Let go of who you think you should be, in order to be who you are.

~ Brenè Brown.

A step back, to transcend the present moment, this particular period in my life, in order to better see the bigger pattern. How did I get here? How did it get to that point? Stepping off the professional cliff, the windowsill of my corporate career, where it looked high enough to kill most…

…the great resignation…

Taking a different perspective in understanding what is happening for me right now. I need to ‘get on the balcony’ of it all.

I’m beginning this reflection at 25 years of age; prior to this was all school/higher education and casual work. While including lecturing and tutoring at university, I also cooked a lot of burgers…. I still cook a damn fine burger… (hey btw, did anyone else have to look up ‘coatigan’?).

Ok. So Let’s talk a walk through the last 21 years of my life, from a ‘professional’ perspective…

In 2001, despite loving teaching and research, I realize, before finishing my PhD that academia is not the right environment for me and I start working in the public service.

I land an APS 6 role (if that means anything) as a Senior Research Officer in the Office of Road Safety in a state government department. I don’t mind the work, I stay friends with a couple of the people, but more than anything, the bureaucracy and administrative processes drive me up the wall.

While working full time I  focus my energy and complete my PhD in Social Psychology which is conferred in 2002.

In 2003 I come to terms with the fact I’m not a great employee (I don’t like being told what to do …) and would rather work for myself.

I start and run a successful small business with national coverage. This business runs for  almost 10 years, it is very well regarded and supported by clients and other professionals.

By 2007, however, I realize I need to learn more and go back to studying to grow myself and my business. My business morphs as I switch focus and I find myself running a small, boutique but highly popular yoga studio and school.

I eventually walk away from the business. I leave client programs, train the trainer programs, and professional development workshops. A reach that includes a published book, meditation CDs, websites, social media and many magazine articles and other publications…

I feel like I have reached the limits of my business know how and need to learn  more and/or re-direct my energy. In 2014 I re-enter academia to become a business school academic. I see only in hindsight how this is a pivotal moment in my life.

In this period I am a Senior Lecturer (Level C), an academic at Australia’s national university. Teaching management, leadership and organisational change, researching identity and transformation leadership, learning from leading academics around me.

I receive three awards for excellence in education as a university lecturer (my students give me a standing ovation as I receive one of the awards, just wow). I manage also to get a few well regarded publications and, despite not having a piece of paper to prove it, an MBA level education in business simply from being immersed in the environment for years.

My professional identity blossoms in 2018 when I co-design, develop and deliver a world leading executive education program around organisational leadership and transformation. The program is backed by two of Australia’s leading universities at different times, and by the peak industry body for organisational transformation in Australia. But things shift and change, and my world begins to dissolve again.

In 2021 I finally realise, in the midst of my second experience of burn-out since returning to academia, this is not the right environment for me, and leave again.

It is now 2022 and I have no idea what’s happening. And I’m mostly ok with that.

I started this blog:  And She Flies… partly as a way of working out where I’m at. Sharing my working out in case it is useful for others to see. A way for both of us to learn.

The years have gifted me with many thank you notes, cards, emails, now empty bottles of wine, I don’t think about them often and look at them even less. But each is a feather in the wings that carry me forward in this journey.  The strength of self belief that every single person who ever thanked me helped build.

The courage to look and see the patterns of constraint and release, containment and freedom. To see that I have been exploring the boundaries of this space, where my abilities intersect with opportunities and my preferences create friction in my environment.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

~ Carl Jung.

So, in liberating my self from the expectations of ‘career’,  what’s left to show for all that I’ve done?

Everything that I am.

Everything that I stand for.

All that I have learned and become capable of, can never be taken from me, nor can I walk from it or even give it away. Believe me, I tried.

This is who I am, this is my journey. This is the mind I was given to work with, the spirit that came into being.

And this is the answer to the question: if I am not my professional self, if I am not all that I have trained and studied and practiced to be, then what am I? What is left of me to love?

The answer is ‘me’. I am enough.

I follow my Dharma. My calling, the path I am here to tread.

The journey I, my self, am on. It is spiritual, not professional.

This is the pull of the great resignation. This is the wake up call so many now heed.

Love your reason for being. This is who you are. Your authentic self.

Love the things that excite and delight you, that make your heart sing and give you a place to belong in the world. These feelings, these emotions are the signs, the sparks of light that show you the path. Your path.

Follow the light of your joy, not through rose colored glasses, blindly bumping into life as you go, but in small, incremental ways that move you closer, one step at a time, to a more fulfilled, more peaceful state of being. A state of being that honors and respects your natural rhythms and helps prevent you from dissociating and heading down a path of ill health.

For me, my patterns and experiences bring me back now to self employment, back to a direct connection with the means of production.

To autonomy and self-determination.

To sovereignty and freedom.

Let go of all that you are, so that you may become all that you might be.

May you be happy,

may you be healthy,

may you be free of suffering.


S x

In the end, only three things matter; how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

~ Buddha.

Flowing: momentum and the present moment.

A mindful pause.

I have been sitting with my own patterns, the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs. I realise I experience suffering when not in flow.  When my motivation and energy and focus are not aligned, I become anxious and at times, depressed.

For years and years I found flow in academic pursuits,  the study of yoga and Buddhism, and also in teaching. These periods of flow could last months, and as I look back there are times when it may have been years. I have used these times well, I have helped others, I have had new experiences and learned new things, and I’ve grown as a human in the process.

I sit here, in this present moment, in one of those uncomfortable in between times, the periods of liminality, of having let go but not yet landed, still free falling, hoping for a safe place to ground. My feet unsure of what they will find, my mind unable to perceive anything more than a sense of direction, my heart allowing the feelings of uncertainty.

I am unsure.

Unsure of what the future will bring.

Unsure of which direction the world will head as we sit at this historic juncture.

Unsure which catastrophe is more likely to play out.

Unsure of how we will untangle  ourselves from crisis and chaos.

Unsure of the order that will eventually ensue…compassion or control?

The tension between compassion and control is almost perceptible among the collective. Is this an open, inclusive space or a closed, exclusive place?

Open or closed.

Inclusive or exclusive.

Friendly or hostile…?

Safe or not?

People are being led by one of two things right now – hope or fear. In Australia we are about to vote for the next federal government. The topics distract us from the real question we are being asked.

The blue team are pushing security, a strong economy, a tight boarder, doubling down on defense and strategic political alliances. A stronger now, we can’t afford to think about the future –  a vote for fear and status quo.

Try not to worry. Trust the people who understand these complicated things and you get on with your productive life and your favourite sport.

The red team are peddling universal health care, dignity in poverty, compassion in despair, an acknowledgement that suffering is likely to increase and spread, a collective response to the challenges ahead. A better future, we’ll all have to do it tough to get there – a vote for hope and transformation.

An acknowledgment of the complexity and the need to work together as this unfolds. We don’t know what the future will bring but we’ll face it together.

There’s also a green team, but the media are hoping we all forget about that. The media themselves, so sports oriented that they can’t compute that more than one team is playing this game. They portray a narrative that there can only be one of two winners, a grand final to be battled out in the thorny arena of press conferences and photo opportunities. Perpetuating the insanity of a system and rituals no longer fit for purpose.

The truth is, we need the blue to turn red and the red to turn green and the green to turn to deep blue…sky blue, ocean blue, the kind of blue you see on a world globe. A swirl of different blues that blend so beautifully with the greens and browns, the greys and reds, the colours of nature; at least those we can perceive.

We need to come back together, to shape a shared understanding of the now and collective vision of the future. We need strong, trustworthy leadership with a sense of direction and penchant for collaboration.  We need leaders who are willing to explore different visions of the future, wonder about what is possible, who are willing to dream a little as they lead.

I sigh.

I am not left wondering why I cannot slip easily into flow.

The energy of the world is chaotic right now. Disorder and neuroticism are the rulers of the day. Those who seek to control are grabbing at power with both hands, those that seek to help are overwhelmed by their own compassion, and the sight of so much despair. Where do I direct my energy? Who can I help when the bombs are still dropping?

As I continue my practice, an imperfect one at that, I remind myself that this is all I have. The time to allow myself to just be, to do the things that need to be done – chop wood, carry water – rest and be ready.

I will be needed again soon enough.

May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you be free from suffering.


S x

Being (Album #3)

I have noticed a significant dip in my drive for sharing all of this. I felt for a while, so small and irrelevant in the face of global unrest and disruption. I felt somewhat selfish and indulgent, like a greedy child screaming for cake, while others sit quietly awaiting a crumb.

But I have started to tell a story, and stories, for often unknown reasons, are always worth telling in full.

And of course…

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

~ Maya Angelou

In this album I was slowing to a place of joyful being. The weather was warming as summer drew closer, my family was safe and my garden was growing. I began to feel at peace in the world, and in my own skin.

These images reflect the emerging sense of liberation and my growing comfort with showing up as myself. They reflect the confidence that comes form the strength built on loving your self, mind, body and soul. They reflect an increasing irreverence for social norms and the expectations placed on me by colonialist paternalism. In light and shadow, I experimented with balance and boundaries.

I began to notice a physiological response to my own gaze.

Standing taller, grounding with each breath.

Core engaged, releasing tension.

Chest opening, receiving the love flowing in.

The desire to share the sense of freedom, the thrill of it, the release, the letting go, so strong. I wanted every woman to know what it felt like to just be themselves and ‘to hell with it all’.

If you can be free, be free.  What ever chain holds you back, stand up, walk free.

“There is no spoon”.

~ Spoon Boy, The Matrix

There is no chain. There is only the thought that you can’t.

Learn to recognise the barriers for your self and for others. Whenever possible, remind your self of your strengths, when you are with others, show them their strengths, their self, their sovereignty, as you step into your own.  Authentic being is facilitated by being in the presence of others who are also in the process of becoming.

Exchange feathers of friendship.

Hold them lightly, cherish them deeply.

Those who see you and love you, can heal you in ways you may have not known before.

It is not safe to never be vulnerable.

~ Leslie Kaminoff


[a mindful pause]

Shaking with uncertainty,

a leaf almost ready to fall,

trembling in the breeze,

a delicate hanging,

a fragile attachment,

those last moments of things being as they are.

Menacing volatility,

the ground beneath unknown,

hardening from the cold,

rumbling vibrations,

danger lurking,

the terrain that must be traversed.

Distressed by ambiguity,

a bird with nowhere to land,

gliding on tired wings,

a tenuous lift,

a  disrupted flow,

longing for sanctuary to rest.

Embracing complexity,

a tree breathes out fully,

branches reaching out,

weathered bark,

budding blossoms,

re-awakening the potential within. 

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SB’F x

The Photographic Journey to here

Namaste Friends,

Thank you for your patience, my processes paused as I noticed my reaction to world events. More disruption all over our planet: shifting political power, weaponized economics, ongoing pandemic, severe weather events due to climate change, and civil unrest in so many parts of the world… my heart has been heavy, my thoughts have been with those who are suffering.

However, in honour of those who do not currently have the freedom to continue to do the things that need to be done, and who instead must get on with the most important work of survival, I shall get on with the tasks before me…

Before enlightenment – chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment – chop wood, carry water.

Zen Buddhist proverb.

“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself”

Simone de Beauvoir

I started looking for myself in places where I knew I’d seen me before. I thought perhaps there would be clues left behind, or perhaps I’d get lucky and find I was still there.

In yoga. I saw my shape, my body, the crafting of age telling a story of it’s own.

In the garden I saw the crone, smiling as she welcomed me home. The witch standing close behind, ever sultry and full of sass, came first from private moments and then out into the world to play.

She reminded me of the desperate attempts the maiden had made to keep herself relevant, to hold on. To find good in the mistakes she and the child had made, instead finding grace in the lessons she learned, from all the times she fell.

I started to see more than the context and form. I started to see the way the different settings inspired me to hold my body or angle my head. I started to notice the different types of energy that flowed through me as I felt the sun on my naked skin, warmth in places that had never been warmed, changing the colours of my body, the tone of my hair.

I started seeing myself in the conversations that came from sharing the images. The therapist, the teacher, the coach, the nurturer, the healer.

I had lost myself in the trauma, not just my own, in fact by then my own had retracted and retreated to the peripheral of my mind, perspective taking hold. Now the storm had passed, I had rested and I started feeling ready.

This was me creeping back out into the sun to play. After too many years of turmoil, after spending far too long dwelling in the shadow of social expectations and dominant gender norms. After realising that I needed to choose to live ‘my best life’, that I needed to wake up and do the thing I want to do, the things that bring joy and love to me, my family and the world.

The images show a clear release and outward expression, the energy and playfulness abundant in moments of total liberation, uninhibited in my experimentation. Both joyful and irreverent in this moment of re-claiming and re-awakening the sovereign being within.

In these moments I was breaking trauma bonds with people central to my narrative and my identity. I was reclaiming the story of my body, what it means to me, how others saw it,  how I see it, the stories I tell myself about size and shape, colour and texture. I was ignoring expectations for how a woman of my age and professional standing should behave and enjoying every moment, embracing the abundant freedom of being as authentic in my anger as I was in the exhilaration of the release.

Crazy cat lady.

Cranky old hippie.

Crackpot yogi.

Oddball. Weirdo….I’ll take them all.

The first album of this project, some might say, ‘somewhat like the first pancake’, exposes my naivety and ignorance, as a model and photographer, and also as a woman who brings beginner’s mind to the things she does, willing to fail, make mistakes, be ‘good enough’ to make a start and learn and grow in the process of becoming rather than waiting to share perfection, which she may never attain.

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action. 

John Dewey

Through the process of taking nude selfies and sharing them online with other people who identify as nudists and/or naturists I stumbled, very awkwardly, into a safe space for identity work. And found a community of people asking similar questions to myself, ‘why is society so hung up about nudity, with people seeing them?’. And as I experimented with different styles of photos, imitating others, coming up with my own crazy ideas, seeking inspiration from my environment, I started to see the different things that make up my identity the different parts of myself; and the things I have never shared before.

While I looked very outward facing in the photos, this was a time of deep introspection. I’ve always been comfortable alone. And this time and space I have given myself for this project has been like a retreat for my soul. A practice, a journey and a reflection, integrated into a process of un-learning and re-emerging.

The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.

Simone de Beauvoir

May all beings everywhere know freedom from suffering,


Being shot by an other

The next set of photos I share (next post) will be those I very first shared online with a community of naturists (and some others…). As I share the various albums I have created for this project, I will toggle back and forth between reflection on now and then. I will share where I was at in my journey when the photo was taken, what I saw in the image at the time, and if anything has changed. As well, I will check in regularly with a mindful pause, an update of where things are at with the project real time and a few new pics as the opportunities to collaborate with more experienced artists emerge and unfold.

As an activist, I am finding my voice and I recently had the opportunity to use it. I hope I was heard, but if ultimately there is no action, that just provides me with more information about the leadership culture at play in this situation. So far, they are not naked in their truth, do not allow themselves to be seen, their authentic voice heard. I believe leaders, particularly those in public institutions, should be expected to demonstrate their integrity (alignment between espoused and enacted values) in every situation, to show that they are able to learn as they go, and accept full responsibility and accountability for their actions and decisions, particularly those that detract value from others in some way.

As I share openly, who I am and what I stand for, I hope to role model some of what I believe should be the norm among world leaders. A willingness to be both strong and soft, connected and open with the people you are striving to represent, to serve. I hope to be someone who is able to hold a signpost for those on the path; ‘Right way keep going’, ‘Road widens ahead’, ‘Welcome, merging traffic’.


S’BF x

For the first few months of this project I only took my own photos and had never had a nude photo taken of my by anyone else before, ever.

The original idea had been to find someone who would be interested in using me as a nude model for a landscape type shoot (ie. I would be off in the distance) or a life drawing session (where in any perceived imperfections could be accounted for by the interpretation of the artist rather than my own inadequacies…)

Instead I found myself, day after day,  taking photos of myself, for myself.

Coming across the online community for nudists gave me a way to share the photos and receive feedback.

I grappled with the sexual nature of social nudism but, with a little time, found a way to present my profile, and the images I shared, that seems to ward off a lot of the sexual harassment type communication. And with the few that still get through, I get to practice setting boundaries and ‘using my words’. Particularly that really hard one, ‘no’.

This virtual experience helped prepare me for my first actual photoshoot with an actual photographer. I’ll share more about the shoot itself in a later post together with a few of the images from the shoot.  What I would like to reflect on here is the opportunity this lovely, calm, slow first shoot provided me.

I quickly discovered that the practices of yoga and meditation are excellent training for life as a model. To be able to slip into a light meditative state and focus on breath while holding a pose, and be supported by good core strength, an understanding of concepts like base of support, centre of gravity, range of movement. Knowing how to use the bandhas, intentional muscle locks, and the energetic scaffolding of our bodies.

Being in this state, you notice different things, your awareness is altered. I noticed the things I had given up, the things that the other photographer now had control over. when the shutter opened and closed, how the light reflected off my curves and body parts, which photos would be examined and edited…

This was something I had not reckoned on grappling with. Noticing the tension within myself created, not by being nude in a room with a clothed stranger (though that was slightly awkward the first time…), but the giving over of control of the way my essence is seen, captured and interpreted.

With this new understanding and awareness of control primed in my mind, I began seeing the invitations for collaboration in a different light. I tested the boundaries again, reflected, contemplated, reset them.

I started to see myself in a different light, I started to ask more difficult questions. I still have more to learn. But I can see now how women are conditioned to say yes to men and men are conditioned to pushing at women’s boundaries until they do. And a woman that says ‘no’ is difficult, rude, brattish, out of control, hormonal and/or a raging lesbian. Or just a source of more frustration, a hassle, a burden.

I don’t mind any of those terms. I now know where I start and finish and how to notice when other people’s baggage has become mixed up with mine. I see now, how you put your bag down a little too close. How your small request becomes a larger one, how you negotiate your way to yes, sometimes with charm, sometimes with military precision. You are on a mission to fulfil your goal, achieve your outcome.

You trample all over my boundaries in your big clumsy boots.

You are used to me bending to your will.

You nudge me again.

I smile politely (fuck I did it again).

You relax, back on track. I notice the tension leave your face. Your words less anxious.

Your dominance, at ease, at the wait.

I am also now ‘at the wait’. That shit now gets no closer than the first time I say no. I did the experiment and turns out I am right the first time, and if I’m wrong, we’ll both learn something. If you push, if you keep at it, if you try to win me over or even if you throw a fucking tantrum, cut the conversation short, stop communicating or threaten to leave me altogether? Ok.

Your trauma is not mine.

This has been such a crucial realisation for my project. A project about women’s sovereignty in the midst of global upheaval.

Men are being displaced, women are finding their voices, children, teenagers, young adults, sick from being treated like an inconvenient necessity, are experiencing a collective mental health crisis.

This, what is happening in the world, affects everyone. However, if you only feel your pain without seeing the places that it is coming from, it is hard to keep it contained and refrain from misfiring. It is hard to disentangle the threads in your mind, trauma loops and new information, confused and confounded. Your psychology unknown to you. Your focus is only on the outcome of your pursuit.

Psychology affects the way I am seen by a male photographer and thus the way they set up, capture and interpret the images. A dominant, trauma-laden male will see something very different in a nude female model, will take a very different photo of me, than someone who understands and respects individual sovereignty. Who is looking for a unique artistic angle as opposed to soft warm curves (or perhaps as well as…more on this). Someone who understands how to hold a space for the experience of freedom and courageous vulnerability in exposing yourself, not just your physical body, but your soul, the energy flowing through and around you. To really let someone else see, the authentic you.

When I am in this state of openness I need to be in a safe place.

If you are always putting your needs before mine, I can’t be sure I’m safe with you.

If you can’t hear me say no to the little things, I can’t be sure I’m safe with you.

If you see my openness and think it is an opening, I’m not safe with you.

If you see the warm softness in me and come after it…

I see you now. I know how you see me.

And now, with my own eyes, I see myself.

Now I will show you.

I pause.

I’m not finished. I wasn’t sure why. But then a conversation in a driveway occurred. A man sharing with a woman, two humans caught up in it all, his grief, his devotion. He shared with me why.

His why, my why. We have both been shot by an other, made out to be the other. Our identities cast by the trauma of others.

Being male doesn’t protect you from harm and being female doesn’t preclude me being the predator.  The generational trauma of living inauthentic lives plays out in and around each of us in various ways. Sometimes you are the lead, sometimes you are backstage. Sometimes you sit in the stalls and pretend that none of it is yours.

But there is no way to freedom without walking through the door of self-realisation, of realising you are both self and Self; both player and audience. Playing a role, one with a script that you know. Taking you down a path with no end. A path that keeps you holding on, yet, without letting go  you cannot move on.

Let go, and as you cross the threshold from unknowing to becoming aware, you realise.

It happens.

In that space in between.

Reconciling my desire to give with my need for safety I reset my boundaries.

My heart filled with compassion for us both.

A brief overview of the journey thus far...

A noticing (and a mindful pause).

As the role identity, Dr Shari Read, the ambitious, young, female academic, continues to fragment, I notice her strengths, her character, her conviction, being re-assigned to new or newly dominant aspects of self.

The activist has encountered her first hostile. The walls of a virtual corporate cult slammed down in her face. A castle full of empty promises and duplicitous messaging. Where polite professionals feast upon each other’s cleverness at being part of an exclusive club for members wishing to promote ‘economic opportunity’ for each other. Although, I suspect most of the revelers do not know on what they feast. What gets them drunk at the expense of so many. I didn’t.

What an interesting first discovery, one that others had known all along of course…

I notice as I encounter the tension created, the discomfort my voice might bring to others.

The wild woman loves the keen mind, the crafting of words, the understanding of evidence, and influence of nuance on the minds of many. She is watching as the story unfolds. Creeping with anticipation, steady, grounded in her conviction and determined in her love, in her devotion to service.

She does not flinch.

#nudeforchange ~ Image by Rocketpixs

The crone breathes deeply and smiles, her own smile………..

Her path has been laid before her, she has always known.

#nudeforchange ~ Image by Rocketpixs

The child and the maiden look into each others’ eyes, and grin. They turn, holding hands, this is not for them. They are saved, they heal, it is time for them to play.

I breathe into the knowledge that my triggers are only triggers, they do not control me. They remind me of my path, the strength I have gained on my way here, the lessons I have learned.

I am ready.

Turns out, I did come to fight.

#nudeforchange ~ Image by Rocketpixs

Breathe in. Breathe out.

I’m ready.

Are you?

Expand, contract…breathe.

In a quiet moment on my own,

My mind occupied with other things,

I was shown the way my life breathes.

I expand and contract.

I open up, and then I withdraw.

I explore and uncover.

I sit and reflect.

I advance. I retreat.

I reach out. I look in.

I inhale. I exhale.

My natural rhythm a guide on the path,

The ebb and flow of an energetic tide,

Comes in, goes out.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

The space to explore my own spaces,

The pauses between my breaths,

My life between these moments.

Time is my only need,

And for that my only need is breath,

And so I breathe.

Sit. Until I am Done.

I wrote this piece in February 2013. It provides some insight into where I was at that time with regard to my journey to radical freedom. It was before re-entering academia. I was immersed in motherhood, yoga and Buddhism. I could see the world around me in pain and felt helpless to do anything about it. My arms were full. My heart was breaking, for myself and the world. But in this moment, I was becoming.

A window into becoming intentional

It’s almost like finding out that, years ago, you were hypnotised to believe that you are wrong, defective, bad, useless, and then someday, something pulls you out of the fog of hypnosis. However, to begin with you can’t be sure that you’re not still in the fog, is this just another trick? Something feels different though, there is a new sense of hope perhaps, a strong sense that you can’t go back. You wouldn’t want to, but even if you did, you couldn’t.

So the trance is broken, or more like breaking, so many layers, so many lies. Who am I? Was that really me in there? Holy crap what happened?

The trouble with this work of self-discovery is that, because of the nature of what you are working with, many times, you have to go back through the past and, in some regard, re-live, re-experience the trauma before you can fully appreciate what it is that you went through, to be fully aware of the cause and effect, to be fully aware and awake you have to follow through the experience watching as your body responds to the unconscious processes of the mind, catching the clues, feeling the pattern and rythym, up and down, down and churned up, gut wrenching fear, heart-breaking pain. All of it all over again.

Sit. Sit. Sit. Let it flow by. Sit. Breathe. Be here. Breathe now. Now. Here. Sit.

Fear. What am I afraid of? This process. I can live life in ignorance. Most do. Why bother? Because the fears don’t leave, we have to transform them to find peace. We have to face and accept them to be free. Ok. So what and I afraid of? 

– I want to help but I am scared of being used.

– I want to give, but I am scared of being taken from.

– I want to live my dreams, but I am scared that they’re not really mine.

– I want to succeed but I am scared that the needs of my loved ones will mean that I have to give up my dreams because my need to give is bigger than my need to succeed.

I am a good person. Aren’t I?

I don’t know who I am because all that I was, was torn apart with criticism, negativity, negligence and abuse. The scattered pieces fit so beautifully together but the process of picking them up and re-aligning them is painful, exhausting and seemingly never-ending. The hurt and fatigue fuel the fire of self-doubt, maybe it is me, I despair. Maybe it was always me. 

No. Now I know. It was them. It was always them. I was a child, a small, scared, lonely child without someone to hold me and tell me how good and clever I was. Without someone who said with their arms, their eyes and their heart that they loved me, completely, unconditionally, without question. I was the child left, abandoned, 5 minutes, an hour, 3 hours, days, weeks and then months. What needs could I have had? What could I possibly have needed from them? I couldn’t say. I’d lost my voice. I was voiceless.

I feel lost again. 

Sit. Sit. Sit. Let it flow by. Sit. Breathe. Be here. Breathe now. Now. Here. Sit.

Can you see what I’m saying? Can you see me? Can you tell me who I am?

Sit. Sit. Sit. Let it flow by. Sit. Breathe. Be here. Breathe now. Now. Here. Sit.

There is trauma. I need to heal and that will take time. I’m scared of time and all that it will bring, but I have nothing else. All that we have is this stretched out, drawn out, moment in slow motion, a fleeting window of opportunity in which to find ourselves, our not-selves, our true selves. My relative self is tired. Mature wisdom will have to wait. I need to sleep. Tomorrow. I will Sit. Sit. Sit. Let it flow by. Sit. Breathe. Be here. Breathe now. Now. Here. Sit.

Until I am done.

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Mindful pause ii

A moment of reflection on the journey so far and a reminder to all; the world needs to hear your voice, and receive your gifts. Now more than ever, we need everyone who cares, to stand for what they believe in, for what they love.

I pause to consider where I am. As I look around I feel love, I feel tension, I feel a wave of energy and a wall of resistance.

I have been looking back at bits and pieces I have written over the last 10 years or so, so much thinking and processing has been done.  I see where I’ve come from, where I’ve been, the circles, the roundabouts, the back tracking and getting turned about.

But I also see the growth.

A big part of what has changed in me since I became conscious in the journey of awakening,  is that I no longer think it is a magical process. Now I know. The magic comes from knowing the recipe, where to source the ingredients and how to mix it just right. A witch’s brew of radical self awareness and multiple perspectives, simmered for years in a broth of compassion and wisdom, sometimes from others, sometimes your own.

What’s changed is the path has unfolded, I have lived experience. This is now more than just what I have learned, it is now what I know to be true for me.

I have documented my path of transformation and transcendence, not anything out of the ordinary, just years of practice and paying attention. Noticing the thresholds, the moments of breakthrough, who was I in those moments and after them? As best I could, trying to capture and understand, be aware and regulate my responses, and maybe even be intentional in my own growth. Committing, on purpose, to a path of service and authenticity.

So even though there are tiny tugs at the edge of my consciousness, self doubt, reprimand, disapproval, that is all they are. I am no longer tempted to pick them up or turn them over, to hold those thoughts as if they were my own. I can see them there, feel their need for approval and attention, but there they stay.

Every time I receive a message of support, of thanks, of solidarity, it keeps me going in the direction of my dharma. I will make mistakes, I will take more wrong turns, but the path is wider now, and so many more walk with me. For each of you I am grateful.

Stepping into sovereignty has always been an important moment in a woman’s life, now it is an important moment in our collective history, a moment when every woman who has the ability to do so is called to take up the responsibility of her birth right, her right to stand as tall and as strong and as autonomous as any man on the planet. To claim your strength and your softness, never apologising for how you are meant to be.

Wild women be free. Photo credit: Rocketpixs