Last time I posted I wrote about the Fierce Grace Collective, and how these meditations and this incredible assembly of women were breathing new air into my life, and enabling me to engage with my calm, true, strong self within. I want to talk a little bit more about that, and how I try (with both success and failure) to root into that foundation every day.
In the several months since I found this program, quite a lot has happened. I went the longest amount of time I've ever gone without working on my house. I went to Europe to stay with strangers. I went through a breakup that completely restructured what I had come to think of as my life. A terrifyingly short time later I went through another breakup that went through the heart of me like a tornado, flattening a fledgling love that hadn't even found its feet. The highs and lows of March alone were enough to leave me curled in a ball on the floor.
But they didn't. I made my way through March just how I made my way through January and February, how I make my way through every day: grounded in love and gratitude. Even on the hard days, even when I'm devastated, but also when I'm ecstatic, when things are going well and it's easiest to forget, I remember to be thankful for the sheer fact of me. I remember to respect that I'm here standing on this Earth with these feet, that I even have the opportunity to experience the highs and lows. I try to meet life, all of life, with love rather than anger or fear.
This isn't a way of living I've adopted just in the weeks since discovering the Fierce Grace Collective, it's a constant process I've been working on every day for the better part of ten years. But the FGC has given me tools to make that process easier. When my foundation is strong and my center is calm, I can access the love and light that allows me to greet pain or struggle with acceptance and work through it.
The most important tools would have to be the meditations, and the support of a whole community of women struggling just like me to find the time to make mindfulness and self-care a priority. It can feel selfish to take time to focus on nothing but your breath and your heart. We live in a world that doesn't value taking time to truly clear your mind, in fact it downright dissuades us from it. But these beautiful women help remind each other to love ourselves first so we can more deeply love those around us.
The third tool that helps me live a spiritual life in a society that doesn't always support it is the encouragement to write down my intentions. This is hardly a mind-blowing technique; whether you firmly believe in self-actualization or simply write yourself a to-do list each day, you're setting down your intentions. But I found that when prompted to truly think about my intentions for the next month, or several months, or lunar year, I found a serene strength in it. Just like writing yourself a list and feeling ease at knowing your next step, there is peace in organizing and setting down your heart's desires. It blossomed into not only a list of how I want to live my life for the next months, but the things I truly believe I need in order to live my life most deeply.
Now, normally, this would be where I'd leave you. I'd tell you this is a really cleansing exercise and a great method for channeling your energy into the areas you really should. I'd hope you give it a try, and send you on your way. But not this time.
When Carrie Anne prompted us to write down our intentions she suggested things we could do with our lists. Some people like to burn it ceremoniously, some like to keep it in a sacred space, and some like to post it on a wall so they can see it every day. Normally, I'd have kept my list someplace private. Tucked inside my journal. Posted inside my closet door. Somewhere I wouldn't risk anyone's eyes but mine seeing. But the fourth tool the FGC has given me is permission to change. The beginning of a new year is a fantastic time for looking at our behaviours and seeing what doesn't benefit us, what tics and traits we should try to slough off or adapt. I've always been a private person, often detrimentally so, and that deserves reflection. Why is it that my bedroom wall, a space only seen by the people I'm closest to, seems a brazen place to post my hopes for this year, intentions that wouldn't take anyone by surprise if they even half knew me? That desire for privacy benefits no one, and has potential to harm, so I took the path I traditionally wouldn't have and taped that sucker right to my wall.
A minute display of openness, to be sure, but one giant leap for Linnea-kind.
But let's continue that forward motion. If I'm nervous to be listing my beliefs on my bedroom wall, it's for damn sure that I need to force myself to be more open more often. So, while a sporadically read blog isn't much of a public forum, the internet is the world's largest public space, and that has to count for something. So here goes:
There we have the barest and most succinct version of my views on life, and the ways I would like to live mine. Straight from my heart (and my bedroom wall). These aren't secrets, they're not anecdotes from my life. But they're personal all the same. What could possibly be more personal than belief? So, whether or not you agree, I hope you appreciate the nerve it took for me to post it here. And I hope, whoever you are, that you know that my love, "expressed freely and openly" is sent happily and sincerely your way.
Finally, I want to address the question on the bottom: how do we go forth from here? It's a question I was asked in the tiny library of a tiny abbey on a tiny island in Scotland. I was there on a weeklong ecumenical retreat, and it was commonly accepted among my fellow visitors that we were in a hallowed place. Closer to the veil, or god, or God, or nature, or whatever you'd like to name it, it's a place that calls forth the deepest parts of us. There we are open. We love. We are kind, and calm. We all become the island and the island becomes us, and the importance of our differences dissolves. The man in the library, a very sweet Englishman there with a whole group, spoke with me about the incredible and undeniable nature of this place. We discussed the way we become our best selves there, a little slower to anger and little more open to love, and how it makes the idea of true peace, of world peace, seem less like a naive trope and more like an actual possibility. He said to me, "We can't bring everyone to this place. But we can bring what we find inside ourselves back to others. We can try to foster this love in other people. But we have to think about how. How do we go forth from here?"
We didn't come up with any hard and fast plans. It's not a problem that lends itself to easy solutions, that whole world peace thing. But it's an important question, and it rings in my ears still. We do have the power to change ourselves, and how we see the world and each other, and if we can do those things, it begs the question, what can't we change? So, set down your intentions for yourself. Think about your intentions for the world. And the next time you find yourself answering life with love instead of judgement, anger, or fear, take note of it. Be thankful for it. And ask yourself, how do we go forth from here?