Dancing in the Desert Stars

dancing in the desert stars

Part 2 of my journaling journey, which began with Coming to the Journal.


After my mother died in December 1992, I felt as though I was wrapped in cotton gauze. Everything was muffled and nothing was coming in or going out. If anything did make its way to my heart, the grief turned the volume down so low I could not comprehend. I did what I needed to do to get through the days; I went to work, visited my father on weekends, spent time with well-intentioned friends, but the pervasive numbness gripped me tightly.

As always, journaling helped. I'm sure if I were to read the journals I wrote at that time, the writings would be jumbled words that amounted to nothingness. But simply connecting pen to paper, helped. Journaling opened the doorway to my heart. I began to take creative writing classes and it felt good to let the creative me take over. Eventually I graduated to writing retreats, mostly on my own, smoking pot, listening to flamenco music, and writing whatever my heart had to tell me.

Then I enrolled in a dream journaling class and it began. It was always the same dream...

 Dragonflies Night by  Jimmy Lawlor  (found on Pinterest). One day soon I will purchase a print of this...

Dragonflies Night by Jimmy Lawlor (found on Pinterest). One day soon I will purchase a print of this...

I am standing on a plateau of red rocks in the desert of the Southwestern U.S. as the sun is setting. In the dwindling light the saguaro cactus with their imposing shadows stand like sentries at the gate of some mysterious opening that I cannot pass through.The red rocks grow a deep rust, the same colour as the bloody foam that came from deep inside my mother's dying body. I feel something welling up inside of me that needs to come out and I fear if I don’t, I too will die without speaking my truth.

In front of me I am watching the colours of the sky turn from orange to red, to purple. I begin to dance, whirling and twirling to the most hauntingly beautiful melody ringing in my ears. I spin faster and faster as the sky turns to indigo tinged with the deepening fire of the disappearing sun. Suddenly, I am no longer bound to Earth. I am whirling and twirling higher up into the sky; I am a whirling dervish of ecstatic motion. My clothes fall away and I am naked. The feel of the midnight blue sky on my bare skin is magnificent. I am skinny-dipping among the stars. I've never felt so free. I rise higher and higher and the stars become a gossamer gown of sparkling light. Then I become the stars and I disappear among them.

It was a wondrous dream. Soon after, I began to see the colours of the desert everywhere, and was wildly attracted to them. By the third time I had this dream, each time more vivid, there could be no doubting it — the desert was calling me. In those dreams I became my truest self. I was returning to life.

Sometimes we need to die to be reborn

In February of 1993, I was walloped by a terrible bronchitis that kept me in bed for an entire week. I felt alone, a lost orphan. When I was sick, it was the one time I had my mom all to myself and I missed her terribly. In my delirium, I felt the soothing of her gently cooling hand on my forehead. Night and day blended into nothingness in my darkened room. The fireplace in the bedroom of my apartment became the setting sun as my dream of the desert turned dark. The saguaro sentries stood towering over me, blocking me from seeing the desert sunset, and bound me to the earth. I could not dance, nor twirl, nor rise above them to join the stars as I longed to do. I awoke, soaked in my own sweat, sobbing inconsolably.

By Friday of that week I was finally able to sit up. The weak Vancouver sun was peeking through the clouds. I noticed birds were singing. I needed to be outside and feel its glorious warmth on my face. I called my friend Penny, a writer who worked from home. She was always up for a coffee and we met at our usual spot. It was warm enough to sit outside and although I had used all my energy on a shower and getting there, I felt alive for the first time in a very long time.

I told Penny I had the dream again and as I bathed in the sun, we began to weave a story of adventure with me as Thelma and she Louise. We would ride into the desert in the van we slept in, letting nothing stop us on our quest for me to meet and bed the famous flamenco guitarist and she the writer on writing, who both lived in the Southwest.

 

HERE’S WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE

Sometimes we need to die to be reborn…

My mother’s death when I was 31, propelled me into action. It gave me the courage to accept that I did not want to lead my life in the stress-filled position of production manager in the advertising business. I knew if I stayed I would never pursue my dreams of being a promotional writer. I was creative and I wanted to do work that made my heart happy and had meaning. I did not want my life to depend on a half-percent rise or fall in the market share of a brand of toilet paper. 

I gave myself a year to prepare. I sold everything that no longer served me as I readied myself to travel to the southwestern United States. I wanted to believe that my friend Penny would be coming with me because it helped me to keep moving toward my dreams. But, when my job ended and I moved into her place until it was time to go, she finally told me she wasn’t coming. And so, gathering all of my courage, I loaded up my car and set off to the border. It took two tries, but I finally got across. My adventure had begun.

To this day, I have never returned to live in Vancouver, but that solo trip gave me the courage to be the writer I was meant to be, live in new places, and meet the man I was meant to marry. Imagine all the the things that had to happen to bring me to the life I live now. It still astounds me when I think about it!

While she was living, my mother never pressured me to settle down or have children. That wasn’t the life she wanted for herself and I think she saw a different life for me too. And her dying gave me the courage to see the life I was living was not the life I wanted. She gave me permission to begin my life as hers ended.

Journaling has helped me to see this. It’s what I call Turning the Prism, and what Byron Katie calls the Turnaround. I will not be so presumptuous to say that my mother gave up her life so I could be reborn, but honestly, it feels that way. It feels like it was our Soul Contract (the agreements we make with our soul family before we were born into this life), because her dying made me discover my own life, my unique strengths and finally become the explorer I've always been meant to be.


Next time I'll share about journaling my way through the Four Corner states of the U.S. and how it led to the next chapter of my life journey. 


kathy mercure profile

kathy mercure is a storyhealer, storylistener, and storyteller. Her life’s work is to gently draw stories from her students to help them unblock their writing, find their voice, and heal their lives. Her passion is to support women in realizing their true identity as wild women, claiming their passions, and speaking their truth as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)

 

 

Wild women don't get the blues

Wild women don't get the blues

The inspiration for this new name and direction comes from that Wild Woman Rising up in me. I think it's rising up in many of us. I realized at the tender age of 56 that the only person who can rescue me IS ME. But while sisters are doing it for themselves, we’re also moving towards taking care of each other.

The bittersweet truth is...

The bittersweet truth is...

You know, the trouble with facebook's algorithm is that even if you're not searching for ultimate answers, it will keep providing ads for the next course or person who is going to save your life. When enough "wildly successful" people tell you they have the secrets, even if you think you're doing just fine, you'll start to crumble under the pressure of, "Why don't I have that life? I need that life!"

Answering the Call to Your Heart's Desires

Answering the Call to Your Heart's Desires

Your heart’s (soul’s) desire doesn’t have to be a calling to be Oprah or Malala. You can do your small part in healing our collective consciousness right from your sphere of influence. You never know how far the ripples may spread.

THE PATH TO SUCCESS & THE TOOLS THAT GUIDE YOU

THE PATH TO SUCCESS & THE TOOLS THAT GUIDE YOU

That dark chasm between where you are now — on the precipice of change — and where you want to be in X years is long, dark and unknowable. Anything new is unknowable, that’s why we need to do it (to find out). And it’s frickin’ scary not to know what will happen... 

TURN LEFT TOWARDS HEART AT THE INTERSECTION OF DESIRE AND FEAR

 Let go of thinking there is only one purpose for you and embrace the idea that our purpose in life is to love life fully by engaging in all of its beautiful messiness.  PIN this post to save or read later.

In Break Free, we worked on turning around our fears to look at our strengths. At this very moment, we’re at the point where Fear and Desire collide. Now the choice comes as to which way to turn — towards desire, where everyone wins, or toward Fear, where only Fear wins, and you get to stay stuck.

The choice is always yours. You may not feel ready to move onto mapping your desires like stars in the sky to guide you, but remember, you will be writing and rewriting the stories of your life for many years, and the best way to get insight is to take action and move forward. 

You probably feel you’re not ready, or you don’t trust yourself. There is never the perfect time to do anything. There will always be doubts and questioning and challenges. But, how we grow is by turning left to the desires of the heart. 

Break Free

 

The Zone of Genius

One of my favourite books on following heart’s desires is The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks. It’s about living your life in your Zone of Genius. We all have zones of Incompetency (mine is numbers), Competency (things you’re good at that many others are good at too), and Excellence (things that you excel at, that make you unique). 

And then there is the Zone of Genius. It’s very much like your life’s purpose. It’s those things from your Zone of Excellence that feel effortless and transcendent at the same time. You wish you could do only them. That is your Zone of Genius that fills you up and makes you jump out of bed in the morning and where Hendricks says you want to be spending the majority of your time. 

 

Maybe there isn’t just one thing you want to do with your life

I must admit, that, even though I feel as though storyhealing (helping people to heal through journaling) is my life’s calling and my Zone of Genius, I thought the same thing about writing when I first realized it filled me up like nothing other. I have no idea if I will be doing this the rest of my life, or if there’s another turn in the path ahead of me. There is always room for more passion in my life.

The same can be said for you. Your desires can change as you change. This work doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment chiseled in stone. 

I’ve met a lot of people who are passionate at many things. I want to put it out there that many of us struggle because we try to find that ONE thing that we are meant to do. Here’s a radical notion: maybe trying to find only one thing is the reason why we feel like something is missing. The notion that we have only one thing we are meant for limits us from fulfilling our greatness.

I know someone who has six different job titles: coach, freelance writer, video editor, marketer, tech instructor, designer. Each thing she does brings her joy, and none of them is her purpose — they are her passions. 

She’s young, so she has lots of time to figure out if she has just one thing. But, that may well be the gift the Millennials give to this world — the dawning of a new realization — WE DON’T HAVE TO STICK TO ONE THING OUR ENTIRE LIVES.

How can we possibly decide the rest of our lives in our twenties when we’re still wet behind the ears? When I was twenty, I just wanted to explore life, not get bogged down it what I was going to do with it. The world was open to me. But I also know there those who know who they want to be when right from childhood, and if only one thing calls you, go for it. Just, please, never lose the ability to be open to new desires as they present themselves.

Let's talk about fear

 

Let’s make the goal be to live your life with passion and purpose! 

We can have many desires and follow all of them if we don’t get tied to the belief that a productive life means we must buy into the myth that it must come with the partner, the dream home, and other ‘stuff,' children and the job that pays for it all. (But, if that’s what sparks you, again, go for it). 

If you’re young and un-sparked by the idea of having the same job year after year, which squeezes the air out of your lungs, start listening to your inner drummer and get in touch with your desires! Hells bells, if you are older, like me, and feel the pull to try something new, go to it, don’t put it aside for some day! 

 

When we lead a passionate life, we are living our life on purpose

Let go of thinking there is only one purpose for you and embrace the idea that our purpose in life is to love life fully by engaging in all of its beautiful messiness. It means we take the leap and try new things; we stop resisting the unknown and we participate in what is happening right here, right now — the only place we actually have influence.

That feeling that something is missing goes away when we take action and follow our desires. The need to seek our purpose comes from a lack of passion. When we don’t feel connected to your life, we lack purpose and passion. To fix this emptiness, simply add more passion — turn off the TV, the computer; put down that glass of wine; spend some time listening to your heart to unearth those long buried desires underneath all that worthiness and follow your heart.

 

HERE’S WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE

Remember when I told you about my friend and her six (and counting) passions? Well, she has found a way to include most of them in her business as a coach. She helps entrepreneurs with the mind work, the tech work, and the marketing work. Perhaps that’s another way to look at it. Most of us have many, many experiences and paths in our lives that we follow and learn things that made us feel alive. The thing to do might be to find a way to include the ones that make our heart gallop the fastest into the über career or gift that we share with the world.

Instead of thinking that all those passions are separate entities, you could combine your years of business training with your passions of cooking, entertaining, interior decorating, and gardening — to open an amazingly successful bed and breakfast!

Anything can happen if you keep your ears open to the callings of the heart. 


kathy mercure is a storyhealer, storylistener, and storyteller. Her life’s work is to gently draw stories from her students and help them unblock their writing, find their voice, and heal their lives. Her passion is to support women and men in realizing their true identity as a valued human being, claiming their passions, and speaking their truth as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)

BUT, I’m afraid I’ll find something dark and twisty...

BUT, I’m afraid I’ll find something dark and twisty...

What I’m asking you to do is listen.  Your heart (or more correctly, your soul) knows all and has all the answers you seek. But, we second-guess our hearts constantly. In actuality, we are magnificent, perfect creatures who only need to follow this wisdom to be truly happy, and yet, we don't believe enough.

BUT, no one writes with a pen anymore — do they?

BUT, no one writes with a pen anymore — do they?

Writing in your journal, from your heartspace, is a completely different experience than writing, say, a blog, or a research paper. Writing from your heart is connecting your HEART to your BRAIN to your PEN.

 

Happy New YOU 2017!

Happy New YOU 2017!

To each and every one of you, this is my 2017 wish for you:

The courage to face your fears, be open to love when you see fear and hatred, and that your love of self, inspires you to action.

Fear is NOT your enemy

Fear is NOT your enemy

Emily Dickinson wrote, "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all." Let Fear guide you to Hope.