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I am admittedly an impatient sort of person. I like things to happen. Right. Now. I am always trying to practice mindfulness of this particular character trait – it has created so much grief for me over the course of my life – and I am working hard to let go of my need for instant gratification. It’s so hard. Really hard. Soul wrenching hard.

I’ve found myself confronted with an unsettling internal conflict more and more often as we continue to move through our simplification journey. I want things right now, but I know better, I must let this new life unfold gently. I think all of this actual cleaning house has stirred up issues and questions inside myself that I thought had been long put to rest. Letting go of so many material possessions has created a fresh wide open space for new and old energies to swirl around me and in me. Some days I feel as though I am doing more internal work than external work. This internal cleaning and sorting – all this processing – has pushed me into a new, unfamiliar mental space. I am feeling more exposed and quieter, and my heart is opening in new ways. I am slowly working to let go of long held inhibitions and beliefs that do nothing but hold me back. My creativity is flowing more naturally and I have moments of fearlessness. The spaces outside of me and inside of me are coming together. They are finally finding a way to intertwine  – myself is not separate from myself so much anymore.

I by no means have completely resolved the dissonance sounding inside of me – this may take my whole life – but I am beginning to hear chords of harmony. These notes of truth and knowing ring clearly, above all the other muddled sounds. I am finding that I am speaking differently, more honestly, more truthfully. I am finding connections I didn’t know I was seeking. The universe is guiding me in new directions that feel free and open and loving and wild and just right. I’ve always had a bit of a revolutionary spirit – ask anyone who knew me in my early twenties. I think then, in a small way I was more connected to my true self, but too naive – too focused on external influences – to understand how to be fully present and inside myself authentically. I am trying to find my way back to my center, but with the benefit of the wisdom and insight gained through living every day since then.

In this life, my challenge is to learn how to be accepting both of myself and others without expectation. To love the present moment with no judgement. To speak from my heart what I know to be true. To be patient. To surrender to the process of learning. This is the work of my soul and of my heart.

A long time ago I decided to grow my hair long – to my waist long. It took so many years, and more than a few bad haircuts, for me to get there. I told myself then when it was finally long enough I would dread it. I didn’t know why, but I was always drawn to dreadlocks. I would shyly mention my idea in conversation and then wait for the sideways glances. They always came. Except from my husband – he is and always has been such an amazing and wise old soul. This was years and years ago – I had forgotten. I didn’t realize that I even still wanted this, my own sacred dreadlocks, until I found quite by accident, a beautiful woman named Denise Andrade. She has been on her own dreadlock journey and put into words what had only been nebulous swirls inside of me.

Journeys are messy and beautiful and full of being broken and put back together and rediscovering who we are and finding our center through it all.

When I stumbled upon her blog late, late one night I cried silent tears as I read through her words and soaked in her images. Her stunning blog Boho Girl can be found here. She, and many other women, whom I am just discovering, have embraced the idea of letting go of the societal expectations of pretty and proper hair – disengaging from it completely. This dismissal of common practice allows them the freedom to journey profoundly into self-discovery. To unearth what is uniquely theirs so that it may be lovingly offered. Creating their own tribe of goddess women projecting their female energy into the world from deep within. Denise articulates this so beautifully when she says,

At first the strands were so tightly wound with expectations and then slowly, very very slowly,  they began to unravel and unfurl and let go and loosen.  Through it all there were so many fears of how they would turn out and disappointments.  Finally I began to see it all clearly as each of them found a home on my head and I came to a place of acceptance and embraced the curves and bumps and fly-aways as part of the whole of what my dreadlocks are.  The whole of what and who I am.

Self-acceptance has always been difficult for me. Whether it’s because of the family I grew up in or the media that surrounds me or some other unspoken reason, I don’t know. It doesn’t much matter. My body and my soul have suffered long enough with the tremendous pain of wrestling with self-doubt and insecurity. I’m sure so many women (and men) can identify with this struggle. My weight has been up and down, too far down. I’ve dyed my hair, I’ve plucked my eyebrows, I’ve had manicures and pedicures. I’ve tried all the creams and magic potions to reduce under-eye puffiness and dark circles. I’ve handed over piles of money for expensive makeup and fancy clothes. I’ve run that race.

After meditating on this idea for a long time I decided that I no longer want to participate in this unhealthy pattern of external validation. Why would I? My hair is not who I am. My self-worth should not and will not be determined by anyone other than me. Not anymore. That is so scary to say out loud.

I do not want to look back at the end of my life and see that I wasted my time on this Earth worrying about what others thought of me. I do not want my children to realize someday that their mother was sad and anxious and insecure. I am surrendering to my unique current of self-love. Right now I have no idea where I am or where I am being guided, but it feels right and good. I am stripping myself down to my bare skin for all to see. To be accepted, or not, for who I truly am.

Beginning Friday night my husband and I began the process of dreadlocking my hair. It took five days to finish. My last lock was made almost exactly as the Snow Moon was at it’s peak, full and bright and wondrous. Of course it happened this way, just as it should. I will forever hold the hours we spent together close to my heart. We talked, listened to music, watched a few films and from time to time just sat together in silence.

It was magical. It was spiritual. It was loving.

I could feel his fingers working slowly through my hair, creating dread after dread after dread. I now wear a crown of fifty-five tenderly created dreadlocks. He shared the space with me as I moved through the many emotions brought on by this intense letting-go process. At first I felt the excitement and exhilaration of doing something so unusual, so rebellious. Then I felt a quiet peace as we settled into the long work of guiding all of my very thick hair into the right place. There were also waves of fear and exhaustion resulting from late night after late night. Not to mention the pain of a few hairs unexpectedly plucked out by accident. Finally, after hours and hours and days and days, there was a subtle joy and satisfaction when our part in their journey was completed. We did our best, the rest is up to them. They are my teachers now.

My dreadlocks are a symbol of my desire to let go, to slow down, to surrender. To free myself from external influences and to seek out my own true north. To learn again how to trust my small inner voice. To wait. To observe. To be patient. They are a metaphor for this journey I’m on – an outward symbol of my deep inner work. They will mark time and serve as a tangible reminder of my purpose. As they grow and mature and change and find their way, so will I. Someday they will be released, along with all the the energy they gather along the way. Hopefully this won’t be for many years.

I know this may seem strange and weird to many of you, that is okay. We must each find our own way to self-love and acceptance. This is my journey. This is important to me. I welcome your conversation, your questions. I’m meant to learn from all of this experience.

~Namaste~

{a special thank you to my children who picked up my camera and perfectly captured the beginning of my dread journey with many of the images shown above. your love and kindness mean the world to me my dear little ones}

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