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Permission to Just Be

Permission to Just Be



Remain still and you will hear

The new. Rustling the curtains and

Throwing open the windows while shouting,

Now is the time!



As the winds of change rush forth

Into the wild, unafraid

Challenging all that you know

Teasing the mystery



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



You know this sound well

Unlock the chains and

Throw out the endless lists of excuses

Now is the time!



Follow this whisper

Walk through the window and


Let yourself be free




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.

Hadewijch II and the Blessing of the Written Word

Hadewijch II and the Blessing of the Written Word


I recently discovered the writings of Hadewijch II, a 13th century poet and mystic, and proceeded to order every book possible about this fascinating woman. History says little about her save the belief that she was from a wealthy family but chose to join the beguines, a group of evangelical women existing outside the traditional monastic system. These women took vows of poverty, chastity and service but remained in the world rather than hidden away in a monastery.


A strong believer in the synchronicity of the universe, Hadewijch could not have come to my attention at a better time. I have been feeling exceptionally isolated in regards to my ideas and life. I have a persistent thought there is so much more to life than my routine,  job, family and assembled reality. Frustrated by this nagging feeling, I have been more contemplative than usual, which is saying a lot. It is easy for me to get lost in my thoughts; it is much harder to pull myself back into the world. It would be disingenuous if I said I had never considered hiding away, off the grid and away from people.


Hadewijch wrote so expressively about her expansive knowing, the depth and wonder of feeling the infinite beyond what is seen. I read her poem and connected immediately; she understood what I have been feeling.  It spoke to me so directly that I got deeply emotional knowing that others felt as I do. I closed my eyes and experienced this energy wanting to expand beyond my skin, these walls and this world. It is this infinite and divine energy that stirs me up and can make me anxious while at the same time serenely peaceful. I implicitly understand that what I am searching for is within and not in some other place; we are all Divine beings and as much a part of the universe as the stars and the moon. No amount of geographic relocation will solve this persistent longing; it will surely follow me wherever I go. Hadewijch felt this very same thing yet managed to navigate the world without allowing this feeling to suffocate her. For that I admire her strength and courage.


All things

are too small

to hold me,

I am so vast


In the Infinite

I reach

for the Uncreated

I have

touched it,

it undoes me

wider than wide

Everything else

is too narrow

You know this well,

you who are also there

-Hadewijch II


Even so, I am confident that I can manage the restrictive feeling of this world. If you have read my work, you have heard me speak to this before. I have no doubts and have always known that I am not from this place. Some will judge me simply by reading that last statement, I am not concerned nor ever have been with their judgment. I know, and that is all that matters. The frustration comes from not being able to completely own this other while I am here. I can look inward and do all of the “mirror” work that Hadewijch speaks to, but even that will not be enough. It is a longing as if for a loved one with a constant desire to be with them. I hate this world at times; it is not anything like this beautiful other. No, I am not sad, nor am I being reticent. All I know is that I am here now for reasons that must be important for my soul.


You who want


seek the Oneness



There you

will find

the clear mirror

already waiting.

-Hadewijch II


I do not find many others that see this as I do; in fact I rarely speak aloud about these things. It most certainly sounds crazy to those that do not have the same sensibility. So what am I to do? How do I live while feeling this constant pull to what I cannot fully embrace? I suppose that answer is as always held in my heart. I must persist in this word and continue day after day waiting for the moment when I am free of this shell and can shed my false self to be…infinite. It is in works by Hadewijch that I find respite, a brief moment of serenity.  This woman, who graced the planet so many years ago, is still able to share her love and belief through her words. I will continue to read her writing every time I feel lost, isolated and alone. It will be a tremendous comfort to me as I am sure it has been to others.