Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Because I Can No Longer Contain It

"If you're interested in opening the doors to the heavens, start with the door to your own secret self.  See what happens when you offer to another a glimpse of who you truly are.  When your heart is undefended, you make it safe for whomever you meet to put down his burden of hiding, and then you both can walk through the open door."  Elizabeth Lesser

You may want to grab a cup of something or if you have to pee, you may want to go ahead and go before you begin reading, I have a feeling this is going to be a long one.

*          *          *

You can no longer contain what isn't containable.  

A few months ago I woke up in the middle of the night with the above words screaming at me.  At the beginning of each new year, I always choose a word that I want to focus on, the word I chose for this year is peace.  It is coming into my awareness stronger and stronger that in order to sink into the kind of peace that I so desire, I must first talk about, for the sake of release and healing, where there isn't peace, where there hasn't been peace for a long time. 

For reasons I don't yet understand, it feels important that I share here in this space.  I don't know why opening and sharing is so healing, I only know that it is.  And I know too that containing it, hiding it away, pushing it down, running from it, is deeply painful.  I am so very ready to release what I sometimes feel is pressing down so hard I can't move or breathe.  I'm so ready to walk through that open door that Elizabeth Lesser speaks of.

I recently wrote a poem called "His Storms," that I want to share here again, not to dwell or to blame but with the intention of releasing and healing.  

We got really good

at tiptoeing
Walking on eggshells 
she used to say.

We never knew 
when a misplaced word
or step
would unleash

his pain

There weren't warnings
for these storms 
that raged.  Never enough
time to take 

The jolts 
the pounding, the quaking
left us
drenched and dripping

Lifetimes later

we wait
for the aftershocks
to end

*          *          *

For more years than I can count, I have been trying to shed the layers of too much weight.  Not physical body weight, but the weight that comes from carrying the burden of everybody's (my own included) everything.  Through art and poetry and therapy and more therapy and retreats and reading and more reading and coming here and sharing with you, I have cleared and opened and released tons.  But this is what I'm finding; I'm finding that no matter how mindful I try to be, no matter how often I feel the fear and do it anyway, no matter how often I consciously open to love and move forward with courage, these aftershocks strike far too often. They leave me shaky.  They leave me tiptoeing around my life.  They leave me doubting my every move & decision.  They leave me feeling drained and so very tired.

Yesterday morning, my youngest daughter asked me to help her with a little hat she's knitting.   She wanted me to do something that I wasn't understanding...her voice kept getting louder and more irritated with me. The louder and more irritated she got, the more I panicked and couldn't do it. I started to cry right there in the kitchen with the breakfast dishes, with both my girls wide-eyed confused and watching. I told them that Grandpa used to yell a lot, that he used to tell me I couldn't and that I was crying because I was feeling sad for that little girl that I was. I didn't tell them that he used to call us stupid or that he ripped up my English papers and threw them way or that he sometimes laughed at my poetry.  Or that he slammed doors and left and sometimes hit us.

As many of you know, I am in the process of self-publishing my book of poetry & art.  My days lately have been spent gathering the poetry I've written over the last few years, gathering my art, writing my bio & introduction...with this, many many decisions have had to be made. What I'm noticing is that each time I sit down to write or organize, I am met with noise--the voices that tell me I can't possibly pull this off, they scream and growl until I begin to doubt the value of who I am and what I'm doing. In moments, I become that shaky little girl again and I can't move.

From so many years of being conscious, of untangling the scared-little-girl me from the me I know I truly am,  I am all too familiar with these voices and, deep down, I know they aren't true.  But on those days when I feel beaten down, they are hard to shake.  And because I am in the process of birthing something that is woven into the very fibers of my being, these voices have grown relentlessly louder.  It is not by accident that my whole book is about dropping below the level of thought, shedding, opening, trusting, enough-ness, mindfulness, breathing, opening wide to it all.  I keep hearing that we teach/write what we most struggle with, what we most need to learn.  This book is my answer to myself, the true me speaking to the trembling little girl me (the scared little me, that, to some extent, lives inside all of us). There is great healing here in all of this just as it is, I am certain.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally got outside for a much needed walk.  At one point in my walk, just as I went up and over a steep hill, I stopped.  The sun was peeking through the clouds just enough that I could feel its warmth on my face, a light rain was falling at the same time.  I closed my eyes and felt it all; the sun, the light misty rain, the ache inside.  I thought about how, when I was a little girl with pigtails, I used to take walks all by myself and how healing those walks were.  I just let myself stand there and feel it all.  I said a prayer or two while I was standing there-one of the prayers was asking for a sign that I'm not alone.

When I opened my eyes, right there in front of me, was a rainbow.  It was a moment I won't forget, another reminder that there is room for it all.

"Our errors and failing are chinks in the heart's armor through which are true colors can shine."  Elizabeth Lesser

I think writing this today is my way of making space for it all, of no longer tiptoeing, of opening my eyes, my heart, my arms a little wider. It's maybe my way of opening the doors to the heavens, of inviting you to step through with me.

Thank you for listening.


  1. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing. Your bravery makes my heart ache with love and pain; with wonder and understanding. Good for you for sharing your story with your girls and for teaching them what healthy healing looks like.

  2. your words, your story are a healing salve, to you and others. Keep on, beautiful soul, we are listening.

    1. Dalyce, your words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for feeling and seeing and understanding. Your seeing is part of my healing...I can't thank you enough for that.

      Sending you love today.

  3. Lynnette, my heart feels softened and cradled by your words, by your listening.

    Thank you so much.

  4. There is a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. The voices. How I often fight voices of my own. The real work is in seeing that those voices are not here, not with me in reality.

    I wish that for you, too, dear friend. That you see those voices for what they are. They are not you.

    You are the mom who, as Dalyce pointed out so well, is teaching her family a better way of being.

    My prayer for you is for more of that healing rain, softly falling on you and washing away those voices.

    Love you!

    1. Deb. I'm a little wordless right now. Please know how deeply your wishes and prayers mean to me...I feel so held here and that means everything to me.

      "The real work is in seeing that those voices are not here, not with me in reality."

      Yes. This is the real work. I feel truly blessed and so much stronger knowing I have you beauties beside me.

  5. My dear soul sister, I am right here beside you. You heal my spirit by being exactly who you are. Holding you right here in my heart. I love you.

    1. Beautiful you bless my life. I'm forever grateful for you.

  6. Oh, Julia. I am familiar with walking on egg shells. This made me cry, not only because it's terribly familiar but also because there is such power in sharing. I'm learning this too. I think this post is both those things - you letting go of what you need to (or at least starting the process) and also you inviting us all in with you.

    I'm honored to be here because you are absolutely, positively so much more than enough.

    1. J. Your presence here lights me up every time...thank you for taking time out of your busyness to come here and share your love. So very thankful for you, brave woman.

  7. Julia.....that poem is the one of yours that touches my soul the deepest. It's almost impossible not to mourn for that little person...that tiny soul that was not allowed to blossom early in life.I know all too well.
    Years later..the pain becomes our teacher.We learn what we don't want to we can be better...and the curse becomes a blessing.

    I value your being beyond measure.

    1. Hollie, it doesn't seem possible that we've known each other for such a short amount of time. I can't quite express how deeply grateful I am for your presence in my life. You have a golden spirit and the best hair ever.

      I adore you.

  8. Me too, Julia... me too.
    That's all I got.

    1. Becky, just knowing you're here means so much. Thank you for taking the time to connect, for letting me know you hear me.

      Sending so much love your way.

  9. Oh Julia, your feelings and how you express them are just exquisite. I've been feeling drained and tired, and those voices are at the bottom of it, so I really empathize with where you are. I'm so glad I got to "know" you through Judy's blog. Big hugs with a gentle shhhhhh for those voices that aren't really you.

    xx Nancy

  10. We are here to help each other remember, Nancy, I really believe that--to help each other know that we are just right just as we are. I am sending big hugs & a gentle shhhhhh right back to you, beautiful one.

    I feel very blessed to have you here.

  11. I honor your courage, Julia. You are the rainbow. You were always the rainbow. None of it was your fault. Now, as you stand there with your arms open wide, your willingness to share your experience this way is opening up healing for others. Sending love to you!

    1. Carie, I adore you. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your words here, they are precious to me. You are precious to me.

      It's such a comfort to know you, my friend.

  12. Replies
    1. You are amazing too, dear Kelley. Thank you for being here.

      I hope you're getting some sunshine and warmth there in your corner of the world.

      Sending love to you and your sweet family.

  13. Good morning sweet Julia. That girl you speak of never dies, the fearful flesh has a good memory and the world is full of triggers—scents, images, music, words…sometimes these conspire against us, awakening the recollection of pain which seems as new and real as a screaming infant. For years I waited for the shadows to completely disappear, but now I know that the shadows offer their own sort of wisdom. In writing Cosette’s Tribe, I confronted the shadows, exploring the darkness, and it was then that I discovered the amazing amount of light that it takes to cast a shadow. I don’t completely understand how it is that I can morph into a nine year old simply by hearing a certain song or catching the scent of a damp basement, but I do. This no longer scares me because I understand that it is all there—the good, the frightening, and the ordinary, and it will always be there to remind me of how far I’ve come and the great price I had to pay for the lessons I’ve learned.
    I’m so excited about your book Julia! You’re gifted on so many levels and that pig-tailed little girl with her face awash with sunlight has a lot to do with those gifts.
    Sending love beautiful lady.

    1. Oh, Leah. There is so much here in your words. I had to pause in the middle of reading and just breathe them in.


      "now I know that the shadows offer their own sort of wisdom."

      And this:

      "I discovered the amazing amount of light that it takes to cast a shadow."

      And this:

      "that pig-tailed little girl with her face awash with sunlight has a lot to do with those gifts."

      Whew. Yes. Thank you for helping me see so clearly that there are gifts & sunlight in it all.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your beautiful heart. I treasure it/you.

  14. Yes and a big amen to all of this, dear Julia!

    This is my favorite of all your beautiful posts... here's to opening and allowing and finding the rainbows in this big tangle we call life.

    Love to you, and gratitude.

    1. Christa, thank you for being my anchor.

      I adore you.

  15. I had to stop several times when I read this entry. Tears welled up in my eyes as I remembered the past and the ache that it left for all of us. I know there is nothing we can do to change any of it, but I do believe there is healing and release of the hurt that will free our thoughts.
    I'm so glad that you are my sister, walking by my side in this emotional world. You are so strong even in the moments when you may feel doubtful. You shine like the sun Jules, always.
    Love you,

    1. Amy, we are so lucky to have each other. I love you so much.

  16. Thank you, sweet friend. Thank you for going there. Thank you for living with an open heart. Thank you for sharing your truth, your pain, your fears. Thank you for being so brave, so strong, so loving, so talented, so beautiful in every way.
    Through tears, I will just say that I know. I know the eggshells. I know how the aftershocks creep up years later. I know what it feels like to never fully exhale. I know.
    And we're both in the place of breaking through this pain and birthing our truest selves. So thank you for taking my hand and showing me that it's okay to walk through it.
    I love you, sweet, brave friend. And I'm right here with you.

    1. Jodi, I feel your hand in mine and it's such a comfort to have you there. Thank you so much for these words, they've crawled right inside me and are keeping me warm and safe.

      You are such a beauty.

      Love and more love.

  17. Julia- I resonate with this deeply. Thank you for sharing something so personal, so raw.
    I share with you in a painful, angry childhood. I believe we were given those gifts to teach us how to be more powerfully mindful earlier. To connect with ourselves more strongly, to find sanctuary in our true Selves instead of looking out into this hologram to feel whole. I call my childhood, now, Advanced Consciousness Training. I can see you've graduated, too.

    Loving you, gorgeous soul.

    1. "Advanced Consciousness Training." Oh, Belle, I love this perspective. It really is all a matter of how we look at things, isn't it? There's no doubt about that. One small shift and the whole world opens up.

      "To find sanctuary in our true Selves instead of looking out into this hologram to feel whole." I think this is my (and maybe all of ours) greatest life lesson, something I think I'm finally learning to do.

      Thank you so much for sharing, Belle, it's truly a comfort to be in the company of all of you beauties. So happy to be walking side by side with you.

      Loving you right back.

      With gratitude.

  18. Dearest Julia,

    What you disclose in this post has touched my heart very deeply. I have found that the most beautiful people I know are often the ones who experienced deep woundings as children. I am sad in learning more about where you came from, and bowled over by your openness with your girls - and your sense of boundaries, too. That's a fine balance to strike.

    And my heart wants you to know that you are safe, and loved. And as I write those words, I breathe and remember that I too am safe and loved now. Your book is already the most precious outpouring of love, integrity, an exquisite offering born out of an alchemical process.

    I love you deeply, Julia. My heart carries you with me every single day (and I wore your pendant out this evening).

    Elloa xxx

    1. Elloa, where to begin? Your words, your presence, the way you love and express that love softens and opens me more than I can say. Your heart speaks directly to mine-I always come away from our connections feeling understood, safe and loved. It's such a gift to know you.

      And to think we've never physically met...amazing, isn't it?

      I love the thought of you wearing my pendant right up close to your heart...that is pure sweetness.

      I love you, my friend. Big, big hugs to you.

  19. Julia,

    I always feel a deep connection to your words, yet this time, they echoed some of my own memories.

    Yes, I know the eggshells, the after shocks, and I still hear the voices within me that originated from back then. You know, the voice that doubts our decisions, the one that makes us small. Yes, we all have the power to quiet and tame that voice. We are all deserving of "shedding, opening, trusting, enough-ness, mindfulness, breathing, opening wide to it all.”

    Because of my mom’s emotional imbalances and insecurities, she was (and is) an amazing teacher who shows me how to be a giving (without conditions), loving, mindful, supportive and forgiving mom. This is what I know, NOW.

    Being a mom to my daughter has been the most profound healing I could possible have endured. Our relationship is based on all the goodness I did not have growing up.

    Your daughters will also be your key to healing. And you will have a richer and more meaningful relationship with your girls because of everything you’ve endured.

    I felt so much compassion and love for you the first time I read your poem. I know your book will be healing, and will shine beautiful light onto others.

    I love you honesty, I love your bravery, I love your enoughness.

    Julie, I arm wrapping my arms around you, rocking you gently, and whispering, "You are perfect, you are enough, you are loved.”


    1. Oh Eydie. Thank you so much for this-for sharing and loving so openly. It makes me so happy to know that being a mom has been so healing for you, that's just beautiful and precious. Thank you always, my friend, for your unconditional support & encouragement, I treasure you.

      Sending warm hugs and tons of love your way.

  20. Julia,

    I can echo so many of the comments above. I am going to simply say--thank you. This resonates with me on a deep and powerful and unexplainable way today. Thank you!

    You are so brave and strong--probably way more than you realize!

    Sending you a bit more courage and strength,

    1. Miriam, thank you. I'm so grateful that you are here.

      Sending love to you today.

  21. you are a beautiful, strong woman.

    1. Kamana, I so appreciate these words.

      Love to you.

  22. Oh, how I was touched by this post. And how I could relate to it. And the poem had me in tears. For I, too, walk on eggshells- but it is around my husband, never knowing what will set him off. I cry and cry. Yes, it is like walking on ice. Or, walking in a field of land mines. And, after a while, you THINK you know where they are, so you can avoid them. Ah, but you keep coming across new ones - he keeps changing them. Thank you so much for writing this!

    1. Linda. Your words have touched me deeply. I am so sorry you feel you have to walk on eggshells around your husband, I know what this feels like and I wish no one had to feel this way. We deserve to feel safe and loved and free to be absolutely ourselves.

      My thoughts are with you, dear person. I hope you can find the strength to do what you need to do.

      Thank you for sharing.

      I'm sending so much love your way.

    2. Julia, thank you so very much for your kind words and good wishes..for understanding. Your words so touched my heart, and helped me feel better. It is so hard to even think straight sometimes. Bless you, Linda~

  23. Oh Julia, you are such a beautiful, beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing your truth. Your words heal everyone who is lucky enough to read them. You bring such light and love to this world. Thank you for being you. Thank you for letting me be me. You are so loved. I love you, dear friend.

    1. Grace. How did I not comment back to you sooner?

      You are such a beauty, my friend. Your support means so much. You are a tender, beautiful, open-hearted woman and I feel deeply honored to know you.

      So many blessings to you.


What are you thinking/feeling? I'd really love to know...

♥ Julia