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Author: laviniachristine

Collective Sadness

Collective Sadness

 

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
Mahatma Gandhi

 

The past week has been energetically erratic with currents of unrest rolling through my veins. Most due to current happenings in the world, leaving an aftertaste of helplessness over outcome. I would be remiss not to consider some of this uncomfortable energy may be due to the universal changes going on. If you are one that follows the stars, you are aware of how unique and critical the alignments are right now. Interesting times to be sure.

 

Utilizing all the many anxiety diffusing techniques I have acquired, the water in my veins still moves with tides of emotion, eroding away ever modicum of calm one can muster. When all remedies fail, I am left sitting with my anxiety, facing down one another like two jousters before a match. This proverbial stare down is never appetizing, and I remind myself a part of living this flawed human experience is facing shadows and coming to some sort of peaceful accord.

 

I appreciate my ability to sense energy. It has helped me navigate my professional world which can be a minefield of erratic energy at any given time. The problem becomes how to turn this off when people are walking in a state of arrested sadness, putting on a mask showing how OKAY they are. The truth being far less presentable. I see you!

 

“Tears are words that need to be written.”
Paulo Coelho

 

As in many times in the past, in order to allow my tired sensory system to rest, I find solace in other people’s words. Poetry is an escape for me, a window into someone else’s soul. Reading poetry allows space to let go of my story and embrace another. What better way to shake off the doldrums of current events then to be inspired by past spiritual leaders and mystics who in their own suffering left beautiful words as if clouds to take flight on.

 

My recommendation? Turn off the news, stop reading the endless politics on Facebook and dive into the calm waters of another. While floating in this deep blue, release all that lingers and is not meant for you. After spending some time floating, you will be able to breathe freely without the restraint of prickly emotional sensors. 

 

Finding this state of calm is often followed by a flood of tears. A collective sadness running down my cheeks and staining my pillow. I pay no mind to this flood, it is a welcome old friend. These tears of sadness cleanse my spirit. Do not be afraid of this discomfort. Instead, lean into the shadows and learn from what you see. Is there a better way to navigate the challenges in your life? If so, now is the time to jump.

 

 

 

Excavation of the Heart

Excavation of the Heart

 

 

The difficult work of walking back to my authentic self has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Much of my life up until now has been focused on building, while trying to find my place in this world. During my morning walk, it occurred to me that life is not really a building process but rather, an excavation. We spend so much of our time living a lie, hiding who we are and afraid to show all of our presumed flaws. At some point, this deception reaches a boiling point and the truth begins to bubble up to the surface. I suspect this often happens midlife when the flames of disappointment increase our internal emotional temperature.

 

It is only at this point, when a pot is ready to boil over after suffering through the heated elements of one’s life, when the work begins. Excavation of the heart is a tumultuous process filled with copious amounts of reflection and examination. This excavation reminds of a large construction vehicle that swoops in and scoops out all of the festering emotional baggage from decades of repression, thereby setting it free. Once the log jam has been cleared, this energetic conduit is now open, and the flow of energy cannot be stopped.

 

This is where I found myself this morning. My excavation of the heart has been in progress for some time and emotions secured in the depths of my psyche are no longer tethered. They tumble out of me like a river with no way to stop the flow. All evidenced by a tearful moment at the dentist earlier this week. I could not stop the tears from flowing due to bleeding gums from an autoimmune flare. I apologized profusely to my dentist who has walked with me through the landmine of illness. Thankfully she was gentle and gave me a hug, just what I needed.

 

Now, up the hillside across from our campsite, I felt a rising from within. I prayed out to my guardians, specifically my grandmothers for support, guidance and love. The tears poured out, not like a river but an ocean as loud and powerful as the shores below the hillside. Standing on the overlook it surprised me how much I still have to excavate and what no longer needs to be hiding beneath layer after layer of shame

 

At the forefront of this feeling came the realization of how liberating writing words and setting them free can be. Not only free from self-imposed tethers, but free from the judgment of others who will read these words and cast blame and display profound disappointment.

 

Many know my story by reading this blog and seeing through the veiled metaphors chosen to describe painful life experiences. There is no metaphor for what I share today. Preyed upon by a predator who had a long history of relationships with very young woman/teens, my marriage was filled with little love and copious amounts of criticism, blame, manipulation and sexual abuse. My two beautiful children were my reason to get up in the morning and looking back, it is heartening how we all survived such a traumatic experience 

 

What has rested heavily on my shoulders, contrary to what the politics of the day sells in the media, is an experience from over 15 years ago that I share with you now. Trying desperately to hold on to a broken and unhealthy relationship while looking for a way out, I found myself pregnant once again. My love of children is so deeply felt, this position felt very emotionally precarious. Excavating further, my health was delicate during this time. My husband had been unfaithful for almost a decade and this, along with his constant manipulation, had me tied up in knots. The one thing I knew to be true was an indisputable fact. I could not bring another child into this unhealthy situation. 

 

So, I walked past the picket lines and found myself in the doctor’s office waiting for the termination of my pregnancy. My ex-husband drove me there, but did not come in. I still remember the sights, smells and sounds of that day. It is a PTSD of the worst sort. During the procedure, I cried and felt as if my insides were being scraped raw. The wound was felt so deeply, my heart was broken into pieces, shattered just like my hopes for something better. The worst of this was returning to work feeling completely undone and not able to share with anyone what I had been through. The isolation turned my world gray for so many years. Each year I counted back to figure out how old the child would have been and silently sent a prayer to the heavens, thankful they were spared my misery on Earth.

 

In my heart, I was at peace with my decision. Certain I would not have been capable of parenting a new child in such a dysfunctional family unit, my gratitude for the option of this procedure was heartfelt. Unfortunately, this secret has weighed heavily on me for far too long. Knowing the abuse I was subject to in my marriage, it is truly a miracle to find myself loved, safe and relatively unscathed. 

 

Many of you will move to the space of judgement in reading this and it is up to me to free myself from your unsolicited opinions. My excavation has unearthed a strength unknown to me in the past. Being sensitive and an empath, I walk this world feeling all the pain around me and am no longer willing to apologize for my own emotions. We each have our own work to do and it is not my responsibility to walk others to the river of acceptance and love. They must take their own journey and excavate their own dirt of denial and falsehoods. 

 

After having prayed to my guardians this morning, they did not disappoint.  At the end of the path, I looked up and saw a large seagull hanging on the air just above my head. In the sky next to this beautiful creature was the morning moon slipping toward the west as the sunlight streamed over the hillside from the east. In a gesture of togetherness, the bird seemingly floated in the air right above, holding my gaze. Then in one graceful and powerful movement, the bird flew in a large circle around me. At this moment, I knew grandma was with me. She had embraced me in a circle of love, acceptance and grace. Taking in a deep breath, my soul absorbed this private display of unconditional love. 

 

I leave you with this. If you have been holding on to something for the better part of your life and believe those around you are better off not knowing at the expense of your spiritual, physical and mental health, set if free. It will make some very uncomfortable, but this is not for you to worry about. Excavation is a one-person job and no one else can do the work for you or them. Untethering myself from these remaining bits of emotional turmoil allows me to be a better mother, daughter, sister and partner. To this end, finding another soul who has also done much personal excavation work is a wonder. My loving finance tends to me with patience and a full acceptance of all I am and all I hope to be. We have collided in the eye of our emotional hurricanes and have chosen to cling to one another in the tranquility of this center while the storm rages on.

 

We are survivors and I am so very proud of the world we are co-creating. During this season of renewal with the winter solstice upon us, set free all that tethers you to a version of yourself you no longer recognize. Set free and walk unencumbered into your authentic self, embracing the entire journey from beginning to end. Sending you all my love and light.

 

 

Order Stardust and Mystic Cookie

Order Stardust and Mystic Cookie

STARDUST

 

It is with sincere gratitude that I present Stardust, the result of much contemplation, inspiration and creative exploration.

This book represents the continued discovery of mysticism, specifically the uncomfortable intersection of both science and spirituality. With poetry and photography as a medium, I delve into the depths of the psyche, always searching for profound truths.

Each poem draws closer to an authentic and peaceful point of solitude in which I aim for the reader to reside, even if only for a short while.

Stardust is now available for pre-order at a 30% discount off retail price with delivery expected before the holiday. This Deluxe (signed) Edition is now available for only $24.95!

 

 

MYSTIC COOKIE

If just beginning your journey, please consider my first offering, Mystic Cookie available exclusively on Amazon HERE.

 

“A lifelong lover of the written word, poetry has given voice to my rather introspective inner world. Written exploration of this inner world has allowed for a freedom of ideas not possible when in conversation. It is my hope that by putting pen to paper, someone flirting with their shadow will embrace this journey with a knowing that all will be well. It is only by embracing the darkest corners of self that one fully blooms…

-Lavinia

 

I Choose You!

I Choose You!

 

 

The past month has been quite the roller coaster requiring me to pull from deep wells of patience and resilience. Becoming camp hosts on the beach, adjusting to a new drive to work, living in the RV again, horrible fires, the strongest Santa Ana’s I have ever felt and minor damage to our home on wheels from this weather. Dylan and I are happy but exhausted.

 

Fatigue aside, Dylan had gifted me tickets to the Sara Bareilles concert for my birthday. Come hell or high water and Dylan’s persistent fever from a shingles vaccination, we were going to make it to the concert. A night out seemed like a good idea to step away from all that had been weighing on us.

 

Well… we are both still on a high from an evening that left me crying on and off for the past few days. Tears of happiness and tears of recognition for all the wonderful synchronicity in life. I cannot say why, but I am moved to write a letter to Sara thanking her for sharing her gift with a world moving far too quickly to stop and appreciate our connectivity. Sara has earned a place in my village that consists of a number of other strong, honest and loving women who have gently encouraged and escorted me through this evolution. Here is my letter to you Sara and a video of another ethereal moment at the concert.

(My favorite part is Dylan at the end!)

 

Dear Sara,

 

As the woman who got engaged at your Hollywood Bowl show, I offer my deepest apology for the ruckus the proposal caused. Dylan and I never expected our moment to become interactive but were pleasantly surprised by all the support and well wishes, especially from you! As card carrying members of AARP, we must seem like an unlikely couple to be finding such a meaningful love at this stage in our life. Well, find it we did and in the most glorious of ways!

 

Some back story might help explain why Dylan choose your concert for his proposal. Your music has been woven into the tapestry of my life in ways that are difficult to articulate. When going through a horrible divorce, your album Kaleidoscope Heart was my saving grace. Listening to the songs over and over walked me through crippling sadness and into the loving light of authentic self after suffering years of emotional abuse. Your music empowered me to believe I could return to school, earn a Master’s degree and become financially independent. Thereby creating a way to extricate myself from a painful and toxic relationship.

 

Finally on my feet once again, it was not long before the next shoe dropped and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This was a very dark time shaded with lingering emotions from a wounded heart. Every time I had an MRI of my brain and spine, the technician would ask what music I wanted to listen to in order to drown out the magnets of the machine and the anxiety of what they might find. The answer was always Sara Bareilles.  Having moved through divorced, debt and now disease, your music once again sustained me.

 

Five years after my divorce my daughter, seeing me paralyzed by my relationship fears, encouraged me to sign up for online dating. In fact, she signed me up and was swiping potential candidates before I could even protest. After many first and last dates and resigned to spending my remaining years alone, doing puzzles and reading my beloved books, I meet Dylan Mattina.

 

He too had his own personal story of grief and one that echoed mine. Infidelity is a bitter pill to swallow and can leave one in pieces, unable to trust again. Dylan helped gather all the broken pieces of my heart and lovingly began to put them back together.  As if conjured by magic and the age old dance between the sun and moon, we slowly began to open up to one another, sharing our pain and setting it free.

 

 Dylan is the most gentle-hearted and loving person I have ever known and he understands and accepts my need to be introspective and quite at times. My constant undercurrents of melancholy do not seem to bother him rather, they intrigue him.  It was only after meeting Dylan in the most serendipitous of ways,  that I returned to my lifelong passion of writing poetry. During my divorce I had blogged, creating a space to muse as if my own personal diary. Doubting anyone would read my posts and not really caring, I decided what mattered most was putting words to the many emotions bubbling inside.

 

A tea kettle about to blow, I could no longer hold in my feelings and now believe that by doing so all those years, I created a catalyst for sickness. Writing allowed release from the self-inflicted chains of self doubt. A desire to fly freely once more was growing, just as I had as a young girl . This unfolding was a pathway to meeting my soul for the first time and this pathway was illuminated with your songs.

 

Dylan understands what your music and writing means to me and picked this most precious moment to express his eternal love for me. To find love at this stage in our lives is truly a gift and one that we do not take lightly. Looking back, we both were wandering this crazy world, alone and in pain, waiting for our paths to collide in the most spectacular of ways. We never really understood the enormity of this combustion and how special it would be until now.

 

Please accept this book as a token of my appreciation for your artistry and vulnerability each time you share yourself with the world. Somehow, I think you will understand the words more than most. You are an angel sent from above and I am incredibly thankful for you.

 

All my best,

Lavinia

I do not know if she will ever read this, but as a believer in putting things out into the universe, I hope she can feel the love and appreciation I have for her as an artist. Thank you Sara, many times over, for being apart of our special moment even if inadvertently. Dylan and I are feeling the love!

 

Risk and the Between

Risk and the Between

 

 

“Risk, the willingness to accept an unknown future with open hands and happy heart, is the key to adventures of the soul. Risk stretches us to discover the rest of ourselves – our creativity, our self-sufficiency, our courage. Without risk we live in a small world of small dreams and lost possibilities.”

― Joan D. Chittister

 

 

Here I find myself, once again on the precipice of great change. Unable to rectify the impending changes with my incessant need for security and the familiar. My frustration with this discomfort is only over shadowed by the many logistical steps required to pick up and move a home base. I am swimming in logistics at the moment and this alone can be unsettling to a person who adores calm and a welcoming home to soothe the ragged edges of my soul.

 

Why then do I put myself through all of this upheaval? I can only guess my desire for growth and new possibilities outweighs the rest. Standing still in life is simply not living. Being acutely aware of time as a finite commodity, now or never rings true. I find myself in the between of what is comfortable and what is necessary. What a terrible business this living can be at times.

 

One of my soul sisters, Joan Chittister, writes as if just for me with, ““Risk, the willingness to accept an unknown future with open hands and happy heart, is the key to adventures of the soul.” Sometimes I want nothing more than to watch others taking risks and enjoy the show. Life seems so much safer as a spectator.

 

I always liked watching sports from the very top seats, far away from the front row. In the front one can hear the grunts, see the sweat and almost feel a part of the dirt and grime of the playing field. I preferred the movie experience as I sat perched on high, looking down at the spectacle but never a part of it. Who would know that Divine intervention would force my hand and beckon me to participate in a grander way.

 

This time, Dylan and I are moving back into our mostly beloved RV and taking a position as Camp Hosts at a beach campground. We are willingly forgoing the comfort of our tiny apartment, the friends we have made and unlimited speedy internet for an opportunity to live closer to nature’s playing field once more.

 

This past year has been vital for both of us. We needed to catch our breath in a safe space, ease our anxious minds and just be. Now, we move on into the next adventure, fully understanding that things will go wrong. The move will be rocky and we will both feel the pain of distance from both new friends and close family as the drive to the beach will be a hindrance to many in Los Angeles traffic.

 

The field is calling and we must go. Whether we win or lose is not of importance. It is in the playing where character is forged and spirit is tested. In fact, I do not believe there is any winning or losing, only living with the least amount of walls erected for self-preservation.  Embracing the ugliness of it all as well as the beauty. It is only in this “between”, in which anything really makes sense. Joan Chittister says,

 

“Bloom where you are planted,’ the poster reads. But the poster does not tell the whole story. ‘ plant yourself where you know you can bloom’ may well be the poster we all need to see. Or better yet, “Work the arid soil however long it takes until something that fulfills the rest of you finally makes the desert in you bloom.”

― Joan D. Chittister

 

 

Dylan and I are planting ourselves in the dirt of self-growth, the soil of togetherness. We know for certain where we would like to land and this brings us one step closer. We are playing on the field with no promise our desired outcome will be achieved. We chose this risk and chose it willingly…together.

 

Universal Nudge

Universal Nudge

 

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

― Anton Chekhov

 

Have you ever heard a quiet yet persistent voice in the back of your mind, whispering truths while sending shivers of acknowledgment down your spine? That voice has become a loud roar for me this past year, making it difficult to ignore. Believe me when I say, I am a master at procrastination and letting things simmer. Impossible now, given all the warning signs coming my way, a virtual “hurry up and figure it out” storm

I am a firm believer in universal nudges, gently reminding us of our calling or purpose. As spiritual beings, we persist in a perpetual state of denial until receiving an obvious and uncomfortable wakeup call. These attention grabbing moments often come in the form of job changes, melancholy, unexpected conflict and a host of other emotions that can bring one to their knees.

Like so many others, I too avoid the most obvious of signs. The spirit world definitely has my back and tries valiantly to warn me when I have veered off track. Sadly, when the crisis involves me, I often rationalize the experience and keep right on going in the opposite direction. Funny how I end up in the same situation over and over again without ever considering that the cause is my complete avoidance what I know to be true.

 

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

 

At present, it is clear that I am being pointed toward my poetry and a closer connection to nature. The feeling I have in a professional capacity is one of being constricted. Everything seems ill suited to my temperament and I long for more moments of quiet contemplation in my beloved natural world. This is a tough pill to swallow. I genuinely enjoy mentoring students and have for many years. Whether it be as a dance instructor or a librarian, teaching is in inherent to who I am. In fact, I have been teaching since I was 15 years old and made quite a good living lifting up the next generation of artists.

As a matter of habit, I don’t enjoy looking back. My performing arts career is always a part of me, but not something I need to revisit. No, this longing is for the new, the next step in my ever growing spiritual awareness. Writing poetry is just a translation of this longing onto paper.

Working on my second book, the practice of writing has become ingrained and one that is for the most part delightful. I see the dichotomy of my two world quite clearly, but am still searching for the way forward that allows for both areas of my professional life to find meaning.

 

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

― Kurt Vonnegut

 

 

So much of learning occurs within the questions and I have to be okay with not knowing all the answers. It is so very uncomfortable in this between and I suspect it is supposed to be. Without any true discomfort, would anyone make changes and step outside of their comfort zones?

To the universal energy that has been eternally patient with me, I thank you. Please continue to send me signs even if I reject them. One day, and hopefully not too far off in the distance, I will welcome your nudge with an open heart and move in the direction of purpose and love without hesitation. In the meantime, I will continue to sit in discomfort trusting in the mystery of it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Reading

Poetry Reading

 

 

Here we are once again, rounding the corner from hot summer nights into cool crisp fall days. No matter how much time I have in the summer to write, play and bake, September always catches me by surprise. The rhythm of my day changes and my focus intensifies as I prepare for the beginning of another academic year. 

 

Along with this increased awareness, I often experience a specific melancholy. Much of it can be attributed to the rigors of work life. No longer able to flex my schedule, I begin to feel the walls closing in on me. If you have read any of my poems, you know that I absolutely despise being boxed in. My happy place is an open space, preferably a meadow with big sky and distant mountains.

 

To keep my mind off these changes, I am beginning to layout my second book of poems titled Stardust. It has been a labor of love and one that I am very proud of. As a newly published author, I have experienced every version of imposter syndrome and began to wonder if my first book was a fluke.

My first book available on Amazon HERE

 

Thankfully, inspiration came tumbling out of the sky like a freight train. Feast or famine is the way I write and for a few months it was a poetry feast! Now, I am left with a slew of poems wondering how in the world I can present them in a unique way.

 

Around this same time, I received an email from a colleague inviting me to read some of my poems at an event in Pasadena. The Residency Project is an opportunity for artists to collectively share and inspire one another in a beautiful environment. The universe really knows exactly what I need, an opportunity to share my deepest thoughts with a group of fellow artists. What a wonderful way to welcome in the fall.

 

The event details can be found HERE and is called Connections and Callings: A Celebration of Nature, Spirituality and the Arts. I am beyond excited for this experience and am looking forward to interacting, listening and learning from other like-minded artists. 

 

In the meantime, I will continue to do my very best at pulling together another selection of poetry that speaks to other nature writers, mystics, and spiritually curious folks. Send me your good thoughts and positive energy. 

 

 

Lie in the Grass

Lie in the Grass

 

I am feeling the beginning of the dog days of summer with heat bearing down on sun drenched skin. It is in August that one feels the inevitable return of darkness on the doorstep, a change of seasons in the air. It is also with this knowing that I wrote this poem.

My intention was to try and capture the very best of summer as a temporary experience. Seasons are a great reminder of our mortality. Even the very best weather will fade.  Flowers bloom and lose their petals, blades of grass turn brown under the heat welcoming the layers of leaves and snow pack to come. No matter the occasion, all things will change…even us.

 

Lie in the Grass

 

Let’s lie in the grass until the sun leaves today

Staying as long as the world let’s us play

Asleep to the pressures rumbling below

Awake to the brightness of flowers aglow

 

Stretched out among the blades of grass

Letting our worries melt and bypass

This glorious field filled with love and light

Devouring every bit of precious daylight

Let Stillness Speak

Let Stillness Speak

 

Quiet the mind, let angry voices of unrest 

settle, by sitting in silence until 

all that can be heard is the 

steady beat of a broken heart

 

Steep in this stillness, allowing a sacred

balm of reflection to permeate every

cell, giving breath to all that

remains unanswered, all that festers

 

Listen to this stillness speak 

of ancient heart songs singing

 stories of adventures not yet

taken and mysteries left to be discovered

 

What is Intelligence?

What is Intelligence?

 

Of late, I have been completely consumed with the idea of intelligence leading me down the murky path of curious discovery. Always an above average student, one would believe I had a handle on this concept. On the contrary, bouts of low self-esteem and social anxiety left me afraid to take risks, challenge others in debate or share personal philosophies. It has only been through writing that I have discovered hidden strength and allowed parts of myself to be seen. To this point one of my favorite authors, Parker Palmer, states,

 

As teenagers and young adults, we learned that self-knowledge counts for little on the road to workplace success. What counts is the “objective” knowledge that empowers us to manipulate the world. Ethics, taught in this context, becomes one more arm’s-length study of great thinkers and their thoughts, one more exercise in data collection that fails to inform our hearts.

 

What speaks to me is Palmers use of the word manipulate. We often choose to show up each day as society expects us to and with the information required for each interaction. In my field we call this data driven decision making. In doing so we hide our authentic self and shield our hearts while navigating a professional life. We gladly put on errs and dish out facts and figures to support positions, forgetting the points we argue remain eternally elusive. Intelligence of the heart gently reminds, it is better to be kind than to be right. Parker speaks further with,

 

Not knowing who or what we are dealing with and feeling unsafe, we hunker down in a psychological foxhole and withhold the investment of our energy, commitment, and gifts… The perceived incongruity of inner and outer-the inauthenticity that we sense in others, or they in us-constantly undermines our morale, our relationships, and our capacity for good work.

 

I have felt this inauthenticity in both myself and those in my workplace. If I am not showing up as myself, trying my hardest to be as others wish me to be, am I not doing a disservice to everyone? If I had to define true knowledge, I would have to say universal intelligence fits the bill. It is a knowing that no matter how much we think we know, it is never as vast as the great unknown. The divine light in each of us, no matter how we name it, holds this universal knowledge and tries desperately to show us the smallest of sparks during our lifetime.

 

What we name it matters little to me, since the origins, nature, and destiny of call-it-what-you-will are forever hidden from us, and no one can credibly claim to know its true name. But that we name it matters a great deal. For “it” is the objective, ontological reality of selfhood that keeps us from reducing ourselves, or each other, to biological mechanisms, psychological projections, sociological constructs, or raw material to be manufactured into whatever society needs — diminishments of our humanity that constantly threaten the quality of our lives.

 

My writing is a playground for self-examination, self-reflection and philosophical interplay. I debate with myself as I write and the outcome is never predestined. I flirt with new ideas and old tales of wisdom, never really settling into one frame but rather enjoying the entire picture, even the odd brushstrokes and frayed edges. The universe is such a creative space and the joy I feel when floating in this galactic sea of creativity is unmatched by any measure of intelligence we know of.

 

I have no name for this other but know it is with me and is relentless in providing learning opportunities for my soul. Sometimes I fail miserably while other times I shine brightly, soaking in the love of a perceived success. It is only with this duality that we learn, grow and come home to ourselves. The journey can be frustrating, but maybe this is the only way to truly earn our intelligence wings.