In the alter, before dusk,
I was digging a hole.
It was as though
The dirt was my heart
And my small hands
Were trying to get inRead More
In the alter, before dusk,
I was digging a hole.
It was as though
The dirt was my heart
And my small hands
Were trying to get inRead More
In the evening
Holding my shrinking body
I smell the sweet tobacco
And corn husk and
Then with the tip of my noseRead More
Whatever that was
that urged the flower
the pearling of dew
and the space between treesRead More
A walnut cracks open into halves
by air or strength we do not know
but it’s happened: corpus
And the child looks for her ownRead More
Everywhere, not enough.
Everywhere, not full.
If we aren’t unhappy with this, then it’s something else.
Our minds buzzing, our hearts like scooping mud
From a lake that keeps closing onto itself.
Folding and drowning, onto itself.
Even if we desire, we cannot enjoy this
Browning avocado, its bright fleshy layer waiting underneath.
Why are avocados so difficult, we wonder?
Why is this home hot in the summer and cold in the winter?
The bees are collecting their pollen
From the wall of jasmine
Tea leaves, tightly-knotted and tightly-wound,
form a constellation in the clay pot.
As the air and breath grow thin,
the dark leaves thicken,
and form a bed of seductive seaweed.Read More
You, water, were enfleshed by unsuspecting forms:
As a misshapen cactus, two-feet tall,
as a copper fur fox
roving across the canyon,
as sapphire blue dragonflies
dreaming of their lakebed.Read More
There is a splinter so heavy
that only love can remove it entirely
and every woman has this splinter.Read More
Let them bury
Let whoever visits
my tomb be distractedRead More
Lost in the wilderness between
my heart and mind
I wandered in the desert
traveling SouthRead More
I laid down
in the twilight
a few hours
as if I were in my bed.Read More
Her head was a snow globe, no definition
of lips or jaw or cheekbone.
Her nose was a mound of putty
yet to be cast into shape.
Her eyes were black and reflective
holding little of their own, drinking inRead More
Leela’s poems are bits of her body – pieces
of her throat.
Since her body and the moon are one,
then her poems, although weavings of the flesh,
are no less weavings of the moon.Read More
The little girl inside you
sings out loud as she draws,
licks her fingers,
and rolls in dirt.
The little girl is free and pure – close
to the Goddess' heart, sitting by her throne.Read More
I recently interviewed a woman who is in complete service to what she does and even willing to die for her work. You must know about her! Lynsey Addario is a photojournalist who has photographed women under the Taliban, documented misogyny in the Congo, and been on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11. From capturing the lives of transgender prostitutes in New York to her continued work on Syrian refugees and those displaced by war, Lynsey seeks to do justice for her subjects by capturing the true essence of their humanity.
Lynsey is also a New York Times bestselling author. Her memoir, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War, is so filled with vivid details and vulnerability, including her very close call as a hostage in Libya, that Steven Spielberg will soon be directing a movie based on her life starring Jennifer Lawrence. Lynsey’s spirit and drive will inspire you to recognize the unique impulses and passions we all have inside of us.
Majo: One thing that really struck me about your story, because I work with a lot of women who are finding their path in their twenties, is how you really got in touch with your calling early on. I’d love to read something from your book if that’s alright. It’s when you saw Salgado’s exhibition, and I just love what you wrote here:
Until that exhibit, I hadn’t quite known what that was or could be. I hadn’t thought of photography as both art and a kind of journalism. I hadn’t known that my hobby could be my life. I knew I wanted to tell people’s stories through photos to do justice to humanity, to provoke the kind of empathy for the subjects that I was feeling in the moment.
I doubted I would ever be able to capture such pain and beauty in a single frame, but I was impassioned. I walked through the exhibition and cried.
At that moment, you knew, didn’t you?
Lynsey: Totally. I mean, it was sort of like, I kept knowing. I knew when I started shooting the mothers in the Plaza de Mayo, and I knew when I walked into that exhibit. I knew that was what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know if I would be capable. But at the same time, it didn’t matter to me. I was sort of willing to take that risk and throw myself into it because I thought, This is where I want to be and this is how I want to express myself. And I knew that photography would also take me around the world if I could manage it.
Majo: I love the fact that you cried, because I think tears are a good indication that you’re onto something.
Lynsey: Well, I cry a lot (chuckles). It’s funny because people look at me and go, “Oh you’re so tough, you’ve been kidnapped twice, you’ve done this and that…” and they’re always surprised by the fact that I get very emotional. But I think that emotion opens me up to people in a way that opens the story to me. I think it’s very important to be emotional and to be open to what people have to offer because otherwise… I mean, I don’t want to be that person who’s too hardened or too jaded.
Majo: Do you think that has helped you to digest some of the experiences you’ve been through?
Lynsey: I think so. I think talking about them and really feeling them… it’s important to keep that communication open. If I go through something difficult, I keep talking about it and really feel it. I don’t know what the ultimate answer is for processing trauma, but I know what works for me.
Majo: Was there any point where you felt fed up? Like, I’m done with this?
Lynsey: I mean, in Libya… that would have been the moment. Because it was a week of brutal treatment, very terrifying, a lot of psychological torture. You know, repeated execution threats… but there actually wasn’t a moment where I said, “I can’t do this anymore.” There were repeated moments where I thought, Will I survive?
There were times when I thought I needed to step back and reevaluate how I would do this work, but I never thought, I’ll never do this work again. That’s just not me. I still really believe in people. And I believe in the ability to negotiate with people and talk with them about anything, even to negotiate my own freedom.
Subscribe and listen to the full episode here (you must subscribe to receive latest episode).
Lynsey Addario’s website (check out her work!)
It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (now in paperback)
Lucia Lilikoi at lucia.bandcamp.com
It’s November! And a historical election day. If you’re a U.S. citizen, will you vote/have you voted? Please make sure to confirm your polling place, put on your pantsuit and vote!
In other news: at the Adobe Max conference last week, I shared about my pilgrimages in India and Burning Man as key experiences that helped me reclaim my creativity and feminine power. When it was over, one woman in the audience shot up her hand and asked, “Well, for those of us who can’t drop everything and go to India because of our commitments, what do you suggest?”
Develop a morning or evening ritual! The benefits of a ritual are clear: you’ll be more grounded, less reactive, focused, calm, and creative throughout your day. It is the #1 way a woman can come back to life without doing something more involved like going off and doing an intense transformational retreat, etc.
If you’re open to trying this but have no idea where to start, then take a look at my ebook The Magical Effects of Morning & Evening Rituals (since it’s part of Heroine’s Indiegogo campaign at the $25 contribution level, you’ll be supporting women’s voices on the podcast too). I break it down on the page there, but the ebook will basically show you a step-by-step process to developing a solid and sustainable daily ritual.
And below are other goodies and resources I think you’ll love too. Could you please reply and let me know which resource(s) below delighted you to learn about?
Y’all know that I’m all about the good girl complex and how we’ve been brainwashed to have it, holding us back in virtually all areas of life: career, relationships, creativity, sexuality, and the list goes on. Based on true events from feminist and journalist Lynn Povich’s life, this new Amazon series’ title says it all: good girls revolt.
Do you want to be one of those people who makes your holiday gifts? I always have the best of intentions of doing that but I either really stress myself out and end up spending way more money than I need to OR wait until the last minute and don't have time. This year, I'm doing my friend Becca's online gifting program, A Handmade Holiday, so I can create some amazing gifts for my friends and family. Wanna join me? Check it out at ahandmadeholiday.com.
Based on interviews on Heroine with a wide range of creative women leaders—illustrators, painters, fashion designers, UX designers, brand designers, photographers, founders, and many more, here’s an overview of some of the most awesome wisdom bits you can easily digest, tweet, and share with the world.
Three hours of chill bliss. Listen to this beautiful set on your commute, hike, or on your way to work. Starts with spoken poetry and music picks up around the 8th minute.
“The Dance of the Tea Leaves” by me
Inspired by P.K. Page’s “Evening Dance of the Grey Flies”
Tea leaves, tightly-knotted and tightly-wound,
form a constellation in the clay pot.
As the air and breath grow thin,
the dark leaves thicken,
and form a bed of seductive seaweed.
It's the water that opens their tight
bodies, makes them swell and pulse as tentacles –
As once my mouth
flooding by some source I could not trace
filled like the the tides and aroused aphros
As once your skin
dried up from pretending
feels moist again against your sleeve –
moist suddenly from the foam below.
Photo credit: A Handmade Holiday – best way to do the Holidays ever.
Happy October! Favorite month ever. Always.
This Sunday, I gave my new talk “Good Girl Myth” and spoke alongside Elle Luna (check out her new workshop Aphrodite Emerges!) in Mill Valley, CA. Elle shared a time when she was at a book signing. There was a man there who was angry and yelled at her: : “I have five kids and a mortgage! How am I supposed to choose “must”?!” She simply asked him: “Do you have 10 minutes a day?”
It was such a great reminder that ten minutes a day are powerful and add up. Sometimes, we want to be extreme and overhaul everything in our lives, but what about the slow marathon approach? A little bit goes a long way.
Well, today's Moon Paper is rolled up with delicious goodies for the creative and sensitive soul!
Could you please reply and let me know which resource(s) below delighted you to learn about?
If you’re a designer or creative, please listen to the episode with design legend Jessica Hische (she’s worked with Wes Anderson, Liz Gilbert and other huge names). The big thing that I took away: oversharing may be worth one’s time. It helps you drive your own story, instead of people making assumptions about you. As a private INFJ Scorpio type, I have an allergy to oversharing about my life, but Jessica may have changed my mind! Jessica isn’t afraid to show that she’s “in progress” and that the journey can be long and messy and imperfect which feels beautifully aligned with what the podcast is about.
I recently saw this video by sister and feminine lifestyle expert Rachel Rossitto and was blown away by the vulnerability and beauty in it. It's simple, poetic, and captures the possibility of living our lives with more grace and ease. If you're feeling burnt out, tired, or jaded by your work, definitely check out Magnetic – an 8-week program starting this month (includes a retreat in the Redwoods!) to help you reconnect with your inner feminine. Use Code "Maria" and get $50 off!
Ayla is a true artist and activist who cares deeply about the planet. I’ve been listening to her entire album on repeat for the last three weeks. “This album is a love letter to planet earth, ornately dressed in celestial tones, campfire sing alongs, harmonies sublime, and lush, understated instrumentation.” Her single “Little Beckon” is divine and my favorite song at the moment is “Turning Wake” (it's so textured and surprising). Each song is medicine for the soul.
Tony Robbins' Netflix Special blew my heart open. Probably because I was on my moon, but I was crying and crying as I could see him completely “flipping” people from suicide to finding a new sense of purpose. If you’re interested in the art and science of personal transformation, watch this King with a big heart at work. (And I was never a Tony believer before this). To riff on Elle’s wisdom above, at one point Tony hopes to persuade a man from killing himself: “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, but underestimate what they can do in a decade.” (A.k.a. “You’ve got time!”).
Damn, Alanis drops a ton of wisdom bombs in this gem: “For if patriarchy (disempowered masculine) relies on a silenced and reduced feminine (disempowered feminine), then true empowerment is an internal movement toward maturation and healing, and renewed defining of personal power and responsibility and a re-working of what it means to achieve success on this planet. And it is asked of both genders alike.” Alanis has never been afraid to show her anger through her art, which I deeply respect. For a glorious throwback (though she reminds us that man-hating is not her thing), please watch “You Oughta Know.”
Check out this deep amber tea and perfect everyday drinking tea. It’s “full-flavored and sweet, with a pleasant upwardly sweeping Qi. One of our favorite "everyday drinking teas." This tea is smooth and full and the leaves are large enough to throw in a bowl or cup without needing to strain (they will eventually make their way to the bottom and dance).
“I Am Going to Sleep” (1938) by Alfonsina Storni (original Spanish version below)
Teeth of flowers, hairnet of dew,
hands of herbs, you, perfect wet nurse,
prepare the earthly sheets for me
and the down quilt of weeded moss.
I am going to sleep, my nurse, put me to bed.
Set a lamp at my headboard;
a constellation; whatever you like;
all are good: lower it a bit.
Leave me alone: you hear the buds breaking through . . .
a celestial foot rocks you from above
and a bird traces a pattern for you
so you'll forget . . . Thank you. Oh, one request:
if he telephones again
tell him not to keep trying for I have left . . .
Dientes de flores, cofia de rocío,
manos de hierbas, tú, nodriza fina,
tenme prestas las sábanas terrosas
y el edredón de musgos encardados.
Voy a dormir, nodriza mía, acuéstame,
ponme una lámpara a la cabecera;
una constelación; la que te guste;
todas son buenas; bájala un poquito.
Déjame sola: oyes romper los brotes…
te acuna un pie celeste desde arriba
y un pájaro te traza unos compases
para que olvides… Gracias. Ah, un encargo:
si él llama nuevamente por teléfono
le dices que no insista, que he salido…
This article is part of a series called the Magical Effects of Morning and Evening Rituals (MEMER). Before proceeding, check out:
What I've learned: the same exact rituals are very hard to sustain over time. They’re changing, growing, evolving things with their own life and stubborn intelligence. Since we are constantly changing month-to-month, season-to-season, environment-to-environment, it makes sense to allow our rituals to organically change with us. I find this approach not only more realistic, forgiving, and practical, but more honoring of the feminine, which is naturally changing versus the masculine which has a still and fixed energy.
In this last article, you designed your morning and evening ritual after identifying actions that align with your deepest desires. Now it’s time to anticipate and even welcome change. Deep sigh. Isn’t that a relief? Because an overly structured way of designing rituals ignores the more fluid reality of our feminine flow.
Here are three simple principles that will add flexibility and fluidity to your rituals:
Rituals both take and give energy. Because they require a certain level of energy, it’s important to note when you have energy throughout your day and month to honor them. Keep in mind that a well-designed ritual is supposed to give more energy than it takes (not to be confused with stimulation; rituals are not necessarily stimulating). The whole point is to design the ritual to give us energy and nourish us, so that we can continue to do our deepest and most creative work throughout the day.
When is your energy highest throughout the day?
If you’re a morning person, you can take on more in your morning ritual. You may feel you have lower energy in the evening, and that going through a ritual feels nearly impossible after a long day of work, but when approached in a gentle manner, design the ritual to support your body with what she needs – for example to wind down and relax. Keep it short, lightweight, and simple, like taking a bath and putting on some body oil.
But let’s say you’re usually a morning person, but you wake up one day feeling very groggy and slow. It’s best to adapt the ritual to meet you where you are versus abandoning it altogether. It doesn’t make sense to push yourself either in those moments, but to be gentle and realistic with yourself. You scale the ritual back.
We may have our propensities (morning bird vs. night owl), but life shows us there are always exceptions, and it’s better to flow with it than to force a square peg into a round hole.
When is your energy highest throughout the month?
In terms of motivation throughout the month, I recommend tracking your menstrual cycle if you haven’t already (I use Clue and Kindara). As you track, you’ll start to see patterns in motivation and energy, which can give you clues about what kind of rituals will make the most sense for you to follow. Another great resource about this is a book called the Woman Code.
Once you have a better idea of how energy flows throughout your day and month, it’s easier to decide how you want to be flexible with your rituals and anticipate change.
In the last article in this series, I introduced the idea of bookends, which are the anchors that open and close the ritual and help create the sealed container (e.g., closing the loop) as well as the intention for the ritual. I recommend doing your best to find bookends that can stay pretty stable regardless of changes in motivation, energy, time, etc.– that way they can continue to anchor and ground you while you create flexibility in between.
The formula becomes simple: when your energy is lower, it makes sense to choose less actions from your menu. When your energy is higher, choose more. Your ritual becomes an accordion (with the bookends as the ends of the instrument) that opens and closes in length depending on your energy.
You can also build in a small range of options per action. For example, let’s say my morning ritual includes eating breakfast – I can have three staples (eggs, oatmeal, or a smoothie) that create variety and interest while not paralyzing myself with too many options.
In addition to doing less or more, or having a range of options, the intensity behind each action can be turned up or down. The important lesson here: actions don't have to be all-or-nothing, but could lie on a spectrum.
Let’s say one of your aligned actions is doing yoga. We can design a spectrum for this action, turning it up and down depending on our level of motivation. (1) High motivation: What's the fullest and ideal expression of this action you could do? A 90 minute yoga class. (2) Mid motivation: What's a less intense version of this habit you could do? Cut the action in half in terms of energy, time, or skill level required. A 30 minute gentle yoga practice at home. (3) Low motivation: What's the easiest, smallest version of this action you could do? Make it ridiculously small so that you would complete it even if you felt like absolute crap. One sun salutation at home.
The graph below maps the spectrum onto a daily motivation wave. Since this person is not a morning bird, it would make sense for them to take it easy in the morning and take a yoga class in the afternoon when they naturally have more willpower.
Every day is different, isn't it? Every day we are different and that's the beauty. Instead of forcing yourself into a structure, find what comes naturally. Find more balance and ease when making changes in your life.
Obviously I’m biased choosing one of my own babies, but I honestly think Andrea was so generous in her details and articulate in her wisdom. She drops many wisdom bombs on us, like “don’t wait to be invited.” It was especially interesting to hear about how long it took her to resist the urge to conform and stand strongly by her opinions.
I’m excited about the idea of teaching design thinking to middle school girls as a way to support their creative confidence – especially during this critical window of time where they tend to lose their voice.
This book is one of the reasons I left Facebook and Instagram. Newport argues that those who do deep work will progress the furthest and make the biggest contributions to humanity. Yet, our online and work cultures are currently designed to encourage shallow work – work that doesn’t require that much sustained attention or skill. As a creative woman, I highly recommend it. General warning though: the book did have an overall masculine flavor, as in deep work felt more about “crushing it” than connecting with something more deep and beautiful.
I know this is a throwback, but I recently watched it again, and the final scene is worth everything. I’m still amazed at Austen’s ability to subvert patriarchy through her strong-willed character Liz Bennett. Are you team Macfadyen or Firth? If I had to choose, I’m still a filthy Firth fan.
Friend and client Laura Lash put together a playlist for Margaret Atwood’s feminist classic the Handmaid’s Tail. We’re talking Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Bjork. Need I say more? Here’s her thinking behind it.
“Our Fragrant Leaf is first shade withered, then drum roasted at high fire to prevent oxidation before a final low fire roast. The resulting tea is unassumingly beautiful, with thin strands of dark green leaves that brighten and unravel when steeped.” This tea description is a poem and I love it.
Elena Brower does such a beautiful job focusing on elongation of the spine by reminding us again and again to widen the space between the hip bones and the base of the skull. Graceful and anatomically aware. I woke up with my body aching one morning, but after this class I felt completely decompressed from head to toe.
Part Two, Sonnet XXIX
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent Earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Joanna Macy)
Eileen Fisher – sustainable fashion designer – has been a personal heroine of mine for many years. Recently, I had the chance to interview her for the Heroine podcast. It was one of my favorite interviews to date and I absorbed her wisdom like a sponge.
We covered so many great topics, like how a design-thinking mindset provides the confidence to move your ideas forward plus her daily advice for supporting relaxation (which in turn, supports creativity). Learn the conditions she’s created for her success, her thoughts on purpose and embodiment, and the principles that guide her leadership today.
Majo: You eventually fell in love with the kimono, which I completely understand. I’m obsessed with kimonos as well. Where did it go from there?
Eileen: I was doing graphic design at the time in Japan and I was inspired by the kimono and the whole concept of the timelessness of that design. How for 4,000 years or more people wore nothing but that one shape in Japan and that really intrigued me. I took it to heart and that whole concept of simplicity. The idea almost of a uniform, something that would work and make it simple to get dressed. I started having these pictures come into my mind while I was doing graphic design. So I guess for about five years I started to sort of conceptualize this business, see it more clearly, and define it a little more. Like, I knew it had to be quality fabric, you know, because the styles were going to be so simple so the fabric was going to be really important. I knew those kinds of things. I hired two different illustrators at different points to try and draw some of my ideas, because I couldn’t really even draw and I certainly couldn’t make patterns or anything like that. They didn’t quite capture it but they got me thinking more and more.
And then I ended up at a boutique show with a friend. He was a sculptor who was showing jewelry. Somehow I just floated around the boutique show and thought, Oh! I can do this. I can picture actually creating these clothes and hanging them up here and people would just come by and if they liked them they could order them and if they didn’t like them they would walk by. I could imagine how to sell them. Before that I couldn’t seem to make them real. I couldn’t hire a seamstress or pattern maker to help me because I couldn’t see a path to how I would sell them. I certainly didn’t have the resources to open a store. So I realized that I would have to put the line together first and then try to sell it. So that’s what I did and I ended up putting together my first 4 pieces in 3 colors, so I had 12 pieces. I literally had no money, it was amazing how I did this.
That first day at the boutique show I was so terrified I just hung up the garments and I couldn’t even speak. And I had forgotten to price them! I didn’t even know how to price them, didn’t even think about that. Then people starting asking me what they cost and I didn’t actually know! So I said, “Come back tomorrow” (Laughs). Other people around helped me, other designers, buyers even helped me think out how to price them. It was very sweet. But I did sell to a small number of stores, tiny little orders, which was actually really good because then I could learn how to do things without making huge mistakes. I learned a lot.
Majo: At this time that you were doing that and experimenting and basically saying, “Hey let me just try this”, did you have self-doubts?
Eileen: Yeah I’m sure I did. I think more I just kind of willfully barrelled through. I saw the picture and I was going for it. I actually wasn’t thinking it was going to fail. I was just seeing the picture and trying to make it real. I look back and I think, wow! That’s amazing that I did that.
Listen to the full episode here.
Subscribe and listen to full episode here (you must subscribe to receive latest episodes).
Discover Eileen’s newest initiative, the Learning Lab, where she is creating opportunities for people to get enlivened and inspired through a focus on the mind-body connection, creative leadership, and purpose-driven living. With online and on-site workshops and events, the Learning Lab offers space to try on new ways to live and work that feel more integrated and authentic.
Connect soon and sign up to be a part of Eileen’s vision at www.eileenfisherlearninglab.com