We choose

Healing is a choice. It is a requirement that you crawl inside of yourself. There will be tensions and triggers that often pulse in your body, listen to them well, feel them without blame. There’s no solitude in blaming the other, or the past. Your triggers are the very places you must go inside. It is a cue to check in.
You can clench your jaw, hold tightly onto pain, as a currency for attention. You can receive from others and take to comfort of the superficial. You can exhaust yourself chasing connection of the other. So afraid to be abandoned by the external, you’ll fold and fall and gravel at the doors of short comfort. This, my dear, is a hard pill, you fear the ones who may leave you, so reach, molding yourself into another. Know this: you’ve long ago left yourself.
You long for words and touch from others to fill yourself. To heal. To feel. To love. To forgive.
Come back to choice. It is the path traveled alone.
Only you can heal yourself.
Only you can feel yourself.
Only you can love yourself.
Only you can forgive yourself.
When you forgive yourself, you forgive all. You untie the ropes of blame, you untether yourself from shame, and release yourself from darkness into light. Again and again. It is not easy, it is absolutely necessary. You change your world within, one breath, one wing span at a time, one step at a time. Your life can change in a moment, if you so choose.

Fill yourself with so much love so that it overflows into your neighbor’s cup.

stephanie birch

Only love can LIVE here, anything less will be the death of us

Love this shit out of yourself and each other. Please. Love must go in every corner, crack, crevice, unmentionable, and mentionable place.
Fuse admission of injustices with love. Please.
Unite together with love. Please.

Only love can LIVE here.
Anything less will be the death of us.

I love you humans. Look for the lovers. Side with the lovers. Always.

stephynow

life is messy and magical

Life is messy and magical. 
People are messy and magical. 
Let it all be messy and magical. 

Sometimes we can get so caught up in presenting ourselves in this life. A friend will ask how we are doing and our response is an immediate, "fine, thank you." How often do we get real with others and say when things are not so fine. For me, I'm guilty of this knee-jerk response and still working on opening up when things are not so fine and fantastic. Sometimes, I prefer not to give details as if to not burden or take up space of another. I am used to quietly handling my own shit, if you will. I am the oldest of five children, example-maker, do-gooder, and leader. There was not a whole lot of time dedicated to feeling real growing up. Often times, I lashed out in my hormonal-teenage-angst ways. I was a fiery, lean girl with sharp tongue. Part of growing up was not understanding this fire within; what it was, where it came from, and why.

Life is confusing and misleading. You have societal pressures and cultural norms to "do this" or "that." Do well in school, go to college, and get a job. I come from a family with split biological parents, a rocky on/off relationships with one, and siblings that always assured me I was only "half-related" to our family. I don't think anyone wants be made out to be half of anything. While I don't finger-point these old tattled words, I do remember how I felt many years ago: alone. I spent many summers visiting my grandparents and helping them around their house because it was the only place I felt a sense of belonging. Plus, I really enjoyed doing chores, learning German, painting, picking wild berries, making homemade sun tea, serving coffee and bussing tables at a local restaurant where my grandma was a full-time cook. I spent much of that time alone in the small town they lived. I felt free and a sense of duty that went beyond caring for my siblings, I felt like I was contributing to life. I cherished walks alone, caring for however-many-dogs my grandparents had at the time, and I became quite independent during these visits. 

Through my twenties, I fumbled a lot. I think it's expected and I used to believe that doing so during those years was the "right time" for that sort of thing. How naive to believe that we must only go through shit in a particular decade and take charge on "real life" beyond such a timeline. From parties to drugs to boys to binges and what-have-you, I came down from that high and got stuck.

Stuck in a life and job that I wasn't really living.

I found out I was pregnant a week before I was partially laid off. I begged for the company to reconsider and reinstate my health benefits to no avail, working my last shift at 39 weeks, and high-tailed my waddle-ass out of there. I vowed to never return to a lifeless job or ever get stuck again.

I don't want to gloss over my time as a new mom, it was hard and beautiful. Yet I was silent. I became stuck again. In a strange limbo of battling an identity that was difficult to familiarize. I was in a cloud of darkness that would not lift. It was a happy time and also not. I was gripping onto a life raft full people with their "ooohhhs" "and "ahhhhhs" and joyous baby coos with endless preaches of to-dos of parenting. "Isn't being a mom the best thing ever?" I'd be asked. Forcing a yes when all you want to say is, "yes and no." But the horror of such a response. So I hid. I pretended. I went on thinking I could trick my brain into grace and nods. Trickery, like a balloon, eventually pops. The air went out the same time we lost security on many things; roof, wheels, and unsure of how we could survive on Steve's business. Life became scarce for us.

I kept with my yoga practice. On days, I refused showers and plastered to the couch, Steve was there encouraging me to go to class. I just kept on even in the fog of it, I kept on. Falling on my mat at times in anger and sadness. Sometimes grieving for a pain I did not know. Always returning to the teachings and showing up for myself. I truly believe that when you commit to yourself, as you are in the moment, you are your highest self. People reach for a goodness factor or a lightness regarding highest self. I don't always think that is true. What was true for me was showing up for anger. Showing up for my sadness. Showing up for my life. Allowing myself to feel myself, all of it. Being real. That's what changed for me. Not pretending, no longer in hiding, or shying away from my emotions. Getting in touch and downright close with them. It wasn't about trying to fix or mold myself into another figure or sweep anything under the rug, it was simply being me.

Part of our job is emotional honesty. 

Sometimes we need a loving ear. 

Sometimes we need the support of our mat. 

Sometimes we need to show up and let that be enough.

Let yourself be messy and beautiful. Let people be messy and beautiful.
Let life be messy and beautiful.
Together, it's one, big, beautiful mess. It's not perfect, it's real. And it is absolutely loving.
 

stephynow
Source: https://oneoeight.tv/life-is-messy-and-mag...

women-rising

Women rise. If you’re not running around wildly in support of women, then certainly don’t stand in their way. Society thrives on pinning women against each other. It thrives on men dominating women. It thrives on tearing her down from the moment society checked an “x” on a “gender” box.
The conditioning that women are primed for objectivity on stages for others is the type of system designed to degrade, rape, torture, mind fuck and even kill over half the population. There’s so much heaviness and hatred surrounding the topic of women (I’m aware all of us, this is strictly for the women).
With all this weight, we rise. And continue to do so. It would be hell of a lot easier if women rapidly increased their support of another. It’s happening, yes. I’m talking all-out-massive-action of loving and lifting other WOmen. Stop competing, stop gossiping, stop tearing, stop beating, stop damaging other women. Such small acts can lead to big change and a wild-ferocious-way-of-life with women in charge. 
And realize this – the success of another woman and her thriving in a society that wants to pigeon-hole and suck her dry is the same woman inside of you. Her success is yours and yours hers, in all of our differences and ways nurturing. 
Women-rise-up.
Let’s set each other on fire and dance in our flames.

stephynow