You know, I just love it when divine messages come at exactly the right time. This morning, I was perusing through my Instagram feed and up popped a message that I desperately needed to hear today (but didn't even realize)- Go Forth.
You see, a few weeks ago, I posted this on my Facebook page.
6 years ago while living in Bali- unwinding from years spent in finance and athletic competition- I saw a performance of women at a nightclub dancing with fire and flames. The experience struck me to the core- of knowing something deep about myself, but was so far from who I could see that day.
I made a vow that night that I would learn this dance when I had earned the honor.
So I spent years cultivating my inner fire. Walking through the flames in my odyssey. Burning away the old identities and things standing in the way of me becoming fully me.
Building up the courage and faith to face the truth of who I am and what I came here in this lifetime to do.
Several weeks ago, I shared this vision with an amazing photographer/ healer of capturing the fiery side of myself that's been burning lately.
I had no idea at the time, but this simple share led her to help me in fulfilling my vision last night by a bonfire in a sacred town.
And dance with the flames I did-- for hours and with a sword. With wings and drums and pure magic. There was even a goddess and a dragon who appeared- special tools to dance with the fire that felt like I've known them all along.
And finally, my body found the way she's wanted to move all along. A way she's been wanting to move, needing to move, ACHING to move.
As if my body finally caught up to a dance she deeply needed to return to. My mind finally caught up with the courage to go there. And that my soul had remembered all along and was burning to feel again.
And she does. And I do. And this morning it somehow feels like life will never be the same again.
I’ve received more email, texts and messages based on this one post than anything I’ve ever put up in Facebook-land.
And in many ways, sharing this really vulnerable truth about myself took me well past an edge. It was more of a coming out of my internal world and the practices I do in private than anything I've shared before.
And that was well- scary.
And it left me in an awkward in-between place- yet again in my life- where I launched myself into a deeper reality of being seen, but I didn't yet have all my ducks in a row to present it fully- or perfectly- to the world.
As you know, I've been working on a lot of projects and exciting new programs behind the scenes, and well truth is- they aren't 'ready' yet. Everything is taking longer than expected. Web design changes haven't yet come through. Sales pages are delayed. Even photos I've been waiting on to move forward haven't arrived yet- including those from this photo shoot I wrote about above that I can't wait to show you.
To put it mildly, my inner perfectionist has been taken for quite a ride. The plan, the vision, the flow have all been stalled.
Until yesterday, I was letting all of this get to me. Majorly.
It's been like sitting in the fire and not being able to move, but not wanting to be there either.
The uncomfortable space in-between.
Which I've been hearing some version of from pretty much everyone I've spoken with the last several weeks. A common sentiment being "What the hell is going on right now"?
Then yesterday, it all hit me. It's not a question of 'what the hell is going on?" but rather questions of:
Where am I standing in my own way?
And what/ who/ where have I been holding back in anticipation of it all being ready and perfect?
SO BEFORE I MOVE ON, I WANT YOU TO STOP HERE FOR A MOMENT. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS AND BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO HEAR THE ANSWERS.
REALLY TRULY- FIND THE COURAGE TO DIG DEEP HERE AND LISTEN TO THE TRUTH THAT COMES THROUGH.
You see, the divine joke here is that if you have been feeling this way- or any version of feeling 'off' in-between, scared, in the fire or held back- then you've actually been perfectly in the flow.
The past few weeks, we've been in the energy of Imbolc (a Celtic fire ceremony) plus a build up to Lent (a purification ritual in Christianity) as well as this night- Monday February 16th- the beginning of one of the most potent and powerful high Holy Days in the Hindu/ Tantric tradition- Maha Shivaratri.
Celebrated on the evening before the New Moon in February, the long night to Shiva- Divine Masculine, Lord of the Fire, Lord of the Cosmic Dance, and Creator/ Destroyer. The god who helps us move through those things which stand in our path and hold us back from fully experiencing our lives- and our Odyssey.
This night honors his dance of courage- the tandava nritya- when he performed the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.
Why courage? Because in order for us to create, we must also destroy. In order to create, we must be willing to experience the discomfort of that creation/ destruction. And what we most often need to destroy is not actual things or situations, but rather those parts of our ego that are desperately grasping for things to look/ feel/ be a certain way.
Shiva is the keeper of the fire, the courage to sit in tapas- or burning, unwavering devotion- and allow this fire to transmute these things into the metaphorical gold.
And thus we arrive again at that word that reverberates deep within my heart- alchemy.
Several years ago, I participated in a full year of intensive study of the Divine Masculine in Shiva's form and entering his heart with one of my beloved teachers, Paul Muller-Ortega. It was a year of intense tapas- letting go and burning away of all those things which no longer served me.
And somehow, that deep work I did for an extended period of time always comes back this time of year in the build up to his honor, and I've found that even those who aren't aware of this also experience it on some level. As another of my beloved teachers, Shiva Rea, says,
"The dark nights before Shivaratri often involve death or dissolution in some form, making way for the fire of rebirth and a deeper union to emerge out of the darkness. The all-night firekeeping of this special holy day is a threshold to transformation, to the reigniting of the fires of realization"- Shiva Rea Tending The Heart Fire
I know I myself had massive dreams this weekend of death, destruction, and chaos as my ego let go of it's tight grip on having to get everything 'right'. If you have been having similar dreams or experiences in waking life, know that you are not alone and in fact- you are experiencing some wonderful and benevolent gifts from the Divine right now.
So tonight, we all have an opportunity to honor this flame, sit in our own tapas, and allow those things that no longer serve to burn away.
So that you can then- Go Forth.
Go Forth to create. Go Forth to be free. Go Forth to birth that project or business or baby or love.
Go Forth to be you. Go Forth to shine.
Go Forth to allow in all the love, prosperity, art and desires in your heart.
Have the courage to Go Forth- and to burn away any part of your ego that is saying no, it's impossible, or you are not worthy.
Because Yes, you can. It's SO possible. And you are more than worthy- you deserve it.
What I love most about this Holy Day is that anyone, regardless of belief or tradition, can celebrate.
So now, I'd like to Go Forth and share with you some practices near and dear to my heart, despite a fear that they may be 'too much' or not perfect.
I share with you below a few ways that you too can celebrate this evening- or anytime this week!- and harness the beautiful power of this night. I invite you to do at least one of these, or a combination of whichever practices draw you in.
- Light a candle to burn throughout the night. A simple practice to humbly honor the flame burning inside each of us.
- Perform meditation with the candle, or a fire place. Meditate on the fire, allow it to speak to you and you to it, and open yourself up to the wisdom it offers you on this holy night.
- Incorporate a stillness practice this evening in addition to your regular practices, or add some extra time to your nightly meditation if appropriate.
- Dance. Dance. Dance. One of my favorite ways to harness the energy of Shiva is to allow my body to dance in whatever form she wants to take. As Lord of the Cosmic Dance, in one dance Shiva had the power to simultaneously create the world and destroy those things which were holding it back. Each of us has this power within, just waiting for us to utilize it. So this evening, turn on some music that makes you feel sexy and fiery, and dance dance dance to see what your body wants to create in its awakening. I find that a serpent energy and movement often arises, which is associated with Shiva and his dance. Just last week, I attended an event to dance with the sacred naga- or snake- and it was one of most powerful experiences of my life. Below is me with a young Python draped around my face and giving me divine blessings that are still reverberating through my system...
You don't need to dance with an actual snake like I just did, but how can you allow this movement to come through your body in your own dance of creation?
- Fasting For many, this is a night of fasting or only eating fruit and water. If you are Christian, this also follows the energy of Lent (which begins this Wednesday) where we give up- or fast- from certain things in order to purify our system. I remember every year attending Catholic school spending the days leading up to Lent deciding what I would give up, being scared I couldn't do it, but committing to it anyway. I love it when traditions from different cultures line up to be almost the same at certain points in the year. So what can you choose to abstain from in honor of stepping into the fire of transformation?
- Rebirth Why would we enter and honor the fire in the first place, you might ask? It's simple really- to die unto ourselves so we can be reborn, over and over and over again. I wrote about this energy several months ago in How to Rise Like a Phoenix, and tonight I invite you to revisit anything that comes up for you around this energy of rebirth. Tapping into the energy of Lent and Easter can help with this as well- who do you most want to be in the world, and are you willing to risk metaphorical death to be reborn into that being you know you are meant to be?
- Make Love. Maha Shivaratri is also the anniversary of Shiva marrying Shakti- the divine Union of masculine and feminine. So spend some time with your partner this evening honoring this union- talk, listen, connect and be willing to be reborn with each other on this holiest of nights. If you are single, spend some time visioning what you most desire in a partner and see if you can feel their presence and what is standing between you.
- Mantra. Tonight is a night to sing and chant to Shiva. For some of you, one or a few rounds may be right. Or you may choose to stay up all night in celebration. Do what feels right to you. There are a few chants you can work with this evening. I've included a link to me chanting each next to the Sanskrit:
One or several rounds of 108 of Om Hrim Namah Shivaya- I bow to Lord Shiva.
Mahamrityunjaya Matra: The Great Death-Conquering Nectar Mantra.
9. Puja If you have a practice of puja to Shiva, tonight is an excellent night to celebrate. These are generally transmitted from teacher to student- I highly recommend studying with Paul Muller-Ortega if this is something you wish to explore further.
The most important thing to remember in any of this is to do what feels right to you- allow the fire of your transmutation to speak to you directly, and listen to what she tells you is needed for you to burn away, transform those things that are ready to change, let go of those things you are ready to let go of, and find the courage to GO FORTH in whatever your heart is pulling you towards tonight, or really any time this week.
I would LOVE to hear how this goes for you and what steps you are going to take to Go Forth and live your life more fully. I'll be using #GoForth all week in Social Media and sending out a few announcements about new exciting offerings that I'm ready to reveal.
I'd love for you to use #GoForth as well and let me and your tribe know what you are up to and what you are ready to bring forth in the world.Be brave, Fire Dancers.
In Liberation + Celebration,