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May 14, 2024

I am a Cycle Breaker.

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“I scarcely know where to begin, but love is always a safe place.” Emily Dickinson

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Most people can’t imagine the effort involved in being me unless you too have the type of trauma hardwired into your nervous system—the layers of intergenerational pain handed down like a flame on a taper passed from one candlewick to the next.

I am the cycle breaker in my family.

I decided some years ago, decades really, the buck stops here.

I have made it my life’s purpose to extinguish that flame of pain, burning through the ages, have opened myself up to the truth of who I am, and have begun to cultivate the tiny ember that exists—has always existed —in the deepest recesses of my own being. It is there, in the silence of my own vast interior, that I work like a gentle steward of the earth, a tender of the eternal flame, to rekindle what was lost through the ages. It is my own light I now offer to those around me, to future generations, and to the world at large—not something I inherited out of a dark and twisted past, but a light much brighter and inexhaustible.

Maybe that’s what it is I’m actually doing here? Finding gratitude for the ways and means my ancestors gave me to navigate this life. No, maybe not the healthiest or the most humane, but they were what allowed me to survive. They are what allowed us all to survive and arrive here, on this continent, this land where women have equal rights, thanks to our forbearers, who can vote (endless gratitude to the suffragettes!), and where women like me can go to college, earn a living wage, own property, and make decisions without the oversight of a man.

I am one of a generation of women who, thanks to the hard work of women in previous generations, can hold office. Women are now elected vice president of the United States, senators and governors, founders of NGOs, and CEOs who have tremendous power and sway through the almighty dollar because, like it or not, money talks, and I, for one, am grateful for all that’s led up to this point in history—the good, the bad, and the less than admirable—for all of it is responsible for landing us here.

But now we are learning a new way, or rather, we are remembering the old ways. The ways of the feminine. The language of the soul. The landscape of our own hearts. We are reviving the lost arts, the ways of the temple, the almost forgotten language of love. Yes, it is a wonderful place to begin and to return, again and again and again.

My first sponsor in AA when I was just a young woman, no older than my daughter is now, taught me to ask myself an important question. “Any time I don’t know what to do,” she said, “I ask myself one question: ‘What is the most loving thing?’”

For some 30 years now, I have trained myself to return to this simple question at moments of indecision, over and over.

Sometimes the most loving thing to do is nothing at all. To stand down. To step away rather than stepping toward. Other times, it is to be fierce in the face of danger and to speak up and use my voice. When we are aligned with truth, with what is right and human, and we proclaim it with conviction from a place of love, the insurmountable odds—those obstacles that stand in the way—often dissolve before our very eyes.

Today, I feel called to embody the energy and the essence of the Divine Mother. At this time, I feel it is my duty to stand firm and speak up, to say what is true and right when asked, no matter the ramifications. Even if it’s not the popular thing to say—especially when it’s not the popular thing to say—and to give myself a time out when I am too dysregulated to show up with anything less than full sovereignty. To show up in a way that’s not aggressive or dangerous, where I might lose control and forgo access to myself and my own actions—not the faulty hardwiring that may cause me to create more pain and suffering for myself and the world around me.

Without a willingness to act in this way—from a place of love—who will protect the children? Who will protect the animals, the earth, those who have no voice to advocate for themselves?

Without a willingness to stand, fierce and firmly rooted in the truth of who we are, what argument is there for human existence at all?

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