Sharing our wild hearts with each other and the world

I've been enjoying receiving people's emails and messages as you share your stories with me. As you talk of disconnection, feeling like an outsider, how hard it is to be sensitive in a culture that doesn't seem to value it. The frustration and pain of trying to fit in and that causing more pain. Wanting to come home to yourself and create change in your life. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me, it means more to me than you know.  Here's a response I wrote last night to one such person and I felt called to share it with all of you. 

Thank you for sharing your beautiful deep feelings. They are exactly what we need in the world. People like you and I to have these feelings, to navigate by them, to honor them, to create change because we live our lives differently. And that is our beauty. Our sensitive, feeling, intuitive selves are huge gifts to ourselves and the world..we are just learning how to honor and navigate by them. I see your beauty and know that we are both finding our way in a new world, where our wild hearts are our guides.

I could still be married to a good man, having kids I really didn't want but tried really hard to want, maintaining a beautiful home I was so fortunate to own but didn't really want to spend the time or money maintaing and trying to be okay with three weeks vacation a year. That is not my truth.  Instead I got honest with how I felt and now I have an apartment, a plant sitter and I'm writing, creating my company and feeling all my feelings in Amsterdam, dancing on beaches, dating, and meeting more of my tribe. It's bumpy, it's uncomfortable at times, it's new territory for us as individuals, in our families, at work. I'm learning that all these feelings, when I welcome them and honor them are the most beautiful fuel for creating a passionate, connected life. 

You are so beautiful and deep and rich and sensitive and historically this world is not created for us feelers to thrive. Our adaption, stepping away from our true nature has been painful and as more of us did it our true selves were hidden, our hearts can feel hard to find our tribe, our place in the world. As more of us reclaim our truth and start living it, we find one another. In dance classes, walks in the wild, workshops, farmer's markets, trains in India, the tissue aisle. For you, you feel disconnection at your PTA events, a workplace where people don't fully show up...for me it's other things but we both feel such a forcing, disconnected energy. You want more intimacy, connection and communion in all parts of your life. I hear that. And you aren’t getting it and feel like you are working so hard for it.  I get how exhausting and disappointing it is to try so hard for something that feels like it should be very basic: connection.  Maybe now is a time for inward? And more quiet time to come home to yourself? I don't know. I do know we get to change it. We get to make new choices about how we show up, where we go, with who, how we do it.  We get to stand for more than what we were taught was ours. Life gets to feel delicious, alive, full of pleasure and intimacy with ourselves and others.

I don’t feel this, read this as a pity party as you said. I read it as a gift of you sharing your beautiful feelings with me, of you sharing your yearning and your desires and your truth with me. These are not wrong. They are your truth. More is calling you. You want more and you have to leave some things behind to create space for the new, in whatever realm that is, at whatever time feels best for you. You know your truth and your path better than anyone, trust yourself.

I  have been in such disapproval of me, and I read that in this email too. What if we totally approved of all of who we are and what we want? What would we do, create, say? I love and adore you, every molecule, every feeling, every tender part of you. You are amazing and perfect and you are a woman who is doing it her way and honoring your truth and your feelings and that is what this world needs.  The world needs our voice, our actions to shift the way it operates. Let's stop adapting and shake it up with our wild hearts.

Loving you exactly where you are. 

He leaned over and whispered in his french accent...

In June I was in Montreal watching the Algeria/Germany World Cup game and started chatting about soccer with a local man sitting next to me.  After Germany’s victory he asked what I was doing in Montreal and I told him how I was traveling while writing a book about my journey of healing my broken heart.  He turned to me and with his beautiful french accent said “sometimes when you are hurt you protect yourself and you miss out on love, fun and joy and good things.” 

Yes Claude, how right you are. Yes, you do. 

Yes. Yes I did.

It is deeply ingrained in us: be it PTSD, ancestral, cultural, instinctual to avoid conflict. 

Fight or Flight. I fled.

I fled my body, my soul, my emotions. I hightailed it out of there all the while armoring up (I’m very good at multi-tasking). 

And I spent so much time fleeing and protecting myself from potential heartache I missed out on a lot of fun and joy, of dating, of taking risks, putting myself out there creatively. Sharing my essence and love with the world. And when my heart did get hurt I didn’t do anything about it. Years ago I climbed to Everest Base Camp while sick with Himalayan dysentery.  I kept trekking for days, going, digging deep into my physical strength and yet I couldn’t say to someone, “you hurt my feelings, you hurt my heart.” 

My emotional strength needed a boost, not a vitamin C capsule more like an IV drip of red bull boost.  I needed to learn how to protect myself with healthy boundaries rather than medieval armor so I could open my heart to love again, to show myself to the world as I truly am. To learn I deserved to be treated better and how to make that happen. To stop hiding my emotions and taking care of others before taking care of myself (I have flown enough to know I am supposed to put on my oxygen mask first). I needed to learn to quit settling for crappy treatment, poor pay, chit-chat…anything that was less than lighting me up and turning me on. Anything that was less than honoring my worth, my beauty, my value. 

Claude and I talked about seeking happiness and that was certainly a part of it.  Deeper than that I was seeking love, ultimately self-love so I could stand so delightfully as me and dance, share, love caper my way through the world as I am meant to, opening my heart towards myself and others. Spreading joy and love wherever I go. And the reason we had this juicy interaction?  Because I dropped my armor, I didn't flee. I showed up as who I am.  I talked about reclamation, about broken hearts, love capers, about reclaiming your wild and it led to a lovely conversation.  

 So thank you Claude, thank you universe. More please. 

I just wanna see you be brave...

I was out dance walking in my neighborhood last night. Soaking up the beauty of the flowers and the trees all while wearing a sundress and flip flops past 8pm in Seattle. Which is pretty luscious in itself.  Then DJ Universe cued up Brave by Sara Bareilles and my heart and body opened wide up. I started twirling around, singing out loud and feeling the fire and joy rise up.

"Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave"

I love these moments of inspiration. Moments that take us beyond where we've been before, where we feel more is possible than we thought/felt only seconds before. Where pieces click into place, where I don't care that my voice is rickety and crickety (I'm pretty sure that's a singing term- I'll ask Randy from American Idol).  Where I feel that all I want to be and create in the world is here, is happening and it's really about me being brave enough to go along for the ride. 

Am I brave enough to share what I feel, experience and am awakening to? Am I brave enough to stand in my knowing? My desires?  Am I brave enough to open up my heart? To believe? To surrender?  We'll see. I'm doing my best and on sunny days in Seattle with this music pouring through my system it all seems possible.  

I came home, wrote this blog and then watched the video which is, seriously, about dancing in public!!! I love it. Thank you DJ Universe, keep the music and love coming.

Where do you want to be brave? I'd love to hear about it.

"Brave" by Sara Bareilles and Jack Antonoff

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave



Why I dance

"Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, contagious, it breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone and everyone, and it's free.  Dancing insists we take up space, we go there together in community.  Dance joins us and pushes us to go further and that is why it's at the center of ONE BILLION RISING.

-       Eve Ensler

When I was a teenager, I’d spend hours in my bedroom walking on the treadmill zoning out on the North and South miniseries with a dreamy Patrick Swayze, or getting lost in the drama and romance of Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, and Days of Our Live -how I loved Bo and Hope - in a failing attempt to heal my heart and control the size of my body.  Trying to lose the weight accumulating from the secret eating that happened in the closet to right of the treadmill.  The place I would go when I felt sad, lost, alone, hurt, confused, disappointed, judged, wounded. My solace. My refuge: a closet and usually a gallon of ice cream with some chocolate chips tossed in and the all-important spoon. 

This cycle would continue for years, the location of the treadmill and secret eating changed along with the tv programs but the shoving down of my emotions with food, then punishing my body and my spirit would keep on going.  Thankfully, Oprah lifted the veil on emotional/compulsive eating and I started therapy at 19.  Over the years my secret, compulsive eating would lessen and I’d spend more time hiking and skiing. But it wasn’t until I reconnected with dance in my late 30s that I truly reconnected with my body and all it held for me: wisdom, power, release, refuge, solace, kindness, sensuality and grace.

I dance to come home and feel whole.

I dance because there is a sacredness, a joy, and a power that is awakened.  Aspects of myself I was cut off from, that lay dormant, started coming to life and I connected with my sensuality, passion, the sacredness of my body, softness, expression, vitality, and communion.

I dance as it shifts my life long pattern of living from the neck up, over thinking, over analyzing and playing it safe. I dance because in my body I found the wisdom I’d been missing.  A wisdom and a voice I sensed existed but I couldn’t tap into…that wasn’t in my brain. I dance to claim my space, be radiant and find that sweet spot of communion with the divine.

I dance because I find my wild. 

I dance because our bodies were meant to have shape, speeds, curves, angles and altitudes and because we are meant to be wild.  I dance because it is my form of expression- to share all within me- the secrets, the emotions, the stories, the desires- they emerge in my dance.  I feel my truth bubble up, I move through my grief, my sadness, my rage.  I share my exuberance, my joy, my delight. I dance to find peace, reclaim my wild and feel at home in my sacred body.

I dance to feel sexy, raw, tender, sweet, open, and blissful.

I dance underneath the stars to hear the universe sharing its magic and secrets with me and to honor mother earth and all she gives me.  I dance at the ocean to feel the wind in my hair, on my skin and the sand underneath my feet, the water taking away what is ready to be let go. I dance at the cliffs to hear the pounding of the ocean meeting land and watch the sun rise or set.  I dance on mountaintops to see the vistas and touch the clouds.

I dance because it connects me to my joy, my power, my soul.

I dance with my sisters to feel connection.  I dance to move through all the crap that piles up in my body and mind- to create a clear channel so I can sway with greater ease through the world.  I dance because it is what my ancestors did, because it is our nature- to gather round the circle and drum and play and move our feet, our hips.  I dance to open my heart and be true.

I dance because it makes me happy.

I dance because it reminds me of being a little girl. Before I cared so much about what others thought.  Before I changed to make others more comfortable.

I dance because it is my civil disobedience, my act of rebellion and my reclamation of my true essence.

I am here. You can’t keep me on a treadmill, locked away deadening my heart and my soul towards myself. You can’t keep me from my true wild nature. You can’t keep me hating myself and focused on being thin and in control when there is so much living to do.  You can’t keep me doing leg lifts and comparing my body to the cover models.  You can’t keep my curves at bay, my womanhood.  You can’t keep my voice, my rage, my passion, my joy locked away. I am here. I am here to dance at the ocean, in the mountains, on the streets, in my car, around the fire, in the kitchen, at the grocery store.  

I am here to rise, to live, to laugh, to sob, to scream, to writhe, to shake, to shout, to twirl, to skip, to swing, to leap, to remember, to connect, to commune, to laugh, to touch, to sway. I am here.

Dancing in Portland, Maine 

Dancing in Portland, Maine 

Savoring and Gratitude

To me, beauty is all about savoring the moment; a bite of food, a sip of wine, my 7 year-old goddaughters soccer game where the girls are all chasing the ball and the goalie is inside the goal box so everytime she gets the ball, the other team scores...Beautiful! It's about slowing down to see the beauty in our world and being present to what's happening around us and within us. Farmer's Markets, fall leaves, grey hairs, a good cry, LOST's season finale, Volunteer Park Cafe's Chocolate Chip Toffee cookie.  It's about changing what we believe or what we've been told is ugly or not good enough;  curvy thighs, aging, difference of opinions, brown velour jumpsuits.

And it's about having gratitude for the people who create beauty in our world- parents, architects, artists, farmers, builders, cooks, retail store owners, writers, mother nature...the list is endless. Each day I'll honor someone who I'm grateful for bringing beauty into our world and I'll be sending them a card to say 'thanks' as well. Who would you send a card to today? Or call. Go ahead. Spread beauty in our'll start noticing a difference in how you live your life, how you look at things. Possibilities bubble up, life expands and with that comes more joy, happiness and laughter. It's a pretty fantastic lense to use to walk through the world.