Please let me explain to you, how my life is filtered through a sieve and how quiet times are essential. I wear sleeves that hypnotize creativities heartbeats. Silence gives me the pause to assimilate multitudes: spiritually, supernaturally and what feels real.
Such is why when a hummingbird flies, courageously close, I can hear the wings sing a lullaby and my tears speak for us both. When I watch a film and lean in it is as if I’m them and they are about to confide the love they lost most. I will cry.
How the thickets aren’t only branches but arms that paint the skies and how clouds are sea worthy when the ocean is too far, but dreams take me there to follow the tide’s stars.
Unfairness is a violent riptide and social justice steps into me. I will invariably side with the minority and hand them the speaker, and hold the mic and shake with, rather than against. I believe, I believe, I believe in the heavens of diversity. This is my democracy.
I realize now it may seem unusual that I can hear an eye roll and buckle under a backhanded comment – it punches my soul. Posturing and sharp criticizing can crush my skull. I can feel when tired is bored and when tired needs rest. I understand when laughter covers a myriad of unrest. I can see eyes that blink an S-O-S and how flattering doesn’t impress.
I don’t need to justify who I am when I cradle a sparrow who thought the window was air. How I offer a band aide to a child whose cut they can only see but they need to share. I’m fascinated as bubbles grow and how they know to be the circle they are meant to be.
I walk close to words because they support me as much as sunlight blinds me to squint. I become the prisms inside of prisms; infinity lives in both. I often weep as I write because this is the essence of my hopes; to write from the rivers that sustain me in this convoluted, tepidly, brilliantly, fiercely, passionately, terrifyingly encapsulating quest of living – these are all the sides me that I’m aware of the most.
Like you and me, we are different and that’s more than okay but please don’t condemn me for my sensitivities. I feel angels as much as demons. Spirits bend with the influx of Nature and are often close. I will lock the doors to my heart when I feel abuse.
It baffles me too, when I can taste the color of a sunset and swim sea’s ancient grey blues; it captivates me too. Just like music or a whale’s song or empathy’s reach inside deeper hues. Nothing bothers me more than superficial. Fake tastes bitter. Love without trust is the rattling bones of fear. However, love with respect is a rose.
Sensitivity doesn’t always follow a timeline. I know what shame is. It was when you didn’t see me, when I needed you the most. Coffee shops ground me. Traveling unhinges me when time zones leave me in several places simultaneously; all I need is a little time inside small spaces to bring me back to harmony. Chastising only confuses and harms me. I symbolically bleed emotional oceans and land can be sand, trees, or a steady hug to behold.
You’ll see me frequently daydream; this isn’t idle or indulgent or unnecessary. Shallow talking abandons the intelligent fragrance of existing. Often while I’m driving, the lines become the staff of a musical, the cars are notes, trucks the bass and a siren is a cymbal that punctures me back to this space. Earth is difficult.
I noticed nearly everything from conception to birth and my daily ‘deaths’ of solitude become the gingered cookies letting me find the breath to float. I’m profoundly touched by the simplest gestures of kindness – this brings me to the center of my real.
One last paradox: I can be extroverted, but my natural tendency is an introverted pillow piled high with deep and thoughtful processing. I am highly sensitive. It is my everything.
When sadness comes, welcome her as you would joy. She has a message too. Joy is simple to share; there’s something warm to hold onto.
But with sorrow, there’s an abyss that struggles to find the narrowest ledge. Grey drains to empty. The sands underneath shift with torrential rains. Midnight stays, and songs lay low with the bass of sorrow’s belly.
Sorrow is a warrior’s instrument reaching inside and using rib to strum heart. She is alone. Thoughts can drown there. Tiny opaque birds will peck at the remains of the shedding skin too small for what is to come.
In sorrow’s snare spiritual growth isn’t vertical; it wanders like plankton far out to sea – lost and speaks a language of eyes-closed-dreaming-wild. Its words burn defeat.
Sadness will engulf all successes and erase them to a dried shell abandoned on a beach. And there, the carcass waits for life to circle through.
Sorrow’s tears are the sea healing what feels insurmountable. The passage of time ends to let wind blow through the hollow holes of loneliness.
Only those who can recognize will hear the oboe’s lament. A bittersweet song of hope.
I asked August if she had any parting words and she nodded yes and spoke:
“Yes, I do. Let me tell you. The heat rose and the sun casted shadows over you. I hope you saw the messages I left for you. Please don’t hide under the umbrella of small or wish you were different. Comparison is a bully. What they have you wish for, but do you? Do you really know you are tall in that way that spreads wings for all? It’s not conceited or rude to be the truer you.
Nice is fine, fine, fine but really when you’ve had enough of their abuse, show them what have you. If they leave, it’ll be okay. The strength I see in you holds universes. I have watched you for decades and this season you are ready to heed your calls. Don’t let them beat you down or restrict you; instead close your eyes and listen to the splendor of dreams within dreams. Those very etchings are the blood stains of your truths.
Trust you as you would trust seasons and river those openings to seaways. Seek the silence that becomes you and yet please don’t hide away all day. Gifts are meant to be given. And before I leave, I’m so glad you asked. I’ve been waiting for you and September stands with arms open wider than wide. You’ll be held. I promise you. Sweet blessings as summer fades. A new year always rises as autumn welcomes you.”
Much love & respect, Carolyn
Carolyn Riker | Artist: Kassandra Creations
I’ve been thinking about what is it that I do as a licensed mental health counselor. How can I describe what I offer? And so, in my truest heart-space, I looked to nature for guidance and started to daydream. Within minutes, two hummingbirds followed by two wild bunnies appeared. I watched and observed. All were playing and zipping in and around the bushes and trees and vying for the feeder. Hopping, darting and exploring.
And I said to myself, “Oh my! That’s it!”
I am a sensitive creature and quick to notice as I follow the process of my counseling clients. I’m intrigued with what isn’t said as well as what is said. I listen carefully as if I have two large rabbit ears twitching and sniffing the winds and I believe in their pain and stories that too often haven’t been.
I notice the flavor of my client’s as they walk, smile, laugh or shed tears.
I hold open space or circle it down to keep it safe.
I let voices rise or whisper.
Together, if need be, we ‘die’ and explore the depths of pain, abuse, worries, and fears. I feel images and see feelings and share what has risen. We create a bond of sacred space where authenticity and trust can truly grow.
Sometimes we use art or music and let the spirit of colors and shapes and sounds speak what words can’t do. Other times I’m reminded that questions don’t always have immediate answers; however, we wait together and explore to see what is YOUR deepest soul’s truth.
This I what I do. If you are interested in connecting with me, please check-out my website @ www.carolynriker.com and let’s begin working together.
Much love & respect, Carolyn
Photographer: Frank McKenna via unsplash
This one is for those who don’t have emotional support. This one is for those who feel completely alone. Who don’t have someone cheering you on, supporting every word, holding your hand, listening to your thoughts and dreams. This is for the one who feels lost in a sea of everything. Whose sensitivity is unheard, unseen and not believed. This is for the one who feels defeated because they’ve been ignored, blamed, and shamed. This one is for those who watch and listen and give but rarely receive.
I believe, I believe, I believe -- You are worthy. You are loved. You are seen.
Carolyn Riker | Photo by Tim Mossholder, via unsplash
This is what I know…
Stay near to the twitch and tremors of nature’s voice as trees speak through the footpads of earth’s song. Stay close to the ancient ways of solitude. No one can take that from you. Trust your heart for she knows the path. Protect yourself from those who steal your kindness. Keep your inner circle small and safe. Let go of those who violate. Notice how the wind answers the leaves and watch how the parched land drinks her rain so freely. Find sustenance in spirit’s flexibility. Keep open and listen and pause deeply into the reservoir of your fullest passions.
‘Art’ yourself. ‘Write’ yourself. ‘Speak’ yourself.
Become the dreams of your call. Feel into the medicine of your struggles: the anxiety of a thousand wild horses, a century of depression’s sinkholes of silence. Follow your addictions to where they may lead and ask what is lonely, bored, hungry, tired? What are these signals trying to feed? Above all, lovingly support the processes of your innermost needs and take heed to where they lead you and soar.
Carolyn Riker | Artist: Elicia Edijanto
Slipping off social media even for a day or two can be so therapeutic. There’s other energies that speak and it can be difficult to discern their truths.
Self-care isn’t always immanent until that last straw pushes us to withdrawal from it all and we listen to those burning aches. We stop the self-inflictions that only collude to abuse. What if we replaced depreciation with a soothing salty soak, a soft walk with trees beaming and chamomilla tea to ease? What if we just slept and turned the clock to stop when we needed to? Why wait for the anvil of a headache to bring us home to quiet’s hues?
Mmmmmm, I’m learning from my mistakes and giving her the tender love, she deserves. My deepest wish is you will too.
When soul is tired
rest, dream and
Photographer: Marta Orlowska
Creativity is almost always shifting, turning, and exposing new insights. Creativity is like a valve in that it needs to be full-on, shutdown or somewhere in the humming zone where our feet can hear our heart’s passions. Where we can go with the seriousness of difficulties perpetuating our world as well as skip with the buoyancy of let’s say a butterfly, bird and/or a buzzing bee.
The closest I’ve ever got to explaining creativity is the sensation of being awake and yet constantly dreaming. There’s an inexplicable amount of energy that joins us on the daily; it’s like wind currents or a river or some extraordinary flow that pulls, tugs, dips, soars, flattens, expands, claps, exalts, dies, cries, explains, shifts – minute to minute.
As of late I’ve grown extra sensitive and contemplative so, I’ve needed to slip off a bit more than usual to explore my inner heart-listen. I believe we need to support ourselves in the study of our soul’s truest nature. These qualities are complimentary to Nature’s nature. We have seasons, storms, the sun rises and sets. We also have symbolic phases of our moon-speak as she gathers her strength coupled by the companionship of the cosmos. This is vast. AND to think we are all a part of this immense orchestra – it is truly mind-blowing. That’s it. That’s what I needed & wanted to share with you this morning because this community is a beautiful part of my dream.
Much love, Carolyn
Carolyn Riker | Artist: Amanda Cass
Following our heart’s path takes so much courage.
Not everyone will love you, like you, or praise you. Often a life’s path is a solo road. Learn to trust those feeling inside your sphere -- the whole-speak of your essence will ring clear. That place where your eyes are wide but sometimes they also need to hide from the noise of, “Do more. Be more. Share more.” The extravagance of ‘always’ can diminish what is real.
The strive for more fame and fortune can deplete the wealth of your soul’s feels. There will be those who do well promoting, selling, shouting, sharing, petitioning, rallying and others will do well calling, voting, knitting, praying, caring, singing, and daydreaming. It’s not an either or but a freeing form of letting all of you and me – just be -- without the comparing and competing.
Sometimes we must let go of those who can never be a part of what we believe. That’s a bit hard to do and yet listening to our heart’s path is vital for me and you.
Carolyn (Riker) Avalani, M.A., LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor, teacher, writer and poet. Over the last six years she has written for numerous online journals and has been in five anthologies. Her first book of poetry and prose, Blue Clouds was published December 2016. This past September, 2017 she co-edited Hidden Lights: A Collection of Truths Not Often Told, which holds 54 writers and their stories, poetry, prose, photography and artwork. Between sips of coffee, navigating life with copious writing and daydreaming, Carolyn offers creative writing and private counseling. To find out more please visit her website.
When those landmines are set-off, it hurts; even by the slightest infraction whether it’s an eye roll, obviously being ignored, or a yawn when we start to reveal something important to us, and/or being talked-down-to. A chain reaction may occur: this isn’t a safe person-place-or-thing. Pulling back from those situations is one brilliant built-in mechanism of protection and setting boundaries that we’ve learned from an earlier form of survival. Some might even develop a creative level of intelligent dissociation.
But what’s next? How do we negotiate these landmines and practice new trust and relationship skills?
It has been both my personal experience, and as a therapist to honor and follow the lead of my clients. Often that means taking it s-l-o-w-l-y. To build trust, one needs respect and to sincerely honor the person’s intelligence (when I say intelligence that goes way beyond school & degrees; it is the soul’s intelligence.)
Together we see-feel and go into the shadows with a fresh set of eyes and perspective. We untangle the knots and spaces in between to hear, learn and understand that: trust – is as fierce as it is fragile. Trusting ourselves (inner intuitiveness) is part of the foundation and a stronger step stone to creating healthier relationships.
About Carolyn Riker
Carolyn (Riker) Avalani, M.A., LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor, teacher, writer and poet. Over the last five years she has written for numerous online journals and has been in five anthologies. Her first book of poetry and prose, Blue Clouds was published December 2016. This past September, 2017 she co-edited Hidden Lights: A Collection of Truths Not Often Told, which holds 54 writers and their stories, poetry, prose, photography and artwork. Between sips of coffee, navigating life with copious writing and daydreaming, Carolyn offers creative writing and private counseling. To find out more please visit her website.
Carolyn is a licensed mental health counselor who provides counseling services via Skype, Zoom or by phone. She is also an author of Blue Clouds and writes poetry, prose and essays.
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