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Sunflowers

“There’s this sunflower in my backyard. No matter what gets in its way it always finds a way to get to the light. You’re like that sunflower.” My beloved friend Jane said that to me once. But I couldn’t see what she saw. Not yet.

At eighteen I got pregnant and married soon after that. I’d grown up in patriarchal, controlling environment which contributed to deep insecurity and feelings of disempowerment. I’d also been sexually abused as a child and didn’t understand healthy relationships, so I married a man who was very wounded himself. A few months after my first child was born I was pregnant again. This pattern would continue throughout my marriage and resulted in me having five children in seven years’ time.

As all this was happening I clung dearly to my dream of completing my education, and I held to that vision with unwavering faith. I attended school part-time and passed many sleepless nights studying, completing projects, and applying for scholarships to make my vision of graduating from college a reality. Seven years and five children later, I graduated with honors with a bachelor’s in education. That same year, I realized that I couldn’t continue in my marriage and after much inner turmoil I took my five children and left. I faced not only my ex-husband’s resistance, but my family’s and church's judgement and condemnation of my decision to get a divorce--particularly because I had five children. After several years of a contentious and at times dangerous process, I was finally legally divorced.

In the years since, I have become clearer about my own vision of working with young women and girls to help them heal and embrace their inner resources. I began a new career in holistic counseling and energy healing in order to offer these services to youth and women in the inner city of Chicago. I’m also passionate about writing, and I envision creating a sacred, uplifting and interactive space online that would connect young women of color throughout Chicago. Although Chicago is very diverse it remains one of the most racially segregated cities and this forum could build bridges of solidarity as well as provide mindfulness based healing tools, via for example, meditations, poetry, and videos. It would be an online space of hope and action.

When I heard of VOF after finding World Pulse online, I knew I needed to be part of this process. I understood at a soul level that just doing the weekly readings and writing assignments was going to help me in unforeseen ways. And if chosen, I would gain tools and experiences that could help me become a more powerful force in my community.

After my first submission I was struck by all of the courageous stories from women around the world. And I rejoiced in the realization that I finally saw myself how Jane had seen me, and that I was now in a field of sunflowers.

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Annie Malia's picture

Inspiration

Alright, alright, alright! You truly are in a field of sunflowers. What an inspiration you are for tenacity against all odds.

Walk in Beauty
Annie

soulhavenlisa's picture

Thanks!

Thanks Annie. I love the word tenacity. I never used that as a descriptor for myself but it feels right. I also love your phrase, Walk in Beauty. I felt lifted just reading those words. I will pass that on.

Love and light,
Lisa

Annie Malia's picture

Walk in Beauty

Hi
Good stuff. "Walk in beauty" is actually a Navajo Blessing.
Here's a very long, very beautiful version I just found at http://talking-feather.com/2009/12/24/walking-in-beauty-a-navajo-prayer/ I had been taught part of this many years ago.
It made me cry to read it, reminding me what I need to try to do here in this city, where I see destruction all around:

Walking in Beauty: Closing Prayer from the Navajo Way Blessing Ceremony
In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again
Hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shideigi hózhóogo naasháa doo
T’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa doo
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me
I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.
I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.
I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.
In beauty all day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With dew about my feet, may I walk.
With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty below me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
My words will be beautiful…

Walk in Beauty
Annie

soulhavenlisa's picture

Thank you so much

Annie,
Thanks for taking the time and sharing the long version of this beautiful Navajo blessings. It is lovely and such a powerful and gentle reminder on how to go through this world. I truly appreciate you doing this.
Walk in Beauty,
Lisa

YAOtieno's picture

Sunflower.

I like your writing. It is really inspiring.

On the forum, i will give you the advice my grandma gave me - Just do it!

Y

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

soulhavenlisa's picture

Thank you

How lovely to hear your grandma's advice through you. And yes let's all just do it. You're awesome.

Much love to you,
Lisa

Stella Paul's picture

A secret of the sunflower

Dear Lisa

When I was growing up, I heard a story: the sunflower is the brightest flower among all because it is the only flower that isn't scared of the sun. In fact a sunflower looks directly at the sun while other flowers wither away in it.

I love that story and I think it symbolizes you:one who dared look up directly at the sun - a symbol of light and liberty- and walked towards it. You can never fail! Love!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

soulhavenlisa's picture

Beautiful!

I never heard that about the sunflower but how fitting. Thanks for your inspiring words. And we are walking towards the sun together bringing our lovey sisters along.

Much love to you,
Lisa

Maggs's picture

Wow

Compelling story. I am happy you have risen like a phoenix and have come into your own. Sadly for most women I know and don't know in Zimbabwe, their story ends much differently. How I wish they could tap into the courage that you possess, and take a stand to be who they want to be and reach their full potential. Your story in itself is a source of courage.

maggs

soulhavenlisa's picture

Thank you

Thanks you for your lovely words. And I love the image of the phoenix. I once had a dream that I was running and I was about to turn into a phoenix but a voice told me I wasn't ready yet. It seems like maybe now is the time. Thanks for reminding me of that powerful dream. And I send all my love to all of the women of Zimbabwe (and all over the world) who are still trapped in sad and dangerous situations. I do believe that by speaking up and harnessing our own courage it spreads out to other women across the globe. Thanks for all you do.

Love and light,
Lisa

Johanna's picture

Serenity

You have clearly walked through great personal danger and turmoil to reach the now, yet I sense such sureness and serenity in your writing. You must be a very grounding influence on those around you. Lovely vision.

soulhavenlisa's picture

Thank You

Johanna,
Thank you for your words. I love the word serenity and it is something I strive to help others find. It's so beautiful to hear that you felt some of that energy in my words. Thank you for reaching out.

Love and light,
Lisa

lolatsai's picture

Dear Lisa, Thank you so much

Dear Lisa,

Thank you so much for sharing the TRUTH of who you are...I definitely see it and sensed it from your writing. What I got from the words of your journey is that you are RESILIENT, and that you have found your light. You are also turning that light into action through the healing work you are doing with others...that's a tremendous accomplishment and blessing. Thank you :)

Love & light,
Lola

Love & blessings,
Lola

www.oneglowinglife.com

soulhavenlisa's picture

Thank you!

Thank you Lola. Your words are bringing more light into my life. The energy and passion you bring to your work comes through in your writing. Keep on shining your beautiful light!

Much love,
Lisa

Zane Abweh's picture

Captivating

I was learning forward to read what you did next. Your story,writing and strength kept me glued to the screen. Your children are lucky to have you as a mother.

soulhavenlisa's picture

Thank you!

Zane,
That's so wonderful. It touches my heart that you find my writing meaningful. It truly means a lot to me.
Many blessings on your path!
Lisa

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