It is all at once with a child's giddy elation
running the beach barefoot giggling
kite flying high in the sky,
feeling the dance in the hands and the tension on the string
from the wind that lifts the fabric of the beautifully colored delicately structured thing...
with a face full of well earned lines
with sober knowing feet planted firmly in the sand
and hands that see and a voice that has learned, earned gravity
and a quiet pride that withstands winds
with roots tethered in the weight of words -
that I find myself standing here before you-
asking you to know that you are an occasion worth rising for.
Now stand up.
Find your feet. Feel your weight
I am an occasion worth rising for.
I am an occasion worth rising for.
Third time is a charm.
I AM AN OCCASION WORTH RISING FOR.
Ok thank you- lets have a seat.
I would like you to write that in your journal.
Let this be the first line of your new book
i am an occasion....
Now watch this;
thank you. I am honored that you have shared your words with me. it was chilling going through these. I express my gratitude to you all. I know how difficult it was for many of you to do this...if you didn't see your mantra this round...stay tuned......round 2 is happening....and round 3....we have started something here
Watching these, knowing how much you all put in....Carol especially (please hold. everyone stay tuned for that).....I know how hard it was.......like walking into the cold ocean.... BUT once you get in...you feel how warm it really is.
It bears weight to note that when prompted to finish the sentence ...I AM...
the one thing heard most is STRONG- that through-line that we feel compelled to declare that we are stronger than we think, stronger than we know, STRONG... implies to me that there must have been something that happened at some point, somewhere, that made us feel less than strong, and this moment has led us to realize we need to stand up and defy that.
I would like to point out also that I believe every one of you here is innately wired for strength and that is validated by the fact that you are here right now. If you did not think you were worthy, strong and capable of transformation, you wouldn't be.
What is the story (or stories) that made us think we were anything less than strong?
I have always kept a journal. I have a collection of stories kept in journals from as far back as I can remember.
The first one was a Holly Hobby pink journal with the gold metal lock on the side and the key. You had to find a hiding place for the key in order to get the privacy.
It was with absolute freedom of speech that I allowed myself to write anything and everything that came to mind with my favorite purple pen with the purple ink in large looping purple letters and swirling hearts for dots on the 'i's'
I took great care to write beautifully and thoroughly enjoyed the feel of the ball point to the paper.
I wrote things like-
This X-mas I got everything purple. Purple legwarmers, purple underpants (hehe), purple socks and a purple bear....
The following year I moved on to more sophisticated concepts like unicorns and rainbows. (I knew I was on to something- You can find all matter of this imagery on a variety of items in Urban Outfitters.)
As my journals progressed to the paisley and plaid fabric kind you could find on the spinning display at Barnes and Noble- the subject matter moved onto bigger things like thinner thighs, recurring dreams and kisses.
journals where I wrote in teeny tiny perfectly controlled cursive
journals where I scribbled middle-of-the-night-notes on whichever page I fumbled to find in the dark- usually on top of something already written there- to be deciphered later.
journals of pictures and sketches and paintings and poems and photos all kept as record because one day, when I grew far enough away, I would have my proof that change was possible. One day I would have the proof that I had not become my mother, that I had not become anything other than the utmost evolution of MY self.
Periodically I'd pick up a book.....and see a cycle....in odd numbers.
At 11 I got my period
At 13 an eating disorder
At 15 self harm started.
At 17 hmmm.
At 19 no.
At 21....oh no not again
And this is why I write.
Leafing through pages....
No - not again? How did I get there?
Like Oedipus- every step
I took to avoid repeating looped me back again to where I was to begin with. All of these curled letters just looping my life into circles...HOW DO I DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE to carve a truly new path? HOW DO I FIND THE JUMPING OFF POINT, THE MOMENT TO LAUNCH INTO A NEW TRAJECTORY......A TANGENT????
How do we resist the inertia of that
momentum of emotion
that drives us to replay a cycle of weakness,
from urge to actions of self sabotage?
How do we cultivate the ability to catch ourselves before the URGE becomes ACTION that usurps our strength?
How do we then become skilled at catching ourselves?
...become ARTFUL MASTERS of catching ourselves and begin to spend more time exploring the space between the urge and the action.....so much so that we eventually no longer suffer urges and start spending our time making GLORIOUS choices?
And this brings me to a vocabulary lesson.
Please write this word in your books; P-E-R-P-E-T-E-I-A
Peripeteia is the term- in Greek drama for a theatrical device in which a sudden change by which the action of the story veers round to its opposite occurs. Think of Oedipus.
It is the moment of recognition...when a voice in your head has been trying to tell you something and you finally hear it and listen.
It is Kori and her marathon ( the broken foot is irrelevant....the point is you decided something)
kitley running for office
carol being brave
donna declaring her truth
When you tell you someone you are going to do something, you've put it out there in the world and suddenly your accountability increases by virtue of its presence in the minds of others.
This does have the capacity to induce a great deal of anxiety when we become beholden beyond ourselves. However, it can be a tremendous tool as well.
Let us practice simply starting with declarations to ourselves.
What do you DO? ...Who do you tell? Who will hold your declaration precious?
We are all storytellers. Stories are an arrangement of words fashioned through experience and imagination carried into the ears of others on the vehicle of a breath with a voice. It is in the heads and hearts of those within whom the story lands where the moment of possibility is sparked.
We all share so many of the same stories and somehow, through our fantastically crafted culture, we have been convinced that perhaps our stories are not worthy...that our stories, if exposed, potentially make us vulnerable. Our thighs, if not thin enough, make us less valuable. Our biceps, if not big enough, make us less relevant. Our age, if not young enough, makes us less visible.
There is a through-line: we get to choose the words that make our story. You are stronger than you think. Your peripeteia is in the words you speak.
You are an occasion worth rising for.
If the words in your head are not serving the forward propulsion of your dreams, then you can change your chatter from 'I can't' and 'I'm not' to " I AM, I CAN, I WILL and I DO".
We are all at once the child running kite in hand beach free and wistless
and the wizened one ...as well
as long as we listen...learn to listen....to ourselves
the catching of oneself
I AM aware of my habits-
I CAN CULTIVATE THE MOMENT OF READINESS TO SHIFT MY HABITS THAT DO NOT SERVE ME
I WILL BE PATIENT
I DO KNOW THAT THE KEY TO ME IS IN THIS PROCESS
I WILL CAPTALIZE ON MY DECISIONS
I CAN IMAGINE THE CHANGES EVOLVING
I AM AN EVOLVED PERSON