Author Archive | Kolleen Harrison

The Magic Inside a Text Thread by Kolleen Harrison

“Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is.”
–Jim Morrison

On my phone is a beloved text thread that has been there for several years now. It is a text thread with 6 other women, that I lovingly refer to as my sacred sisters, my council. These women have become a safety net, a soft place to land, an outreach center not only for myself, also for one another.

I have watched one sister lift another up from the painstaking ache and paralyzing grief of divorce. I have watched another sister make one laugh so hard, knowing this was much needed medicine, as she was moving through one sorrow after another. I have watched prayer request after prayer request after prayer request be asked for and received, with an echoing, “Yes, I will pray. Yes, I will light candles. Yes.”

I have watched every single one of us come to the rescue of each other in the most loving of ways. I have watched life lines get thrown out over and over again. I have seen these words more times than I can count – “WE ARE RIGHT HERE. YOU ARE NOT ALONE”.

I have watched love weave in and weave out, creating a beautifully sacred web, word after word, day after day, month after month, year after year.

Looking back, I donʼt believe any one of us could have imagined what this daily text thread would become. After all, we were just 7 women, with different backgrounds, lifestyles, etc… who happened to come together through retreats, blogging, art. (I truthfully cannot recall how the seven of us even began this thread or why.) Yet, in my heart of hearts, deep within my soul, I know that God, The Universe, The One with No Name, whatever you may call It, brought us together.

What we have created over these last several years, has become, what I like to call, a “Healing Center”. It is a place each one of us can show up “as is” – in the rawest, ugliest, completely stripped down, most vulnerable way you could imagine and still be loved, accepted and asked the question, “What is it you need most, right now in this moment?” It is a place to reach out and say “I need help…” It is a place of  hard truths and secrets revealed. It is a place to ask for advice, to vent, to cuss, to weep, to “just be”. It is a place to be supported. It is a place to be challenged. It is a place to learn, and to grow. Ultimately, it is a place to heal, and always, always, always a place to restore.

About the Author: Kolleen Harrison

kolleenHarrisonbioKolleen Harrison is a creative living in the beautiful Central Coast of California. She is the Founder of LOVEwild and Founder/Maker of Mahabba Beads. Her passions lie in nurturing her relationship with God, loving on her happily dysfunctional family, flinging paint in her studio, dancing barefoot, making jewelry (that is so much more than “just jewelry”), and spreading love and kindness wherever and whenever she can. You can find her popping in and out at LOVEwild.org or MahabbaBeads.com

Where Wisdom Lies by Kolleen Harrison

Someone once told me, “What you once thought was wise, may not be wise at all”.

I was a mother to a precious little two-year-old girl and had another on the way, in a marriage that was destroying me. I was miserable and sad and struggling. I could see the last pieces of what I recognized as “me”, slowly slipping away. I was scared. I felt as if the Earth below me was collapsing along with everything else surrounding me. I felt alone – living half way across the country from any family I had. I felt completely and utterly out of control. I felt totally hopeless and helpless.

I could not see how I was going to get out of the situation I was in. How was I going to raise two little girls on my own without any family or type of support system near by?

How on Earth was I going to be a good mother? How was I going to provide for my children? How was I going to move through the fear that felt like it was paralyzing me? How was I going to be a good model as a woman to my daughters?

So I stayed. I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl and found myself responsible for the lives of two little ones. I was still miserable, still lost, still filled with fear, still feeling helpless, still hopeless, still spiraling out of control.

I went through my days as if on auto pilot. I did what any mother should be doing. I took care of my daughters, loved on them, fed them, bathed them, laughed with them, held them, read to them. I was physically present with them – they could see me, hear me, touch me, and smell me. However, I wasnʼt emotionally present with them. I was letting fear and misery take over. I was starting to surrender to the fact that this is what my life is going to be like. My thoughts were on repeat. I am going to raise these two precious souls in a loveless, abusive marriage. I am going to do what needs to be done for the sake of my children. I am going to sacrifice my happiness in place of theirs, because that is the wise thing to do. Because that is what I am supposed to do. I am not supposed to get divorced. I am not supposed to leave. I am not supposed to raise my children alone without their dad in the same household. I am not supposed to shuffle my kids back and forth from one house to another. I am not supposed to shatter the image of this perfect little family.

The wise thing is to stay. The wise thing is to keep my family together. The wise thing is to sacrifice wherever necessary. Or so I thought.

Until one night about 13 years ago – a night that forever changed the course of my life and what I “thought” was the wise thing to do.

It was a fairly typical day and night in my home. I was taking care of my daughters while their dad was at work. When 5:30 rolled around and he wasnʼt home, I called him.

No answer. I called again. No answer. I paged him. No response. I called again, and again, and again, and again.

I could feel myself becoming angrier and angrier.

I started to ask myself, How many times are you going to tolerate this? How many times are you going to let him do this to you and the girls? Then the tears came. Then the fear set in. Then the panic. Then the desperate prayers and pleading for answers, for help.

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As he opened the door and walked in, I began to yell. “Where have you been?”  “Why did you lie to me?” “Why were you driving?” They were questions I had asked countless times before. As I yelled, and he yelled, I caught a glimpse of my sweet three-year-old daughter standing in the kitchen doorway. I watched as her eyes grew bigger and bigger, her head turning to look at him, then turning to look at me, and then back again to him.

 

Until suddenly, everything stopped. It was as if time stood still as I locked eyes with her, and heard these words spoken through them, Is this what you want your daughters to think love is? Is this what you want your daughters to think marriage is? Is this what you want your daughters to think respect looks like between two people?”  “Is this the way you want to raise your children, in a household filled with unrest, uncertainty, verbal and emotional abuse?” “Is this the type of marriage you want to see your daughters enter into?” “Is this what you want to model to them as a woman, a mother?

 

And just like that, I realized the biggest disservice I could ever do as a mother to my daughters, and clearly the most unwise thing I could do, was stay.

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That night I learned an incredibly valuable lesson and gained wisdom that will stay with me for all my days to come. That night I learned sometimes what we once thought was the wise thing, is not the wise thing at all. That night I learned to never discount where, or within whom wisdom may lie. That night I was blessed with invaluable wisdom speaking to me through the eyes of my three-year-old daughter.

About the Author: Kolleen Harrison

kolleenHarrisonbioKolleen Harrison is a creative living in the beautiful Central Coast of California. She is the Founder of LOVEwild and Founder/Maker of Mahabba Beads. Her passions lie in nurturing her relationship with God, loving on her happily dysfunctional family, flinging paint in her studio, dancing barefoot, making jewelry (that is so much more than “just jewelry”), and spreading love and kindness wherever and whenever she can. You can find her popping in and out at LOVEwild.org or MahabbaBeads.com

My Main Ingredient by Kolleen Harrison

Kolleen Harrison Open Hands

As I sat and thought about the topic of “Nourishment” so many things went through my mind. There is nourishment from the obvious stand point of food and water, yet the nourishment I felt really drawn to focus on was my Soul  Nourishment, my Soul Food.

So I began brainstorming with these questions:

  • Where do I fill my well?
  • What brings me happiness?
  • When and where do I feel most at peace?
  • What satisfies my soul hunger?
  • When, where and with whom do I feel most “Me”?

I made a lengthy list of all the incredibly awesome things that serve this purpose and even posed the question on my Kolleen Harrison Family 3Facebook account. A good chunk of the answers were along the lines of face to face connection with family and friends, time in nature, doing something creative, listening to or playing music, spending time with animals, quiet time in prayer or meditation.

I initially planned on compiling a “Top 7 List of Things to Feed Your Soul”, yet as I sat alone today, I heard a tiny whisper say, “Being a Mom is your main ingredient. It is what comes before any of the others. It is what you NEED, so write about that.”

So as I sat, looking around my family room at all the photos that fill that space, I realized how true that sweet little whisper was. My most favorite thing in the world is being a Mom, nourishing my children, loving on them, supporting them, being here for them, helping to protect and teach them best I know how.

Yet, as I took a closer look at all the photos, I realized my mothering is not only limited to my children, it also extends to my friends and others close to me. I find great nourishment in mothering others at their time of need, their time of struggle and sadness, their time of needing love and encouragement, providing an ear to bend or shoulder to lean into. I honestly donʼt know a time I feel more fed than when I am loving another, supporting another, hugging another, encouraging another, protecting another, mothering another.

THAT, is the main ingredient for any soul food recipe of mine.

It is what fills my well.

It is what I am most grateful for.

Kolleen Harrison Circle of Hands

About the Author: Kolleen Harrison

kolleenHarrisonbioKolleen Harrison is a creative living in the beautiful Central Coast of California. She is the Founder of LOVEwild and Founder/Maker of Mahabba Beads. Her passions lie in nurturing her relationship with God, loving on her happily dysfunctional family, flinging paint in her studio, dancing barefoot, making jewelry (that is so much more than “just jewelry”), and spreading love and kindness wherever and whenever she can. You can find her popping in and out at LOVEwild.org or MahabbaBeads.com

The Dance by Kolleen Harrison

sacred dance

Nearly every morning my alarm sounds off around 6:38 a.m. I intentionally set it for this time so I can hit the snooze button at least once! During this time, between snooze and the sounding of the next alarm bell, I pray. I say several prayers I learned from my childhood, being raised in a Catholic household, and then I begin with a list of gratitudes. morning gloryI do this with intention and necessity before my feet even touch the ground and I am faced with “God only knows what” when I hit the kitchen and see my kiddos!

I have found this daily spiritual practice helps, (even if only for a short time), my day to go a bit smoother. By smoother, I mean, I feel it helps me to have more patience and tolerance. Once I am up and out of bed, slowly making my way towards some coffee with phone in hand, I go to a specific spot in my home where I can snap some photos of the sunrise. Often times these photos will coincide with a prayer for the day on my Instagram feed. This is not only a part of my spiritual practice but also a part of my creative practice as well.

My creativity has become a dance with the spiritual. They are both highly undiscovered abstractintricate parts of who I am and what I want my life to embody both inside and outside of my creative realm. One does not exist without the other. Whether I am taking photos, flinging paint for my next abstract piece, or journaling, Spirit plays a part. I have found approaching my creativity in this manner is a way in which I am able to express my truest self, where I am creating from my Soul Space. It has become the only way I know how to authentically create anymore and I do not see myself getting off this dance floor anytime soon!

About the Author: Kolleen Harrison

kolleenHarrisonbioKolleen Harrison is a creative living in the beautiful Central Coast of California.  She is the Founder of LOVEwild and Founder/Maker of Mahabba Beads.  Her passions lie in nurturing her relationship with God, loving on her happily dysfunctional family, flinging paint in her studio, dancing barefoot, making jewelry (that is so much more than “just jewelry”), and spreading love and kindness wherever and whenever she can.  You can find her popping in and out at LOVEwild.org or MahabbaBeads.com

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