Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ON CRYING + TRYING + THE MAGIC OF GIVING UP

I'm at Burning Man, crying about a good bit of heartbreak, when my awesomely scientifically-minded friend looks at me, cock-eyed, and says in her British accent:

"I'm quite sure that you're the best crier I know."

"Ha! What makes for a good crier?" I ask.

"Well you do this thing where you let it all the way out. And then, consequently, you don't apologize for doing so."



CRYING AS A SCIENTIFICALLY HEALING POTION

I let her words sit with me for a few weeks, cried a bit more for research's sake, and then decided to do some actual scientific research, so I could report back.

The questions I took to the Google Machine:

I know that I feel awesome post-crying, but could this possibly be something that most humans experience? And if so, why?--Why does it feel so good to cry? Is all crying good crying? Also, why do so many of us avoid this thing that feels good, and what's the key to letting ourselves cry?


THE RESEARCH

A study done by biochemist and tear expert Dr. William Frey, compared the chemical contents of emotional tears (the tears we cry due to sadness or grief), with those of reflex tears (the tears we cry to protect us from particles or intrusions).

The findings?

Emotional tears release multiple chemical toxins produced during stress as well as mood-elevating endorphins, while reflex tears are 98% water! (More here).

Frey claims that the body secretes tears for the sake of removing toxins from the body, similar to the toxin-removing process of urination. And while emotional processing is good and dandy, releasing the chemical composition of toxins, might be the deal-sealer for feeling better.


THE TROUBLE WITH TRYING NOT TO CRY

Usually, when we're trying not to cry, it's because we're attached to trying to do or be something other than someone who's crying. A master, a helper, a teacher, a winner, a maker, a mother, a father, a leader. We don't compute "crier" with any of these things.

Of course, some people have learned to use crying as a manipulative tool to increase getting what they want by eliciting sympathy or fear in others. To be clear--this is not the kind of crying for which I'm advocating. In fact, manipulative crying gives the healing sacred crying for which I am advocating, a bad rep.

But more than the argument of manipulative crying, our societal mindset is still half-way stuck in the Industrial Revolution paradigm of no-time-to-cry-in-the-factory, or the patriarchal paradigm of it's-weak-and-wimpy-to-cry.

And so, we deny nature. We hold in our tears, and it's painful. It's also unhealthy, clenching onto the toxins that our body so naturally knows how to release.

The facts are that the average female cries 5.3 times per month, and the average male cries 1.4 times (this, presumably, has to do with females having more prolactin than males--another hormone released in emotional tears)--but when asked to predict how many times they thought they'd cry over the span of a month, both sexes predicted lower than reality.

We wish our crying weren't so, but it's so, folks. And wishing otherwise is futile--an added stress to our already emotional lives.


HOW TO GIVE UP + GIVE IN TO CRYING

First of all--You Were Built For Crying. (Just the same as you were built for pissin'.)

Now that that's... sealed in...

Three Tips for Crying, from The Crying Expert Herself:

1) When you sense you might want to cry, but your mind is telling you not to.

Try on these three sentences:

"It's healthy to cry. I want to cry. I am going to cry."

And then let your body move naturally into its most comfortable crying position.

Many of us are walking around with our default response to crying as, "Go away. I don't want you here. You're making a fool out of me. You're taking up too much space and energy. I'm not allowed to release you. People will think I'm a baby or brat."

Would you say that to your piss?

"It's HEALTHY to cry," reminds you that crying releases toxins and actually has physiological benefits.

"I WANT to cry right now," welcomes your tears as a healing and healthy release.

"I am GOING to cry," invites you to walk towards your experience.

After you whisper these three things, let yourself actually walk toward the position that feels safest to cry in, wherever you are. Get comfortable. Breathe. Exhale. Exhale loudly. Keep exhaling loudly until, perhaps, at last, you cry.

2) When you WANT to cry but feel unsafe or unpracticed or very very stuck.

Damien Rice. Joni Mitchell's Blue album. Put 'em in the dock and get out a pen and paper.

Answer this question:

If I knew and trusted that I was meant to cry, that it's allowed and safe, healthy, even, what would I let myself cry about? Pent up or fresh? Old or new?

A shorter prompt is:

I am ready & willing to cry about ______.
I am ready & willing to cry about ______.
I am ready & willing to cry about ______.

Write, write, write. When I write what I'm ready & willing to cry about, I usually end up dropping the pen, dropping my mask, and letting the tears fall freely.

3) When the crying feels too big for you and you alone, or too stuck to express without a little external compassion.

Phone a friend. I'd go with someone you've seen cry before. Or someone who often cries to you.

Here's your line: "Hi. I really need to cry. Can you be my witness right now?"

Or: "Hi. I really need to cry and I'm feeling really stuck. Can I simply talk about the things I want to cry about, to see if it helps me? I made a list."

If you still don't cry, that's OKAY--you're in touch with your emotions and deepening a relationship based on vulnerability and truth-telling. This is always a good thing.

If you DO start crying--give yourself the chance to Really Cry.

I once had a coach say to me, while I was amidst some mild-tears post-separation, "You know, in some cultures they go out into the field and they wail, loudly, as loud as they can." It was total permission to release it all. Expel. Free.


THE HIDDEN MAGIC OF TEARS

While crying doesn't expel all pain (nothing ever has or ever will expel pain from the human experience), it does move our energy and our toxins.

But most importantly, it's devotional presence to allow ourselves and our bodies the expression of tears.  And what follows that expression is the hidden magic of tears...

After we cry, it's like getting on a boat to the next stop of our healing journey.

We fall into a blissful nap, or we let out a big fit of laughter.
We know clearly what's true for us, or we have a new unwavering direction of inquiry.
We soften to the humility, the frailty of being human, and we experience our strength as a surrender to the truth.
We allow ourselves the treat of comfort food or a long hug from a friend.
We move deeper into the flow of our healing, rather than spinning on the hamster wheel of avoidance.

Releasing the tension, giving in to our nature, to our tears--this is the expression that frees us up to keep moving.

We were built to cry. Let yourself try. There's magic and brilliance in giving up on holding it together.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What do you want the most, more than anything, absolutely yes yes yes?



the most of my wanting is hands covered in mud
muscles sore with joy
strong ties
building together

more than anything
watching the sun dance its way into
an everlasting sky
blinding the stars, the dreams
with the brightness
of day

yes yes yes
a village, a home
a circle, a dome
made of straw and dirt and water
made of eden's delight and wonder
made of love
and tiny matter

the most of my wanting
is a primordial home
bare skin, strong bones
warm bodies pressed into warm bodies

a fire we feed
together

a village that simply uncovers
the old new ways of loving
quiet crackling
exploding wood


+++


i am moving more and more to my own edge of truth, and i'm not quite sure how to be a good teacher with this practice, other than to lead by example.

it has been a long road of unintentionally suppressing my most true expressions. but now, the more i uncover them, the more i realize that they're simply on the edge, and i have been afraid to go there.

i spent a good 70% of burning man with less than 70% of my "private parts" clothed. i went by Eve and it couldn't have felt more apt. i am naked presence. old easy love. wild strength. total embodiment.

i want a home that matches my soul. this dream has been stuck in me for years. i have no money, and that's the truth, so i've been focusing on making money. i've not succeeded at it. not yet.

i've thought that this "making money" thing would be the way to the "making the dream" thing. i'm not sure that's true.

i'm feeling more and more like i just want to be open-hearted with the truth of what i want. out of hiding. surrendered to the not-having. surrendered to support.

i want to choose presence and sharing my truth, over pushing and hustling for something to come.

i want vulnerable sharing to create the tipping point, not muscling and mighting.

so... here's what i really want, some of which i have, and some of which i don't, but all of which i love with every ounce of my honest heart:

i want to do rituals with people every day. light those matches. light their magic. set the world on fire with people alive in their love.

i want to make music and write poetry and get my hands wet and dirty in paint and clay, because that's what makes me feel alive in my love.

i want a partner to build a village with.

i want eye to eye quiet holy connection. tantric magic. ancient whispering gazes.

i want to build these circular straw bail homes by the river and host mini burns and extended ritual gatherings.

i want to explore vastly the worlds of sex and orgasm and unconditional love and holy nudity and pure devotional truth.

i want teachers. to be led down new rabbit holes of pleasure and surrender and health and fire.

i want adventure. spontaneity. to take photographs with real film and play in a dark room, developing.

i want to love myself. so much that i'm not shocked when incredible things come my way. i want love to be the fire i feed over and over and over again, amen, amen, amen.

i want a sanctuary home, with an eternal flame that i feed every day.

i want friendship that surprises and delights.

i want wild joy. co-creation. letting go. burying. wailing wonderful aliveness. orgasms that rattle my core.

i want to teach alongside the best teachers in the world. only after i've been blown to bits and rebuilt by the mystery of wanting more.


+++


and you? what do you want the most, more than anything, absolutely yes yes yes?*

this question brought to you by the brilliant Danielle LaPorte, in her gorgeous Conversation Starters app.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Do you labor and labor and then say 'eh, it's just not right'? :: SWING, DAMNIT DAY 1

Hey magic-makers,

It's Day 1 of Swing, Damn It! and I am really happy-nervous-fuck-yeah-ready to be sharing with you these first three creations.

First up: Introducing a poem in which my soul-mate-5-year-old-bestie reminds us all to make our god damn art, perfectionism be damned!

This was the 5th poem of the year in my poem-a-day project. Over the next 7 days, check back in for a daily video-poem, featuring my fave(ish) poem I wrote per month over the last 7 months.


Poetry-Worthy by Rachael Maddox from Rachael Maddox on Vimeo.


Next up: I made this sparkly promo video for my new coaching program, Magic 17. I really love it, but I've been super shy about sharing it. The matches, though... When I asked them, they were all like, "RACH, PLEASE STOP HIDING YOUR MAGIC." Right. Got it.


Magic 17 ~ Step into the fire from Rachael Maddox on Vimeo.


Lastly: I'm doing an offical PLEASE STOP HIDING YOUR MAGIC invitation. Because solidarity is one of my favorite medicines on earth. Over the next 7 days (7/21-7/27), I'm offering 17% off to anyone who signs up for Magic 17. You can buy it now, and use it later, too, if you want to get in on the sale but this isn't your moment for the intensive.

Below's a summary of the program, and right here's a more in-depth read on things. To apply your 17% discount, write to me on the Magic 17 with I'M DONE HIDING MY MAGIC and that'll be the secret-code for your 17% off discount.

+++
Magic 17 is a coaching program for people who are ready to make immediate and deeply aligned change in one or two specific areas of their lives, using a fiery, fun and powerful modality.

We combine a sacred ritual with traditional coaching techniques, for a potent experience that initiates change, growth, and real-world results, in alchemical timing.

The ritual? Lite a match. Answer a question in the time it takes for the match to burn. Repeat. We do this for 17 minutes, 7 different times over a 17 day time-frame.

The continuity of having a session every 2 to 3 days, plus the alchemy of the fire, makes this program especially powerful for people who are ready, now, to co-create deep shifts and real-world results in their lives.
+++


To magic, and imperfection, and of course, sharing. Thanks for receiving my gifts! No it's your turn: Swing, Damnit!

Lots of love,
Rachael

Monday, July 14, 2014

Crisis Control vs Crisis Alchemy, and an Invitation to Show Up and Swing


My friends and I have this casual habit of referring to our life-stages as a "crisis of [fill-in-the-blank]". (I know, I know, negative thinking blah blah blah... It's the fun unenlightened reality, folks). For a while I was in a crisis of faith. Before that, a crisis of sex. Now, I've been moving through a crisis of confidence, and it's exactly why I'm showing up, writing you.

I'm remembering that crises aren't actually crises until we try to control them.

Control, as it relates to crisis, often focuses on locking things down to a stable place. This is good sometimes--good for catching your breath, getting your bearings. But after that, something more magical is desirable, because no one really wants to always live in the land of merely-catching-breath.

Introducing Crisis Alchemy: the process of leaning into the friction and discomfort of transformation, and emerging more intelligent and whole.

Back to my confidence crisis for just a moment, then I'm going to tell you exactly how to best apply crisis alchemy.

At this point, I can easily assert that the past seven months have been the most creatively productive of my entire life. And yet, sharing has felt like a surefire trip to the dungeon of doom, ridden with endless opportunity for rejection, disapproval and losing--or worse, being totally overlooked. I write excuse after excuse about why I can't share, and instead, hide out with my creations, offering glances only to the people I know will love me, no matter. Confidence crisis, summed up.

The opportunity for crisis alchemy deliverance? Ask inverse questions.

In my case, the old way, the stuck way, would ask over and over and OVER again, What's the risk of sharing? How might this go wrong? What do I have to lose if I share?

But the new way, the alchemical way, asks the inverse questions:

+What's the risk of not sharing? 
+What's in grave danger of not happening if I stay hidden and covert? 
+What's the cost of avoiding friction?

You can do the same question-inversion process with whatever crisis you might be amidst. Sex, cash, housing, identity. Flip your normal questions on their back. Walk curiously through the opening. (Hint: our normal questions are usually fear based when we're in crisis mode. That's the reason why we feel like it's a crisis: 'cause terror's taken over creativity).

Some love-based alchemical questions:

+What's the risk of NOT being honest?
+What's the cost of NOT sharing my heart?
+What definitely WON'T happen if I never go for it?
+What happens if I NEVER apologize? 
+What happens if I KEEP apologizing?
+Who wins if I walk away? Who wins if I stay?
+What if anger's good?
+What will definitely happen if I act based on fear?
+What would total faith do, right now?
+What's the price of stalling?
+What's the wisdom of patience?
+Who might I connect with, inspire or impact positively if I step out on a ledge, now?
+What do others not understand, that I know as deep and true wisdom?
+What am I gaining, even if they disagree with me?
+What could budging on my stubbornness do for the good of all?
+What if they want to love me? Can I give them the chance?

When I answer questions like these--alchemical and love-based--my true desires are highlighted, rather than the darkness of my fear.


And what I'm constantly having to remind myself about alchemy is this: alchemy happens when you keep your eye on the ball of your desire, instead of focusing on the dark of your fear, or the discomfort of learning how to nail your desire. 

Desire inspires practice if you're tapping into it. So ask the alchemical questions, then simply show up to the batting cage. Swing and miss. Swing and hit. Just swing.

The alchemy's in the woosh of trying, once you know what you really wanna try for.

+++

In the spirit of the woosh of trying, and because what I really desire is to SHARE the magic stuff I've created, I've made a handy seven-day digital event called Swing, Damn It. It starts next Monday the 21st, and runs through to Sunday the 27th. Once a day, for seven days, we share our creations, our offerings, our expression.

Head here for the details. It'll be a supportive, fun way to 1) share our magic, 2) meet other awesome creative people and learn about what they're up to, 3) generate togetherness as opposed to competition, and 4) be seen and heard.

Oh, and it's totally free.

Wild love, wild hearts. We got this.
xo,
Rachael

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Declaration of Interdependence : Ground Zero of the Togetherness Revolution



This is a declaration of humble grand simple humanness, in which it is hereby stated that we know this as truth: the real magic, the greatest magic of all, is giving everything to each other. Not hoarding for ourselves in our bomb shelters of fear, but offering our gifts, mixing and melting into collaborations born from true inspiration and insight that we are able to do something beautiful, something noble, something for others that brings them joy or peace, something for ourselves that feeds our power to give more, to celebrate more, to praise more the wildness of life. Because giving, celebrating, praising--they're the gold we never knew we always had. The magic that requires no spells, just letting go and calling out, "How can I help?" "Hallelujah!" Hooooo, baby, lookin' good!"

A movement has taken hold. A movement of people building a truly sustainable container for human thriving, based on four key pillars: personal practices, loving friendship, sustainable environments, and the best use of the Internet. The combination of these ingredients is creating a togetherness like never before; one that is changing the landscape of humanity as we know it, making way for a love-based aliveness of a whole new caliber.


1. PERSONAL PRACTICES. Our movement is rooted in personal practices that foster:
  • physical health, vitality and sensuality
  • emotional resilience, appreciation and expression
  • mental clarity, ease and creativity
  • spiritual wisdom and remembrance

2. LOVING FRIENDSHIP. Our movement is rooted in friendship that loves in the languages of:
  • sharing our gifts and resources
  • honoring ourselves and each other for our natural gifts, as well as struggles
  • shamelessness & honesty
  • devotion to staying through the thick of mortality, with laughter, dancing & helping hands

3. NURTURING ENVIRONMENTS. Our movement is rooted in nurturing home and work environments that facilitate:
  • the health of the body
  • accessibility to friendship as well as solitude
  • connection with (and fostering of) the magic of the earth

4. INTERWEBS. Our movement is supported by the best use of the Internet as:
  • a tool for rapid connection and cross pollination of these ideas
  • a means for facilitating a whole new way

A way of never-before-so-possible, but now almost inevitable. A way in which love, compassion and the integrity of humanitarianism ensures that our whole human family is fed and housed, healing violence, and creating abundant opportunities for connection, joy and peace. A way in which this insurance of togetherness, this deep sense of the human family, is the new norm we never knew was actually possible until it rose up in us like our first human-family orgasm.

In this Declaration of Interdependence, let it be known that I was half asleep while writing, therefore it was more like plucking words, one by one, like stars from the sky of our collective dreamland. Perhaps interdependence is a dream. Perhaps togetherness is our deepest dream, underneath all the climbing for personal acclaim. Perhaps we simply want to make it, and we secretly wish that we didn't have to be alone at the top of the mountain (or the bottom, for that matter).

This Declaration is an invitation. You can have this dream if you want it: the dream for our togetherness. You can walk toward it, run toward it, dance in it, awaken it like a sleeping dragon. You can INSIST that we are smart enough, caring enough, and committed enough, to create awesome new ways of honor and sustainability that support the masses of humanity... and we can do so by: 1) helping each other unlock our passions and come into our magic, and 2) reminding ourselves and each other that our magic is here to service the whole of humanity, the whole of existence. 

This fire, this persistence, when infused with the real practice of wild love, will burn down the way it was. We will rise, together, and wipe the ash off each other's backs. We can have togetherness. We can belong--to the earth, to each other, to our bodies, inside the great gorgeous mystery of life. We already do. May we remain in awareness, in remembrance of our intelligent capacity, our courageous willingness, our supportive tools, and our loving manifestation of our highest destiny as humans: peaceful, thriving, glorious and gorgeous interdependence.

I love you. I love you so much. Let's be together.
Love,
Rachael