Exhale.

And she exhaled.
Not because she wanted to.
Not because she was told to.
Not because there was really space to,
nor much time permitted for it also.

And she exhaled... because she had to.
Because she had free choice and the need to do so.

And as she exhaled she realized no one had given her permission to.
And as she began, she didn't know if it was absolutely okay, 
or alright to do so.

But she knew the out-breath carried peace with it and absence and a certain time afterwards to pause.

So she exhaled and she continued to.

She remembered again that this is how she created her own space.

She dropped the story that was spinning around her, of not enough time or too much or perhaps not enough energy or agility or strength and she said to all those dialogues,
'No.'
And instead to her own body,
She said, 'Yes.'

And she came back into it again.
Into the feeling of grounded earth beneath her toes and solid bones under her cocoa smelling flesh.
And she knew she could do it.
She knew she could handle all.

For the wisdom inside of her told her it was greater than any one voice outside.

And she exhaled.
She let go.
She paused.
And she said, 'Thank you.'
And she kissed her own hand and different parts of her sweet body, 
starting next at her wrist and heading up the length of her arm.

And she loosened those places that were tight.

And she exhaled.

Because she and her body knew, this was how to begin.

Sarah Norrad - Published in full version at Medium

How to Let Go and Move on Like a Buddha

There are certain things in life that will be harder to let go of than others.

There are also certain things on this human journey that may be entirely impossible to ever totally release.

Despite what we’ve so often been told—we can’t always simply get over people, places, or experiences we’ve encountered. Some will stick with us our entire lives, and they are meant to.

We are affected beings who move through life building relationships, jobs, roles, duties, and memories. If we are leaning into living a full life, we will have dozens of each of these things, and we will also lose them too.

There’s much talk and advice given about “just letting go.” This is sage guidance, but how do we do this when something massive and life altering occurs? It’s likely that most of us will have this experience at least once (or maybe, a few times) in life, when—for whatever reason—we feel like we need to begin all over again.

It’s happened to me on several occasions. It became such a defining feature in my world for a period that I tattooed a phoenix on my solar plexus as a reminder that we can always start over.

However, when these life-altering things hit, it sure doesn’t feel easy to begin again. What often happens is we believe that in order to move on or move forward, we must release the old entirely. This is untrue. I will say it again—there will be things that stick with us for our entire lives, and they are meant to.

I’m not just speaking about relationships with people—I also refer to the abuse and trauma we carry with us. Sadly, most of us have been through both of these in some way, and even more sadly, we’ve been told that we should “get over it, already.” (Or, we say this to ourselves, which is just as destructive.)

Sometimes, “getting over” something can be a way we choose to deny that something even occurred—which means we may become perplexed when a new loss triggers that old, original wound. We think to ourselves: “I should be past that.” Or: “It happened so long ago—why am I responding so strongly to this?” But, the body and our psyche carry these residual energies with them. Unfortunately, this means we might experience a reaction to certain experiences forever—as those who carry something like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will know.

However, just because there are things that we may never totally get over, it doesn’t mean we cannot continue on with our lives presently. One of the pinnacle teachings I have learned from Buddhism is that the first practice to finding peace in our lives is to accept what is and what was.

Tara Brach, a renowned Buddhist speaker, writer, and psychologist, published an insightful book about this called Radical Acceptance. In this book, she shares the challenging experiences she had with abuse and heartbreak and how they led her to the path of fully loving herself and all the things (including the past pain) that made up her life—rather than just rejecting what she’d experienced.

It is not our ability to “get over” or forget something that makes us stronger—it is actually acknowledging that these things create a beautiful, unique, and meaningful tapestry that make up who we are that makes us truly resilient.

As I spend more time dedicated to sitting on my meditation cushion, it becomes more clear what the art of “non-reacting” truly means. It means we pause, acknowledge, and open to the larger space of life—bigger than simply one experience or one loss. It also means that we develop compassion for old feelings as they arise, and we trust that we don’t need to do anything about them but simply allow them to be and pass through.

Non-reaction allows us to face our lives and continue. We become the observer of our experience, instead of the victim of it. Non-reaction means we are mindful enough to slow down, recognize, and give ourselves and it room to breathe.

So then, the process of living in a productive way and honoring our “humanness” simply means: pause, acknowledge, and open.

This might seem too basic to apply to something that feels life altering—but often, the best wisdom is simple.

The Buddha was a master at facing the most challenging circumstances in the most relaxed way.

So, if there is something we are struggling with right now—if the pain of past or current situations feels like we just can’t get over them—don’t cause more suffering by trying to force a complete release. Rather, like a Buddha: pause, acknowledge, and open. Give yourself (and it) room to be.

Remember, what we are doing with our lives is creating a beautiful tapestry—and tapestries require multiple layers to become complete.

Originally published at elephant journal - https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/10/how-to-let-go-move-on-like-a-buddha/

Author: Sarah Norrad
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Embrace All Of It.

We are not young anymore,
but we are not yet old.
We are not shy anymore,
but we still have moments where we pause,
where life rushes towards us and we stutter,
for a split second,
we question whether we can do it,
this,
that,
and the other.
But,
we all have these,
secret moments of doubt,
even those of us who know how to live beyond fear.
For we are human,
and will remain,
each of us,
until we leave here,
our sweet earth.
But,
if we are not one thing,
nor are we the other,
we must then embrace the in-between.
And eventually,
the meantime becomes not a place anymore where we wobble,
but it solidifies,
as a rooted stance,
of presence instead.
If we forget about the labels of what or who,
as we discover we will die a handful of deaths,
while still living this one.
We begin to understand the inconstancy of existence.
That's what life is,
isn't it?
A continuum of experiencing,
different versions of ourself?
So,
I say,
dress up.
Get to know each and every one.
Perhaps,
we came here to do just that...
Perhaps we came here to understand,
the art,
and skill it takes,
to consciously transform. 
We are not young anymore,
but we are not yet old.
Let the meantime be no longer a place where we wobble,
but let it solidify as a rooted stance of presence instead. 

~ Sarah Norrad

Stay Open.

If the sky opens for a moment,
let it.
If the clouds move across your sky,
allow them.
Let the weather of life,
move you.
Let it affect,
even that uncertain place inside.
If the sky opens for a moment,
let it.
Allow the beauty of life to touch,
even the timid parts of you.
For in this vulnerability,
we meet our faith,
and we begin to learn trust,
here.
Trust,
in the goodness, 
and faith,
and the sacredness of all things.
If the sky opens for a moment,
let it.
Allow love,
to pour right in.

Don't Carry It All.

Don't turn away from the grief that your body carries.
Mine has carried it too.
Don't turn away from the sharp pain of loss that hit your chest.
Mine met that also.
The word, 
Human and Being,
both mean that we will feel these two things. 
And that moments like the season,
changing,
or perhaps the fall breeze caressing our back,
will make us remember, 
again,
what the reality of living,
also is.
Letting go,
is not an option we get to choose.
It's actually mandatory.
It's a must.
For if we were to carry everything with us,
we'd get too heavy.
It's best to release,
a few bits,
here and there.
So shuffle out those cupboards,
and tidy out the round corners of your soul.
Found in the cracks and crevasses of a heart,
are precious jewels of memories to be let go.
Allow the crisp autumn sun,
to melt whatever was here and still hard.
Surrender it for the winter.
Ready,
for the time of retreat that is to come.
Don't turn away from the grief your body carries,
instead hold it,
embrace it,
kiss it,
then,
tenderly bid it farewell. 
For where we are headed,
we need less of it.
For comfort and connection,
this full,
feeling heart is best advised. 

~ Sarah Norrad

Be Here Now.

Last night I sat on the beach until I was swallowed by the stars.
First,
I was embraced by the sky,
welcomed by the gulls,
And,
I was kissed by the moon,
as it bravely came out from hiding from behind a cloud.
Before that,
I had been whispered to.
'Come down.'
'Come down to my shore.'
And so I listened,
to the voice of the sea.
Last night I sat on the beach until I was swallowed by the stars.
Until I knew again how small and yet unlimited myself,
and this human life was.
Until I felt that stirring in my heart,
and the thud each wave made as it crashed on the pebbles by my toes.
'You are.'
The sea told me.
'You are.'
She firmly said.
'So.'
'Simply.'
'Be.'
Last night I sat on the beach until I was swallowed by the stars. ~ Sarah Norrad

Begin Again.

If we awaken,
for a moment from the spell,
from the mist that surrounds our hearts, and minds, and souls,
and keeps us separate,
and singular,
and solitary.
Maybe we would touch it,
that spark again inside,
the one we have been missing,
the one we thought was completely gone.
But, 
it's not, 
nor could it ever be.
It's just waiting,
patiently for us to begin to realize,
our true nature is rebirth,
at least that's what out soul keeps whispering.
We aren't ever done. 
Nor must we ever be finished,
growing,
and transforming. 
We can ever be rebranded in the light of love.
It's not a question of if we are worthy,
it's more a statement of,
'Yes, 
we are ready,'
ready to live here and now.
It's not a matter of being perfect either.
What matters is that we choose to know we are whole,
and that we each have something beautiful,
to offer,
and that we deserve to share it,
and that we choose we must.
Because what are we waiting for?
Death?
It will find us eventually.
That is the truth of life.
So live this spark we know in our soul we are.
Now.
Share it.
Believe it.
Celebrate it.
Remember,
we are whole.
And,
then we will ever be rebranded,
in,
the light of love.

It's You.

If I could offer you this,
it would be that you felt love completely.
That you knew sparks and embers of joy,
and electric bonfires of passion too.
If I could offer you this,
it would be that tenderness wraps you up in her sweet arms continually,
and that your surrendering and living become always pure pleasure.
If I could offer you this, 
it would be that your mornings smelt of wild sweet peas, 
your evenings of golden fields of tall grass blowing in the wind and
your nights lit up by glittering stars, 
holding each a universe of glory and splendour all of their own. 
If I could offer you this,
It would be that you knew you were all these amazing things too.
For you are.
You are the paradise promised.
You are the dazzling jewelled box of treasure we have been searching for.
And so now,
we have found it.
And it,
is you.
It's always been you.
If I could offer you this,
It would be that you felt love completely. 
That you knew sparks and embers of joy,
and electric bonfires of passion too.

~ Sarah Norrad

You Are Magic.

You.
Yes you. 
Are magic.
You are wondrous and beautiful and innately free.
You don't belong to anything or anybody,
but you are totally welcome here.
You are loved.
You are supported.
You will be held and also adored.
There's no specific reason you must show to deserve this.
Being this human is entirely enough.
You are needed.
You are desired.
There's no question of the earth ever wanting something different then the exact magic you carry within your soul.
So share it,
beautiful one.
Know it.
Overflow with it.
And when you have shined so brightly that all the world knows you are here,
come and rest inside of this.
Come home to these loving arms.
Arrive in the solace of surrender.
Trust in the strength of embrace.
The world needs you. 
Because of that,
it also completely loves you. 
You.
Yes you.
Are magic.

Beginnings.

The muggy air sat with her.
The silent day lay long before her.
And, the space that opened up around her was empty and also full.
It was with tender breaths she began walking towards it.
A new door had swung open and another had disappeared behind.
But certain of a momentum to follow,
she continued to begin again.
And again.
Until endings no longer looked final,
for they were the start of something brand new.
So she let the mugginess and the intoxicating heat remind her,
it was okay to melt and meld into something new.

~ Sarah Norrad