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Author: laviniachristine

The Armor We Wear

The Armor We Wear

 

 

 

That Which I Cannot Name

There you are, 

Behind the eternal veil

Waiting for an invitation 

To my dinner table

 

Patiently you wait

Watching the mistakes

We have made,

I have made

 

The winds of change

Dance with this fabric

Calling out to me

Asking for my attention

 

Distraction makes me blind

All the many obligations

Pulling me away

From the beauty of this veil

 

A faint softness is

Viewed from afar

Teasing my senses with,

What can be, what should be

 

I cannot name you

But do not need to

You are the eternal gateway

To the between, to everything

 

When I get lost in myself

Forget my direction, lose my way

You whisper in the wind

“I am with you”

 

The veil dances into my heart

Filling a longing for this softness

Lighting up the gateway

Into the next

-Lavinia

 

 

 

Yesterday, heart brimming with a slurry of emotions from the collective grief of our times, I walked on the beach and attempted to calm my weary heart. In this moment we must all stop the rhetoric and admit we all know far less than we think we do. The answers we seek are not readily apparent and the need is great.

 

One image I received while walking was of layers of armor shedding as if a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. We all have armor whether we admit to it or not. These layers have been added to the suit of protection we wear, sewn over many years, hiding our vulnerabilities.

 

This armor is complex. Sewn into its coils are race, culture, appearance, orientation, religion, profession, wealth and many other labels. We walk around every day with a tribal mentality thinking it protects us from ourselves. Our wounds and insecurities are often the driving force behind these hardline opinions and core values.  

 

As a student of the human condition, it fascinates me how we cling to this armor, no matter the contradictions, in a colossal effort to avoid facing our wounds. We have talking points and biases that permeate everything we do and say. Over time, it becomes more difficult to hear the quiet voice of spirit over a chorus of societal expectations and unbridled tribalism. If one ventures too far from their base, a disapproving slap on the wrist is given rather than shared dialogue in respectful tones.

 

Yesterday while walking, I found myself completely rejecting this norm. No longer wishing to wear false armor, I rejected the notion we all need protection from our most sensitive self. I am no longer willing to hide behind the “group” whether it be family, community or nation. I am no longer willing to blindly accept the terms of this social contract.

 

Great courage is required when standing up against the group and saying “NO”.  Many of you may have already felt this same call and experienced difficult conversations with your tribe. Let me lend you strength in saying it is OKAY to choose a different way. By choosing to approach life outside of the group, you are not being rebellious. You are living on your own terms, without the constant need for validation from the whole.

 

Shedding false armor can be liberating, as if a heavy weight has been lifted from our shoulders, allowing us to soar as is meant to be. Failure is quite possible, never fear failure. Failure teaches us more about living than success. It is in the moments of despair, after falling short time and time again that resilience is forged. Like iron to the fire, we use the unrelenting heat of discomfort to forge beauty from a blank slate. It takes many years of practice to be skilled at reinvention of self. It also takes courage in facing the heat of the flames, burning our skin as we return once again to build something out of nothing.

 

On the eve of what is to be a powerful summer solstice, with a new moon solar eclipse occurring on the Global Axis point of the universe, commit to bravely facing this fire each day. This is an awakening and we are all feeling the call and need for change. The new is waiting, patiently. A new way of being, a new way of viewing the world. 

 

Reinvention does not have to be scary; it can be fun! Imagine a blank page in which you are free to write your story in your own words, not the words of others. Simply begin with the first sentence and the rest of your story will unfold as it should. The universe is demanding us all to begin. Pick up a pen and change your story. Write about a world that is more equitable, loving and compassionate. A world where we care for the least of us without worrying about the bottom line. A world in which poverty and discrimination do not exist. 

 

If you find yourself saying this sounds utopian and therefore impossible, sit in silence for a moment with this thought. Is this statement your armor speaking?  Your fear? Breathe in and out and allow the feeling of discomfort and heat to wash over you. Become friends with this feeling and welcome it into your life. The time is now. Let us all welcome our most sensitive self to the table, lovingly wrapping our arms around our agitation and uncertainty. Feeling our heartbeat along with every other living thing. Breathe in, breathe out. Smile.

 

 

Permission to Just Be

Permission to Just Be

 

Listen.

Remain still and you will hear

The new. Rustling the curtains and

Throwing open the windows while shouting,

Now is the time!

 

Listen.

As the winds of change rush forth

Into the wild, unafraid

Challenging all that you know

Teasing the mystery

 

Listen.

Stand in the center of the storm

Fell the calming stillness

Truth being the quietest voice in this void

Always there, but calling little attention

 

Listen.

You know this sound well

Unlock the chains and

Throw out the endless lists of excuses

Now is the time!

 

Listen.

Follow this whisper

Walk through the window and

Allow

Let yourself be free

-Lavinia

 

 

Living at a campground during a pandemic is an opportunity to watch the natural world up close and without distraction. While we have no campers due to the closure, we continue to see the resurgence of nature in all of its glory. In the past few months, we have been privy to the birth and death of a variety of animals and plant forms. This heightened connection to the sacredness of this ground has heated powerful emotions within.

 

It is difficult to put into words the beauty of this place. For many thousands of years, humans have walked this beach and for many thousands of years humans have neglected it in the very worst of ways. How easy it has become to ignore what is right in front of us, while distracted by the desire for money and things. All having little to do with this organic togetherness.

 

During my morning bike ride, I was struck by a connection to something beyond. Looking up at the mountain side, across from the beach, I was certain I felt the presence of an ancient woman. This vision of a native Chumash woman standing boldly on the edge of the cliff, looking at the very same landscape as myself, brought tears to my eyes. 

 

On this day, feeling a strong tether to the past, I wept for this ancient and wise woman and felt her own tears falling down the mountainside. She and I are the same. We are from different times with very different pressures, but the transformation of middle age is familiar ground. Her powerful energy was emanating so intently, I had to step off my bike and gaze at the mountain. Hair flowing, back straight, eyes casting out into the eternal distance. She is me and I am her. I felt her deeply and mourned the loss of an ancient feminine circle of faith, trust and love.

 

As women age, we have historically been marginalized. While it may be nice not to be seen entirely as a sexual being, it is a strange transformation to feel invisible from the rest of society. Women are the caretakers, nurturers, mothers, daughters and lovers. Right when we begin to step freely into our feminine power, trusting the wisdom of the ages, the rug is pulled from underneath. A strong woman becomes gruff, or “bitchy” while a strong man remains a leader. Why our society has chosen to abide by these perceived roles I will never understand. It is this pain that I shared with the ancient woman, an understanding of how difficult it is to redefine ourselves and find our place in this ever-changing landscape.

 

Couple this with my recent medical crisis, the societal walls of productivity began to close in, leaving me choking with expectation. If not a working professional, then what? I am so much more than what I do, this is true. My true love is writing and will always be, but with a job title, health insurance and retirement, I am tethered to the rest of society by these expectations. 

 

This morning, feeling the breath and tears of the wise woman, a certain permission was granted to just be. Be sick, be aging, let my hair turn gray, be wild, be free, be everything I have been conditioned not to be. She and I sing the same song from these hills. We sing to our destiny, our purpose and our fast approaching departure from this place. With a desperation not found in early life, middle age women feel the beat of this song resonating in every act of self-love, acceptance and grace. We sing to the power of the ocean taking some of its strength for ourselves. If the waves can persist billions of years under unfathomable stress, we too can step into our power, embracing this eternal energy with the wisdom only found by living a beautiful and flawed existence. 

 

This knowing peppers the landscape with the brightness of the universe, a simple yet breathtaking vow. Finishing my ride, I begin to feel my grandmothers and see their joyful smiles through the morning fog. They are here with me and gently reminding me all will be well. Their strength lifts my spirit and a calmness washed over me as if the tide against these shores. My truth is my own, yet I am never alone. Women from the ages walk with me, guide me and lend loving support. Now each morning, I look to the mountainside and feel her presence. She feels my heartbeat and for a few moments we sing together.

Feeling all the Feels

Feeling all the Feels

 

Emotion and I are dear friends, connecting during both the darkest and most joyous of times. We have walked this path together and are familiar with the rhythm of life while feeling all the feels. As an ultra sensitive child and an INFJ born in the sign of Cancer, it has taken a lifetime to rectify how I see the world and how I feel about it. For you astrology buffs, add in a Jupiter trine Neptune in my birth chart, you get a sense of the emotional tides flowing within. Labeled as “sensitive” as a child, I struggled to feel less in my early years. Stifling back tears and shutting down rather than speaking my truth by sharing the tides battering my shores of solitude.

I buried an ocean of emotion behind walls meant to hold back the strongest of storms. In doing so, I believed I was stronger and better equipped to navigate what can be a very harsh world. A world in which sensitivity is viewed as a weakness, something that needs to be analyzed and in some cases treated as anxiety or depression. My experience thus far has left me disappointed with the discomfort shown by others when expressing feelings.

As this is my voice, I can only speak of personal experience. Knowing other sensitive souls over the years, It is comforting to know I am not alone. How wonderful to meet others who feel as deeply as I do and who read the emotion and energy of any space they inhabit. By finding others like me, the inner perfectionist was able to let go of self criticism and see the beauty of these gifts rather than something that needs to be fixed.

Recently, a number of difficult life events have forced me to consciously lower my internal walls thereby not allowing fear and anxiety to silence me. The first being grief. Losing someone close or supporting a loved one in the process of grieving takes huge emotional wells and is not for the faint of heart. Some face their grief wholeheartedly experiencing all the good, bad and ugly. Others, let grief eat away at them, unaware it can not be silenced for long. Grief will rear its ugly head in the most explosive of ways. It may take days, weeks or years. Swallowing sadness is a bitter pill and a recipe for turmoil on the road of healing.

Secondly, a major health crisis had me visiting a plethora of doctors over the course of a few months. In most cases, as I sat in sterile offices trying to explain frustration with my body and uncertainty for the future, I cried. Having no problem showing authentic emotion after a lifetime of training, I let the tears flow while explaining my disbelief of finding myself in this place after years of healthful living. Surprisingly, most of my doctors immediately considered depression was at play. The only one who did not was the trained mental health counselor who clearly saw a women letting the feelings of the moment flow. It is no wonder to me that we have a country over medicated when the very professionals patients trust with chronic illness are ill equipped to witness authentic emotion and uncomfortable with the prospect.

Midlife has made me a bit more defiant in these instances. I no longer feel like I have to apologize for letting my voice be heard or emotions to show. In fact, it is in moments such as these when empathy for others is necessary. Vulnerability requires great humility and loads of grace. Luckily, my partner is comfortable with feelings. He sits quietly and gently wipes my eyes knowing it will pass. Often I am sobbing as I try to say something difficult, knowing it must be said but overcome by the weight of it all. I have come to far to silence myself in the interest of other peoples comfort.

All this being said, other peoples feelings matter to me greatly and my intentions is never to hurt another. It has taken much practice to say the things needing to be said in a gentle way. I fall short over and over again, but get right back up to try again. We are all imperfect. The beauty of another lies in these very imperfections. An outburst may not be about me at all, rather an unexpected release of emotion necessary for healing. Saying a small prayer, I let it go even when my brain attempts to over analyze the interaction and try to fix it. There is no “fixing it” for another. They must do the work themselves by lowering their walls when they are ready.

 I leave you with a quote by Maya Angelou.

She said, “I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Standing in the Doorway of Forever

Standing in the Doorway of Forever

 

The spirals go on for an infinity and 

the rhythm of my step lulls my heart

Into a long forgotten slumber of calm 

As my lungs fill with an air of peaceful solitude

-Lavinia Busch

 

Sitting on my couch and watching high tide rage against the shore, I am struck by the unease of my spirit given the past two weeks. After what was an unexpected ride on the proverbial bus out of town…way out of town, I find myself revisiting the calm found in the throes of a very close brush with death.

 

Having no fears about this transition, I am left with an insatiable curiosity for the spectacular aura of the next and continue to mull the events over and over in my mind. The single most important truth being the air of peace and remarkable stillness of this in between. I saw the concern on my loved ones faces, felt the hustle of the staff in and out of my room and heard the tone of the doctor trying to explain how dire the situation was. All caught as if screenshots forged into my memory.

 

Those hours felt like a few seconds and there is much I do not remember. Of what I do recall, two moments stand out. The first being the look on my fiancés face after being told of a medical need and how dangerously close my organs were to shutting down. A master of calmness in crisis, his face caught my attention even in the midst of my haze and will forever be etched in my mind.

 

The next being my ride down the hall to an imaging room. All the noise around me sounded like a muffled background and my heartbeat was the clearest sound I could discern. My eyes were closed, yet I saw what I suspect was the florescent lights in the hallway, creating a bright tunnel experience. The peace I felt in that moment was so comforting and I remember thinking this must be what people feel as they are about to slip away.

 

By the time I arrived in the ICU I was a bit more aware of my surroundings as my blood pressure had begun to stabilize. The room lights were a shock to my system and the loud noise of the staff on the floor felt like a worldly assault. After a few more days in the hospital and a better understanding of how close I had come to the brink, my emotions came pouring out as if a faucet turned back on.

 

Thinking back, I had two dreams a few weeks ago that startled me awake. One being of a disheveled man standing outside the RV. His stare permeated the walls of the RV and soaked into my skin leaving me chilled to the bone. At the time it felt as if he carried a dark message of some sort, but I shook off the feeling and let it go. The second dream felt the same but instead of a man, it was a shadow. Reflecting on this, it is clear my intuition was on high alert and these dreams where a harbinger of the next.

 

What a strange and wild ride this has been. This reminder of the fragility of human life is a welcome guest at my table as is a melancholy for the peacefulness of the between. Living this human experience is fraught with more feelings than one can imagine. As they cascade over me, it is the calm I return to time and time again as if a long-lost friend.

 

Maybe it is because I experience the world as a jarring reality filled with so many walking wounded. Always feeling joy but also the undercurrents of sadness within every soul I meet is overwhelming at times. In this in between, It was as if I was lying in my favorite meadow with the sun on my face and flowers by my side. Not a sign of unease or discomfort.

 

Now I am left with the necessary acclimation back into the hustle of life. My mind, body and spirit feel jostled to the point of confusion and the whole experience has become very disorientating. Recovered enough to walk in my beloved hills today, I tried to shake the cobwebs of my soul back into attention. Why this melancholy? Why this unsteadiness?

 

Focusing on the light that had saturated my eyes in the hospital and the feeling of unparalleled stillness, my heart expanded and filled with the healing elixir of love. No matter what happens on this plane of existence, we are all loved. Of this I am absolutely certain. None of us are sure when our time here will end making each challenge, heartbreak and joy a gift. It is the messiness of our experience in which we earn our wings and take flight.

 

So back I go, into the wild of the world, knowing the persistent melancholy will remain. This constant reminder of the terminal nature of life prompts us to be present, living fully and freely. My choices are mine alone and will be on display in this between for review. Will I cringe at my foolishness or smile in remembrance of a life well lived? I suspect a bit of both

 

 

 

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.