embers of grace and grit {a love letter for driftwood hearts}

Posted by:peace.love.free on 09.07.14 In: {blessed be} : 7 comments

Dear you.just for you from peacelovefree

I know you.

I know you wear your heart on your sleeve.  I know that heart is pieced together from soft driftwood and tattered suitcases and old skeleton keys and the shards of pottery you’ve tucked in your pockets from all the things you’ve seen break along your journey.

I know your soul glitters with the fragments of love affairs and fiery passion and endless nights of candlelight and whispers against bare skin.  I know you hear the echoes of long gone trains and feel the pulse of memory reminding you of things you’ve not encountered in this lifetime. I know that sometimes, the way sunlight filters through trees can bring you to your knees in breathless gratitude.

I know the path has taken you to unexpected worlds and that you’ve seen beauty beyond measure and experienced the sort of kindness that cracks you wide open.  I know it has also been hard and your edges have been made rough and sharp and then worn down, again and again.  I know that you’ve been told that you feel too much and that you can’t quite shake the fear that you’ll never truly be enough.

And I know you are tired, love. I know the ache lodged in your bones. I know it has been a long road and you yearn for rest and comfort and home. But I’ve also seen you twirling, barefoot in the grass by moonlight. And that moon? She is dancing with the sun and this wild spinning earth, coaxing the ocean to crash on the shore, over and over again, just for you. And I know there are stars traveling unfathomable distances and burning to dust when they enter our atmosphere so that you can breathe a little bit of light into your soul when you need it the most.

And then there is you. Throwing open the doors, ushering the spirit inside and keeping your rebel heart pulsing strong. You. Keeper of wonder. The child of every revolution this world has ever seen. What power you hold. What tremendous mystery and magic live in your center. How blessed this world is to know the mystical, untamable brilliance that is you.

Look around you by peacelovefree (2)Just look around you. At the beauty and the bliss. At the terror and the teardown. At the utter certainty and every last unknown. It is all a part of your story. Part of how you were made. Embers of grace and grit. Ashes of breakdown and breakthrough.   Born of fire.  Made of light.  Badass with a side of sacred wisdom.  Exploding like fireworks across the night sky.

You. Thank you for sharing this earth with me.

Blessed be.


{there is nothing quite like sitting with people you love, listening to music that feeds your soul and fuels your fire.   Won’t you listen with me? follow the  || blessed be ||  and  || girl on fire || playlists on spotify and listen along with me.}

Unlock it, Poet {our stories are where the revolution begins}

Posted by:peace.love.free on 13.06.14 In: {poetry,unleased {the writers heart}} : No comments - leave a comment?

Look at you,our stories are where the revolution begins
Sitting so quietly
I see you there
The way the light hits your face
The way the wind filters through your hair
How the curve of your neck is the definition of grace
How your story lingers just beneath the surface.

I know you have things to say.
Things you must say

Didn’t anyone ever tell you,
That we have to speak our truths

Our stories are where the revolution begins.

So, unlock it, poet
Let loose the words
Unconstrain your endless restraint
Seduce your muse
Release your wild
Welcome this rebellion
Usher it inside
Sit it down by the fire
And dance into the night.

You are warm blood,
hot skin, tight words
You are history
and future
and magic and make believe
You are deep and raw and real

You are an uprising
A revolution onto yourself
The scarcity is over
The rationing has ended
and there are words enough
for all of us

So go mad now, poet
let the power of the story
take you over
take you under
carry you home.

Don’t dare tell me
You are not a writer
Because I’ve heard words slip
Honeyed from your lips
I’ve seen the sonnets form behind
Your graceful eyes
I’ve felt novels spin from the spiral
Of your goddess hips

Don’t you dare
Make this other
This is in you
This is why you are here

This is your story
Your vital spark
Your ache and your tears and your breakdown
Your joy and your revelry and your bliss
Your desire, your fierce longing, your unceasing want
Your utterly unguilty pleasure.

This is the root of your commitment
The space of your deepest promise
That eternal vow
To live out loud
To speak freedom
To own the deep
Of your existence
To know it is true
And good
And worthy and whole.

So unlock it ocean poet
Release it windmill dancer
Splash it on canvas watercolor darling
Play the strings, you maker of music
Breathe it in yogi, and then breath it out.

Unleash it, you goddess of words, and melody and paint and dance and sweat.
There are a million ways to tell your story

I’m ready for every last one.

Try me


The Truth Of A Woman Like Me

Posted by:peace.love.free on 07.03.14 In: {Claim it} : 20 comments

It’s the truth that sets you free, right?  Coming clean, that’s what I preach.Phoenix Urban Photography by www.iamchanelle.com

I don’t always tell you everything.  Did you think I did?

You want the truth of me right now?  Tonight? Should I tell you that right now there is no compassionate mother in me.  I am snarling and impatient and snappy. They pull me from this. And this is what compels me.  I don’t want to mother.    Not right now.

I’m not supposed to say that.  It doesn’t fit within the selfless narrative I am called to embody.

Right now I want a shack by the beach and I want to create and I want to be fed green grapes and bittersweet chocolate by pretty girls with nothing better to do.  And I want to toss back shots of whiskey at an old bar with men whose skin has been worn to leather from a life on the sea.  I want to weave my way steady to the bow of a boat and let the spray encrust me with grit and the waves fill me with the sound of home.  And then I want to return, to my weathered wood cottage, and turn the music up loud and light incense and candles and cigarettes and lap dance for the muse until she puts the fuck out for me every single time I ask.  Because it’s hot, what I’m making, and even she – fickle as she can be – doesn’t want to miss a second of this flame.

I’m probably not supposed to say that either.

I want a bike with a basket big enough to get the food I need, and the chocolate and the whiskey and the wine and cigarettes.  I want endless miles of coastline to ride along, until my legs ache from honest exertion.  I want to let go of the handles and remember just how good my balance can be when I trust it.

I want a bonfire right outside my front door.   Where the lovely girls and pretty man-boys cavort and dance and strip off all their clothing to tumble into the sea where the kisses always taste like salt.  I want this every single night.  Until even my skin is permeated with the burn-down-rise-up scent of wood smoke and sand and sea.  I want to be singed with the heat of it.  I want it, saturated, in my pores until my breath feels gritty and real again. Until the skin on skin gives off the heat of flame.  Until even the words burn as they are birthed.

I know I’m not supposed to say all of that.

I’m not supposed to like this about myself.  This selfish that lives inside.  Supposed to keep it hidden.  Soften it for you.  Take the rough off my edges.  Round out my sharp corners.   I am told they are wrong.   The wants.   The excessive need for solitude.  For life on my own terms.   Not ladylike.  Not generous.  Not mother.  That I’m not who you knew.  Not who you know, even.

I don’t like it.  But then I do.   My wants speak to my needs which translate the terms of my survival.  The compulsions of art that will drive me and put me at war and seduce me into the crucible at the center of pure creation.   There’s alchemy in owning it all.  Unabashed.  Unapologetic.  Without shame.

Oh, I know I’m not supposed to be shameless.  This world, it’s got all kinds of words for women like me.

But there’s more to this than just me.

Because I have daughters.   Because living on my own terms comes down to more than just my own survival.

My girls, they will know me as human.  As creatrix as much as mother.  As ugly and dirty and real as much as calm and patient and loving.  See my struggle as well as my bliss.  My unmet longing as counter to my grace.  My deep rooted insecurity and my narcissism.  My hard fall of tears as much the sweetness of my laugh.   The way we all can storm and cry and flail and then fall into my big marshmallow bed, a tangle of limbs and heart and tears, and fall asleep intertwined, secure and at peace.

And they will know what it is for a woman like me to live in fullness with herself.   To fight for it.   To know she is within choice at each moment.    To make contracts with self as the path to wholeness, even when this comes at great cost.  To find the integrity within that space, even if that looks different than what the world would call true.   To understand that even fullness can sometimes feel dark and bleak and empty.  That even regret and unmet hopes bring untold richness to what will be born. That it can be a raw and primal thing, this unceasing drive to make something from within one’s self.   That great art is birthed of both great pain and great joy and sometimes directly as we navigate the tenuous space between the two. That we birth our art as we birth ourselves.   Both, often, in the midst of struggle.

I think I’m probably not supposed to say that either.  I’m supposed to make it gentle.  Pretty it up a little for everyone.

But I want them to know well the selfish and the selfless that lives within each of us, and the delicate dance between the two. To experience the wilderness of reclamation and the surrender of relinquishment that is a part of every negotiation we will walk as women who burn and ask and risk.   Who refuse to follow the rules given us by culture and upbringing and expectation.  I want them to know it’s okay to exist from the center of absolute unknowing.  To live the ugly and the confused and the sad and the broken,  honest and out loud.  That it’s equally okay to dive into the bliss.  I want, by the very root of my life, to show them a narrative that diverges from the one this world would have them live.

A narrative that is bloody and powerful and full of heat and sweat and sex and a sweet, holy joy that is owned and chosen.  And a grief and teardown that is owned just as fully.  And an autonomy of self that rushes from within their goddess center, and a voice that rings true and tells the stories that will be key to their survival.  Stories that can be lived and written and told by no other voice but their own.

I cannot teach this from within a container of acceptable and predictable.

Because if they feel trapped or small or lost at 20 or 30 or 40, I hope they shall take the freedom to run for the sea and to heed her wild call.  To hear the whisper through mountain top pines speaking ancient truth and knowing deep in their bones that the forest will hold their scared vows.    I want them to burn sage and creosote and speak ancient incantation and call forth the goddess.  I want them to splash paint on canvas under full pink moon while the coyote howl and the fire rages and to not fear the wild power that wells up from within on such a night.  I want them to own their sex as holy.  To know their desire as a divinity.   To place a ring on their own ring finger and make promises that they will never speak to another.   Unless they want to, and then I want them to do exactly that. To know it’s all in them, as it has been in all of us, all along.

And me.  Their mother?

I am never more than a sliver of space from the center of the paradox.  From the glorious reality of complete contradiction.  Not unbalanced, no.  The {im}perfect center. Point and counterpoint.  I seek it others.  And when I look deeply enough, I find it in myself.

I don’t want to be where I am, but I cannot be where I belong.  I am always searching for home, always seeking the next idea, the next embodiment of what may be.  I am broken, and I am whole.   And yes, there is an unrest there, an ceaseless searching.  A wolf who comes calling, whispering, howling.  She leads me to hunt and prowl and burn.  And she guides me to that delicate sliver of space, right at the core, that is pure peace.

I am opened finally, to a relentless sort of hope.  For that forever love that the movies try to prove to me is real.   And I believe.  God damn, after all this time and all this ache, I actually believe. But I also want to be pressed hard against a rough wall by someone who has the right not to give a fuck who I am or was or ever will be.  I want a family of kids and grandkids and chosen souls and a 40-year partner in crime to surround me until the end of my days.  And I want to be left the hell alone – to get old and grow gray and soft with the company of books and seagulls and worn wooden floors and chipped pottery that holds my morning tea.  To take lovers when I want and discard them when I don’t.

I’m probably not supposed to speak that, am I? Not supposed to honor the way they swirl together, am I?  That contradiction between the safe and the wild that lives in all of us.  We are to choose one or the other and not look back.  If we feel a pull to that which we’ve left behind or that which we have not yet found, we are to ignore and suppress and forget.  There are truths that are easier for others to bear if we commit to never speaking them aloud.  Once upon a time I silently agreed to do just that.

I cannot.  Not any longer.

quote by jeanette leblancTonight I feel the glow of the candles on my face and the cool of air on my back and the peace of the rain that falls and falls and falls outside.  It quenches the packed, dry earth of desert and something in me as well.  Taking what was hard and making it soft.  Liquid.  Inevitable.  The way water flows.  Just like it was the last time my body met another body and current met current and it all flowed into mystery. The way I move when I stop fighting my nature.

Until it’s all liquid alchemy.  Wet heat.  The way home.

I don’t care anymore what I’m supposed to say.  This is my story.  You can listen if you want.  You can join me if you will.

Because these words and this life are my own.   Even when I contradict itself.   Even when I make every sense and no sense at all.  Even when it changes from minute to minute.  Whether they ring true or untrue.  These things are nobody’s but mine.

And I’ve got a story to tell.  And so I begin and begin and begin.  Again.

 {image by iamchanelle photography}

broken || open {a valentine’s day love letter for the broken-hearted}

Posted by:peace.love.free on 14.02.14 In: {heart to heart,love} : 4 comments

broken open by jeanette leblanc

Make no mistake, love; this has been the losing time.

The time of grasping tight and trying hard and still, in the end, being forced to let go. Of fingers locked tight and pried stiff from that which you’d hoped to hold for so very long.

It’s been the falling down time.  The confused and lost and broken time. The ill-fitting skin that begs to be shed time.   The kneecaps bruised from prayer time. The time of keening howl that rises from the center of the earth and pleads, no more. Not now.  Please.

The endings, they came to you slowly.  Pulling away inch by imperceptible inch.  Till suddenly you realized the hand you’d held for years had slipped from yours and you were now reaching across a chasm of relentless empty.

And they came sudden.  Hard and fast, so that there you were, without warning, curled in a fetal position on the rough carpet of an unfamiliar hotel room floor, black eyeliner smeared across your face and a lifetime ocean of tears being pulled like the tides from your obliterated heart.

You knew it was coming.  You collected the red flags and tucked them back in the corner  – hidden behind stacks of books scrawled with all the stories you told yourself so that you could continue to believe what you desperately needed to believe.  Every now and then you took out those flags and counted them, didn’t you? As if by will you could force their numbers to decrease.  You couldn’t.  We never can.

And you.  You had no idea.  Blinders and rose-colored glasses have been your specialty for years.  You’ve got a closet full.  They kept you so safe. But on that last day there were no storm clouds, no early warning system to get you to shelter.  Just a tornado that swept in from the east and flattened every last thing it touched.  Until in the aftermath there was just you, standing in the midst of the rubble of a entire life.

You’ve been left.  You walked into strong open arms and found a home that you imagined would be shelter and protection into a beautiful future.  You had so much hope and faith, cloaked in all that tender cynicism.  And such a hard layer of hurt hiding just beneath your fearlessly optimistic heart.  And still, you gave yourself over to the sheer bliss of believing.  You didn’t know you still had it in you to be that happy.

And you’ve done the leaving.  You’ve walked away from the deepest of loves because you had to break before you were broken again.   Because your wrecked runs so deep that there wasn’t enough love in all this world to hold your ache.  Because in the end, you had to save yourself.  Because, in the end, that’s all any of us can ever do.  And nobody knows as well as you, just how much it hurts to leave.

But here you are, love.  Here WE are.

Still standing.  Fierce with the reality of love and loss.  Wearing the truth of our hearts on our tattered sleeves.  And yes, this one very nearly took us out.  And yes, there were days when the darkness was heavy and the climb out of that rabbit hole required us to mine our depths for strength we didn’t even know we had.

And here we are.

Broken open by hope.   Cracked wide by loss.   Full of longing and grief and the burn of that phoenix fire.    Warrior painted with ashes.  Embers from the blaze still clinging to our newborn skin, leaving us forever marked with scars of rebirth.

And just look at you.  Heart broken but still beating.  Arms empty but still open.  Face raised to the sky and giving thanks for the light, even when it hurts your eyes.

My god, you are beautiful.

And this love.  This loss.  The one you have pulled around you like a blanket that still keeps you warm at night.  Even though it is tattered and worn and full of holes and has no shelter to offer.   It is a conduit.   A bridge that you have unwillingly crossed.  On one side who you were, and on the other who you will be.   It was a long, lonely walk.

The ache is a ferocious kind of alchemy, the catalyst for transformation.  The unanswered call?  It creates the space and the silence you needed to learn to once again hear your own voice.   The unmet hope gifts a crystalized understanding of your holy need. The longing that still curls in stubbornly hopeful tendrils from your open wounds?  These will be your roots, seeking through hard earth to find you exactly what you need to thrive.  The grief that took you the ground?  It will help form the bedrock of your eventual rise.

So here we are, you and I.  Grief is both relentless isolation and a common language that all hearts speak.   Look into my sea glass eyes.  Let me see your angel face.  We come together in our sorrow because loss knows loss and needs no translation.  And we come together in our joy, and our hope and our begin again – because always, it is together that we rise.

So yes love, I know this has been a losing time.  And I know there were moments you imagined you might not survive.   But here you still are, just like me.   Here we still stand.  Here our hearts still beat.  Here we still love.

And in the end, you are here, broken and whole and still alive.  Made even more tenderly beautiful in the depths of the shatter.  Finding your way back to the truth of your soul and listening to the song of your stubbornly beating heart.  And in the end, there is no greater testament to the power of love than this.


 I tell stories with music as well as words.  Listen with me on spotify.
A playlist for the ache || A playlist for the dream ||  A playlist for a hopeful heart

all the proof i will ever need.

Posted by:peace.love.free on 08.01.14 In: {love,poetry} : 1 comment

Monique and James copy
{for Monique and her beloved James, on the day of their wedding}

It is no secret
That this heart
of mine
Has broken
Enough times
That I’ve made
A serious investment
In a variety
Of materials
That promise to patch
Things up
For good

Many of the breaks
My own doing
Fault lines I was born with
My unsettled and relentless seeking
leading me to look beyond
What I have for what I need
Then there is the leaving
The being left
The cold nights
On hard ground
The sobs that come not
From me
But from the center of the earth
The grief that twists
and pins me to bed while the sunlight
arcs all the way
across the outside sky
and I just wait for the night 
to come again
because the whiskey pours more smoothly then
and the heavy dark is the only place
left that feels like home

but then there is this
the hope rising
stubborn and persistent.
the longing
the still beating heart
that says to hell with probability
I’m still here, and I’ve got a job to do.
the knowledge that this loving
it is the purpose of our placement on this earth
the chance we take again and again

so no, this is not a story of heartbreak
although you may have thought it was
and I couldn’t blame you
not really
my own heart has been toast for months now
and the words I spill repeating themselves
like a skipping record that is stuck on the sad songs.
because sometimes broken is the easiest place to stay

but no
this is a love story
a story of how all those breaks
and all that grief
and those unsuccessful patch jobs
place us there
right where we need to be
so when the love comes

and it does
it does and it does and it does

when it comes
if we are brave enough
to lift our eyes
and hold out our hands
and listen to the universe
when she whispers
this one.
this one for you.
and we say okay
again, I will try

no matter the risk
no matter my fear
no matter the grasp of grief
no matter the ridiculous odds
no matter that this one too
may leave me shattered

again I will try
because those eyes
are the ones I want to wake to
and that skin feels like a space my
hands were born knowing
and that heart, in all it’s own
history of broken glory
sounds exactly like the beat that has
always called me home.

So yes
This is a love story
the one that gets told in the midst of the war torn rubble
where the buildings and bodies are casualties of a battle without end.
And happy seems a figment of imagination
Where hope is the only thing
That keeps us alive

This is story of two souls
Who are all of us, really
Who will stand today
And promise
Not as naïve children
But as fully formed hearts
Composed directly from a hundred thousand breaks
and love stories too many to count
And those two
They’ll stand there with all of that
And say yes

Yes we will love
Yes we will try
Yes we will fight and bleed and hope and live.
Yes we will slow dance and run away, and return.
And she’ll say yes, your broken is part of your beautiful to me.
And he’ll remind her that her scars
are map that tell a story
that he loved before he heard a word.
And they’ll know that they alchemy of loss
Was part of the magic that brought them here
To this space today
And they will give thanks for all the ways
They were brave enough to break

So yes
This is a love story
Its theirs. Its yours. It’s even mine.
And here’s a secret
That even I forget
It’s all a love story
Every last bit
Even the parts that you think
you’ll never survive.

Because look at them
Those two
Standing there today
They are all the proof I’ll ever need.







Looking to seduce your wild muse? { 12.8.13. West Hollywood. Join Us. }

Posted by:peace.love.free on 27.11.13 In: {unleased {the writers heart}} : No comments - leave a comment?


West Hollywood.  It’s a crazy ride AND a safe haven.   It’s a place where people can let go, let loose, unleash, set their wild free.    It’s also a place where you can be who and what you are, and love who and what you love and be exquisitely safe inside of all of it.

Where else could we have held Unleashed?

The registration deadline is fast approaching.  On December 2nd – after turkey (or tofurky for my fellow vegetarians) is digested and Aunt Edna has wiped down her plastic couch covers and folded her afghans for another year – we’ll be closing the cart and switching into last minute preparation mode.

And on December 8th, we’ll be gathered together, with paper and sharpies and chocolate and tea and meditation and laughter and tears and magic.   Oh yes.  And words.  Lots of them.  Unfettered.  Unrestrained.


Yes. That means there are only five days to commit to yourself and your story and your truth.

And yes, to commit to that seductive muse of yours. I know she’s been courting you something fierce, she visits me nightly now and she’s been whispering in my ear all about you and your story.  It’s a good one.  Like nothing I’ve ever heard.

Here’s the thing.  We are days away from Black Friday.  And ridiculous lines at Walmart and cyber-deals the likes of which make the bargain hunters heart beat a ‘lil faster and others among us curdle with fear.

And yes, you could buy a new ginormous TV on which to watch fabulous people do fabulous things.   There will be any number of baubles and pretties and gadgets that promise to make life better and faster and shiner and more complete.  And you can spend your money on any or all of them.  You can wait in line for hours with hundreds of other desperate shoppers or steady your finger over your mouse and hover until one millisecond after midnight.

And then you’ll have it.  That thing that you’ve wanted. The one that felt like it would make things somehow…more.  The thing that was supposed to make it all feel better.  And there will still be an empty space inside that can’t ever be filled with things.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”  ~ Maya Angelou

Because your story will still be living and breathing and beating inside of you.  It will still be yearning for release.   You’ll still feel the words building and climbing and wanting to become.  It HURTS to hold an untold story inside you.  I know it does.  I have been there  I have been you.  There is a voice inside you that tries to hush you, to tell you you’re not a writer, that you can’t do this one thing.

I used to listen to the same voice. I’m here to tell you to stop listening to her.  She does not serve you.  She never has.

Sit down now, here on the floor.  Face to face.  And listen to me. Just to me.  I’m gonna whisper, so you’ll need to get close.  Hold my gaze.  Don’t look away.  Not now.  This is too important.

You’ve got this.  I’ve got fire and incantation and exercises to help you see it, but I’m telling you something that deep down, you already know.  The words are in you.  They’ve always been in you.  The muse is dancing close.  She’s ready for you to invite her inside. She’s been waiting for you to step up and have the audacity to step into this.  To step into yourself.  To unleash.  To Unbind.  To dive headfirst into your own wild story.

Look at me now.  Don’t look away.  This is calling to you for a reason.  You are pulled to be present for this because it is time to give to yourself and to set free what you’ve held inside for too damn long.

I’m inviting you now to join me.  I am giving you the permission you have been seeking.  Permission to rise up, to find that space inside that is both tender and true and raw and passionate.  To come and sit with me – face to face, and to tell me your story.   And to hear mine.

And we will write.  And eat really good chocolate.  Maybe throw back a shot of whiskey.   I can promise tears and laughter.  Possibly glitter.  And I’ll be changed by the experience and so will you.  There is no other way.

You + Me.  Unleashed.

Join us.  Commit to yourself, to your story, to your truth. 

{And yes.  The muse.  Commit to her too.  She wants me to tell you that she’s way better company than anything you could possibly buy on Friday.   And she’s right.  Trust me.}


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our lady of deep dives

Posted by:peace.love.free on 25.11.13 In: {blessed be,inspired,love} : 3 comments

(The universe, she brings magic.  She gifts art.  She helps the goodness find me, again and again.   She has brought the soulful deep divers to me.  Gives me opportunity to learn and to guide and to teach.   Even when I am at my lowest – especially when I am at my lowest –  I am reminded, again and again.  I have been blessed beyond measure.  What I am sharing below-  in progress images included – is a direct transcription of texts from yesterday.  So much magic I cannot even fathom.  Saving Grace. Holy Wonder.  Blessed Be}.


Is there any reason you need to see her?  She is emerging and wants you to know.

She is beautiful and stirs something in me.  Tell me what you know of her.

She wears feathers in her hair and is covered in bone.  She belongs by the sea and speaks to the whales.  She has three mermaid tails but can survive on land. 

Chills.  All over me.

She’s also yours, goddammit.

Do you know why?  I cannot stop looking.

Only that she wants to be with you and the painting isn’t even done yet.

I have been feeling helpless in anger and ache and sad this weekend.  She feels strong.  A wise and quiet kind of strong.photo 1

Ah yes.  She’s a rock made of water.

I keep reading the words ‘covered in bone’.   Like they are significant.

Her armor. 

I think I seldom feel as if I have any.

Maybe you can borrow hers.

Jesus.  Thank you.  I needed her today.  I don’t even know why.

Just doing what the universe tells me to do.

I can already feel her bringing me words.  I want to know everything you sense of her.  Everything she whispers.  Rock made of  water.  Fuck.

Our lady of deep dives. Part warrior.  Part mermaid.  Shaman.  Feminine.  Wearer of bone; utterly soft beneath.  Receiver of gusts of the divine, divine.  Blowsly, deep winds shake her as she surfaces and she calls to her pod.  ‘Come, let us go deeper. There is much to learn.  Much to love.  Much to know’.

IMG_5655Image Credit: Our Lady Of Deep Dives by Kristen Kalp


And it is true.  Our Lady Of Deep Dives has brought me words.  And she has brought me wisdom.  And peace and solace and some deep steady strength that was greatly needed.  Her bone armor, my own.  But those words?  I’m not going to share them here now.  Because Our Lady, she wants to speak to you by herself.

If this is your day, as it was mine, to feel sad and mired in ache and anger.  If you feel without armor and bare to the world.  If you are feeling raw and undone.  If you need to heed your call to the wise and wild sea.  If there are things you are knowing you need without even knowing you need them.   Let her speak to you and move through you and deliver you to where you need to be.  She will, if you let her.

All that I will say is that I am humbled and grateful for the way this world reminds me of what I need to know.  For the souls who have crossed my path and who have joined me on this journey.  For the art and music and poetry and magic that winds and twists its way to me.  For the ache that cracks me wide open to it all.


{the chill inducing Our Lady Of Deep Dives painting and the words in bold belong to the inimitable Kristen Kalp.  She of balloons and glitter and viking hats and TED talks and record breaking games of twister and a camp for grownups that will be a level of epic that goes beyond all previously experienced levels of epic.  She’s a doer AND a dreamer.  Pragmatic and magical.  I am so honored and blessed to call her friend, beyond lucky to work with her, and over the moon to be asked to teach at camp this spring.  Blessed Be, indeed}


PSST: Did you know…There’s a sale.  All prints.  Till Dec 8th.  Check it.

write the fuck out of your life

Posted by:peace.love.free on 12.11.13 In: {unleased {the writers heart}} : 5 comments

write the fuck out of your life

{Truths For The Writers Soul}


Truth: There is no choice
The stories burn for release.  We are writers by birth and by destiny and by intention.  Not by choice. If we never scratched another word on a coffee shop napkin, this would not change.  A writer is not someone who does.  A writer is someone who is.  Denial will result in an unceasing ache and a relentless empty.  Our words are the truest way we serve the world.

Truth:   We will always have another mistress. 
Her name is Muse.   We serve her with devotion.  Do anything to please her and keep her close.   Courting. Seduction.  On our knees, desperate pleading. And when she leaves us, as she always will, we must write our way back into her graces.  She responds only to action and dogged intention.

Truth:  We will stop at red lights.  
Pull over onto the dusty side of the freeway in the middle of nowhere.  Gas station parking lots. School pick up lines.  We will leave your arms at 3am after hard, hot sex.  We will write with whatever is available and on any surface that presents itself.  When the words come burning clear and true, we must answer.   Sometimes the words will be lost anyway.  Gone into the ether as if they never were.  We will mourn them like a lost child, convinced they were our most brilliant.

Truth: It is terrifying sometimes, having so many words living inside.  
They beat snare drum steady in our chest.  They burn and scratch and push and pull.  They are thirsty for freedom.  They crave the danger of the edge. They want someone to promise safety.  They don’t give a single fuck.  Sometimes we can subdue and tame and become master of this beast, but often we are at it’s mercy.  The words are their own living, fire-breathing dragon.  We must get out of the way, and give them space to work through us and birth themselves.

Truth:  There are days when writing is survival.
On these days the spilling of words on page is the only thing that will save us from the demons and from ourselves.  The only path to burn down and rebirth.  The only way out and through.  The very thing that keeps us alive.

Truth:  We need to write more than anything.
It is the most relentlessly driving force.  But many days we’ll do just about anything to avoid having to write.  We will hide and run and resist with every last bit of strength we can muster. It’s the ultimate dichotomy of the creative soul.

Truth: We live nestled snugly inside paradox.
We inhabit our contradictions.  We are both walking peace and writhing confusion.   Our only certiantly comes from the solidity of mystery.  Creativity thrives on ultimate possibility and infinite potential.   We couldn’t do it if we were any more sure of anything.

Truth: We’ve been writing since we were 8, or 11 or 15.   
Or forever in lives long since past.  We likely began with sappy, hopeful, angsty, rhyming odes to boys and girls and sunsets and ocean waves and bus stop daydreams.     Mostly about love.  These days we’re not so concerned about rhyming.  But most of us are still awfully preoccupied with love.

Truth:  You spill blood, we hemorrhage novels.
Our cuts seep with the precise cadence of our lover’s sigh as our fingers slid from ribs to waist.  They feel like a grieving mother hitting the ground,  tearing her hair out with the wail of centuries of torn from her chest.  They taste the way the ocean feels on bare skin, like salt and wet and cold and freedom.  Sometimes we need to cut ourselves, clean slice across soft expanse of skin, force it all to rise to the surface – just to access the truth pulsing through our veins.

Truth: We live in metaphor as much as in reality.
There are endless ways to draw our own blood.  We know them all.  We also know that the best way to staunch the bleeding is the exact same way we are both emptied and filled.  To sit and spill our guts and our grief and our joy and our sex and our longing and our wanderlust and the time we finally found our way home.  To write until we are spent.  Until the words are done with us.

Truth: Don’t wait up.
Rise yourself over the city at night and look.  The lights still burning at 3am are those of night workers and insomniacs and the broken hearted.   And writers.  Always, the writers.   The witching hours between midnight and dawn belong to us.  To the candles and whiskey and the sex and cigarettes and the ink and the click of the fingers against keys and the stacks and stacks and stacks of paper scrawled with layers of truth and bullshit and true love and glory and vice and battle.  In the quiet time when the ghosts dance the real work gets done.

Truth: We have learned to speak in the spaces between words.
In the infinite pause at the top of the incline, in the curve of the comma.  In the expanse of the inhale.  In the silent slide of lips along clavicle and the closing edge of teeth on hipbone. We know that one almost imperceptible moan can contain an entire love story.  And that tears can be the personification of the erotic and that the metallic bite of copper is the exact taste of grief.  And that in these soundless spaces we say more than could ever be conveyed with the smooth slide of pen across page and the words of a hundred languages at our disposal.

Truth: To be an artist is to be both archaeologist and surgeon.
We dig deep, unearth all of the broken and discarded and fractured pieces.   Pottery and garbage and bones and beauty.   We dust them off and lay them out and step back to look.  We study your history and make sense of your story and then splice you back together into letters and paragraphs and chapters.   And on our pages you are more than the sum of your parts and yet exactly what you’ve always been meant to be.  This will be disconcerting.  And beautiful.

Truth: If you love us, even for a time, you won’t walk away unscathed.
Loving a writer will fill you and buoy you and shatter you and save you again and again and again.  You will become the muse and the one thing standing in her way.  We will love like you’ve never been loved and tell stories you never wanted told.   We will push past your boundaries and call you safely home.  We will love you with wholeness and fullness and notes on scraps of torn musical scores and with the way we whisper your name in the darkest night.  Even our touch will feel like a story.  You will never be the same.

Truth: Lists like this are utter bullshit.
We are infinitely variable, us writers.  The beast and the scotch over ice and the muse and the love and the blood and the 3am incantation and homecoming and the paradox  – all of it – these are my words, and my naked heart projected on this screen.  Nothing more than that.  And if you are a writer you have your own pulsing, beating, brutal, brilliant heart.  And your own muse and ritual and truth.  And only you will know exactly how it loves and lives and breathes your art into life and builds your life into art.

And you will know that there is only one thing you ever really need.

To write.

Don’t let me stop you.  Don’t pay the slightest attention to my ramblings.  These are nothing but midnight meanderings fueled by a hard shot of whiskey and romanticized by a blood red candle flame and filled with the unceasing longing of my own ocean heart.

But you?  All you need is a blank page and a good fucking pen.   Light your candles and pour yourself a drink.  Séance your ghosts and seduce your muse.   Dance only for yourself.   Make it hot.   Feel the truth of your bones leading the way.

And don’t let me try to tell you a single thing about your own truth.  Or your life or your creativity or the ways and hows and whys of your loving or your life or your words.  You know how it is for you.  You’ve always known.

So quit the excuses.  Sit down.  Breathe deep.  Own that burning drive inside you.

And write the fuck out of your life.


Want to write with me? Register for the first {{UNLEASHED} writing intensive.  Los Angeles, CA on December 8th 2013.  Join me, and get ready to write the fuck out of your life.



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photographer, artist, daydreamer, inspiration catcher, mama, writer. human and brave, bold and learning. i'm just me, and i am enough...