Beyond the benefit of self

What does YOUR voice say? What does YOUR heart say? What does YOUR belly say?
Close your eyes. Speak to this. Speak from this. The words that travel within your bones. The words that lift the hairs on the back of your neck. The words that bring chills, that sink in, the ones that escape your breath. Speak from your body. We have enough quotes from the belly of Buddha.
What do YOU have to say? Say that. Do more. Be an ally for others. Prettiness isn’t going to change the world. Go deeper than the face. Go deep into the pain. Do not look away. Rip-off quotes are much too quiet. Bare your heavy heart and be a witness to others.
Penetrate the superficial.
Make this a tag line or headline.
We are the influencers. Our influence must go beyond the benefit of self. We are the influence generation.
Act like it.
Use your voice. Use your art. Use your heart. #penetratethesuperficial


The less I know, the more I feel

I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m doing it anyway. As they say, it’s only kinky the first time, or maybe the second…
Sometimes that means doing things that scare me the most. Sometimes that means getting really uncomfortable. Sometimes that means showing up. Sometimes that means putting myself out there even when there are nay-sayers and slayers. By sometimes, I mean always. And then I think, if I’m a no in the eyes of others or slaying myself by the lips of another, it’s because those are the voices in my head. As though they wear like an introduction sticker. “Hello, my name is…” These attachments, so comfortable and false. Outside illusions, old wounds, and pain. Those do not come from my heart, what’s true, is my electric-center, it’s my heart. That’s the charge, I feel it and it’s why you feel it with me. We are connected here.
Just because it’s not for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s not for you. I used to think this road was a little lonely, a year ago it was. How little I knew then. And how little I know now. I revel in the little I know and keep walking into the unknown. This is the freedom. It’s doing it anyway. It’s teaching it anyway. It’s loving it anyway. It’s living it anyway. The less I know, the more I feel, the more I see.

stepahnie birch

The vows we take.

I often see the goddess in you.
The softness and the light.
I see your nurturing ways of mothering, leading, full esteem.
Until today. She says.
I had forgotten, in all the ways you are soft, there are places you are stone. There are stones still turning, tumbling and softening their edges.
You heal, I heal.
You feel, I feel.
I had to write the last two lines of your prompt because they are mine too.
The vows we take; maybe some stones are meant unturned.

stephanie birch

Because of you, I live.

I keep this photo to remember your small frame, newly walking legs. I keep this photo to remember the few words that gurgled out from your lips, the firsts: “dada, mama, ball, and delicious.” I keep this photo in my favorites album, with each new device, this is one of the few that transfers. I keep this photo because it represents the beauty of motherhood and the despairs of depression. I keep this photo to glance back, once or maybe twice a year. I keep this photo for importance, to not be the face of darkness, but coming in to the light.
This was a time where life pulled me to my knees, occasionally keeping me to my sheets. This is the time I began to really connect with my yoga practice. This is the time I was digging the nail beds into the earth, at times wishing to sink and other times wishing to claw. I think of this time incredibly hard, yet unmistakably beautiful. This photo represents a moment between you and me, both of reflection in pain and joy. I do believe you can have the weight of the world and yet, somehow, feel on top of it too. I do believe you can feel the juxtaposition of every emotion, all at once. To feel so much happiness even in the darkest of days. I know this well, because I’ve lived here for a time. I will always keep this photo to remember that time.
This photo of me blowing you air kisses as my shins lift you to take flight. I hope you know you lifted me in ways I cannot express. I hope you know you are my greatest teacher. I hope you know that you are always loved, always lifted, always supported, and always a gift. You came in to this world as the biggest surprise, through a beautiful storm, a beautiful mess, a life as the message. I love you more than you know. Remembering here, this moment, to know how far we’ve come. Because of you, I live. #holymotherhood

stephanie birch

This house, this house that is a body

Face towards the sun as the wind blows with delight. I turn to the south to follow its warmth. I am not kept by the canvas drawn curtains, lopsided and shifty, they sway. The wood panels, broken and chipped. This old house, drawing near to its century, holds a lifetime of change. Oh, this place has been rattled with rage, ached with grief, and tortured by growth. Sometimes this tiny place feels like it’s bursting at the seams. Sometimes it feel much too big, perhaps empty and hollow. This is the house of change. That’s supported life and growth. I’ve rigged my body in its corners, places where I mend and heal. There’s not enough oil to quiet its creaks. It is the house that shakes and sways when trucks pass the neighboring alley. This house, like the body, holds a lifetime of change.
Your body, like a house, holds a lifetime of change. How you move, can spot where memories remain. There are emotions that seep between your folds and formations. Your smile says one thing, your eyes another. Doors that open, a heart closed-off or burdened. What’s brought you to your knees, is where some of the hardest floors and walls are kept. Unless you’ve unlocked your house, for all to break-in, to ravage your insides. Only you know how you’ve kept your house, this body, this life. Your body holds onto the life you are living.
I think if we knew deep down what has brought each of us to our knees, we’d never rely on tongued judgments or screened perceptions for proof of such life. Rely less on another to determine such fate. You’ll have to penetrate the superficial to go in deep, to wash the walls and dust the furniture of each other.
This is for my sister, Jade, who sits alongside my knees as much as she does heel-toeing in dance steps on flames. Kauai, we are ready and coming for you.

stephanie birch