Saturday, 7 September 2013

What we're really scared of: the love, beauty and sacredness of it all

This is one of those times where I just know I am not going to be able to do full justice to all the feelings, thoughts, sensations and openings going on inside and around me at the moment. But I am going to give it a go.

For the last couple of days, I have been comforting my sister, whose dear friend Christy Svanemyr was killed in Holly Park in San Francisco this week. 

Everything about her passing has affected me very deeply. The bare facts are that she was sunbathing in the park with her 11-month-old daughter and their beloved dog. A maintenance van took a shortcut through the grass and hit her so hard that she was pronounced dead by the time she arrived at the hospital. 

She was the same age as me and living and parenting in a very similar way. We would have been friends had we lived in the same city. 

What has touched me so deeply is Christy's openness and vulnerability in how she loved. And, honestly, the way she died is a playing-out of one of my deepest fears, which is now surfacing more fully - of leaving behind the people I love, especially my children.

And, honestly, it could happen to any of us at any moment. Such is the brutal nature of being in the world with attachments to others. And attached I am these days. 

This morning the three of us went to a cafĂ© to draw pictures and read the newspaper. We had the sweetest time and I spent most of it breathing through the urge to sob uncontrollably at the beauty of Bo's legs swinging in her wellington boots, her tongue curled in concentration as she drew a ballet dancer. And the hairs on Christopher's head that like to live independently of all the others and stick straight up in the air. Every bit of them is so alive and so precious and I realised that, when I sit still for a while and take in all the preciousness, it is hard to breathe. 

This is why I get grumpy and distracted and busy. This is why I avoid such deep vulnerability at all costs. It's why we all do. 

Because to sit still and drink in the love and sweetness that surrounds us - and to let our hearts really burst with it - is terrifying. 

It's why people eat junk food. And watch tv. And get addicted to alcohol, drugs, sugar, shopping. It's what we are all so busy trying to avoid. 

And Christy's story - the story that is still unfolding in the hearts of all her family, her tiny daughter, her husband and all those who love her - has plugged me back into my heart so fully. It has blown me wide open. 

We need to draw the people we love nearer, smell their hair, enjoy them, drink them in. We need to let our hearts burst open with all the love. And experience the simplicity and sacredness of things. Even if we can only do it for one moment a day. 

It's the hard way but it's the only way. 

I feel that is what Christy has taught me and I wanted to pass that on. I hope I have got close to doing it even the tiniest bit of justice here.

love Hollie x

Christy and little Isa together

ps Just heard friends and family and anybody who is moved to help can contribute financially to supporting Christy's family through the coming months. If you feel moved to help them, you can do so here: 


  1. This is the kind of person Christy was - an excerpt from an email she sent to a friend of hers:

    "I’m not going to wish you luck for your upcoming Honeyroot retreat, because matters of the heart do not require luck. They require a willingness to put your face into the fire, and breathe in the heat, even when it feels too hot to bare. It requires standing in your power and doing what you fear most to do, even when your legs quake and wobble. It requires a fierce tenderness to bare your soul to the world, even when your voice feels hijacked with fear. This you do in spades, and I’m barely scratching the surface here. We are so, so blessed to have you. Thank you for all your heart breaks and pain, because it has had you stand up and fight for something deeper. I thank God that I happened to fall into your orbits. I’ll be holding you tenderly over this next week and am sending Mother and Baby energy your way. Isa and I are singing a song for you and all the women attending every time I feed her."

    She was certainly an amazing one. x

  2. Thank you Holly...and thank you Lizzie for your sharing... Christy was a beautiful friend and teacher and you capture that in your article. Thank you again!

  3. I'm not sure what to say here, but I felt this so deeply and thank you both, Hollie and Lizzie, for sharing all these lovely words. Thank you for bringing Christy, who so clearly needs to be shouted about, who needs to be held up to the light and made visible, out where more of us could know of her.