Arkitekt is a shameless space where we practice being ourselves, feeling what we feel, telling the truth, and believing we are not alone.
As we approach our 5 year anniversary in September, we are so joyful to announce that we are now officially a Not-For-Profit!
We don’t exactly know what this will bring which is exactly how life always goes, right? You know in part, you see in part, and then you act in faith and in participation with the Divine, trusting the good counsel of wise people shining a light upon the path. The light illuminated the next right step and we took it.
And now we need your help.
Your money is an energetic exchange that helps us build stronger and provide more access for more women to the transformational work of Arkitekt.
The expansion we hope for starts with asking more women to partner with us to grow this movement.
“Before stories were recorded, what happened to the living was told and retold around fires, on cliffs, and in the shade of enormous trees. And it is said that somewhere on the edge of what was known and unknown, a man and a woman paused in their struggles to survive and faced each other. One asked the other, “Is there more to this than hauling wood?” The older of the two sighed, “Yes... And no.”
This may have been the beginning of our sense of being and our search for meaning. I imagine these two faced everything we face.
For the journey is the same: How to open our pain and listen to all that matters, so we can make it through and rejoice from day to day.
Like those before us, we have the chance to wake and love, the chance to welcome the gift of surprise and befriend the Whole.
For beneath the life of problem-solving waits the struggle to be real, from which no one is exempt.
We each are asked to make our way through the drama of our bleeding to the stripping of our will, through the tensions of our suffering to the humility of surrender where we might learn the ordinary art of living at the pace of what is real.
So, is there more to this than hauling the wood of our history around? More than just replaying our patterns? Whether yesterday or 5000 years ago, there has always been the need to break our habits in the world—the need to give up what no longer works.
Ultimately, there is always the need to risk being new. Yet even succeeding, to be authentic—living as close to our experience as possible—is arduous.
For being human, we remember and forget.
We stray and return, fall down and get up, and cling and let go, again and again. But it is this straying and returning that makes life interesting, this clinging and letting go—damned as it is—that exercises the heart.
They say that, after a time, the two who paused on the edge of what was known and unknown stumbled into humility. “Please, tell me, is there more to this than hauling wood?” the one would ask again. And the more tired of the two replied, “No, no. It is all in the hauling, all in the wood, all in how we face each other around the small fires we can build.”
It was then that they rested, as we rest, when accepting the grace of our humanness.
You see, we’ve always been on a journey, like it or not, aware of it or not, struggling to enter and embrace things as they are. And when we can accept our small part in the way of things, when we can build a small fire and gather, it opens us to joy. So join me on this journey we are already on.
We can help each other hold nothing back.
We can help each other live a sincere life. We can help each other wear down what gets in the way, waking close to the bone.
There are teachers everywhere: in the stories around us, in the stories within us, in the life of expression that sings where we are broken, in the kinship of gratitude that keeps reminding us that we need each other as we become the earth.” -Mark Nepo
Last Monday night, thirty six women showed up at our 2nd Arkitekt Conversations to talk about How to Be With People Who Are Hurting (starting with yourself).
So many brave, vulnerable things were spoken into the space. At the end of the night, we went around in a circle and each woman shared one way she would practice being kind to herself as a spoken out loud pledge of intention and accountability.
We collected these nuggets of wisdom and offer them here in the hopes that something said might offer a way in to practices of compassion.
One of the common threads through the questions asked was how universally HARD on ourselves we are as women.
No matter what we do, it’s not enough. The voices in our heads are punishingly cruel, unrelenting in their comparison talk.
As we shared stories of the mean voices, we circled around a few ideas..
The antidote to Comparison is Curiosity.
When you feel comparison arise, turn it into a question, “What is this and what do I have to learn?”
It could be that when you feel comparison arise, it’s your own conscious letting you know that something is out of alignment, that something is in Cognitive Dissonance. Cognitive Dissonance is when your character and your choices are not lining up. Comparison voices could be teachers pointing you in the direction of your own integrity.
Sometimes, comparison is there to help you realize you need people on your Design + Build Team, that you need Mirror People to remind you of WHO YOU ARE. You are not supposed to go at this life alone. We need to practice calling each other into the light. We need to practice giving the kind of love we long to receive because in doing so, we WILL receive that same love echoed back in our direction.
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
Someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a
Full moon in each eye that is always saying,
With that sweet moon language, what every other eye in
This world is dying to hear? - hafiz
Sometimes the “I’m not Enough” script isn’t ours. It’s been handed down through generations in our lineage, through expectations around what it means to be a woman, and it’s time to cut the ties with those untrue stories and start writing a Counter-narrative, one where we are the hero we’ve been waiting for.
WAYS TO PRACTICE COMPASSION
—Learning how to speak to myself the way I would a dear friend
—Paying attention to my INNER KNOWER and trusting what it says.
—Allowing the strong and hard things to come.
—”Be done with Enduring”
—Every morning, I write down all the things I long for, then I choose three: one for myself, one for my circle of people, and one for fun, and I try to do those things.
—Once I HONOR myself, I go serve.
— “I am enough” as a mantra. Belief in my worthiness.
— Listening to my body when it’s talking to me and really hearing it.
—BREATHING. Paying attention to my Parasympathetic Nervous System …google that :)
—Not making moral judgments on my feelings. Allowing myself to feel what I feel without categorizing my feelings and then letting the feelings be expressed.
—GET IN NATURE. When I walk, I see 3 things, smell 3 things, hear 3 things. Sometimes, when the choices in front of me are hard, this makes them feel less hard and also helps me remember GRATITUDE that I have a choice.
—Not taking everything so personally. Assuming everyone is doing their best, including me.
—Allowing myself to take up space. Writing myself permission slips.
—When I feel overwhelmed, exercise. And baking.
—I named my EGO a silly name, and I made it speak in a Donald Duck voice so that when it talks, it helps remind me not to take the stories so seriously.
—The awareness of my connectivity to everything helps me remember my responsibility: the energy I’m creating here is universal energy
—Letting go and surrendering
—PERMISSION SLIPS to rest without feeling guilty
—Taking the thought captive and then counterbalancing it with kindness, like how I would speak to a child
—Asking for time to replenish, even to take a break from work so that the energy I bring to my job is my highest and best self
—Opening myself up to the SOURCE of abundance and infinite love and allowing it to fill me. It’s a daily/hourly practice of allowing myself to receive love.
—In the morning, TRUST. In the evening, letting myself know that I am enough and I did enough
—Exist in the present and respond instead of always preparing or judging in my head. Whatever I put out there, I will be met with.
—DANCING in the morning for 5 minutes. Shaking myself into joy
—It doesn’t have to be me who does all the things. Practicing freedom to open my hand and pass it. Just because I can do it and want to do it, doesn’t mean I have to do it.
—Physical rest. Naps. And the awareness that I’m a CHILD OF GOD and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
My WORD for 2019 is Spaciousness and as is always the case, the opposite of Spaciousness has to happen first because the thing I’m called to break open has to break itself over my head. (this is my working definition of Integrity).
This means more anxiety than ever, more chatter in my head, more tight-minded discontent, more feeling trapped in my nervous system, more tendency towards numbing and distraction.
The best metaphor I have for it is being in the birth canal. I call it the squeeze.
Hot potatoes are the things we don’t want to hold because they hurt, so we offload them onto other people or we throw them out of the community circle altogether.
But these topics are part of the cultural conversation and they’re coming up in Arkitekt gatherings, and they’re the conversations you might be having inside of your head with yourself already.
I want to to help create a larger brave space where we practice telling the truth to each other. I know it’s not easy and we will mess it up, but we have to start somewhere. If we wait till we think we will do it right, we will never do it.
I feel bone DEEP conviction that it’s not ok to not know how to think about these things anymore. We need to know better so we can do better.
I know we mostly avoid hot potatoes because we are afraid of hurting and we are afraid of hurting other people. I feel the same way.
And I’m still going to try and show up anyway and practice being uncomfortable for the sake of my own freedom and that of my community.
This month, I want to talk about our experiences in systems and in communities where it was not ok to be who we are.
I want to share with you more about my spiritual upbringing and my spiritual trauma and I want to talk together and ask questions because bringing our stories into the light unites us and compels us to love ourselves and each other.
One woman standing up for her own life can ignite a revolution.
Will you come support me and Sara and each other as we practice standing up for our own lives and for our kindreds’ lives?
These things don’t hurt as much if we bear them together.
Kristin ad I want to share with you some of what this year has held for Arkitekt.
The practice of reflection is a compliment to the spiritual journey because it provides space for eyes wide open living. Reflection allows you to notice the rhythms of the year, the ways the days turn into patterns. Reflection expands your capacity to both see and hear because it quiets the internal voice that is always clamoring to comment and to judge. It drops you into the deeper knowing that life is not haphazard and you are not alone. To know what is next, we must look at what has just become.
But most of all, we want to thank you for being kindreds on this journey of all of us coming home to ourselves. The way is made by walking.
"All you can do is what you can manage to do, secure in the knowledge that you're making it easier for other people- now and in the future-to see and do what they can do. So, rather than defeat yourself before you start, think small, humble, and doable rather than large, heroic, and impossible. Don't paralyze yourself with impossible expectations. It takes very little to make a difference. Small acts can have radical implications. As Edmund Burke said, if the main requirement for the perpetuation of evil is that good people do nothing, then the choice isn't between all or nothing, but between nothing and something." - Allan G. Johnson
This work of standing in the middle is my work right now.
Along with my partner, I go to a trauma therapist every two weeks to help me feel what I feel and be with myself while I am feeling it.
Every time I go, I feel humiliated that this seemingly most basic of human functions is so hard for me…which is of course part of the process: how to not judge myself while I feel what I feel.
One of my most effective survival strategies is my tendency to live inside of my mind. It’s a steel trap up there and I don’t like to leave it. It feels safe in my head. Turns out it also lets me dissociate from what’s really going on and get away with it because I can talk a mile around the thing while I’m not actually experiencing the thing.
This is my work, and I am sharing it with you. I want to be embodied. I want to live at the intersection of my mind and my heart. I am practicing because I have a well thought out opinion that the more I can be with myself in the midst, the more I can be with anyone and anything in the midst. I can offer gentle presence, unconditional friendship, compassion; I can bear witness. I can sit with all that is unresolved and I can trust that this is the way through- not to strong arm away, explain away, figure it out, fix it….but to be with it.
We talk a lot in Arkitekt about asking for what you need, and yes, it’s way way easier said than done.
Asking for what you need means taking up space, and taking up space means people will see you, and people seeing you means they might judge you, and people judging you means you might be found unworthy, right?
Unworthy of the thing you are asking for.
This is what we risk.
We risk putting ourselves out there and getting a verdict of “found wanting.” A sentence of “not enough.” Someone’s eye rolling opinion that there are other people out there who really need help and you should just suck it up, stop whining, and figure it out on your own.
It’s the backside of the American Dream: you’re a self-made person. You can make your life be whatever you want it to be so pull yourself up by your bootstraps and keep on truckin’. Which means you are responsible for you, and only you, and whatever happens in your life is either yours to take pride in or yours to feel shame about.
This kind of thinking is called individualistic. It is a way of viewing the world that says we are fundamentally alone.
We practice the opposite of this in Arkitekt.
In Arkitekt, we practice the belief that we belong to each other.
That we are an interconnected organism and when one person suffers, all suffer. When one person rises up all rise up. When one person has an anxiety attack, we all take responsibility to be to each other the experience of LOVE we long to find in the world.
This message is primarily for facilitators, but includes my thoughts on what it means to Contract to Expand, how to move against the “do more, be more” cultural current, and how to practice sitting with yourself and giving yourself permission to feel what you feel.
One of our Arkitekt kindreds shares a dream she had about Arkitekt and how we show up for each other in the junkyards of our lives.
It's 27 minutes of content. Less time than a Netflix episode. Also less characters than a Netflix episode. And maybe less cinematography. But we have tears. And a lot of journals in the background. And this is the best way I know of to reach as many sisters as I can with what we are learning about Arkitekt, and really, we've been around now for 4 years, so 27 minutes to try and describe where we're at seems warranted. Hang with me?
Our hope is to foster a safe and 100% confidential space, but we cannot guarantee this. And that's because one of the foundational aspects of Arkitekt is that we're doing this in the presence of a diverse community.
This means we're engaging a countercultural practice of face to face longevity, consistency, and vulnerability with people you didn't hand select, who do not think or act or look like you do, and that's not something we do that often these days. It's risky. And it asks much. And we recognize there are varying levels of risk represented in every gathering.
Arkitekt is a deepening of where you're at and it becomes a new base line for how you can show up, both for yourself, and for your partner and for your family.
“It seems we run our lives like trains, speeding along track laid down by others, going so fast that what we pass blurs on by. Then we say we’ve been there, done that. Th truth is that blurring by something is not the same as experiencing it.” - Mark Nepo
When things are crazy, how do we practice rest?
from Mark Nepo's The The Book of Awakening:
“Like everyone, I'd rather not experience the undercurrents of life, but the challenge is not to shun them, but to accept that over a lifetime we will have our share of them.
Avoiding the difficult aspects of living only stunts our fullness.
When we do this, we are like a tree that never fully opens to the sky. And dwelling on our difficulties only prevents them from going on their way. When we do this, we are like a great tree that nets the storm in its leaves.”
On Mother's Day four years ago, I had the honor of getting up in front of my church and sharing this story about a husband and wife who fell in love with a child and changed their whole lives so they could bring him home.
This Mother's Day, I find myself again in a church, singing worship songs with a band and my eight year old daughter. Growing up, my Dad and I sang together all the time, with my mom in the front row cheering us on and taking pictures. Now I'm the grown up, singing with my daughter in public for the first time while my husband takes pictures from the front row. It feels like some kind of full circle coming home of my child self, my grown up self, my daughter, and her future self.
Why this leg of the spiritual journey feels so difficult, and why this is totally normal.
from Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson:
"Fundamental change is not a casual occurrence. We cannot casually commit to the process of spiritual transformation...
Our entire being is called to the task, for the journey from density to light involves every aspect of who we are.
Whether we are angry at the dry cleaners because they've ruined our favorite sweater, upset with a friend who has broken a promise, or frightened at the diagnosis of cancer in the breast of a best friend; whether we're worried about the state of our marriage, looking for a new job, or anxious about nuclear bombs and terrorists in our midst, we see that everything we go through is a step along the path. We are taking the mystical journey as a way of transforming the world by transforming ourselves.
But I fear I am beginning to enjoy the unraveling too much. Like one of those wayfarers who hop trains and always with the dog and the dreadlocks, the one who decides to leave before knowing there was an alternative option to stay, the realization hitting them like the train in which they are barreling west through the Bonneville Salt Flats and at this point why not just aim for the Pacific?