Finding Wholeheartedness

Image by Catrin Welz-Stein
Image by Catrin Welz-Stein

“The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” ~ David Whyte

Walking Into the Fire

Over the past week or so, I’ve been reading Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions. I subscribed to her website a few months back because I liked the ‘truth bombs’ I saw on Facebook. Then, I joined up with her Big Beautiful Writers Group (along with her co-creator, Linda Sivertsen) last month.

Generally speaking, books find their way to me at the right time. If it isn’t the right time, I will find it impossible to fall into a book’s pages. If it is the right time, I will find it impossible not to fall in. It will grab me by the throat and carry me away whether I feel ready or not.

Fire Starter Sessions was like that. As I read it, something inside me sat up and said, “Yes.”  Yes. That’s exactly it. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. That’s just the message I most craved would echo back from the universe right now.

I feel weary and wrong and out of sorts. A book inside of me is struggling to be born. Overworked and underappreciated, my cup registers as half-empty instead of half-full. This tiredness, this full blown ennui I’m feeling is clearly indicative of something amiss.

Am I wearing the wrong dance shoes? Am I eating the wrong greens?  Am I sitting too much and walking too little? (Likely answers to all: yes.)

And along comes Danielle’s certain brand of ass-kicking, just when I need it most.

She tells me, frankly, “Shit or get off the pot.”

For years now, I’ve longed for the kind of life that Fire Starter Sessions recommends: wholehearted, full, passionate, messy, creative, good.

The question is, what am I doing to forge that burning life?


What now?

I know what to do. I do.

Write. Put it out there. Let my freak-flag fly. Tell the truth. Rip myself open; drain these wounds. Be raw, gentle, wild, open.

Scribble on paper. Carry lots of pens. Make notes. Find encouragement. Compose poems. Compost every experience. Mulch and seed. Sprout and grow. Ache and stretch. Kiss and fuck and free fall into what scares me the most.

Become what I was born to be. Stop settling. Stop believing in my fears.

Keep going. No. Matter. What.

See ‘the moon over the capitol.’

Don’t stop.

Move forward.


Dancing in the Flames

Transformation is possible only if we believe it is possible.

Change is only an option if we check the box ‘yes, I am willing to change.’

All it takes is one moment of pure, unadulterated willingness to shift up, change lanes, and discover a whole new road in the wildness of life.


Finding Eden

I spent yesterday in the open air, exploring Boyce Thompson Arboretum just north of Superior, Arizona off of Highway 60, with my mother and my friend, Lea. We shook off the dirt of the city and strode into Eden, air thick with eucalyptus, wildflowers. I studied butterfly agave and golden flower agave and native ocotillo barely starting to bud. We walked through a eucalyptus grove of red gum trees planted in the 1920s — their beautiful trunks silver and white in the sunlight, branches jutting up and up, hundreds of feet into the air. Against the backdrop of desert mesas and 100-year-old saguaros, I walked a labyrinth in the center of the park.

I made my way back to myself. I remembered the value of sunlight on my skin. I remembered how good it feels to get lost.

I remembered how simple everything good is, if you know where to look.

So, I started a fire. Inside of me.

I remembered to love my light.

I remembered to let things go.

Starting a Fire.

After we hiked the arboretum, we drove into Superior for lunch.

We circled through town, looking for somewhere promising to eat.

Superior is a ramshackle, dusty, boarded up, seedy little town. 60% of its inhabitants are clearly eking out a subsistence there, with junk cars stacked next to their shit shack trailers and depression era homes. 40% of the people see promise, creativity, fire in all that mess.

As we drove through a second time, we stopped at an Asian BBQ restaurant called the Jade Grill.

The owner, it turns out, is her own sort of fire starter.

“I left here forty years ago for New York City,” she tells us as she passes out napkins, cutlery, and glasses of water. “I worked as a food editor at Country Living magazine and McCall’s. When I retired, I came home to give something back. Everyone around here wanted me to open a Chinese restaurant, but I wasn’t interested. Instead, I decided to do something different, Asian BBQ. I fire roast all my meats right here behind the building.”

We order salads and I am soon eating the best Vietnamese pork salad I’ve ever tasted. The best, most zingy, flavorful, tangy smoked pork, ever. Ever.

In this little one horse town, in the middle of nowhere, I meet a writer/editor/dreamer/restaurateur.

I meet someone wholehearted.

And as we drive home, I know exactly what I need to do.

© 2014  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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2 thoughts on “Finding Wholeheartedness

    1. Thanks! It never ceases to amaze me how much my ramblings resonate with people around the world…We are so much more alike than we are different. ~ S

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