F E B R U A R Y
You Can Now Listen To Garden Party!
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Thank you so much for welcoming me into your inbox! I have some luscious things I can’t wait to share with you. If you’d like to skip straight to the latest Garden Party offerings, you can simply scroll down to see what’s in store. If you’d like to hear a bit about what’s alive in my head and heart lately, then keep reading to get the scoop!
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This has been a big month for me. I turned twenty-nine, and for the first time in years, I allowed myself to be truly celebrated by the people I love. For most of my life I have believed that it is shameful or wrong for me to receive attention; that it is dangerous to be adored. It wasn’t always like this though.
As a child, I was often in costume. I wore skirts like petticoats, layered one on top of the other. As often as possible, I donned tiaras and face-paint. And I sang, constantly. In short, I was the definition of extra. But more importantly, I was happy.
I utterly delighted myself.
At some point early on, the adults in my life decided that this behavior must be stopped. They discouraged my singing and forbid me from wearing dress-up clothes outside the house. They made it clear that those things which had previously brought me such immense joy were not only frivolous, but offensive. I was made to believe that I needed to be kept in check.
At first, I rebelled. But after a while, no one even needed to say anything to prevent me from wearing the clothes I’d loved, or being the diminutive diva I was at heart. I had so thoroughly internalized the repressive beliefs of those around me, that I began stifling my own joy and reigning in my self-expression to the point that I became quite depressed, even as a young child.
Recently a friend shared with me a provocative exercise from a business mentor she’d heard of. She encouraged me to ask myself: What is your most taboo identity? Who is the person you’re not supposed to be? That is what your business is meant to embody.
Extending this question beyond the professional, immediately my mind flashed back to that younger version of myself: decked out in glitter and tiny high heels, singing rapturously to the flowers. I remembered that there was a time when I believed with every ounce of my being that my sole purpose on Earth was to delight the world and be delighted by it.
Now, that is who I came here to be.
After a couple dismal decades of temporary amnesia, I’m finally remembering that at my core, beneath all the layers of accumulated stories and shame: that I am joyful, luscious, and unapologetically extra.
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We are living in a time when outdated stories from the past are being shed on a culture-wide level and in unprecedented ways. We are setting down those things which are no longer ours to hold—or perhaps never belonged to us to begin with. The moment is ripe for re-writing personal and collective narratives surrounding sensuality, self-expression, and a belief in our own worthiness.
We can do this with exquisite compassion for those who came before; with a wholehearted knowing that the stories and beliefs passed down to us by our living relatives as, well as those held within our genetic memory, served immensely important purposes at one time.
The beliefs which feel limiting and oppressive to us now may have been life-saving in another time and place. In fact, we may be here today, because these very beliefs allowed our ancestors to survive. But now is the time to release those that feel heavy, or that keep you from experiencing the fullness of your life in the present moment.
When we bravely do this work of letting go, we are given the greatest gift: the opportunity to reimagine our lives and to redefine ourselves and our work in the world—free from the trauma of the past. This is alchemy; this ability to discern what is essential, good, and lasting from that which is extraneous, outdated, or even toxic. Poison, when transmuted, has the potential to become medicine.
This is big work. It is beautiful work.
And I believe that it begins with pleasure.
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For me, this month has been all about pleasure. It has also been about receptivity. I have spent my days guarding the brilliant jewel of my own solitude. I have kept company with the anemones and cedar waxwings; noticing with greater care, clarity, and discernment than ever before, how certain people, places, and things effect my nervous system.
Each day has been a practice of increasing my personal threshold for joy, abundance, and pleasure. To be honest, in the past I might have scoffed at these things. Struggle had become so much a part of my identity. It was something I inherited from my forebears and unknowingly treasured, like some heirloom from long ago, passed down to me as a symbol of who I was and where I came from. But there are other gifts in my lineage that I would much rather embody.
By allowing myself to heal in this way, I know that am extending that same gift to the rest of my bloodline, as well as laying the foundation for the deeper healing of world as a whole.
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My house now is filled with one thousand sweet and sultry scents—the rising steam of aged Puerh, the fragrant smoke of cedar and sage, the cumulative warmth of so many nourishing meals cooked over fire and flame. I have re-dedicated myself to the life-long practice of learning to care for the body and being that is me.
I am tasting joy for the first time in years.
I started writing again, from an evergreen place inside myself; a place that had grown over with so much hurt and heartbreak that I feared I may never access it again. I exercised, almost daily. I drank tea—endless pots of tea—as I sat contented on the wooden floor of the small cabin that is my home.
I felt delight in a way I thought I’d lost forever.
I watched the cardinals, sparrows, and chickadees with a sense of luminous devotion usually reserved only for those newly in love. I bought sunflower seeds at the grocery store, intending to eat them myself, but spread them instead on the windowsills of my home so that I might glimpse my avian neighbors as they feasted.
I smiled, laughed, and sang. I stood up for myself and said no, thank you. I stood up for myself and said yes, please. I made time to work and time to rest. But more importantly, I made time to play.
I planned a trip to Morocco—a place I have dreamt of traveling since I was fourteen. I filled my home with flowers and began to discover the immense sense of pleasure that had been present all along, just beneath the surface of my life. I never new it was possible to experience this much joy. I didn’t know I was allowed to.
And so, after a lifetime of being told that it was poison,
I am finally savoring the sweet medicine of my true self.
It is this medicine which I offer humbly to the world, to my ancestors, and to you now, dear one. I wish this for you as well: that you may celebrate yourself without reservation; that you may revel in the pleasure that you came to this Earth to experience; that you may shed the stories which keep you from accessing the depths of delight you know in your heart to be possible.
Tend your soil, nourish your roots, prune thoughtfully but fearlessly. And, notice what begins to bloom. Do it for those who came before, and do it for those who will come after.
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M a y y o u w a l k i n L o v e
M a y y o u w a l k i n T r u s t
M a y y o u w a l k i n B e a u t y
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– S o p h i a R o s e –