November 2020 Love Notes
What if we allowed grief to take up all the space it needed instead of trying to contain it?
Welcome to the November 2020 installment of Love Notes, my monthly newsletter for subscribers of the #LoveBigCollective. Each month, I’ll share:
REVELATIONS - insights that I’ve uncovered on this journey;
HOPE - resources that have inspired hope and led to ongoing healing;
WORK - invitations to engage some soul searching and reflection that is integral to the #LoveBig journey.
To my paid subscribers - thank you so much for your support!
To my free subscribers, did you know that there is also a paid option? For $10 per month, you can support the work that I’m doing to craft a love ethic that creates, liberates, and sustains us all. Learn more about why you should subscribe here.
What if we allowed grief to take up all the space it needed instead of trying to contain it?
Death has become a constant companion in my life this year. In total, five family members and one high school friend have died since February 2020. Thanksgiving week, my dad’s best friend - our beloved Uncle Byron - left this earth. We are preparing to memorialize him this week amidst COVID19 restrictions. This is the fifth funeral that my family has endured since the pandemic began.
As I was talking to my dad the other night, we both noted that we have one more month to go in 2020 - 31 days that will bring the unknown.
What can we expect?
What should we brace for?
What tragedy is awaiting us as we end this year?
Even as I type these questions, I’m reminded that “dress rehearsing tragedy” is a trauma response. I have found myself holding my breath or becoming anxious when a family member calls. I feel the stress in my body whenever my phone pings or vibrates. My eyes are constantly filling with tears that seemingly spring up out of nowhere. I am beyond tired - fatigued, exhausted, drained, weary, worn.
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this type of emotional overwhelm. The image that continues to come to mind is a cup that is filled to the brim, overflowing under a faucet that keeps running. The water keeps coming and the cup can no longer contain all that is flowing up and over and out.
And I’ve started to wonder, what if the cup is a construct? What if we were never meant to contain grief? What if grief was always meant to run up and over and out because it was meant to overwhelm?
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I call “Grief Space”. I’ve been thinking a lot about befriending grief, much like I had to befriend depression and embrace it’s shadow. Grief has been something that we have pushed aside and have tried to strip of its emotional outpouring. We’ve tried to sanitize grief and pack it tightly away, as if it was ever intended to be something hidden; something controlled.
It has been revealed to me that grief invites us to feel all the feels and create space for the overflow. To try to contain it is to dishonor the love that led to the grief. To avoid it is to reject the invitation to embrace the fragility and sacredness of life.
Those of us who lean into the God-story as embodied in the person of Jesus are on a journey that began yesterday that is marked by a season called Advent. In this time - the four weeks leading up to Christmas - we engage a pilgrimage of expectant waiting. We intentionally create space to listen as we wander and wonder through the wilderness, mirroring the journey of Jesus’ family as they made their way to the beloved inn that would be the birthplace of the beloved Emmanual - God with us.
As I engage this sacred pilgrimage personally, I am leaning into the invitation to be present to the journey; to not dress rehearse tragedy; to be open to the unknown future waiting to be born. I commit to the ongoing practice of creating space for my grief and inviting it in, allowing it to flow as it will and for me to float amidst its waves rather than fight the feelings or the reality that death brings. Will you join me?
In the midst of it all, there have been people, experiences, & resources that have inspired hope…
Conversations on White Womxnhood, Identity & Race
Over the course of seven nights, my amazing partner in the creation of the Racial Healing & Wellness Coaching for White Womxn, Nicole Newman and I invited a group of INCREDIBLE womxn together for conversations on race and identity. I am still in awe of this experience and it definitely inspired HOPE!
We are working on editing and uploading these videos for all of the members of the #LoveBigCollective! As soon as it’s all processed and uploaded, you will receive a link to access ALL the conversations FOR FREE! This experience was amazing and I hope these conversations inspire you as much as they inspired Nicole and I.
If you missed the final night of conversation, which was a recap of the week, you can watch it below!
Advent 2020 Resources
Advent is a time of expectant waiting; a time to hope for what is to come. I’m leaning into the following offerings as I engage this journey toward the future awaiting to be born.
Spoiler alert: this is one of my new writing projects! And it’s good.
Our Hope and Expectation reminds readers again and again that we hope for, long for, and expect the presence of Jesus in our lives, yet at the same time we acknowledge that Jesus is already present with us. This is a devotional that helps its readers be in awe of what God has already done, be curious about what God is currently doing, and be expectantly hopeful about what God will do in the future. It reminds us that humans are both sinful and redeemed and that the life of faith is worthwhile yet non-linear, progressing at God’s pace—setbacks, fresh starts, and all. Our Hope and Expectation tells us that all time belongs to Jesus and that Scripture instructs us to seek God rather than our own gain.
Published by Unbound, An Interactive Journal on Christian Social Justice sponsored by the Presbyterian Church (USA), this resources was developed from the wisdom and insight of Black womxn theologians who bring to bear their lived experiences as they engage the texts and themes of Advent.
This Advent you are invited into a journey of devotion, reflection, and action around the theme DECONSTRUCT.
Let the voices of the prophets and the voices of four church leaders invite you to do some deconstructing of your own.
What are the layers of life that have made you who you are?
What do you need to claim again about the beautiful creation you are?
What do you need to let go of?
Brought to you by LEAD, this devotional follows a rhythm of prayer, reading, video reflection on the text, confession, forgiveness, and action.
It’s release day!! I am so excited about this book and the woman behind it. Katie DePaola is the founder of Inner Glow Circle, the only ICF Accredited all-virtual, all-womxn coach training program. I am seeking my coaching certification through this AMAZING program and have gotten to know Katie. Today, she is releasing her memoir and I believe it’s exactly what many of us need right now. Here’s my review of her book:
Here’s the thing - as much as we talk about not judging a book by it’s cover, I often find that I do this exact thing. You might think you know what this book will be about based on the cover - a gorgeous woman who is talking about feeling good and looking good. This book is so much more.
Katie DePaola has written a deeply moving, insightful, vulnerable, and invitational book that speaks to anyone who has suffered, struggled, and experienced deep and profound sadness. As I was reading this book, I was struck by how Katie gets to the heart of an issue - how she is able to take the reader on a deeper journey inward that leads to insight that is life changing.
This is a book about grief and loss and disappointment that invites us all to reflect on our own struggles as we build resilience and choose to show up to life FULLY and WHOLLY.
If you are seeking hope and inspiration through it all, I HIGHLY recommend this book!
Explore a moment (or moments) in your life that brought about grief.
Who was involved?
How did you feel?
Create space in your life to honor the grief.
What is a practice or way of being that invites you to visit with the feelings that emerge?
Reflect on the experience.
What did that experience teach you (or what is the experience teaching you) about honoring your feelings and the people you grieve?
What is grief inviting you to embody?
The Racial Healing & Wellness Coaching Program for White Womxn*
The Racial Healing & Wellness Coaching Program is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 Cohort. WE HAVE A FEW MORE SLOTS AVAILABLE! Get your application in this week to be considered for the inaugural cohort, which launches January 10, 2021!
This program is for White womxn committed to the journey towards racial healing and wellness. We are seeking womxn who are open to listening and learning in order to live boldly, love fully, and lead with justice for the sake of holistic, communal, and individual liberation.
Questions? Email us at email@example.com.
*We specifically use the word Womxn, which is a term coined to create distance from male-centric language and to be inclusive of all humans who identify as women. This space is welcoming of all who live an embodied Womxn’s existence.