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The Sutras of Unspeakable Joy

Words are like sutures. They can close up ancient wounds. They’re magic, we know this. Words heal not just from the meaning they convey but also the energy they contain. Words can hold as if tiny little vessels the energy that transmits from the writer to the reader. Words have the power to transport us, and transform us just from taking them in. 

Words are like small flashlights. Each one if true can take us through the dark. Each one can lead us to what we haven’t found before within us. Here’s what I wanted to suture: my small ego-everyday-me, and the me that’s a lighthouse-type-of-soul. What Jung would describe as Personality 1 and Personality 2. My ego kept longing for love, to be loved, completely. And my soul kept reminding me that I am that love, intrinsically.

It was like those two aspects of my being were mud wrestling inside of me. And I wanted them to make love instead.

So I took my red pen and for 40 days I went inward every morning to mine for the words that would mend once and for all this idea, this false belief that steady, unfaltering love is something I will meet with outside of me. In someone else. I wanted to dig deep for the diamond that hides in my body. I wanted to uncover the love within me. I wanted to experience that love, not as a thought or feeling, but as a reality. As the truth of who I am. So that whether single or partnered, whether lonely or craving for solitude, I can always have this true love within me. I can never forget that I am free. Because at last, I’m giving myself what I have wanted most from this world: constant and unconditional love.



by Lisbeth Cheever-Gessaman from "The Sutras of Unspeakable Joy"

Here’s what I found: there was magic and power in just showing up for myself. Committing to arrive every morning before all else was an act of self-love that changed me. Devotion I found is the key to creativity. Devotion to my own voice, to the process, to the way the words arise, or don’t. Devotion to the silences, to the sentences that took a full hour each to form themselves. Devotion to the beauty of trying with words to become one with my soul. Whether it was possible or not, it didn’t matter. What mattered was the love that was forged by becoming the person my voice could trust, by just showing up, every single day. And so this is the divine equation that was revealed to me:

Unrepeatable, wacky, needy, small-ego-me + the eternal soul of love that I am = Joy.

The Sutras of Unspeakable Joy are the small steps I took to tether myself to my own love. It’s my most treasured offering to anyone who also wants to experience their own, most stable source of love within them. It’s what Shiva and Shakti might whisper to each other, or Rumi and Shams, or Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Not here in words, but from within that mystical place called heart. It’s a little book of love poems that serve as a tool to seduce you into entering the temple that’s right here inside you.

Union with the soul is ultimately ineffable. Words will always fail to fully capture what merging with the soul might actually feel like. The visionary artist Lisbeth Cheever- Gessaman reached out to me when she read a post I made about editing the Sutras in my gold angel-winged Kimono. I was instantly barraged by those chills of recognition that race through the veins like champagne. I had just started crafting an email to her to ask if she would consider collaborating with me in making the Sutras visually stunning. The strength of that synchronicity still leaves me in awe.

Lisbeth’s artwork is a form of visual ministry, each image a sermon held still in radiant color and light. Where my words fail to reach, the language of her art carries us even higher, or farther inward. There was true poetry in the love that called us to work together. My gratitude for the beauty she creates, and the depth of meaning I feel in experiencing her artwork has moved me to tears several times throughout this process. She reminds me of the lineage I have within me, the golden chain that connects us through the ages, the ancient sisterhood of joy-seekers, healers, moonlight dancers, freedom-lovers & love-warriors, the priestesses that I have met with in my dreams.

It is a tremendous honor to have her artwork threaded within the pages of my Sutras.

At the end of Nina Simone’s hauntingly beautiful song, Consummation, she repeats the word joy as if it was no longer a word, or a signifier for anything we’ve ever thought we understood before. She repeats joy in a way that makes my eyes close from the heat of the feeling that fills me. She tells us about joy by experiencing it herself as she sings to us. This is the way I feel when I see the cover of the Sutras, knowing its contents, and knowing the diamond inside me I’ve found from writing it. It’s a joy that surpasses the word itself and becomes the experience of it instead.

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