The Wonderland Files Blog Has Moved.

Follow me, Murad Osmann via Pinterest

Follow me, Murad Osmann via Pinterest

Hi, Lovely Followers Throughout the World

As I said in last week’s post, I have moved this blog over to my website, http://www.shavawnmberry.com .

I hope you will join me and bookmark the page to read future posts there: http://www.shavawnmberry.com/the-wonderland-files/

It will be a while before I shut down the WordPress version of the blog, due to its many followers. However, I’d love to see you over on my new site where you can find out how to work with me, attend workshops and destination writing retreats, and purchase and read my other work. I have lots of goodies that I’ll be rolling out over the next few months.

If you want to sign up for my newsletter, Song Sparrow, do so here.

I’ve loved every moment of watching this blog flower here on WordPress and I am filled with gratitude for every person who has visited this site and read my words.

I look forward to its continued success on my new site.

Warmly,

Shavawn

© 2015  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

Feel free to share this post with others, as long as you include the copyright information and keep the whole posting intact. If you like this piece please share it with others. You can like me on Facebook  or Twitter to see more of my writing and my spiritual journey on my website  at www.shavawnmberry.com.

Ask, Believe, Receive

if-youre-waiting-for-a-sign-this-is-it1

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”   ― Michael Jordan

So, some big changes are afoot.

Not the least of which is the relocation of this blog from WordPress, over to real estate I actually own, my website, http://www.shavawnmberry.com/. I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time, but life intervened and one thing led to another, and, well, here we are.

I’ve loved writing my blog in WordPress for the past 7 years; however, now I want to concentrate all my creative juices in one place where I will be able to blog, coach clients (writers, other creative types), teach webinars, teach online writing workshops, plan and run destination writing retreats, and just generally wear every creative hat I have in my repertoire.

Moving the blog is simply step one.

And more changes.

Over the next three months or so, I’ll be rolling out several online writing workshops, setting up a private Facebook page for writers interested in working with me in those workshops (invite only to paid clients), setting up several free webinars (1 hour) & paid webinars (3 hours) to introduce you to my teaching and materials, putting together an e-book series on creativity and living a creative life, and working on multiple writing projects that have been sitting on the back burner for far too long.

I will also be moving my life to a new city to set up shop. (More on this soon.)

So, you may be thinking, “How did all that happen?”

Or, maybe more accurately, I should say that’s what I am thinking.

The changes are coming so fast and so furiously, my head is spinning.

Still, I’ve been busily working and planning and visioning and dreaming of all this for quite some time.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”― Napoleon Hill

What changed was me.

I changed.

I realized I could no longer wait for the life I wanted to magically appear. I had to open the door and step through it to a different reality — my own version of Wonderland — to find a different way of being in the world. I had to take my power on.

In other words, I had to stop letting fear stop me.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

And the funny thing is, I am still scared.

I am still frightened as hell, but I am moving forward.

One day, one step, one micro-movement, one action at a time.

I am moving forward.

“Nothing happens and nothing happens and then everything happens.” ― Fay Weldon

When I woke up yesterday the Supreme Court had — in one moment — changed the law of this land.

Suddenly, rainbows filled my newsfeed and all my LGBT friends can now marry, something that even ten years ago, felt completely impossible.

The whole world changed.

In a day.

(Yes, there’s much more work to do to make sure that we have real equality, but you have to admit, yesterday’s ruling was nothing short of amazing.)

And that illustrates my point here.

All it takes is one moment. One leap of faith. One tiny, incremental decision to try a different route or open a window or to really see the sky for the first time.

What we perceive as reality becomes our reality.

So ask for what you want. Believe you can have it. Work your ass off polishing and shaping your dream. And expect to receive an affirmative answer from the universe.

I believe we live in a benevolent universe. I believe it is here to teach us to believe in what’s possible. It is always whispering, “You can do it,” if we get quiet long enough to hear it.

You can do it.

Start now.

© 2015  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

Feel free to share this post with others, as long as you include the copyright information and keep the whole posting intact. If you like this piece please share it with others. You can like me on Facebook  or Twitter to see more of my writing and my spiritual journey on my website  at www.shavawnmberry.com.

The Magic of Thinking Big

leap-of-faith1Surfacing

I’ve been plumbing the depths of my past lately, investigating and scouring and searching for bits of myself that, at one time or another, I lost. I realize now, I must retrieve those pieces in order to put myself together with some semblance of wholeness.

It’s a startling experience to realize that I’d made a number of unconscious agreements to remain stuck, small, and less-than, in order to not upset or surpass someone I love. I did this, in particular, around my relationship with money. And since money is the energy we value most in our society, having a bad relationship with it, has been a negative sum game in my experience.

I talked about my life in terms of ‘being broke’ and ‘unable to afford’ ___________ (fill in the blank). I didn’t see money as a means of barter or energetic exchange. I imbued it with all sorts of negative trash talk.

  • People with money are asshats.
  • People with money are lucky.
  • People with money are cheats.

You get the idea.

Is it any wonder that I didn’t attract what I needed?

This, my dears, is what self-sabotage looks like.

I actually believed in the biblical admonition that, ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’. I actually believed that it was honorable to live hand-to-mouth.

I believed these things because that is what I was taught to believe.

And recently, I finally chose to embrace a more affirmative set of beliefs. I chose to believe in my ability to build something, instead of fear what might tear me down.

I simply became willing to do so. That’s all it took.

What We Believe, We Receive.

If I believe I am a piece of shit, it is likely I will treat myself as such. As a result, the energetic weather in my life will likely be a shite storm accompanied by a large side of shit.

This is not a mystery.

It’s common sense.

What we focus on, increases.

Via Tumblr

Via Tumblr

So, how do we shift our focus?

First of all, realize the hot mess we’ve made of things.

Next, start to clean it up.

Change our behavior. Change our thinking about love, abundance, money. All of these things are interconnected. They. Are.

For me, I found the Unlimited Abundance materials by Christie Marie Sheldon, absolutely life-altering.

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life. ~ Wayne Dyer

The first time I heard Christie, her message electrified me.

“I get paid for being me,” she said, matter-of-factly.

I couldn’t believe my ears. She’s paid (well, I might add) for helping people clear their blocks toward abundant living.

And she loves what she does. You can hear the joy in her voice.

Listening to her made me believe in my own ability to change.

I woke up.

Suddenly, I knew that to have the life I wanted, I had to let go of my attachment to victimization, to the past, and to my old (ineffective) way of doing things.

I needed to reinvent myself. I needed a complete rebirth.

The Magic of Thinking Big.

So, I’m reframing and re-envisioning this life to make some huge changes. I will write more about them soon, but suffice it to say, I am now standing on the other side of a wide chasm I’ve longed to cross for years.

For years, I did nothing.

I was immobilized by doubt and fear. I truly couldn’t move.

Then last weekend I listened to The Weekly Weather with Anne Ortelee, an astrologer in New York City. (I listen to her podcasts every Sunday without fail. They’re so helpful.) And she said that this week the stars were going to ask us what our hearts want most.

Not what is practical or what is safe, but what brings us the most joy.

She said we’d have a choice between fear and our heart’s desire, and that we should choose our heart’s desire, no matter what.

And, suddenly, I became willing to do whatever it took to make my dream open up before me.

I sat for hours sobbing, unable to stop. I was absolutely terrified and absolutely certain of what I had to do next.

I knew it in my bones.

I had to run with all my might. I had to run and jump and not look down.

And that is just what I did.

Now, I’m standing in a whole new world and I see. I see everything clearly.

I see how much power we truly have.

If we believe.

© 2015  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

Feel free to share this post with others, as long as you include the copyright information and keep the whole posting intact. If you like this piece please share it with others. You can like me on Facebook  or Twitter to see more of my writing and my spiritual journey on my website  at www.shavawnmberry.com.

Becoming Human

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“Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence.” — Antoine de Saint Exupéry – The Little Prince

Weep. Wail. Kvetch. Dance with the wrathful dakinis.

You can lament your tenderness, or accept it as a fact of life, and get on with things.

Your choice.

I came across a whole series of photos last night that were taken not long after my last boyfriend and I broke up.

I was a total mess at the time. What shows up on my face is this steely strength. What shines out of those photos is this Gloria Gaynor-esque, ‘I Will Survive’ look that roughly translates as, “Yep, I am hurt, but I will survive even this.”

At the time, I felt absolutely destroyed. I didn’t think I would survive it. At. All.

However, I am still here.

I got up again. Despite being shattered, I rallied and I got on with my life.

“Winter never fails to turn to Spring.” — Nichiren Daishonin, Buddhist Monk

I think sometimes our terror at being hurt (or at hurting someone else) has to do with buying into this notion that we cannot rise again.

And, of course, we can rise again. Because we must.

Until we take our last breath, we must rise up, regain our footing, and strap ourselves in, so we can keep going.

Don’t Stop. Don’t Give In.

This is what it means to be human: love others, love yourself.

That’s it.

The chase, the long pursuit of accomplishments and cars and clothes and McMansions, means nothing.

Without risking love, you might as well punch your ticket and move along.

Love is what you landed here to learn.

Love makes you softer and more open.

Love makes you kinder. Love stipulates that you show compassion (especially toward yourself).

Love wants you to love the world like you’ve got nothing to lose.

Trust that love’s got you in its sights.

Love will catch you if you run hard and dive deep.

Love will find you even if life mows you down.

Love knows where you are and what you’ve been through.

So, let it in, damn it. Let it in.

When it knocks on your door, don’t pretend you aren’t home.

Answer the door and ask it to come in and sit a spell.

© 2015  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

Feel free to share this post with others, as long as you include the copyright information and keep the whole posting intact. If you like this piece please share it with others. You can like me on Facebook  or Twitter to see more of my writing and my spiritual journey on my website  at www.shavawnmberry.com.

You Are Beautiful In Every Single Way

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Beautiful Child.

There’s something surprising and cathartic about sifting through all my old papers, photos, diaries, and books.

At this point, I have much less attachment to them, so I view them through a lens of ‘do I need this?’ or ‘do I love this?’

As I’ve started a big cull, anticipating a move to a different house or a different place soon, the question seems more and more urgent.

I used to need to root, to anchor myself to the person I used to be. I refused to step out of one skin and into another. I carried those earlier incarnations of myself and those possessions from place to place, as though they held the power to hold me to the surface of the earth, to keep me from figuratively floating away.

Now, I realize that my essence is the soul that inhabits this ephemeral body, not those outer accoutrements.

Our bodies are just vehicles allowing our souls to incarnate here and learn whatever we have come to learn.

They are temporary weigh stations, at best. The body houses the spirit, but it cannot contain it. (Something that vast cannot ever be contained).

Luminous Girl.

My girlhood is long past.

However, I still harbor that girl’s essential spirit. I fan out her photos on the table in front of me and she awakens. She peers out from her perch.

She lives in a well-hidden corner of this body, protected from the clang and clamor of adult life, but she’s there. And I am fierce in my need to keep her obscured, to nurture her chameleon-like ability to blend in, to soak up the surrounding decor and appear to be one thing when she is definitely another.

She’s wise, that little one.

She keeps me on the right path — on the honest, true, intuitive path.

She doesn’t let me stray into bullshit that doesn’t serve me.

And I keep her spirit safe because her spirit keeps me sane.

Via Byron Katie

Via Byron Katie

Lovely Maiden.

This part of me, this lost soul, struggled mightily in a world that hates women. She lingers on me, like the scent of blood oranges or Tea tree oil.

She always felt out of sorts and out of bounds.

Although she clearly saw every ruse, every grift affecting others, her ability to see her own life wasn’t so sharp.

She was loyal to a fault. She walked the plank for those she loved, only to watch them drop her into the sea as bloodied, shark bait, time after time after time.

She expected fairy tales, poor, bruised thing.

Instead, she got a brutal, taxing, almost unrequited love affair with words.

Words.

Words didn’t keep her warm at night, but they did what they could. They gave her a voice.

And often that was more than many of the women around her had, so she took their graceful blue notes and gave thanks.

This Face. This Face is Mine.

My hairline is silver now.

This summer I plan to shave all the color in my hair off, and do my best as a kick-ass, writer-version of Carol in The Walking Dead.

I will embrace my inner Furiosa.

Part of me longs to have more time to wear all my previous incarnations.

And part of me knows that’s not part of the gig.

I am raw and newly born.

I am travelling into unknown, unfamiliar territory.

What made me attractive as a young woman won’t serve me here.

In this place, you wear the face you deserve, the face you’ve earned.

It is a place of incandescence and transformation and pain.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that’s a good thing: a gift, an honor.

The searing pain of letting old skins go, lingers, burns.

But I am here. I am still here.

So, I am asking myself, ‘Do I love my life?’

‘Do I have what I need?’

And the answer is yes. Yes, a resounding yes, yes, yes.

So, the letting go is good. The letting go must be right.

© 2015  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

Feel free to share this post with others, as long as you include the copyright information and keep the whole posting intact. If you like this piece please share it with others. You can like me on Facebook  or Twitter to see more of my writing and my spiritual journey on my website  at www.shavawnmberry.com.

Sweet Darkness

Via Imagethirst.com

Via Imagethirst.com

“When your demons come, offer them a piece of cake.” ~ Buddhist saying

Resistance is Futile.

Why offer ‘cake’ to your darkness?

Because even the darkness — at its most vulnerable center — is in need of love.

If we love our darkness (instead of resisting it), we can integrate the lessons it comes to teach us. We can acknowledge what we do and do not know about life. We can look into the abyss that contains our mysterious souls and realize that all aspects that make us, us — every one of them — need a voice and a seat at the table. We can spend less time making things ‘pretty’ and instead focus on making things ‘true.’

Tell the Truth, Nothing But the Truth.

Sometimes life sends us a shit sandwich.

No point in pretending it doesn’t.

Sometimes it arrives in a nice lunch box, but it still stinks.

Sometimes it arrives on a platter, perfumed but not masked from a cloud of skunk smell.

And sometimes, it comes disguised as ham and cheese. It’s not what it seems to be. It isn’t until we take a bite (or worse eat it) that we realize it’s not only not going to nurture us, it’s going to make us sick.

However, that sickness (be it a lost job or shattered relationship or empty bank account) came to court us for a reason. We’ve veered off course and are in (desperate) need of course correction. Life sent us a message, in no uncertain terms: change willingly or resist and make your life hell.

Oh, and by the way: Opting out is not an option.

Transformation is Often Painful.

This week I got a letter that made it clear that BIG CHANGE is afoot for me. And at first, I railed against it, infuriated at my feelings of the unfairness of the situation. I bargained with myself. I wept.

I gnashed my teeth and felt victimized.

Then, I realized just because someone sent me a poison pill, doesn’t mean I need to take it.

And I changed my focus from things that I have no control over to things that I do.

That narrowed it down, quite a bit.

What I control is my perception, my reaction, and my ability to choose my next move. All the rest of it is outside my purview.

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade.

So, I got busy designing and envisioning what I do want for my life, moving forward.

I can’t change what’s happening, but I can shift the focus of my energy. I can pour it into things that serve me and make my life better. That includes building a life that’s good, taking care of my body/mind/spirit, and being grateful for whatever blooms in the empty space uprooted and cleared by this experience.

I am offering my demons some cake.

I am making friends with the terrified, upset, hostile parts of me. I am having coffee with the enemy inside.

You know the one. She’s the one that snorts whenever you hatch your brilliant plan for financial independence, or outline your latest book idea, or determine to cut your carbs and eat salads. She’s the one who smears shit on things and says she’s ‘redecorating.’

She’s the one who makes you believe you will never breakthrough. (Total bullshit, BTW.)

Lift the Veil. Walk Away From Delusion.

We rarely need outside voices to make us doubt ourselves. The vice army within has plenty of pull.

We buy into limitation because it feels safe, familiar, comfortable.

It’s also a tomb.

Nothing is stopping us from becoming our best selves, except us.

***

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

— David Whyte
from Sweet Darkness, The House of Belonging, Many Rivers Press

When life serves you a pile of poo, leave the table.

You don’t have to stay where you are. Ever.

There are roads out of hell and cars leaving there every single day.

Hitch a ride. Ride shotgun. Steal some wheels. Barter.

But go.

Go.

© 2015  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

Feel free to share this post with others, as long as you include the copyright information and keep the whole posting intact. If you like this piece please share it with others. You can like me on Facebook  or Twitter to see more of my writing and my spiritual journey on my website  at www.shavawnmberry.com.

Dazed and Confused

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr

For Amira de la Garza

You can’t expect insights, even the big ones, to make you suddenly understand everything, but I figure, hey, it’s a step in the right direction if they leave you confused in a deeper way.” — Lily Tomlin

Lately my dreams leave me rattled.

In them, I unpack a very large cooler — the size of an army duffel bag — full of clothes and books and steak knives and papers.

At one point, I realize I cannot carry them any longer. I figure I will be stopped at security, so I leave my cutlery behind.

I disarm myself. I empty my bags. I lighten my load.

***

“I try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face.” ― Johnny Depp

Given the state of things, doing this makes perfect sense.

Who needs all that old crap anyway?

In the end, I can’t take it with me. We can’t take any of it with us.

So, why do I feel like crying as I carry the garbage bags full of detritus out of the house and donate them to charity? Why do I suddenly remember what it felt like to wear the lithe body of that young woman, the one with silver boots and glossy lips and a purse full of demo tapes?

Why does each stage of life start with this molting, this shedding of skin, this peeling of an onion?

Why do I weep over what I’ve left behind?

***

“Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die…” ― George Saunders, The Braindead Megaphone

More than Skin Deep.

In one of my poems on aging, What I See, I refer to myself as a “thrumming hive/a frayed overcoat beaten soft.” I wrote that while pondering the maps and tributaries life’s etched across my skin over the last five decades.

Still, there’s this roiling life inside us, even as the bodies we inhabit, crease with age.

***

Pencil drawing by Paul Cadden via imgarcade.com

Pencil drawing by Paul Cadden via imgarcade.com

Look closely. Develop the eyes needed to really see.

I went to see Mad Max – Fury Road* last night with a friend.

Although the movie’s target demographic is clearly twelve-year-old boys, it heartened me to see a cadre of crones in the final third of the movie. They wore leather, post-apocalyptic goggles, and wild silver braids, as they kicked ass across miles of desert, more than holding their own against the evil asshats representing the worst the world had to offer.

Those broads’ craggy hearts were visible on their faces. There’s a wonderful, bloodied-but-unbowed kind of beauty to a face that has circled the sun for that long.

The eyes of that woman show she knows what’s true and what’s utter bullshit.

And she doesn’t care whether you see her luminosity. She doesn’t care if society renders her invisible. She knows things.

She just is. Like the air you breathe without thinking or the sliver of moon you cannot forget, she’s pushing the world into consciousness.

***

A smattering of far-flung stars…

My confusion, my muddledness, my sense that I don’t have solid ground beneath me, is terrifying. At the same time, I know I am navigating another rite of passage.

Life’s a riddle, a joke, a tragedy, and a trickster.

It purposely unravels you; then it laughs at your unspooled heart.

It encourages attachments and then severs them.

It offers solace and then rips it out by its roots.

The only constant in life is change.

That’s the mantra. Keep going, keep growing, keep sifting through these stones.

Walk barefoot or wear red cowboy boots. Wear long skirts that shift and twirl. Adorn yourself with turquoise rings, coral necklaces, tiny mandalas.

Wear Mr. Peabody glasses and strings of beads and velvet scarves.

Remember every once in a while to sit outside at night and soak up the sight of Jupiter’s glow or Venus’s shadow.

Realize that the wild woman inside you has taken root.

It won’t be long until you meet her.

***

*Overall, maybe three stars, IMHO.

However, Charlize Theron & her posse of ass-kicking crones? Five stars and two big thumbs up.

© 2015  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

Feel free to share this post with others, as long as you include the copyright information and keep the whole posting intact. If you like this piece please share it with others. You can like me on Facebook  or Twitter to see more of my writing and my spiritual journey on my website  at www.shavawnmberry.com.