desire, does not, equate to being valued


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what I never
learned
from my mother
was that
just because
someone desires you
does
not mean they value you.
desire is the kind of thing that
eats you
and
leaves you starving.

“Just because someone desires you, does not mean that they value you”.

Read it over.

Again.

“Just because someone desires you, does not mean that they value you”.

Let these words seep deep through you, through your veins, your bones, and settle, albeit uncomfortably, in your mind.

These are the colours of your self-esteem.

I encourage you to do so because these are profound and meaningful words from a wonderful poet/artist, Nayyirah Waheed. And with anything profound, you need to read it more than once for once is never enough.  Read it a hundred times if you can. And if you can, leave some space between each reading, as each time a different word or phrase will embed itself within your soul.

Now when I say soul I don’t mean soul in the overused new-age sort of way.  No.

When I say SOUL, I mean SOUL.

value2

When I say soul I am talking about who YOU are at the very CORE of your being.

The centre of your SELF. The ESSENCE of you.

That part of you that lies right the centre of your chest or in the depth of your belly that when you press hard, it hurts.  It is the ‘I’ within that you may have just started to explore its existence. The ‘I’ in you that you may probably spend your entire lifetime trying to figure out.  And you never will.  So give up. And just be. I have.

Anyway.

Nayyirah Waheed is phenomenal. She is phenomenal because she has the capacity to talk to me even though we’ve never met in a language that surpasses mere words. She reminds me that I’m alive. And I’m grateful to anyone who can do that. Her words have the capacity to remove all the debris that have formed and gathered itself on your psyche like rust on steel; cutting through the crap, stripping it away, leaving your heart bare and raw. She then leaves you to do the polishing work yourself. She starts the process but you do the work.

I’ve posted some of her pieces on my blog before from her anthology of poems called ‘salt’.  Perhaps her words may resonate with you too?  Let me know, if you want.

Be kind.

self-portrait


Self-Portrait
David Whyte

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
Or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
Abandoned.

If you know despair or can feel it in others.
I want to know
If you are prepared to live in the world
With its harsh need
To change you. If you can look back
With firm eyes
Saying this is where I stand. I want to know
If you know
How to melt into that fierce heat of living
Falling toward
The center of your longing. I want to know
If you are willing
To live, day by day, with the consequence of love
And the bitter
Unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
The gods speak of God.

I came across this poem by David Whyte this morning. The poem speaks of a steadfastness within. Something we hold on to when everything around us is uncertain and chaotic.

We are defeated, Whyte says, by love and also by fate. We will be slowly or quickly broken on the wheel of time, by life and by the living of it.

So the question is: when everything falls apart, when love goes wrong, when hopes are dashed, when dreams are broken; where do you go and what do you hold on to?

David Whyte

beauty, rising from the ashes


ashes2

The Love themes for this month seem to be overflowing for me at present.  I am discovering that there are many stories to tell and that somehow, in some mysterious way, these stories are finding me in wonderful, unexpected ways.

Last night I found this wonderful picture of a Heart (posted above) and I knew that I wanted to know more about the creation and more importantly the person who created it and her story.

There is always a story behind everything we create and express.  Something must always come from something.  So I sent a note asking if I could write about her work and her creations.  And she wrote back.

ashes4

Her name is Antonella.

A few weeks back we had connected over a letter found in a park written by someone who has lost someone dear.  Funny how paths can cross sometimes.

I asked Antonella if she would be happy for me to write about her Heart and the story behind it.  She said “yes”.

This is our dialogue that took place last night:

justme:  I write a blog and if you were willing I’d like to write about your work, your creations, especially the Heart.

Antonella: you can write using my heart but please I would like you to use my watermarked pic.  This Heart has a special meaning for me and it is a result of a painful Love.  It took me years to express what my Heart feels like and how long it too me to be where I am now.  It is a Heart of a Survivor.  I thought I could not live without him.  I consumed myself until my Heart almost died of Hope.  Although my Pain, I still have the courage to LOVE.  What else would you like to know?

I noticed whilst typing this out today that the words of “Heart”, “Love,” “Survivor”, “Hope” and “Pain” that Antonella wrote were all written in capital letters. This, to me, symbolises how important these values are to Antonella (note: ‘him’ is in lower-case, symbolising that some processing work has taken place).

ashes5

Some of us, (not all), can connect with this type of Pain.  I know that I can, as I have.

It is a kind of Pain that is all-consuming. It takes over everything. All colours become grey. Your senses are more fragile than they have ever been. It is a Pain that threatens to rip your heart right out of your body so much so that you struggle to breathe. Each breath you take, is laborious and painful, and so difficult (and at times, seemingly pointless).

You wonder why your heart has not stopped and why (and how) it continues to still beat, day after day. It is the kind of Pain that seeps, deep, into your bones. Every part of you aches. You are in agony and darkness. And even after time, which in all honesty has been pretty much senseless, has lapsed, and you think you’re stronger, you know traces of it still run deep in your veins as you are able to feel its presence in your every-day. The Pain is sedimented in your psyche, in your soul. It follows you like your silent shadow; your familiar companion. It is a kind of heartbreak that never leaves you but somehow it breaks you open in ways you can almost feel grateful for. But only later. Gratitude comes, but much, much later.

After all, it is the cracks within us that allow for the Light to come through.

It is our journey through fire (and pain) that allows us to come out the other side, beaten and bruised, but a little wiser and certainly more connected with our fellow human beings, who suffer as we do.

ashes3

Our eyes see what we now resonate with.

Antonella also said to me: well behind everything I do there is a story, an event…I turned angry feelings into creativity and if this Heart can put a smile on someone’s face, then it mean I have a good use of my energy.  Creativity has given me wings to fly 🙂  Please if you can use what I have sent you.  Thank you for wanting to write about my Work.  Spread Love with your beautiful words because the World is craving for it 🙂

And what I would say to her, here, now in this blog is this:

Thank you Antonella for sharing your story with me. It has certainly put a smile on my face and I am sure others will connect with it too. The Heart you have created is a joy to look at for it is truly Beautiful.  I do hope that you go on creating more wondrous delights and share them with the world. The world is hungry for your work. Be like the Phoenix, rising from the ashes for as the story goes, the phoenix is a mythical bird with fiery plumage that lives up to 100 years. Near the end of its life, it settles in to its nest of twigs which then burns ferociously, reducing bird and nest to ashes. And from those ashes, a fledgling phoenix rises – renewed and reborn.

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So there it is — another story. And now I turn it over to you. What have you learned about going through hard times? I’d love to hear…

Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. In those transparent moments we know other people’s joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own.”

~Fritz Williams

the one; is there the one?


image

I read a really lovely article and thought I’d share it here with you. It may be helpful and put things perspective if you’re looking for “the one” person to share your life with.

Often, and because we are human, we tend to overcomplicate matters especially when it comes to Love. Often, the answers are so simple and easy.

So do away with your lists, and trust instead in the wise voice within and your soul.

As Rilke once said:

“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”

In the meantime the article below may help. Enjoy reading and be kind to yourselves and each other.

The One. The one. Is there a One?

And if there is how will I know? And what if I’m wrong? And what if there’s really two or three or…

We humans complicate things so. There are many animals who mate for life and don’t lose sleep trying to figure out if their mate is the only one. Wolves for example. And coyotes, those wild wild nocturnal maniacs—yes, they have it all figured out.

Owls, beavers, eagles, swans, cranes, pigeons, hawks, ospreys, geese and some apes are a few more. My guess is that they don’t spend 10 minutes asking themselves if they have made the right choice or if something better awaits them right around the the next corner.

They just know.

For years I have seen articles that describe in great detail how to know if our beloved is the one. I have read articles and books that strongly suggest that if I answer, “No” to any of their questions I might be in the wrong relationship. Books that ask hundreds of questions and no matter how you answer them you put the book down feeling like you just ate rotten fish and wondering what you ever saw in this person you love anyway.

We talk to friends and therapists and priests and experts. We take quizzes online and haunt the self help aisles in bookstores and libraries. We look for “signs” and ask question after question.

Does she make you feel…?

Does he say…?

Does he have…?

Does she give you…?

Can he read your mind?

Do you speak the same love language?

And oh my God, what do you mean he forgot your birthday?

It really is so much more simple than all of that and it all boils down to two very simple questions.

1. Do I love this person?

Not, is this person hot or sexy or fun; not, do I enjoy this person; not, are we compatible; not, is it a good idea— but, do I really and truly love this person? Would I give them half of my paycheck, the last bite, my car or…a kidney? Is it that kind of love?

If the answer is yes then you’re already more than halfway there. Real love is motivation for growth and understanding and compassion. Real love drives us to be better people who rise above petty difficulties and fleeting emotions. People who do whatever it takes to nurture what we hold dear, kidney donation or not.

2. Are both my life and my partner’s life better because of our relationship?

Sit back, put your feet up, close your eyes, imagine your life without your beloved and ask yourself: How would I live without this person? How would I feel? How would I spend my time? Would I feel full? Would I feel empty? Would I sleep well or would I lie awake longing?

Who would I confide in? Who would I spend my time with? Who would lift me up when I am down? Who would be my rock? Is my love my best friend? What would I do on Saturday night or Tuesday afternoon or everyday for the rest of my life if this person disappeared from my world?

A thousand questions could follow and we should be mindful of how we would answer them but not get too caught up in the details. We need to keep it simple. We need to put aside all secondary emotions like envy, put aside fear and attachment and know that no matter what happens we will survive. With a pure, courageous, open heart we need to ask the simple question: How would my life be without this person I call my love?

I’m not suggesting that we settle for an unhealthy relationship, nor am I suggesting that there is necessarily only one one. I am saying that we complicate things with mountains of questions which can create doubt and confusion. Sometimes the answer is obvious if we simplify. If we can take a step back and answer these two questions honestly and fearlessly I believe the answer as to whether we should be with our chosen one, or not, will be obvious. If we really and truly-give-up-a-kidney-kind of love our partner and we recognize that our lives are better as a team then with a little attention and a lot of commitment everything else will fall into place.

image

my heart


Photo taken by contributor Carrie Hilgert, a photographer and portrait artist in her thirties from Northeast Kansas who was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After venturing into digital photography, she became interested in documenting her life with self portraits. This became particularly helpful when her life started to fall apart due to depression. All her other creative outlets left her, but she could always process her very dark feelings with self portraits. While she is doing much better now, she maintains compassion for those going through these hard things and hopes that her photography can give an honest insight into something that makes most people feel very isolated and alone.

About this photo:

“This photo is titled ‘Can You Feel the Beat of My Heart Beat Through Me?’ This is from a series on fear and uncertainty. Fear seems to be a recurring theme in my life, no matter how hard I fight it. Fear of abandonment, of not being noticed, of my mental illness consuming me, of what people will think if they see the real me, of losing my creativity and worst, of getting to the end of my life without having let all of the wonderful things inside me come out. This shot is about that heartbeat that is crying to come out. The passion that is breaking through the shell I built for most of my life..”

Find more from Carrie at her blog or flickr.

My Heart.