Danzante Caldera, RPC

Coming Home to Our Wisdom

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We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.
— Marcel Proust

“What the hell do I know?”. Whenever I get too wrapped up in knowing the truth or the right way of things, I have this (mildly wry) little life motto at hand to keep me humble. I like the earthiness of this; I like how it strips away all pretense. It helps escape the dead-end of ego, and it helps me to be a better listener. Because the world, when I can but listen, will surprise and have moments of unexpected beauty…

But ego is a trap, always ready to spring and lead us astray. Ego can be like a precocious child, claiming ownership to all the wisdoms of the world, all the while noisily blocking us from a deeper understanding.

Ego closes off some deeper part of ourselves that lives in union with the world as it is. Ego is too busy talking to listen…

While ego is fragile and reactive, there is this deeper knowing which is resolute and always there, whispering to us, beckoning us toward the true self. We each have this, our own true north.

This is the intuited wisdom of our life experience. This is an inter-connected wisdom that comes from our mind, yes, but it is also of our body, of our emotions, of our spirit.

This is an authentic, heart-centered contact with the world as it is. Underneath whatever strife we are facing, there is this voice – this truth - inside that can guide our path forward.

So where is this supposed wisdom when our traumas, or our daily life struggles baffle or overwhelm us? It is there but it’s been silenced and drowned out by the cacophonies and occasional madness of life.

When someone shows up for counselling, one of the first things they want is reassurance that there is a way out of wherever it is that they are stuck. Hope for a better life is often a tenuous thing at this moment… But over and over again, in the quiet of the space, this true voice starts to come forward.

Half the struggle in finding our path again is daring to believe that this inner voice of wisdom even exists. The world finds many ways to disempower us, with all the messages that tear us down, all the ways in which life seemingly fails us.

But no matter how rough the journey becomes, somewhere quiet, underneath the chaos, lies that resolute whisper, the truth of who we are, calling out to us, waiting for us to come home to ourselves…

There is a universal, intelligent, life force that exists within everyone and everything. It resides within each one of use as a deep wisdom, an inner knowing. We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition, an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment.
— Shakti Gawain

 

We Are, Each of Us, Time Machines...

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We are, each of us, time machines. Every one of us is on a journey in time that only we ourselves are (or are not) in control of; traveling backwards and forwards, in and out of our own personal time zones. Virginia Wolf said “An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length”.

Changing with every heart beat, this is our sense of presence, our ability to stay in Flow, to Be Here Now. If we could but maintain a perfect sense of presence, we would always live in the time zone of the world we are inhabiting. But who do you know who maintains this Zen sense of present awareness with any sort of perfect constancy?

No, we are time machines with wonky machinery, our monkey minds dragging us backward and forward on the continuum. If we are struggling with some depression, perhaps we are mired in the past, ruminating over what happened, what could have happened, what should have happened... Or, if we are struggling with some anxiety, we switch gears to worrying what might or might not happen in the future, over and over, our thoughts running in place...

We get stuck, frozen, reliving the past or forecasting the future, in big and little ways, fueling our struggles with circular patterns of thought on well-honed tracks in our brain. We are squandering our creative and emotional energies when we do this.

The only moment we are actually alive is right now; everything else is a shadow, a memory, a dream. The energy flowing through us, that sustains us, is happening right at this very moment that you are reading this – do you feel it? For a short experiment in Presence, if you like, stop reading this, take a slow breath in and a slow breath out, paying attention to your world in the Now, and then come back…

Did you experience Flow? Did you move with the energy that was moving through you? Did you live in the time zone of where you actually are? The breath is our secret weapon, the way we take better care of our wonky time machines. The breath and our heartbeat can only and ever live in the Now.

So maybe the next instance that you find yourself facing some emotional challenge or blockage, remember to check in and see if you have been taken hostage and dragged off to some past or future that is not of your conscious choosing. Let the breath and your own human heartbeat guide you back to THIS present moment… and THIS one… and THIS one…

Wholeness and the Ecology of the Universe

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There is no end point on the journey to becoming whole. There are only continual shifts of paradigm toward larger, more expansive perspectives.

It is easy, when one is on a healing path, to latch onto this idea that all the hard work will lead to a day when you can relax and finally arrive into wholeness. Problems resolved, you can now just enjoy life. Simple…

To drop into being means to recognize your interconnectedness with all life, and with being itself. Your very nature is being part of larger and larger spheres of wholeness.
— Jon Kabat-Zinn

As you evolve and grow, you experience interconnection and start to see yourself living within larger and larger circles of love and support. This leads to a greater peace and happiness and life satisfaction – plenty reason enough to do the healing work - but it’s not the end of the journey.

The idea of “larger and larger spheres of wholeness” means that an entire ecology of Being and Interconnection stretches before you, and through you. You are Life, expressing itself, and that is not a finite thing...

An Unexpected Song…

“Integration is not about fitting pieces together in a preconceived way; instead, it creates something unexpected, a sound you have never heard.” Dr. Chelle Stearns.

A limitless path of healing and discovery lay before you. You integrate new strengths as you encounter new obstacles. You create new solutions, new ways to be, you find a new voice…

On the journey there will always be unexpected strife and struggle; it is the nature of things. But be emboldened - because new and beautiful songs always lie within you, forever waiting to be discovered…

The Choice of Reframing

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I got home from a late work-day a few weeks ago and after pulling into the driveway, sort of collapsed into this drained state. “Whew, that was a day!” I said, and I felt properly exhausted and a little down. But then I heard and saw myself go this way and realized what I really needed was a “reframe”.

The day had a diverse and lengthy list of completed tasks. As I reviewed the day for reframing I realized there were some good reasons for exhaustion.

In my reframing I realized how every part of the day had utilized a myriad of my skill sets, with a healthy but achievable set of challenges and more importantly, I realized how perfectly the day aligned (I reminded myself), with the sense of mission that drives me to do what I do in the world. There was a fulfillment in this…

I felt a physical shift in my body. I regained a sense of Flow…

I still had a bit of fatigue, but it was reduced as I felt the energy of being released into Flow, infused with gratitude. My breath naturally slowed and deepened as I appreciated a healthy and functional glow of well-earned completion of a good day. I found myself smiling, and this good feeling informed my evening from there.

This is the power of reframing, which is one of the core tools in a therapist’s tool box. As the quote from Shakespeare says, “There is nothing good nor bad but thinking makes it so…”.

First, to understand the idea of framing; think about how each of us is walking around the world constantly translating our experience into our own unique view, our "frame" of understanding.

Human beings are meaning-making machines. We process an almost overwhelming amount of incoming data about the world in any given moment. To “tune in” to a coherent and motivating sense of Self amidst potential chaos, we create a narrative - a frame - to organize our awareness.

Frames are a “cognitive shortcut” to this meaning-making, creating a unique and compelling worldview out of all the incoming stimulus.

But sometimes, for many different reasons, our frames start to get a little wonky. We can let a negativity bias – something most of us can experience on occasion - help create the frame. We become used to focusing on our problems, and this darkens the frame.

We might notice that our worldview is darker and more painful than we would like. And, more often, we don’t notice, and we become a captive of our increasingly dark frames.

This is the time for a reframing. This can be a small shift, such as the attitude-adjustment I described at the start of this, or it can be more global, a deeper re-examining of how you approach your life.

If the frames – the sense of meaning, or lack thereof – that you have been working with are really not serving your greater happiness, how useful are they? You have the power to choose a reframe to a more positive view.

So the million dollar question: how do you do it? As a therapist there are a bunch of ways I attempt to facilitate this in session - shifting from a negative view to a positive one, shifting a time perspective (what would this problem look like to you in 10 years?), shifting the personal point-of-view - but at the core what we are trying to do is zoom out to a larger perspective, and to a perspective more likely to align with your core values.

The most important guide is to remember that you, whether you realize it or not, possess the freedom to choose what you would like your perspective to be…

In the example above, my reframing was most powerfully impacted by remembering my sense of mission. What would your reframing look like? Here are some things to remember in answering this:

• Where do find your sense of meaning?
• You are in charge – this is your personal truth you are seeking. 
• Does this perspective serve your happiness? 
• Really, if it doesn’t serve you, change it. 
• There is always another view, another perspective…

Reframing is an ongoing and useful process, as we challenge our assumptions and follow a healing path. It’s a shortcut to a more positive way of experiencing the world.

A Quick Exercise:

If you are having a “stormy” day and just need a moments break, a positive shift, perhaps give this a try. This is adapted from a mindfulness exercise I teach in my workshops, for a quick reframing as you go about your day. It takes just a few moments…

S-T-O-R-M

S – Stop! T – Take a deep, slow breath, in and out… O – Observe the situation, zooming out for a larger view of things. R – Reframe your perspective toward a more positive view. M – Move ahead with your day.

Taming the Media Monster

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One week from today as I type this, I expect to be deep in the country in a lakeside cabin in Montana (of all the unexpected places!). Ahh… swimming the hours away in a fresh mountain lake; the brilliant stars at night, away from the cities glare; long country drives wildlife spotting (I’ve been promised buffalo-sightings!); leisurely, lingering vacation breakfasts with loved ones… And perhaps best of all, getting completely unplugged from all media, social and otherwise.

When this unexpected get-away came up, I must admit that I initially felt unsure about the idea of being disconnected for a week. I toyed with the idea of taking a tablet. I’m in a creatively fertile period and have several projects on the go, so I’m reluctant to interrupt Flow... But then I remembered that same self-care that I’ve led so many workshops on.

Several years ago I had to reassess my work-life balance. The way I described it to a friend was that I had developed “Stockholm Syndrome” to work and the various hats I wear. I had got to a place where it felt like if I stopped for significant time I would be shirking my responsibilities. There were times it got so out-of-balance that I would even feel guilty for taking a full 2-day weekend off. And, like so many of us these days, connectivity is central to the work that I do…

But I’ve learned to be all about the self-care. The fact is, the more frantic my work-load and engagement got, the quality of what I was doing suffered, and I wasted time because I wasn’t at peak effectiveness. When I reordered my priorities, putting in significant time to just stop and simply be, in the quiet of my own breath, (a human being, not a human doing), the authenticity of everything deepened.

Today we are surrounded and inundated with media coming at (and often from) us in all directions in all sorts of formats. With all the voices and conversations seeking attention, how do we take care of our mental and emotional well-being? Where do you draw the line between feeling like an informed and engaged citizen and feeling like a slave to the media and the busyness of life?

A starting awareness should be to remember that, in just about every format, media is often driven by sophisticated manipulations of our natural psychological responses for somebody else’s capital gain - and often the most harmful voices are made louder for profit-motive. This is why it’s important to maintain some healthy boundaries in the face of this global challenge to our well-being…

The stressors are many – but our capability for resiliency and adaptation is profound. We are well into a new era, a new universe of communication, and I’m wildly optimistic at how communications will evolve over time. I am convinced that we can and will balance it all with our heart-felt human nature. But it will be a journey to get there…

To get to a healthy and balanced place in this new era, it’s important to have some good mindfulness about our media intake and engagement. By making conscious (woke!) choices, you can develop your own “Daily Media Practice”. This looks different for everybody, but here is my own personal (anecdotal & unscientific) prescription:

6 Suggestions for a Daily Media Practice

1. Find and embrace the silence whenever and wherever you can...
2. Live from a strength-based perspective. (If you truly know your strengths, you truly know your resiliencies…)
3. Consciously find your breath at least once a day…
4. Choose your media intake carefully, being mindful of the value of your time…
5. Choose your media sources carefully, being mindful of both your heart & mind…
6. Fall in love with your healthy boundaries…

Embrace the beauty of life. See the stars and watch yourself running with them.
— Marcus Aurelius

The more we are able to have a helpful and healthy relationship with it, the more we are more able to have the benefits of our current media environment – and the benefits are indeed many.

With a healthy daily media practice, we can embrace the wonder and gift of this new world of communication and connectivity without sacrificing our peace of mind, sense of wonder, or healthy sense of self. Our humanity can and will continue expanding into this new era. Peace…

*******

Self-Care Brainstorming

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Hey there folks! I’m actually away, doing my own self-care with the summer vacay, but in that spirit I thought a good article this week would be just a brainstorming list of ideas for self-care. I compiled this list from the responses I received during several workshops I presented on self-care & stress management. It’s in no particular order, and I invite you to add your own ideas in the Comments section below. Take good self-loving care, and I’ll see you in a couple weeks... peace and love…

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• Go out to eat with someone you love…
• Spend some quality play/snuggle time with a pet…
• Go out for a movie…
• Create some quality family-time…
• Practice yoga/tai-chi/dance/or any mindful movement…
• Get a massage…
• Go out for coffee or tea with a friend…
• Spend some quality reading time…
• Practice mindful breathing…
• Have a quiet pot of tea…
• Take a nap…
• Make dinner for friends…
• Go to the beach…
• Go for a walk…
• Lift weights / do an intense workout…
• Unplug the phone and settle in for a long movie at home…
• Eat super-healthy…
• Get out into nature…
• Spend time in prayer or contemplation…
• Knit…
• Go swimming…
• Go to a spa…
• Meditate…
• Garden…
• Create a new recipe…
• Play board games with friends…
• Spend time drawing or doodling, for no reason at all…
• Make crafts…
• Take a walk to the park…
• Do some journaling…
• Take a leisurely drive somewhere new…
• Blast music and dance…
• Practice some retail therapy…
• Go thrift-shopping…
• Have a long nurturing bath…
• Go bike-riding…
• Go to a live performance of dance/theater/music…
• Talk on the phone with a distant friend…

(Ok, I think that’s enough to get started… Now, here’s your invitation to share your own self-care idea in the Comments below…)

Witnessing and Loving Presence

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“Nothing we could ever do or work on or accomplish or achieve in life is worth as much as making our relationships more loving and kind… no task is so demanding, so difficult, so significant, so valuable as the task of being loving with the people in our lives.
— Ron Kurt & Donna Martin, founders of Hakomi Therapy

I’ve been spending some time with a wise elder friend of mine who I love and who has been inspiring me for about 25 years. This made me want to write just a little bit this week about love, inspiration and Loving Presence, a gift from Hakomi Therapy.

Hakomi is a very cool school of therapy that I’ve discovered in the last couple years and it’s guiding more & more of what I do in the counselling room (note: I am just beginning with this teaching). At its heart is this way of being that is called Loving Presence.

I’d like to offer a very simplified version of this practice you can try. Try this with someone you love, but you might also experiment with seeing through this lens with anyone, even someone you’ve just met.

Start with a state of Mindful Presence. If you’ve meditated or practiced any kind of intentional mindfulness you know what I’m talking about.

To break it down a bit, at its heart, a state of Presence is simply to sit in quiet awareness of your body, your breath and the space around you. If you can, you are quieting the chattering monkey mind, as the Buddhists refer to it.

This doesn’t have to be a big or difficult process, it can be as simple as a few focused breaths. Simple awareness…

Mindful Presence is being mindful of where you want to direct your consciousness as it arises. Think of it as your Mindfulness directing your Presence…

Loving Presence, then, takes this and adds your natural human kindness and love. Direct your attention towards a person, someone you are sharing space with. Focus on what you are experiencing as you listen to them. Gently look for and note how they inspire or move you.

Try not to get too much into a story about the experience, or especially the person. Try and keep it simple. You are listening to their words while paying attention to what arises in your own heart and your own body...

Every human person has love and inspiration inside. It might sometimes be buried or forgotten in the moment, but it’s there. You are looking for how this love and inspiration shows up inside your own heart or body – not what you “think” but your living, loving, inspired experience of the person in the present moment…

If you are practicing this with someone, as you talk about it afterward (if you talk about it), instead of saying what you think, focus on what you experienced. (“I was inspired by…”, or “I was aware of…”).

Loving Presence is a way to – even if only for a moment! – step out of the stories we have for people, to really see the person. Allow yourself the space to really witness the person, here in the living, breathing Now. To truly witness each other with such loving compassion is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

************

“…and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.” Audre Lorde

Breathing Into Our Life...

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One of the coolest, most gratifying experiences I have as a therapist is to witness people change. I mean that literally, even: I’ve noticed people breathe differently over weeks or months, the breath quieting, softening, deepening with the growing Self.

Faces open up, shoulders straighten… the entire way a person carries themself changes.

This is beautiful, and I’m grateful to be a witness. Given space, time and support, people tend to find their authentic truth, their strength, their own personal awesome…

*****

There is this psychological concept of “Character Armor”; this is just a fancier way to talk about having a mask. We develop masks for good reasons, almost always as a matter of safety, learning to create the “Mask of Self” that we need to serve in the moment. The problem comes when we so often over-identify with the mask.

This manufactured and controlled Mask of Self will be different from the True Self. That disconnect alone is enough to cause a whole cloud of existential unhappiness. Factor in the stressors and daily traumas we sometimes go through and things get worse.

Our culture plays on this mask-making impulse. We are forever being told that if only we were different - younger, skinnier, better hair, fresher breath, different beliefs, whatever – we would more successfully fit into the world.

And the more struggles and trauma the world has thrown our way, the more we may have worked at polishing the mask, to keep ourselves safe. Only then to find it hasn’t worked…!

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
— Henry Miller

So we need to be in touch with our own very individual sense of the awesome, to be so genuinely in love with the true beauty of our lives – perhaps especially in our struggles - that the authenticity of our own true voice is the thing that is the most real to us. Masks (and the pressures that create them) will no longer hold us in their thrall…

With any luck (and some work), we can each find a different way to make our world an awesome place to be in.

We may get lost along the way, putting on our armours for safety and confusing the masks for mirrors – but there is, I believe, an innate human impulse toward the True Self that is always there to guide the way.

Maybe this is part of why the Breath is so important… In finding our quiet breath, our embodied breath, we give our True Self - like a heartbeat - a chance to be heard...

This is the starting point…

*****
“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself”. Henry Miller


A World Without Before/After

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The quote below hit me with the stroke of a little paradigm shift. I suddenly wondered, “Wow, how much of my earlier life had I spent thinking of myself as a Before Photo?”

Fat People are Not
Before Photos
— Jessica Hinkel, Body-Positivity Activist

How many times had I looked at Self and wondered what would I look like in the After Photos? This struck me as such a life of striving, just to find the place where loving oneself is the natural and joyous thing to do.

It is a wonderful to thing, to give up the Before and the After, to love oneself in the Now, with zest, and verve, and the right to do so…

I would suspect most of us have an After Photo in our head – the promise of what it will be like when we finally achieve the body - or the hair, or the style or the whatever-it-is  that sometimes make each of us feel “not good enough” – of our dreams, that magical day when all our problems will be solved by whatever is the desired change.

But what if you gave this duality up, the Before/After. What if you remembered that this very moment – Here.In.The.Now. – is the time you have been waiting for, the time you get to fall in love with your life? What if you decided there was no reason to waste one more minute waiting around for the someday of After?

Growth and change are inevitable, a gift of being alive. Sometimes, growth and change are difficult, unattractive, uncomfortable – and sometimes oour well-being, even our lives depend on this growth and change. So target goals are a good thing, and the source of so much of our inspiration and sense of purpose.

But how much stronger would you be if your growth were only borne in the joy of your healthy self-appreciation, as you are? No more self-image struggles formed in the duality of Before/After.

This is shifting the focus, living out of your strength, and not your limitations… Change that comes from loving your self to the core, here, now, will create the change that will rejuvenate and re-inspire you for the long haul. 

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
— Max Ehrmann, The Desiderata

Who will not be at Pride

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Who Will Not Be At Pride?

The day I came of queer age I listened to Helen Reddy on stage singing “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”, just to me and, well, 2000 others:

I am strong
(Strong!)
I am invincible
(Invincible!)
I am w-o-m-a-n!”

I was at my first Pride ever, in Tampa, Florida, and it was 1985, and it was only Tampa’s 4th Pride ever. My friend Ed laughed at me because I was so empowered – but when I sang I am W-o-m-a-n I sang in sisterhood, and anyway, what I really meant was I am F-e-m-i-n-i-s-t. And I was Invincible in my queerness, too!

At that point we were not safe. I remember that there was only one gay man who was willing to have his name and face in the local paper, and he received death threats even as he founded our first ever Gay and Lesbian Hotline (for which I later volunteered, for a year or so…).

Every year thereafter we organized, watching our Pride numbers go up. Most of us could probably never have imagined we would watch our defiant but small community protest / parade turn into the sunny Civic event it is today.

I tell you this story so that I hope you can understand the depth of my gratitude and appreciation. I feel blessed to have been of my generation, to have been able to watch the vast changes – and to have survived our devastating losses, which I refer to as The Grieving Years - and still we thrive, and grow, and celebrate, over and over and over again. To bear witness to it all feels like a thing of great beauty...

And there have been many years along the way when I could not attend Pride. There were always good reasons, but in the end I have had my challenges, too… Which made me want to write a piece where I celebrated all those who will not be at Pride this year…

The world is full of LGBT people who will not be at Pride. These are our neighbors and our friends, members of the tribe for whom the journey lies elsewhere…

Many of our elders – a lot of whom paved the way for our freedom - and many other people who struggle with their bodies find that the whole physical experience of just getting there is too grueling, amidst the overwhelming crowds in the hot sun. They will not be at Pride…

And, in honor of a dear friend, there are a whole generation of men who have survived decades of chemical warfare against that damned virus, and who just don’t have the energy or the level of wellness currently. But they have survived, they are still here! And they, too, will not be at Pride…

Many people struggle with depression or anxiety, a too-frequent legacy of the trauma of homophobia.  I have had the honor of working with those who struggle in these ways and I understand how this weekend can carry too many social and emotional stressors. So, practicing self-care, they, also, will not be at Pride...

For many straight allies, Pride is a really cool way to practice their now-raised consciousness and have a great time doing it – and thank the Goddess for them! But for many of our tribe, this annual weekend presents something a little more challenging, even as we all wonder in love and gratitude at how the world has changed. 

So, before next weekend brings our annual, record-breaking crowds, I thought it right to take a quiet moment to remember an inclusive vision of everyone for whom we are celebrating…

Let us practice “a measureless ocean of love” for all of our tribe, wherever they are, as we celebrate. So many millions of us have already freed ourselves… And still: there is always more work to be done…

And there will always be a path forward...

And there is always more joy to be found…

And…

 

Who was not proud of his songs, but of the measureless ocean of

love within him, and freely pour'd it forth…”, Walt Whitman

A Sissy Counsellor

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“Nail polish…?” he said, while shaking my hand with its purple nails. I smiled and easily replied, “Oh, yeah, I’m a big old sissy” and then we both laughed. Just like that, we had started to establish a really honest and effective working client-counsellor relationship. It was a great way to break the ice.

This client was very much a straight rock-and-roll dude, and, as we got to know each other, the way my "touchy-feely therapist” language and his ready-to-rock dude language met became running humor between us.

This is one of the things I love most about being a counsellor; the ability to share space and emotional connection with people across the spectrum of human experience. If only the world were more like the counselling room in this regard…

In the last few years I’ve started wearing nail polish again, on the occasion. I’ve a strong effeminate side going back to my early childhood. When I was a young man I even spent a fantastic summer as a drag queen. And I have come to realize that I had cut off too much of my inner sissy while “adulting” in the world as a working professional. So when the whim strikes, out comes the nail polish…

Ok, now about that word: Sissy. As a young gay boy growing up deep in the country in the 60’s and 70’s, that word was right up there with Faerie. Neither of which one would dare to be, in that time and place. Both of these words were used as lethal weapons. I have reclaimed them to be words of empowerment.

It gets better. I became free and I learned to celebrate my life. I stand in a well-earned place of power when I refer to myself as a sissy. It is gentle humor, and it is truth, and it is manifesto. It is a reclaiming and it is elegy for those who have gone before and for those yearning still for freedom.

The more we stand in celebration of ourselves the more we help others to love and celebrate themselves. My rock-dude client still contacts me on occasion, expressing his gratitude as he continues finding his own way to freedom and celebration. I’m grateful to him, too, for what he taught me about his humanity as well.

The annual Civic tradition of millions of people of every orientation around the world flocking to LGBTQ parades and celebrations is in full swing and will be happening here in the Lower Mainland throughout the next several weeks. At the Pride Celebrations everyone gets just about dizzy with the joy of freedom.

It is palpable, beaming out of every face. All the decades of work my community has done is generously transmuted to people of all orientations, simply by joining in our celebrations.

Earlier I talked about sharing space and emotional connection across the human experience. Perhaps, in it’s best moments, Pride is an example of this being possible.

I will stand in my power as a Sissy. It is my hope and my goal that the work I have done transmutes to empowering others. I’ll close now and go about my day, remembering to celebrate my life. (I’m going blueberry picking, I think I’ll wear my big sissy straw hat…).

And just in case you need to hear this, you, too, in your complete humanity, deserve whole-hearted celebration. Here is your invitation, should you need it, to go out and celebrate your life today…