Coming Home

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by Joy Pedersen

In a world where love is getting harder to find and keep, we can always find it in nature.

In nature, we are all loved. The trees hold us like a mother’s arms, the wind whispers our name like a lover’s voice, the sun dries our tears like a consoling friend.

In nature, we can speak our deepest secrets. The mountains hold our fears like trusted brothers. The birds listen to our sorrows like faithful sisters. The streams sooth our mournful cries like sage companions.

Put your feet in the dirt. You are connected to the earth.

Look towards the stars. You are part of the universe.

Place your hands in the water. You are linked to everything.

You are not alone.

You are a perfect creation.

You are loved.

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Change

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By Joy Pedersen

Do you resist change?
Do you worry about the future?
Do you cling to the past and mourn your losses?
Do you fight aging?
Do you fear death?

Take a page from Nature’s book,
We don’t expect the caterpillar to crawl forever
We don’t tell the baby bird to remain in the nest
We don’t judge the whales for migrating
We don’t fault the sun for setting or the leaves for falling
We celebrate evidence of changes in Nature– blooming flowers, waterfalls, and full moons

Nature burns down her house to create new life
Nature is in perpetual motion
Nature does not make mistakes or have regrets
In Nature, the sun rises again, the storms pass,
And new life springs from the ashes
Go into Nature. Be still. Look within. Pay attention. You will find the answers there.

House on Fire

I have been carrying this story in my heart for the past six years, and I decided last night to put it on paper.

House on Fire
by Joy Pedersen

My baby girl was born in a burning house.

The flames were small at first. It was burning slowly – behind the walls, under the ground, in the attic.

But eventually, the walls began to crumbled, the windows cracked, and the panes blew out.

The fire engines came, and I turned them away. “You must leave,” they said.

“We’re fine, “ I replied while the shingles fell from the roof around me.

My friends shouted from outside, “Get out! Save yourself!” But I continued to live there.

I continued to live in the windowless, roofless house with cracked windows and crumbling walls.

The floorboards glowed with fiery embers. But I learned to tiptoe to avoid being burned.

Smoke filled the air. But I learned to take shallow breaths.

“It’s not that hot,” I told myself.

The flames became unpredictable. I came home to find rooms burned, furniture ruined, another part of the house damaged.

The heat was unbearable at night. As the sun set, the temperature rose. By dark the house was steaming.

On one of these hot nights, when she was four years old, my daughter woke me up. She touched me in my sleep, and said, “Mommy, the house is on fire.” I opened my eyes and looked around. The fire was everywhere. The flames were white hot. The smoke was thick. My skin was burning. My eyes were stinging.

I looked down at my beautiful little girl. She was so calm, so brave, so full of life. And I said, “You’re right. It’s time to leave.”

I picked her up. I walked out the door. And I never looked back.

That night, everything burned. The house was destroyed. But we were saved.

The Man and the River

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By Joy Pedersen

Once there was a man who loved to wander through the forest. He spent days exploring rock caves and hidden valleys. One day, he came across an enchanted river. The water in the river was always pure. It made a magical sound as it flowed across the rocks. The river provided an abundance of fish and brought in creatures from across the mountain ranges. The man decided he needed to live by the river.

The man built a house next to the river. Every morning he bathed in the pure water. Every night he sat at the river’s edge and admired its beauty. And while he slept, the sound of the river brought him the most amazing dreams. Then, the river began to dry up. At first it was too low to bathe in. Eventually the fish could no longer swim there. The creatures stopped coming across the mountains. And eventually, the river was gone.

For years, the man continued to live in his house by the dry river bed. Every morning he walked down to the edge of where the river used to be, hoping the river would return. At night while he slept, he dreamt of waking up to the sound of the water flowing. He wanted the river more than anything. He was afraid if he moved on, he would forget the river and the magic he felt when he was near it.

At the same time, upstream there was a woman. The woman loved to wander through the forest and had also found the magical river. She fell in love with its mystical powers and decided to build a dam. Her dam created a huge pool and stopped the water from flowing down stream. Every morning she bathed in the magnificent lake she had created. The creatures found the lake and started coming across the mountains again. For years, the woman lived alone by the lake.

Some say the woman found the man one day while she was exploring in the forest. Others say the man eventually grew tired of living alone by the dry river bed. In any case, the man and woman eventually crossed paths. The woman brought the man to the lake, and once again he felt the magic of the enchanted water. He was awakened. He realized that the magic had never disappeared, it was always out there even though the river was no longer. He was no longer afraid to leave his home. He knew he would never forget the magic of the river and he would always find his way back to it.

Letting Go of A Wild Heart

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Loving someone with a wild heart is a taste of heaven. A person with a wild heart is completely present, wants to try everything, fully loves life, and makes you feel like you’re in a dream. A wild heart takes you beyond reality. But, a wild heart cannot be tamed. It cannot be tied down, caged, tethered, or captured. It will eventually want to be free. It will chew its own arm off to feel the wind in its hair, the road beneath its feet, the sun on its back. The harder you hold it the more it will resist. And often, loving a wild heart also means losing it. But it was never yours. And while loving a wild heart is an adventure, letting go of a wild heart will transform you.

When you let go of a wild heart, you realize you were enough all along. You find the wildness in yourself. You see that attachment is the root of all suffering.

So is it possible to be in a committed relationship with a wild heart? Absolutely. But both hearts must be wild. Both partners must recognize and respect the wildness in the other. And you must be willing to let them go, because to truly love someone is to let them be wild.

And even better than loving another wild heart, is loving your own wild heart. Walk out of your own cage, take off your own chains, untie your own tethers. Sometimes you find the cage wasn’t even locked, the chain wasn’t attached to anything, the ropes were never tied. Find your own wind, walk your own road, come out into the sunlight. We are all wild!

Bending Spoons

 

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A year ago I read a book by Martha Beck, and I knew I needed more…more of her, more of her tribe, more love, more freedom, and more peace. But I almost set the book down and turned away from it all because of one chapter. She described bending spoons, and that’s where she almost lost me. I went to my kitchen and said to myself “if this spoon doesn’t bend, I’m not in.” The spoon didn’t bend. I thought maybe it was all too woo woo for me. But I took a step in faith and I signed up for the Martha Beck Institute. This weekend I went to the Martha Beck retreat and they passed out the spoons. I didn’t bend a spoon at the retreat either. I felt like it might not happen. And then this morning while drinking my coffee, I dropped into a deep relaxed state and bent the spoon.

I share this because it’s a reminder that life is a journey. We don’t always get what we want when we want it. We sometimes do things we didn’t think were possible. And sometimes we have to take a leap of faith.

Dear World

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Dear World is a team that travels the world to amplify the voices of individual stories through portraits. They have captured over 70,000 stories and been featured in USA Today, CNN, NBC, and Buzzfeed. Our stories are powerful because they connect us to each other. Learning about each other is vital to our success, as a community, a species, and a planet.

Here is my story:

Dear World,

I have faith.

Marriages end for many reasons. It’s difficult to say exactly what happened, but I chose to leave. I felt my life depended on it. The year my marriage ended was full of new beginnings, uncertainty, and transitions. For the first time in my life I felt I couldn’t be certain of anything, but through the changes I felt a calmness that I can only describe as faith. I had no idea what was ahead, but these words kept coming back to me – have faith.

I share my story because new beginnings are possible, sometimes we are stronger than we think we are, and there are always better days ahead. We are all one choice away from a completely different life.

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.