It does me. Much of my life was spent hiding and defending my heart. I learned early not to trust others but more importantly not to trust myself. I learned my authentic self was not good enough for this life.
Living to protect my heart created a lonely, messy life. Plus I was angry all of the time.
I have also spent most of my life learning how to live differently.
Learning how to let go of messages and training I received from our culture and my family.
Learning how to take care of myself and stop looking outside myself for others to take care of me.
Learning how to have my past not be my future.
I found the secret was living with an open heart. Which scared the crap out of me at first because I had no idea how not to push everyone away and hide who I was.
For over 25 years I have been committed to cultivating an open heart—no matter what was going on in my life.
Living with an open heart is about the vulnerability of embracing our authenticity.
Living with an open heart is witnessing our authenticity without judgement. This witnessing fosters inner small movements to risk vulnerability.
How I Help Others
To help make the world more compassionate and open I support and assist women who want to connect to their authenticity yet struggle with feeling not good enough. I do this by sharing how I struggle with feeling not good enough and my adventures of living with an open heart.
I believe the practices of creative expression (writing in particular), doing less (slowing down, way down) and mindful self-care are the cornerstone reclaiming our authenticity and opening our hearts.
As an Amherst Writers and Artist Affiliate, I offer both online and in person (Detroit area) creative writing workshops and retreats. All of my workshops and retreats are based on the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press. This is a powerful method of writing and sharing that encourages opening and witnessing of not only what is in your heart but in the heart of others. It is a writing method that gets to the heart of matter.
If you want support to Cultivate an Open Heart Sign up for my newsletter and get access to my How to Develop An Open Hearted Writing Practice
Other interesting things about me:
- I start my days with Morning Pages and have since 1995. (In my quest for more flexibility and kindness to myself I began allowing myself to miss days in the last two years. Still the foundation to my days).
- Also part of my foundation is a daily Vipassana mediation practice I started in 2008.
- Practicing mindfulness throughout my days makes me a better driver and slows me down, among other things.
- I need to move my body daily. This is a non negotiable. It doesn’t matter if it is Qigong, riding my bike, hiking, or dancing but for mental health and the peaceful enjoyment of those I work and live with I must move my body.
- I love to cook. I was a vegan chef in one of my many careers. I am an intuitive cook, so it is really hard for me to give recipes but I am good at teaching people how to cook. Food and eating is one of life’s great pleasures.
- I have a problem with books. I have too many and I spend way too much money on them. I typically am reading five to eight books at any given time. I have been this way since I was a small child.
- I have practiced various types of yoga for over 15 years and I love yoga but as I get older my body doesn’t love yoga so much. Strange I know but I have Hyper Mobility Syndrome and I am done trying to make yoga work for my body.
- I recently started practicing Qigong and this is a match made in heaven.
- I have always wanted to be a writer. I have journaled, been part of workshops, taken classes, was part of an AWA writing group for over 7 years. I have crates full of writing, all very personal, and all very reflective.
- I have completed NaNoWriMo three times (attempted five times). Yay for me! I have not published any thing yet. I have what Anne Lamont calls “shitty first drafts.”
- I went to art school and earned my Bachelor of Fine Art in Ceramics and Printmaking. Creating visual art is another vehicle in which my heart tells my story.
- I have a 23 year old son who is a fabulous young man.
- I have two cats, Riggins and Neko. They provide me and my partner with endless hours wonderment.
- I know I feel joy, real joy, not forced manufactured joy that is fleeting. I feel joy that dwells deep in my bones even when sorrow and pain come by for a visit as they surely do.
Remember we don’t have to be alone on our journey as we encounter life’s “Ten thousand joys and ten thousand sorrows”