I am fresh from a weekend on the Oregon coast where forests open to the ocean, with trees so tall they reach the heavens above. A verdant, magical fairyland.
You’d think mystical woodland creatures had scurried around planning this writer’s retreat. Pretty close. These aren’t your everyday, walking around folks. This band of self-described misfits are my people.*
Corporeal Writing co-founder Domi Shoemaker (striped shirt above) started out by declaring, “we are not the types to make you do sh!t.” This crew is about self-honoring practices. Here in old growth, Sitka Spruce country, the idea was to process pain and grief and express it in prose and poetry. With the support of wise old trees and one another, we turned pain into art.
Lots of vulnerability rose up in this space. It fueled our creativity to make stuff. Spending time in this incredible natural setting helped soak up the extra intense feelings. All this activity happens in right brain and produces sensations of connection and calm. It is so my preferred way to do vulnerability.
The playground of the brain’s right hemisphere is my favorite territory. It’s where I problem solve, dream, write and let go. It is free from social conditioning. Truth lives there and when it shows up, I don’t question it.
The work that happens in that right side is generative and real. My mission is to find direct pathways that take me there. For me, the most direct route is music. When I am inside an epic drum solo or soul stirring ethereal voice, I become one with it. My stressed out, self-conscious ego totally vanishes. It’s honestly such a relief.
Among these natural wonders and artists, Bastille’s Oblivion played in my mind over and over. Tears welled up.
Are you going to age with grace?
Are going to age without mistakes?
Are you going to age with grace,
Or only to wake and hide your face?
Before we had language, we had music. Singing. First, we hummed. Music occurs in the right brain where neurons are long, reaching backwards, forwards and into realms we can’t conceive of intellectually. Compared to the short, stubby neurons in the left hemisphere, it’s a way more connected place to be. Our culture trains us to live in that left brain where limited thinking, pressure and social and religious conditioning operate to reign in our wild hearts.
I’m here to tell you though, the right brain is where the magic happens. It’s the place I want to be all the time. Some left handed people have more going on in the right hemisphere than most. I am left handed so maybe that’s why it’s my preferred hangout. It’s where I coach my clients and ask right brainy questions to guide their problem-solving, desire-discovering and barrier-busting. It is RICH territory, totally free from cultural constructs and trauma. It accesses what we really want for ourselves. And sometimes that’s a real f!ckin surprise.
So. This song. It feels like it’s about me having the courage to show who I really am. To walk with purpose into the unknown. To trust that what, in retrospect, seemed like a wrong turn was actually meant to be exactly as it was. Or else it would have been different.
When oblivion is calling out your name
You always take it further
Then I ever can.
Are you going to age with grace?
Are you going to leave a path to trace?
We weren’t trained to cede control. My recent health scare reminded me that the unknown is all we ever have, regardless of what we put in place to avoid the inevitable. Control is an illusion. And the only way to move through it is with self-compassion. Grace. Trust. To surrender to the force greater than ourselves. The one supporting us on our path. And to always remember that what we want, wants us back. And that by staying in alignment with our own desires and unlearning harmful conditioning, we make ourselves available for all that is meant for us.
There is one aspect of this that we can actually control: what we think and believe about ourselves and others. If we question thoughts and beliefs that cause suffering, we can turn thoughts around to where they feel like peace in the body.** That is the only way to recognize truth. It feels exactly like freedom.
I will leave a path to trace. My journey will help others. And it is not only up to me. This path is a co-creation. Yours is too. And what a relief. I’ve been feeling so alone in my pursuit to figure out what all this is about, where I am meant to be, for a lifetime. And I don’t have to anymore.
When you realize you are held by a force greater than yourself and relax into the mystery and wonder of it all, you get the sense that it’s all going to be okay.
WRITING PROMPT: Do you recognize the difference between your own inner guide and the cultural and or religious conditioning that has convinced you of what you are supposed to want?
Ready to start looking within? Email me to schedule a free Discovery Call at firstname.lastname@example.org. Curious about coaching? Learn more at luckybirdcoaching.com And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.
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*Where else will you get a writing space called “Sunday Spoonies,” a group just for people dealing with chronic pain. Or a dedicated LBGTQ session called Alphabet Island. Space for every kind of human, writing genre, and those of us who try to resist any labels at all. This is a group that welcomes you as you are. If you are like me and have always felt on the outside looking in, check them out. https://www.corporealwriting.com/corporeal-community
**https://thework.com/instruction-the-work-byron-katie/ This is a practice. And if you do it consistently, it will turn your everyday life into heaven on earth. I guarantee it.