
I see you. Always climbing to the top of your lemon tree, then squeezing through the hole which leads to a quiet view from your roof top. I see you in your blue Mickey Mouse tee shirt stained from a pomegranate snatched from the neighbor's tree. Adventurous, excitable you.
Even though your mother loved you so deeply, you always wondered what love was meant for. It was meant for you. You deserve all the love which pours forth to you.
I repeat. You are worthy. This is your journey. I'm here, as the 45 year old woman that struggles to believe... to whisper to your soul: Sweet love, you are worthy.
In admiration of you,
Reflections on Little Jenny, from Jenny in her 30s, Mother of Two Boys
Throughout my childhood people asked me what I “wanted to be when I grew up.” I always felt like there was going to be a point where I “was,” or where I had “arrived" and this distant future of “being" was going to stop be in the future.
I wanted to feel important and to feel valued so I set my sights high. I wanted to go to Stanford. I wanted to run a company that made the world a better place. Then, I would be lovable and I would finally “be.”
So, I did. I accomplished big things. And yet, this feeling of “being" never arrived. There was always something more to accomplish. I always thought, Strive more then you will “be," then you will “arrive.”
I wish I could say I came to my senses early. But, it wasn't until I had children of my own and I looked into their eyes and hearts and I saw that they were complete as they were. They didn't need to become anything, because they already were! And, this great burden of accomplishing fell off my shoulders and I realized that I, also, was complete as I was. I didn't need to become anything.
So, to the children out there. When someone asks you what you want to “be" when you grow up. How about you respond with, “I want to be me." Because THAT is enough. You will do so many things in your life. And, I hope you feel fulfilled and joyful. But, don't confuse “doing" with “being.”
Ode to you, beloved ladies...
I invite anyone else who wants to share wisdom, insight or other words for your inner child, to post them in the Comments section here, or email them to us. It’s an act of self love, a nod of self worth, an expression of self-care. It’s good for you. And what’s good for you is good for the world.
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a mother, coach, lifelong letter writer, and eternal fan of Mr. (Fred) Rogers. This deeply personal blog and our free recorded conversations are devoted to one of her greatest passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.