Dara and Annie - Soul Sisters

I dedicate this first blog, of my new website, and this new chapter of my life, to my beautiful friend Dara Lee Watson. The lessons she brought me, in our relatively short time together, are immeasurable and timeless. ~

“When the heart breaks open, it marks the beginning of a real love affair with this world. It is a broken-hearted love affair, rather than the conventional kind based on hope and expectation. Only in this fearless love that can respond to life’s pain as well as its beauty can we be of real help to ourselves or anyone else in this difficult age. The broken-hearted warrior is an essential architype for our time.” John Welwood

In 2012, my life changed in a way I could not have foreseen. Or even imagined. All my years of ‘inner struggle’ and self seeking, some self improving, and learning… were both accelerated, and eclipsed by a single incomprehensible act.

I used to think (when I was in the depths of depression in my early twenties) that I wished something dramatic would happen to ‘shake’ me up, wake me up and help catapult me out of my numbness. Like a car crash (yes I know that’s nuts… but I was nuts) or a smack in the face. It was not meant to be that way… I have had to work really hard to change and heal… and when this single event came, it was so completely unexpected… it shocked me literally to my core. And I have never felt a broken heart like this. It is possible it could happen again in my lifetime. But this was the first, real broken heart I’d ever had.

It took the sudden, and violent death of my dear friend, to wake me up to the importance of all that I hold dear in this life. There are so many painful and profound lessons wrapped up in this learning… I can’t possibly represent it all here. Nor do I think I am finished processing this experience. I think it is likely it will weave into the fabric my life from here forward.

What does all this have to do with a body/mind blog?  My work, as a Strength Coach, Yoga Teacher, and a Body-worker are extensions of my deep core values. Which have to do with discovering the keys to human vitality, balance, and authenticity. They have to do with awakening, in my self, and offering a space for awakening in those who choose to learn with me. Many of us will learn our truths, through and with our bodies. We will learn about our imbalances and weaknesses, and then about our strengths. And then about our temporary situation. The reality of our very brief time in these bodies.

So, my broken heart says… It’s Time. Time to live, breath, and speak this truth. And that is the part about the warrior. This is a word, I have not always identified with. Warrior? Who? Not me. I’m not a fighter, I prefer to hide from confrontation and challenge. That is what I previously associated with “Warriorness”…  and now I realize that yes those two things are part of the description… but there is so much more. One word I now associate with the Warrior archetype is courage. Courage, I have been told is not the same as fearlessness…. courage happens in the face of fear when we choose to act on the truth of our hearts.

Your human body… is a phenomenal creature. Your human mind… is a powerful tool. Your human heart… … … well it just might need a good breaking open, so realize its full potential. To rephrase John Welwood … It is only when we can embrace pain as well as beauty, can we really live fully in this life. And I would say, that our ability to look deeply into the fear, discomfort, and ugliness of life, directly corresponds to our capacity to behold life’s beauties. Walk through the darkness, to live in the light.

My prayer for you all: to know your worth, your strength, your beauty, the intelligence of your heart. There is no time to waste.

Annie