I am a Leader

Here are a few words that have been used to describe me as a child; willful, tenacious, ring-leader, bossy, strong willed, stubborn.

Not all of these words have a natural negative connotation so let me be clear; they were absolutely meant as criticism.

Any attempts to get me to conform were met with fierce opposition.

I bucked every Sunday at being forced to attend church. I refused to get out of bed, I hid from my  mother who chased me with a hair brush, I squirmed and screamed as I was forcibly stuffed into tights and a lacy dress. If my parents were lucky I slept through mass; otherwise I spent my time sitting on the floor between pews poking the feet of the parishioners in front of us, or banging the song book against the wood of the pew.

My parents were relentless week after week, as was I. This was an ongoing battle throughout my entire childhood.

My willfulness did not apply exclusively to my resistance to religion. This energy carried over in other areas garnering me further unwanted attention.

The boys of my youth did not like my loud, decisive way of being. The specific group of boys I am referring to were raised strictly along the gender lines of boys will boys and girls will be ladies.

Well no one has EVER accused me of being a lady.

So once again someone who insisted I be something other than what I am attempted to (literally) beat me into submission. Submit I did not, taking the beating I did.

I come back to reflect on all of this now because motherhood is teaching me many things about myself and one of the things I recently discovered is that I am a leader.

While on so many levels I have always known this, it is also a truth I have run from.

Being a leader is something for BIG people and when I was playing small this label terrified me. As a child I was a leader, I refused to follow, refused to give in, refused to be shoved into a box of someone else’s making. I refused until the pressure became too much. My inside resolve temporarily crushed by the outside force.

Now, coming home to myself and rescuing that bad-ass little girl, I call her Scout, I am able to speak my truth: I am a leader.

I know this is true because;

I bristle at the idea of self-help books, I will not be saved by someone else’s truth. Even if my truth ends up mirroring the truth of others, and I know it will because I am not the only person experiencing my awakening, I still have to come to it on my own.

I do not belong in religion. Religion to me = Rules. My relationship with my creator has no rules. Love and connection are the language of the Universe, as long as I stay in tune with that Sacred Truth I experience spiritual alignment.

I do not belong under my mother’s control. Or anyone’s for that matter. I will not play small to fit in to boxes that would serve to suffocate. I will not willingly put on shackles and restraints to comply with familial expectations/social norms.

I do not belong in a box of anyone’s creation, I do not belong in restraints.

I release all the lies that I believed about myself.

I reclaim my truth: I AM strong-willed. I AM tenacious. I AM a leader. I AM strong willed. I AM stubborn when it counts. I AM the BOSS of me. I AM my own.

These are my truths now and I embrace them in love, not shame.

I am not small.

I am BIG. I am POWERFUL. I am a LEADER.

I am the hero of this story.

I am a leader

 

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Sometimes You Have Someone to Rescue

I was just hit hard by something I read, it relates to everything I know about experiencing a shift and not being able to go back to the smaller version you once were.

Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind. And sometimes you break a barrier that no one knew existed, and then everything you knew before crossing the line is gone. But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

The book I am reading is not a self-help, it is not spiritual or philosophical, it is not a book that makes you think or question (at least I do not believe that was the author’s intention). It is a young adult fantasy. I read mainly fiction and inside that genre I read mainly fiction that contains an element of magic or make believe. Part of my survival growing up depended on my ability to disconnect, my ability to create beautiful alternate realities where home was safe, siblings were fun, and mother’s loved their children. My imagination has always been one of my greatest powers; it protected me from harsh truths my delicate pieces could not handle.

To this day I love stories with whimsy, imagination; stories that are magical where realities can be bent and you can count on the world around you to come alive and help you. Whether it is a talking animal or being held and comforted in the maternal arms of the Oak.

I know this has much to do with my artistic leanings towards fantasy landscapes – I like to create worlds that you could step through the canvas into. My little pieces like to have places to go when reality feels like too much.

Coming back to what I read –

This spoke to me. It is how I feel after experiencing a shift. My heart is bigger on the other side of that line I crossed and I cannot go back to the before, the place where my heart was smaller. She is right, you do have to think carefully about that decision because there is loss involved in stepping over a threshold like that.

But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

I have stepped into my darkness so many times to perform rescue missions. I know the rescue is worth anything that could be lost in the process. Finding a piece of yourself in the dark, picking her up, carrying her home to the light… Once you’ve done it you know. You know you would be willing to put down every single person and every single thing that you thought was important if that is what it would take to pick that piece of you up.

I am grateful for this reminder of one of my very sacred truths tonight. It is validation of the path I am walking.

I am not afraid of the dark, some of my deepest truest loves were rediscovered in the darkest places. I will continue to venture into the dark unknown until I my heart tells me that all parts of me have been welcomed home. I will not leave any piece of me behind as I walk my path forward, we all go together.

the swamp

Creating My Web

All of the dysfunction with my family of origin, my experiences so far as momma, and the dreams I keep having, have led to a pretty incredible vision board this year.

I vision board every year. It helps me to have a visual of the path I am on, even when the path is not clear. Vision boarding is an intuitive process, I do not always understand everything that comes out when I am creating but by the year’s end all becomes clear.

Because I am done playing small this year I knew I needed to go big with my board. If I am saying that I am BIG I need to see that truth visually represented. Not to mention being BIG is hard work, there is a lot that goes into it, I needed plenty of space for all the hard that I am mastering.

When I finished the board, to the degree that it is finished, I saw so much symbolism in the shape I created.

I see a flower, its petals occupying the negative space on the board. To me this represents growth. I was once a seed planted in the dark in the mud, now with all the healing I have been experiencing I am finally breaking the surface.

I also see a spider web. This symbolism came about after discussing with my therapist that I had been seeing spiders everywhere. She said that she had been seeming them as well and when we looked up the symbolism behind the spider it had to do with creating your dreams, making them realities. She also felt that the web was significant because in my board I have a very clear center, that is me. Without that dedicated center the web does not hold up. Essentially, in order for me to do all this BIG work I have to be firmly connected to myself or it does not hold up.

In two short months I have accomplished things in my relationship with myself and in relationships with others that for years has seemed impossible.

I know now that impossible was just another lie I used to tell myself when I was small.

On my vision board there is a section left incomplete. That section comes later this year after I attend a healing retreat that I know is going to knock down and shatter my final wall. On the other side of that wall is EVERYTHING. On the other side of that wall is my life’s purpose and my work going forward. I will complete the last section later this year and it will lead to bigger intentions going forward.

I am grateful for connection.
I am grateful for a visual reminder that helps me to feel supported and purposeful in this work.
I am grateful for my path and even more grateful that I am finally walking it.

vision board 2019

In the Way of Beauty

Little bubby and I take a walk everyday, weather permitting. It allows a few things to happen at once; exercise for momma, outdoor time for both of us, quiet time for both of us, and connection.

I was thinking of my husband today as we walked; when we walk we take the long way – the super long way. My husband would say our route is the most circuitous and would think it completely impractical, he would not be wrong.

Cheryl Strayed talks about putting yourself in the way of beauty in her book Wild. That is what our walk is all about. The beauty of being in my body and feeling good, the beauty of being outside together, the beauty of the quiet, the beauty of connection. Knowing this, my question is, why rush it?

We walk one block too far on the way home on purpose because this is where the yellow house is with the hanging orchids and wind chimes. We love the sweet tinkle of bells and to see which bloom has popped, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We turn one block too soon because that is where the bare oak lives with the little bird’s nest. We hope one day to see little babies resting secure inside, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We don’t turn right and instead go down another block because on that same street is the sage house with the coral door. We love to feel the peace radiating from this home’s foundation, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We turn left at the next block so we can walk by the old house with no fence surrounding the backyard. We love to gaze in at the millions of azaleas bursting off the bushes, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

Then we arrive at the park next to our home. Sometimes our walks run over and it is time for the next thing on our schedule, be it bath, or baby food, or story time. Somethings cannot be rushed though; like the sun setting on the pond, or watching squirrels eat their dinner in the grass, or listening to the mockingbird sing his song. The grass calls to us, invites to sit and stay a while, and we do, so we can put ourselves in the way of beauty.

in the way of beauty

My Channel is Opening

One aspect of my vision board this year has to do with my intuition and how I commune with the Universe.

My spirituality is grounded in love and is practiced through my relationship with nature and my connection to the Divine/Universe which I understand is both inside me and around me at all times. There is no name for my beliefs, I simply call it all my Sacred Truth.

I see symbolism and signs all around me. Since making the declaration that I want to be big, feel my pain, and heal in love, the Universe has been showing up for me in major ways letting me know I am supported and on my path.

Last night this came in the form of lightning bugs.

When I was a child I always dreamed of seeing and playing among these magical insects because to me that is just what they were, magic. I never did see one growing up though. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties and visiting my husband’s home town over the summer that I finally saw my first lightning bug.

We were sitting on the back porch of his parents home at sunset. I was watching the sun go down over the corn field next to the house when suddenly – blink. Then again – Blink. Blink. Blink.

Bubby look at that!!

My inner child came flying out, overcome with joy and wonder. They were as magical as I always imagined they would be. We sat for sometime watching the blinks of light in the darkness.

Last night I let Lu our dog out before bed. As I waited for her at the backdoor I stepped out into the cool night air, looking for the moon. I found her in the western sky, half full, sending me the message; you are halfway there, but there is more work to do. As I communed with the moon I caught a small blink out of the corner of my eye. I looked in the direction of the blink, and a moment later there it was again.

I was stunned – it can’t be.

Blink.. Blink. Blink.

It is!

Two little lightning bugs shining their light in the darkness and still of the night.

I have lived in Florida my entire life and this is the very first time I have ever seen lightning bugs here. This was certainly a sign; Keep shining, you are in the dark now, just keep shining and your light will grow.

I have been so supported. The Universe is sending me all kinds of sacred signs and symbols to let me know I am not alone in this. I do belong somewhere and my place in the order of things is sacred.

I am grateful for the support. I feel my channel to the Universe opening. I feel my truth of who I am and my purpose rising. In the darkness of disconnection I have been experiencing, I also feel the light of connection to bigger things – that is where I belong, among those big things because I AM BIG.

communing with the universe

 

 

Short Lived

Weeks ago something came to me; a vision of sorts. The message was clear: change is coming. I did not know what change was coming, now I do.

I started this writing space in May, just a few months ago, and now I know it is time to move on. When this clarity came to me I met it with some hesitation. I am just getting started. This is just starting to feel like home. I don’t feel like starting over.

I know with certainty stepping out of this space and into the next is what I am meant to do though. Whatever comes next I guess this space is not meant to hold it so it is time to put this writing space down.

My last blog held space for me for five years, next to that three months seems so small. I know better. I did big things here and am grateful to this space for being the vessel.

When I ended my last blog I shared the information for this blog in my last post so anyone who wanted to continue with me knew where to find me. I know I am not meant to do that this time.

I am going to walk forward on my own and shine my light knowing that if we are meant to walk with each other moving forward we will find one another. Thank you for your support. Thank you for seeing me.

With Gratitude,

Jillian
The woman adding

Artistic Outlets

A friend reached out to me recently and hinted that she might need some help writing content for a professional project she is working on. She and her business partner are planning what sounds like some kind of retreat for November. I am not sure the details (like target population or theme/content of the retreat) but the thought of helping her in this way is interesting. I have never written in this way before, I am not sure what I think honestly. I know I am curious enough to want to know more though.

In other creative news I have taken a step in another direction towards getting paid through artistic expression. It was another leap of faith where I didn’t know much about the opportunity, I just knew I felt compelled to act and make myself seen. It will pan out or it won’t. It feels good to follow my intuition so freely, it is a new practice for me and I am glad I am being presented with so many opportunities to do it.