When I was a little girl, and I carried the five gallon bucket of water ‘all by myself’ to the barn to feed my pony, my mama told me that I was strong.
When I was I n high school and I decided to go off to college in a state some thousand of miles away, I had never even visited, I claimed to be strong.
As a young bride, I insisted upon keeping my maiden name. In doing so, I thought myself independent and strong.
When I built my own business and made my own money and did it myself, I knew, for sure, that then I was strong.
Now, as I slowly round the corner of 50, I realize that the kind of strength I long to sustain doesn’t come packaged in “that kind of strong”.
The kind of strength I’m talking about oozes with peace, presence and a deep knowing that the freedom We seek is at our fingertips - it is our birthright.
It is to be at home wherever I roam, and to be relaxed when things feel out of my control (because most things are). It is to be the calm when the storm hits, to be the depth when people are shallow, to be the truth within myself when the world turns cold and dark. It is to be the load of love in a room full of fear.
That’s the kind of strong I long to reclaim and sustain : A woman kind of strong. A sweet, creamy, nourishing, and wet kind of strong. A magnetic, supple, enduring, truth-bearing, upward-rising, deep-rooted kind of strong.
You see, when we grip success and survivorship with white knuckles and and clenched teeth smiles, we bear down on life, and we dry up. Our skin becomes thin, our wrinkles run deep and our eyes hollow. When we tell ourselves, “I got this”… “I’m a survivor”… or “I can do it myself”… once the time of usefulness has past, we run the risk of ceasing to grow. We run the risk of starving ourselves of connection and grace, soul-nutrients and the things that make life juicy.
Instead, we begin to resemble a scraggly little plant - that without water, sunlight, and nutrients from the soil - begins to look like a twiggy, stalky, starved little being. And our whole life looks like this — not thriving, but merely and barely surviving, shallowed breath, heavy-headed, clutching to limitations, lack, and imitation.
Ritual is one of the ways humans water their parched souls. We can draw down the moon, or sit in circle as witness to each other releasing survival as substitute, finger by delicate finger. We can surround ourselves with inspiration, bask in the natural world and its wonder, fast from technology, life as we know it, and the things to which we are habituated, but no longer serve as nourishment.
We can offer “ofrendas”, offerings, to the forest floor, the ocean, or to our ancestors. We can rise with the sun, chant to the Maker or give it all back to the Ultimate Giver in art project, act of service or song.
When we do this — and make time for this kind of depth — this kind of juicy remembrance, we find ourselves dripping in confidence that asks nothing of the world but to be as it is, and we know ourselves - as “magica pura”, pure magic, where we are our very own strong - in the most moon-juicy sort of way, where the soul needs no permissions, kind remarks to maintain its beauty, or false need to be seen, heard, validated or worthy of another’s attention or acceptance.
It is from this kind of strong, we live deep and true and certain. It is from this kind of strong where married or alone, living in the center or on the outskirts, in mansion or studio apartment, with bright red nail polish or dirt-stained hands, matters not.
It is from this kind of strong that we need not prove anything or seduce anyone, but instead we know in our soul bones that we are already peaceful, easeful, and free.
The truth is, I don’t know what is your way home to that kind of strong — only you do — some may know it is the long-overdue time to dance, or sing or paint. Another may know it is time to pack a bag and board a plane. While others may simply walk out the door barefoot and lean against the great tree.
If you don’t know, yourself, what is your way, then never-you-mind, just pick something that feels like an approximation, a remembrance, an opening, and walk in its direction, without question, doubt or running it by the committee in your head :: decide, and go briskly.
The paths are many, and I have complete confidence, when you get there, you will remember, and you will be peaceful and free.
I’ll meet you there.
Om. Amen. Aha.
Britt is hosting a 7 day yoga and personal retreat for women March 7-13th. This retreat is intimate, deep, and ready for you. Come if you are called.