Easter Sunday was yesterday and while I don’t currently wear a label for any particular faith, you know I’ve been revisiting Christianity lately to learn more about Jesus as a spiritual teacher and understand the roots of some spiritual wounds I experience in adolescence.
The message yesterday was of course about Christ’s supposed death and resurrection – a story that highlights the opportunity of new beginnings, redemption, having a fresh start, and the idea that we have infinite chances to get things right. We always are able to start again. And I love that concept. No matter how wrong things have gone in the past, we can always have a do over. Not only is this incredibly important for cultivating forgiveness, but this concept is the very basis that allows us to make more aligned choices with who we are and who we want to be as we move forward in the future.
I came home from service and thought back to the real origins of the Easter holiday though. Having studied many religions and spiritual practices in my life, I know much of what is commercialized today as part of Easter celebration (the eggs, the bunnies, etc.) are actually derived from the Pagan celebration of the Germanic goddess Oestre, the goddess of fertility.
Fertility, itself is the sign of new life, but as I was reflecting on this last night, fertility isn’t just to give life, although incredibly important. Fertility supports the ongoing life of a lineage. Fertility is also about legacy, which got me thinking about my legacy. What legacy do I want to leave? And how does this tie into the legacy that Christ left?
If there’s anything I know, it’s this… the most powerful force there is in life is love. Love is the one thing that gives our lives meaning. It’s the foundation for joy, courage, acceptance, and wholeness. It’s the foundation for kindness and compassion, empathy and connection. It’s the one thing that so many of us strive for, but yet the one thing that is also the most uncertain. After all, just because you love someone doesn’t mean they’ll love you back. And just as love is one of the most powerful forces there is, rejection from love is often one of the most painful.
So, I was thinking about these things last night – my legacy, Christ’s legacy, and love. I’m still getting to know Jesus on a personal level, but I can say wholeheartedly that my study of many religions, faiths, and practices has taught me that spiritual living all comes back to love. I think Jesus does too. And as I’ve been diving deeper into the foundations of my own work and teachings with clients, I know without a doubt that it all comes back to love – how to learn how to love ourselves and others so we minimize rejection, maximize connection, and build a strong foundation for courage, acceptance, resiliency and joy.
As you all know, the concepts of Wild and Holy found me earlier this year as I began writing my first book on how we learn how to love. Why Wild and Holy? Why did these words speak to me so deeply? Well, as I’ve studied love, I know a few things to be true at this point:
Love is intimately tied to our sense of belonging and we only get to belonging by being who we really are.
And if you’re familiar with Brene Brown’s work, you know belonging is not just merely fitting in. In fact, to fit in means we change or present ourselves as who we think others want us to be. Belonging requires us to present ourselves as we actually are. There’s an authenticity element to this that cannot be avoided.
Yet, there’s also a vulnerable element to this as well. What if you present your true self, you let yourself be seen, and instead of being accepted and belonging, you’re rejected and abandoned?
Remember – love is the most powerful thing, yet it can also be the most painful. It’s risky to love because it will always be uncertain.
But the one thing that isn’t uncertain is loving and belonging with ourselves – of seeing ourselves as worthy of these things and this is perhaps the most important.
As I look back on my journey, this is the piece that was missing for so long. I didn’t think I was worthy of love or belonging as I was so I changed myself to be who I thought the world wanted me to be.
Inside, I felt not-enough, like I needed to pretend and when you truly believe this, you abandon yourself in tiny ways that leave big impacts on your soul. You take on others’ beliefs to win a sense of belonging. You agree with others’ opinions so you don’t risk rejection. You silence your needs so you aren’t difficult to love because dear God, make it as easy as possible so you won’t be abandoned.
And all of this takes you further and further away from who you really are. Yet, we can’t truly love ourselves unless we are who we are!! Nor can we truly belong!
My legacy is this:
– teach others how to love who they are by rejecting the things that insult their soul, giving themselves permission to be wild – to embrace the unique beautiful and sometimes infuriating qualities that make them who they are – to stop hiding, to start shining and reclaim the pieces they’ve given away. To give them permission to want what they want, like what they like, and be their fullest expression. And do this by teaching you to stay in the room for what you need and how you feel. To be see yourself as whole and complete, to heal the things that stand in the way of your wholeness and bring you home to the holiness that lives within you.
All of the things we want most are at the foundation of love and belonging, but nothing is more potent than loving and belonging to ourselves first. And to do this, we have to stop criticizing ourselves, stop judging ourselves, and start accepting and loving and worshipping ourselves as the perfect creations we are. Perfect in the sense that you are fallible, you’ll make mistakes, you’ll make wrong turns, you’ll put your foot in your mouth, you’ll be unkind when you’re hurt. And perfect in the sense that you are an ever evolving, learning, integrating, shifting human being who is trying their best and gaining immense wisdom and courage to be better and freer along the way.
This is why the ideas of Wild and Holy mean so much to me because to be Wild means we return to our essence. We reclaim who we are so we can truly belong not just to ourselves, but with others. And to be holy means we honor our path, we practice reverence for our perfection, we embrace who we are, love who we are, celebrate who we are, and worship the beautiful gift of the life we have holding ourselves as sacred.
Brené says the practice of self-love is to learn how to trust ourselves, to respect ourselves, and be kind and compassionate with ourselves. What this means to me is prioritize ourselves, honor ourselves, and value ourselves. To realize we can be who we are and loveable. In fact, there is no other way.
To be Wild and Holy is to celebrate this – to give ourselves the permission to express our full selves in the world and believe in ourselves so wholeheartedly that we no longer question if we’re worthy. We know we are. This is what it means to become whole.
So, as I reflect on all the messages from Easter Sunday and the Pagan goddess Oestre, being Wild and Holy is our salvation, our freedom, our invitation to love and be loved. And although it’s my personal goal to leave a legacy of love, to teach love, to practice love, I think it is our human duty to learn how to love and leave our future generations with more tools and our best examples of what it truly means to love ourselves first and to then practice that with others.
To teach each other they are worthy of love and belonging by simply being themselves – their Wild and Holy, whole selves.
So how do we get there?
- Practice self-forgiveness and acceptance. If you’re working on this holy piece of seeing yourself as worthy – forgiveness and acceptance are the spiritual tools to healing shame and insecurities that stand in your way.
- Practice staying in the room. If you’re working on this wild piece of being who you are, you have to stay in the room for yourself, which means owning your feelings, giving yourself the permission to feel what you’re feeling, and to speak up when someone says or does something that stings or hurts. Wildness asks for expression, for boldness, not shrinking or shying away, not self-abandoning what you need or how something impacts you. There’s a difference here between staying in the room when things upset you and being overly sensitive. I’ll talk more about that on a future episode because this is an important piece of the healing journey.
- Practice kindness. It’s not only what you say, but how you say it. Learning to be wild and holy means we’re conscious of the impact we have on others and ourselves. When we stay in the room, that doesn’t give us free reign to say whatever we feel in an unkind way. Words matter. Tone matters. And that goes with how we speak to ourselves too.
- Practice self-trust. Give value to your thoughts and feelings. Listen to Episode 131 where I talk about how we learn how to trust ourselves, including our intuition. Self-trust is the foundation for believing in yourself. And believing in yourself is a core ingredient of living with more courage.
- Practice courage. Courage means choosing vulnerability and letting yourself be seen. It means being who you are and taking actions that allow you to bloom into who you want to become. It takes courage to change, to blossom, to go out of your comfort zone, but that’s where growth happens. And you’ll never regret growth because growth is the foundation for bravery. Listen to Episode 82 on Being Brave.
Mentioned in this episode: Wild and Holy Weekend
Tickets are on sale now for an intimate TX Hill Country Retreat for women who are ready to burn down their non-truths, reclaim their real truths, and experience more love, light, and liberation.
Want to share this retreat with a friend? Send her to bit.ly/wildholyweekend!
I’ll see you in a couple of days for an amazing guest interview you don’t want to miss!