Fashion is art. Home decor is art. Comedy is art. Singing in the shower, cooking, gardening, dancing, speaking are all art. Whatever your medium – paint or earth, music or motion, language or clay – your inspired creation is your art. Whatever gets you excited, sets you on fire, whatever it is that brings your heart and mind into harmony is your art. Take advantage of that gift. Practice it. Give life to your creativity. Get used to that feeling of balance – between calm and excitement, between what is and what can be, between your thoughts and your feelings, between concept and form. Thats where your art takes you. And that’s where the magic lives. ~ Cristen
And in between these bright bursts of beauty and bliss – between the inked emotions and penned portraits of a moment – are failures and falls, disappointments and distractions. In between these lines are thickets of confusion whose thorns have left scratches on my heart. The steep falls, the moments of mental burden, the aches of age, and the growing pains may not be inspiring enough that I’m compelled to create, they may not birth a passionate yearning to put pen to paper – and yet they too rise and fall like the ever rolling waves of sensual experience that birth poetry and prose. In every line of light is a darkness, the unspoken haunts the spoken. It’s all there, even when it’s not. Every struggle, every defeat, every shame lives in the words, even when they speak of peace, and love, and hope, and joy. Every shadow in between is a piece of the wholeness that brings those bright bursts to life. It’s in our willingness to acknowledge and love our darkness that we find our true light.~Cristen
The Bird of Our Lost Love
For a time, I studied our story every which way, turning it around in my mind, looking for that one answer that made perfect sense. On and on, I retraced each word, folding pages in upon each other, searching for some secret message tucked between the lines. I carried it in my pocket, until the ink was smeared and the edges were torn – until, utterly exhausted, I laid it flat, smoothed out the creases, and let it be what it was. It was then that I knew. No matter how many ways we could have written it, it was always going to end the same. And that’s when I set the bird of our lost love free. ~Cristen
I See You
Now I see you, beneath the cover of heavy fern leaves where I did not think to look. Now I feel you, in mossy fingers reaching out to welcome the tides, at the shore where I’d forgotten to walk. Now I hear you, in the buoys and bells, and the waves of music from distant boats, in the things I did not stop to hear. Now I know you, in the unselfconscious crane haunting the reeds, and the ruffle of his feathers as he swifts away, in all of the friends I’d neglected to greet. I remember you, in the heavy eaves of ancient trees, weighted down by heavy bouquets of brown and gold. I inhale you, in the jade breath of fresh cut grass, in drips of yellow jewels in its shade, and its clustered lavender crowns. Now I find you, in all of the places here and yet not, present but that I had ignored. Now I hold you close, as we sink into stillness, where I haven’t gone of late, but somehow also, have been all along. ~ Cristen
Walk with Me
“Walk along the shore with me. Come and melt with me; shiver with the trees and flow with the current. Show me how you speak before words and, like river stones, sing without sound. Watch how our hearts bloom here among water lilies, orchids, and buttercups; and see the ivory wishes floating weightlessly downstream. Wander and wonder with me at whether they might root. Crumble with me, and glide with me; let’s sink into the mud and rise again renewed, or shatter into slivers of sunlight that cut through the trees. Walk with me in silence. Walk with me softly. Walk with me until we forget our feet but remember our names. Walk with me until we lose our minds but find our way. Walk along the shore with me and watch as everything blooms.” ~ Cristen
“It’s single moments that we treasure and hold on to, rather than days or weeks or years – like the brightest stars in a sky full of clustered galaxies. Exclamation marks and ellipses that stand out among volumes of passed time. It’s the notable events and occasions, the rare and spectacular bursts like Venus in the night sky or lightning in a storm, that continue to burn behind our closed eyes when we lie down at night; and yet it’s the time in between that makes us – monotonous days broken open by unexpected laughs, minor surprises and successes, casual smiles at days end, the unremarkable glimmers that we offer and share. When we look back, it may only be the brightest star that we remember, but it’s the glow of countless constellations that we feel.” ~ Cristen
“I think everyone should, at least once, get up in the wee hours of the morning, without turning on any lights or brewing any coffee; just get up and slip outside. Everyone should, from time to time, get the chance to take in a deep breath of morning air, listen to the trembling trees, and admire the last performance of a tiring moon – because there’s this moment in the early morning, just after the night owls have gone to sleep and before the morning birds begin to sing, when the buzz of human activity is so settled and the mind is so sleepy and still, that even the blind can catch a glimpse of how the day loves the night, and even the deaf can hear the earth as she speaks.” ~Cristen
“Call me crazy but I like Mondays, and I like mornings. I enjoy cleaning and organizing my belongings, my space, myself.
As a child, I looked forward to the first day of school, and loved the first blank pages of a new journal.
As an adult, I like early morning jogs, blinking cursors on empty screens, and the moment just before the ashes begin to reform.
I like any reminder, any excuse, to adjust my perception. I love any opportunity to have a fresh start.
There’s nothing like that moment when I step back, look around, and remember that this moment is a new beginning – that I am a new beginning.
I am the crocus breaking through the snow. I am the first fresh breath of spring. I am a new year’s kiss. I am loud music and open windows while spring cleaning, the sound of morning birds, and birthday confetti.
I am new, and I am old – I am always being and becoming.
I love to remind myself of that – by planting flowers and watching them slowly come to bloom, by re-assessing and reorganizing myself and my life, by getting up before the sun and being born again with it. By celebrating a new week, the first day of a new month, the first stirrings of a new day. By watching my son learn – to walk and talk and work and play. By looking up at the stars on New Year’s day.
I like Mondays, and that probably seems strange to some, but it’s something special and beautiful to me.” ~Cristen
“And just like that she let go. She took a deep breath with her soul as her mind at long last exhaled in a great moment of release – finally embracing the moment before her. Finally breaking the chains that held her suspended between two non-realities. Finally letting the maps she’d so carefully drawn dissolve in the waves that washed over everything – and thus she drifted away towards a dream. A dream not yet dreamt but felt, a journey not yet defined but known. And just like that she was free.” ~Cristen
The Quiet Ones
“There’s nothing wrong with being extroverted. God knows there have been plenty of extroverts that have touched my life in beautiful and profound ways. Their gifts are plenty and their value is duly recognized in today’s world.
But there’s a special place in my heart reserved for the quiet ones. There’s something rare and wonderful and all too often undervalued about the introverts, the quiet dreamers, and the focused thinkers.
I’m talking about the people who don’t need to fill everything – they don’t need to fill the air with words or fill the space with activity, fill our minds with distractions.
The kind of people who don’t feel compelled to force a relationship with small talk, but would rather allow things to progress naturally. The ones who can sit quietly beside you and simply share a space or a common goal, until one day you realize that you have a special and unique bond that onlookers can’t quite understand.
There’s nothing wrong with being extroverted, but this is a shout out to the intoverts – the quiet ones with worlds so rich inside of them that they don’t need to force them out, because they will undoubtedly trickle out in their own time.
To the introverts of the world: I see you, I appreciate you, and I thank you for speaking to this world in your own unique and necessary way.” ~ Cristen
“The courageous spirit is like a flower in springtime, slowly opening up her tightly closed petals to reveal the very essence of creation hidden inside. She strips away layer after protective layer until her true nature is fully exposed, dropping every mask, shedding every lie, and releasing every judgment until she finally uncovers a spark of the divine flame flickering within her.
She lets down her guard and opens herself up, allowing all to see the stunning colors of her singular soul – and she does this knowing that her unique beauty comes not from being who she once thought she should, but from revealing the truth of who she already is. By embracing her vulnerability, she frees herself to give and receive love, opening up an inner spring of joy, igniting the fires of her personal passion, and awakening a new kind of strength that defies traditional understanding.” ~Cristen
Show Your Scars
“Show your scars.
Share your stories and tell of your healing.
And, if you can muster up the courage, show them where it still hurts too.
Show them your scars, so they know it’s okay if they also have a few. Show them your truth so they can stop wasting all that energy hiding their pain. Share your stories so they remember that wisdom can grow from the places they once fell.
Don’t let anyone convince you that you should only talk about squeaky clean things; because life is messy.
Healing comes from wholeness. Help them find theirs by standing confidently in yours.
You never know when your moment of vulnerability might help set another soul free.” -Cristen
It Takes Time
“It takes time.
And even more time.
And if, even then, you still feel that swelling in your throat and tightening of your chest, if you still occasionally find it surprising that you managed to get beyond the safe shore of, “Hello, how are you?”, and the unspoken but just as loud wave that follows, screaming, “I’m scared and I just want to get away”; don’t judge yourself too harshly and whatever it takes don’t give up.
Just keep walking towards that fear one little step at time. Keep opening up those interactions, one stomach twist and awkward pause at a time – and eventually you will arrive in an open field where you can’t help but let go and be your true self, beyond that dark forest you’ve fought your way through for so long, beyond those gnarled, menacing branches of fear and the exposed and uplifted roots of your past that make you so wary of walking too fast.
And if you trip on those memories or fall back into the shadows for a while, it doesn’t mean you’re lost. You haven’t failed. Don’t go back into hiding. Trust in the light beyond the anxiety and keep pressing on.
Because it takes time.
And even more time.
But you will get there.
Because the forest is an illusion; and the field is all that’s real.” – Cristen
That’s Why it’s Worth It
“The kiss of butterfly wings on your skin as soft little fingers explore a brand-new world, a world that begins with the touch and taste of your cradled arms.
The crinkled corners of smiling eyes honest as the day and deep as the ocean, eyes far too kind to know any more pain.
Knowing the synergetic beauty, the elaborate ease of the forest beyond the singular perspective of the tree.
That’s why its worth it to put someone else before yourself.
Being suddenly and unexpectedly jolted outside of yourself as you look at the faces that surround you – caught in a moment of intense and riveting appreciation for what you see.
Realizing that your new normal is all that you never knew you wanted.
Knowing that your everyday, your ordinary, is everything you could hope for and the heaven of which so many dream.
The sound of laughter ringing like tiny bells that break open the humdrum afternoon, and glimpses of smiles that hang in the air and twinkle like string lights.
Stumbling and falling into a reality that’s somehow better than the one you so diligently drafted and meticulously planned.
That’s why it’s worth it to take the occasional side road and to risk venturing down the rabbit hole.
Enjoying not just the drop of a moment, a day, or an experience, but also the eternal stream of a story, a universe, a whole life shared.
Cautiously opening your cupped hands and unbending your frozen fingers to find that a sprout of hope survived the winter freeze.
Being an anchor, a lifeboat, a shining star in their angry seas.
Knowing and trusting the constellations in your own skies.
That’s why it’s worth it to fight for what you love.” -Cristen Rodgers
Always With You
“Always I am with you, as the summer who waits within the slumbering boughs of winter elms. Your awareness excites and it’s your presence I crave, as the sun seeks the lingering image of his beloved moon in the morning sky.
I settle upon you as the scent of gardenia hanging heavy in the air. I whisper past you in autumn leaves on the late winds of change; and with the smell of campfires and wilderness my perfume returns to incite and entice.
Look and you will see my footprints in the fallen pine needles, and my laughter crystalized in so many grains of sand. Feel my love in the warmth of the earth and remember my kiss in the taste of rich, red wine.
If my heart is a wise traveler, then you are my star.
Gnarled like the oak, weeping like the willow, beautiful as the cherry, with poison innocent as the ivy; always I wait. True as the clearest sky, sprightly as the bubbling spring, and hopeful as the morning bird; always I am yours.” -Cristen Rodgers
“There’s something to be said for getting lost, especially when there’s confusion, uncertainty, or chaos in all of the places where you’re supposed to be found.
It can be such a great escape to get lost in the pages of a book, and an ironic route to silence when you get lost in some tangent of the mind. Sometimes getting lost in the forest is the best path to peace, and the best way to deal with reality is to lose yourself in some great fantasy.
There’s so much talk about the joy of being found, but for now I just want to get absolutely, dizzyingly, languorously lost. Lost in the arms of someone who really understands. Lost in the dream that such a person still exists for me. Lost in a great piece of art. Lost afternoon dream. Lost on the autumn breeze.
Lost to such an extent that I remember what it means to be me. Lost to such an extent that I remember what it is to be free. There’s something to be said for getting lost.” -Cristen Rodgers
“Love will always conquer hate, my dear. Sure, it’s harder won. It’s easier to hate each other – after all, what we know about each other is limited to stereotypes and corporate sponsored lies meant to keep us apart. But there’s something more to us, something that unites us. Something deeper, something ancient and sacred. That something is Love. And in that deeper place we know each other in a much more intimate way than they would have us believe. There we are not just knowledge but also compassion. There we know ourselves in one another and we know one another in ourselves. That’s why love will always win. Because only in Love do we know that the war is an illusion.” -Cristen Rodgers
Dancing in the Rain
“Maybe one day I’ll catch myself tracing your name in the sand, or I’ll think for a second I heard your voice on the wind. Perhaps I’ll sometimes see your outline in the stars or catch a peripheral memory of your face under the moon. Maybe a piece of you will always remain, like the scent of a candle that lingers long after the wick has burned out. But for now, at long last, I have found peace. For now, I know that the earth turned just how it was meant to, even though it meant turning away from you. Now the pain that scattered has reformed itself into something beautiful and new, like the rebirth of a once collapsed star. Now I know what it means to dance in the rain – for it’s the sediments of our love from which this new garden has grown.” -Cristen Rodgers
Because I Am
“Because I still have as many layers as I did at the start.
Because I still have dreams and fears, both mind and heart.
Because every color of the rainbow is reflected in my words, my tears.
Because the seed, the sprout, and the tree live in the now, together right here.
Because restricting my expression isn’t raising consciousness or bringing light.
Because sticking to one emotion, one aspect, one level is just spreading a lie.
I do this for me. I do it without regret or excuse.
Because it feels unholy to divide or disguise my truth.” -Cristen Rodgers
Pain or Suffering
“Try to understand that pain doesn’t necessarily mean suffering. You can feel pain without suffering; and you can suffer in your attempts to avoid pain. You see, pain is an inevitable part of life – birthing pains, growing pains, learning pains – but suffering doesn’t have to be. It’s all about how willingly you embrace life in its fullness, how much you can open up and love rather than close down and resist. Remember the difference. That understanding alone can be the deep breath of fresh air that saves you when you find yourself drowning in fear.” -Cristen Rodgers
“My hopes hung high in the corn stalks as I ran laughing through their towering rows, the leaves slicing but not quite breaking my summer-browned skin.
And what was I chasing but the dreams that I normally didn’t dare? Dreams that flitted about those green and gold dirt-paved alleyways like so many fireflies that, if I could just pick up enough speed, I might clasp in my outstretched hands – freedom, that aura of happiness the other kids wore, maybe even a summer’s end kiss.
Oh how brave and wild I felt, chasing such impossible things when, off in the distance, like heavy storm clouds, loomed the inevitable sound of my mother calling me back to that oubliette we called home.
Little did I know that, years later, I would come to think of that perpetually looming darkness as my own rich soil from which acres and acres of dreams, brighter and sweeter even than those ripened ears of corn, would eventually grow.” -Cristen Rodgers
“As I reflect on certain memories, or I think fondly of distant loves, I’m often reminded of how this person that I call self isn’t just one cut of cloth – it’s a patchwork masterpiece, made up of snippets, scraps, and pieces of everyone I’ve loved, everything I’ve found beautiful, and everything that’s hurt, taught, or helped me.
Even more, these many little things are loosely stitched together with threads of wonder and will – so loosely stitched that, when I look closely, the truth of who I really am clearly shines through. There are stars shining out from behind these scraps. There’s an entire universe living beneath this flesh.
Who am I? I am everything I’ve ever known, and everything I don’t. I am a collection of singular snippets of love, sewn together and thrown loosely over the bare shoulders of nothing, and yet I contain everything there ever was. I am a patchwork masterpiece of love.” -Cristen Rodgers
A Life of Passion
“A life of passion is a life of excruciating pleasure. I say excruciating because it would be a mistake to think that all of those deep dives into desire and that sweet surrender to the senses doesn’t also come with an equally potent kind of pain. Passion is a wildfire, seeking that which fans its flame. It won’t be controlled, stifled, or contained. It goes where it must and it stops only when it has consumed itself entirely and naturally arrives at that point of rest. The passionate person follows none but their heart and answers to nothing but their truth – thus a passionate life isn’t just a life of creation and sensation, but also of longing and loss. But ask any one of them and I’m sure they’d agree that lying naked with the wildflowers is worth the occasional sting, and a life of love and loss far better than one of well-tended mediocrity.” -Cristen Rodgers
“If by sentimental you mean the way that walking past an old tree feels like I’m walking past an ancient friend, like all I have to do is reach out and we’ll naturally meet each other in a warm embrace, then yes, I am sentimental.
Or maybe you mean the way that being by a body of water instantly sets my mind at ease and soothes my soul, or how I can see its reflection as clearly as the moon’s as they dance together across that inky surface. If that’s what you mean, then I suppose you’re right in calling me emotional.
If by wild and rebellious you mean the way that the rhythmic pulsing of the earth’s heartbeat beneath my feet makes me sway my hips and turn my face to the sky, or how I feel an irrepressible need to take off my shoes, to bury my hands in the dirt, and to feel the wind blowing through my hair, then it’s true. There’s no hope of this rebellious soul ever being tamed.
If by sensitive you mean the special kinship I feel with the tiniest creatures I meet in my daily life – the squirrels and the rabbits, the birds, ducks, and frogs – or the way that I communicate with them and respect the common spirit we share, then I guess you’re right. I am the sensitive type.
If by different you mean that I don’t need to go to a club to be entertained, a bar to get drunk, or a church to pray, then I suppose I am different. And if by quiet you mean that sometimes I prefer listening to speaking, that I can appreciate silence, and I don’t have to use words for everything I say, then I am quiet indeed.
But if you mean to say that I’m somehow apart from you, I have to disagree. These things about me that intrigue and disconcert you are but a reflection of the parts of you begging to be seen.” -Cristen Rodgers
“You are enough. You are so much more than enough. Not because of something you did; and not because of anything you didn’t do. You are enough just because you’re you. You never had to earn the right to be at ease. There’s nothing you have to accomplish before you choose to allow yourself inner peace. You are enough because you are. Because you live. Because you feel. Because you create and love and think and speak. Because you’re a child of the light, an expression of the divine. You don’t have to chase it anymore, my dear, that sense of being good enough. Believe me when I tell you, you already are.” -Cristen Rodgers
“Stop talking about the weather and listen. Listen to the songbirds and the sunrise, to the whispers and sighs of the wind. Stop thinking about the next bite and listen. Listen to the textures and the flavors. Hear of their origins and the stories that they tell. Listen. Listen to the language of life. Listen to the seasons, to the footsteps, the heartbeats, rivers, and trees. Listen. Let go of your questions long enough to hear the replies. Move beyond the limits of words and listen to their colors, their vibrations, their energy, their eyes. Turn your face to the sun, relax every petal, release all your trappings, turn up every leaf. Open. Inhale. Quiet now. Just breathe and receive.” -Cristen Rodgers
One Life to Live
“People like to say that you only have one life to live, but this has never really rang true for me. I’ve lived a thousand lives in just this one – among countless others woven through an endless tapestry of time. I’ve learned that every ending is also a new beginning, and that each note is part of a greater song. I’ve felt the sting of loss and the balm of hope, seen the light and the dark, known the pleasure and pain. I’ve sensed and seen glimpses of the stories that live on, somewhere beyond where my mortal eyes can see, in some other dimension or some other plain. And I’ve come to know myself under different suns, wearing different roles and carrying different names. So whenever I hear someone repeat that line that ‘you only live once’, I’m reminded to be brave and to live, not in the past or the future, but here and today – not because I think they might be right, but because I am so very sure that they’re wrong.” -Cristen Rodgers
“Don’t you know, beloved, that in this sacred space between us there is nothing to prove and nothing to hide? This palace is built on truth, where justice is king and compassion his queen. Here you have nothing to fear, for all is already known, understood, accepted, and loved. Don’t run away from your heavenly home, beloved. Don’t leave this sanctuary built from the respect of our sovereign souls and the union of our human hearts. Come home and run naked through the halls with me. Come home and be as you truly are. Bare your secrets at the door and let’s dance these golden rooms, fearless, feral, and free.” -Cristen Rodgers
It Really Is Okay
“It really is okay to be a little wild, to let up the control and let down your hair. It’s okay because the woman that you’re working so hard to become is already within you; and the girl that you once were will never leave. They’re all singing together – the maiden, the mother, and the crone – and it’s this unified song that guides you on your journey of uncovering, of discovering and becoming. You don’t have to be quite so serious all the time; because you see there’s nothing to escape and nothing to chase. You already are that which you’re hoping to become. From where else does the dream come but the dreamer? From who else does the woman emerge but the girl? Go ahead and let your hair fly in the face of structure, let your dresses spin and your hips sway. Trust in your wholeness. Live in the now and dance for today. Go ahead and be wild, beautiful woman. In your wholeness you already know – it really is okay.” -Cristen Rodgers
I Give You My All
“Even now, when I am your sole source of sustenance, I know that it is you who is giving life to me. Even now, as I offer all that I am to your sprouting, you are teaching me what it means to grow. It is with your unfolding story that my own finds meaning, just as it is with mine that those which came before were reconciled. Even now, as I hold you within my protection, within my heart, within my hopes and dreams, within my flesh – you also are shaping me. Even as I hope to guide you and teach you, to nurture you and help you – you also are teaching me. Together we live. I give you my strength. Together we grow. I give you my devotion. Together we flow. I give you my love. Together we are. I give you my all.” -Cristen Rodgers
“Oh I see you now. I feel the frigid winds wrapping around me like a malevolent lover. I know the judgment and the fear. I can see how the denial piles up in suffocating, snowy drifts. Yes, I see you. I hear the music made by brittle branches under overcast skies. I do not fear your starkness but sink into it, as I shiver in your wintery chill. I hear your music and I sway to its haunting tune, unattached, unafraid – for I know I am not the season but the goddess that contains and balances them.” – Cristen Rodgers
“Those moments…those moments when it seems like nothing should ever be normal again.
Those moments when it feels impossible, as if your eyes must be deceiving you, when you see that the world just keeps on turning, that people just keep on walking their walks and talking their talks, while you stand frozen in time and suspended in space.
Those moments when all of reality has shifted and yet you look around stupefied by the way that everything still flows just the same, when you feel like climbing the highest mountain or hitching a ride on the highest cloud and shouting out for all to hear – don’t you know?
Don’t you know it all is changed? Don’t you know that the world just stuttered on it’s axis and the stars just flickered for a moment across the entire sky? Cant you feel the raindrops falling from widened eyes, or see the happy tears falling from the winter skies? Didn’t you feel the earth shiver, or hear the galaxies smile?
Those moments. Those moments are the ones that mark the difference between living and being alive.” -Cristen Rodgers
“I am here, can you feel me – here in your breath, in your heart, in the blood rushing through your veins, and the images dancing before your eyes?
Look upon my face as you would the full moon in a midnight sky. I gaze back at you from the wings of birds in the sky and from the softened stones at the rivers edge. I watch from the mountain peaks and the glistening snow drifts.
Know me. Know me when you walk in bare feet upon my flesh, or when you speak with my heart manifest in blood and bone. I am here, as you are here. I am you, in your wholeness. You are me, in the form of earth and water, filled with wind and fire.
Know thyself, know thy world, and you will know me.” – Cristen Rodgers
We Need You
“I hear and respect that voice of yours, filled with so much power; and I see and love that spirit of yours, filled with so much strength. I hear you and I see you and I think, we need you. We who, instead of fighting what was, are crafting what can be. We need that strength, that resolve, that energy, that power.
The past doesn’t need it. The problems don’t need it. The future needs it. The solutions need it. We need it. I know it’s scary to consider the possibility of letting go of the resistance. It takes no small amount of faith. You have to believe that you can make as much difference by creating as by destroying. You have to trust that there’s more power in love than in hate. You have to believe in what can be as much as you believe in what was.
But it’s worth it. It’s so very worth it. It’s worth it because, as long as you’re investing that energy in resisting and fighting what you don’t like, you’re actually strengthening it – because you see, you’re trying to destroy; and the unbalanced tendency to destroy is the very root ofthe problem. We need you to create.
You don’t have to restrict that side of yourself or deny the darkness that you see. Just allow the destruction to happen on its own – let the old things break down naturally under the weight of the new things you’re building. Find your balance.
Take off that armor and lay down your sword. Put on your soul and pick up your paintbrush. Join us. Invest that energy in flowing and flowering. Let the fighters fight until their energy runs out, and join us in making peace until our energy washes like a cleansing tidal wave over the world.” -Cristen Rodgers
“It can seem that way, I suppose. It can seem as if I’ve changed. But the truth is that I’m not really changed so much as I’m just exposed.
What’s different is that you’re seeing me naked for the first time. What’s changed is that I finally took off that overcoat of fear that you were so used to seeing me in, and I stripped away those heavy garments that I thought I was supposed to wear.
It’s a little disconcerting, I know, to see someone completely naked when you aren’t prepared for it. There are imperfections and little intimate details that can make you instinctively avert your gaze for a moment – like the way that my pride sometimes is a little thicker than that corset of insecurity made it appear; or how there are scrapes and scars on this heart that my specifically selected wardrobe made appear so smooth and unblemished.
But there is also a kind of beauty in this nakedness that couldn’t be found in those perfectly pressed and carefully chosen clothes that I once wore. Now my heart can breathe and my wings have the space to spread. Now that I’m not suffocating under all of that weight, or itching and irritated from the rub of foreign elements against my soul – now I can truly love you the way you deserve.
So I guess in that way I have changed. Now I want to see you naked too. Now I have the courage to look without shying away. Now I can love your imperfections and I can appreciate the artistic beauty of you, completely and courageously unconcealed. Now that I am no longer hiding my shadows, I can appreciate your light without instinctively moving to close the shades.” -Cristen Rodgers
They Dared to Dream
“For all of the pride they felt after re-building from the rubble, and after all of the healing powers they learned by surviving the flames, there came a time when they realized there was no longer a need to burn.
There was no more reason for cities to fall, and no longer did learning require pain. No longer did success have to be precipitated by battle.
Now, after all that they’d learned, the seasons were changing.
Now their lessons came as gently as morning mists settling on a rose petal, and they dared to dream in colors never before seen in bloom.” -Cristen Rodgers
Somewhere Out There
“Somewhere out there, a star just awakened because you didn’t settle for dousing your light. Somewhere out there, someone is finding their truth because you stood strong in yours, even when the night was dark and your will was weary. Somewhere a fire is burning in a once cold heart because you didn’t refrain from making a few sparks. One day you might inhale the fragrance of flowers growing from the places you once fell. Stay strong and hold on. You never know how many wings might unfold simply because you were brave enough to prove that humans can fly.” -Cristen Rodgers
“Remember me. I know this appeal may be vain, but grant me this one last request before we say our final goodbyes. Because I will always remember you – like whenever I light a bonfire or spend a day under open skies. I’ll remember you every time I stop to touch the skin of a tree, or when I realize I’ve forgotten my own might. I’ll remember you whenever I use the metaphor of the sun, or when I face down shadows in the night.
I will remember the fire and all that it burned; and I’ll remember the love and all that we learned. I’ll remember the fun times, the dark times, the joys and the pain. I’ll remember the transformation at the end, and even what at times seemed mundane.
I’ll remember – but not with strings of yearning, grieving, or regret. I’ll remember in thanks. I’ll remember in love. I’ll remember in mutual freedom and the deepest respect. So now all I ask is that you remember me too. Remember me in love, as I’ll remember you.” -Cristen Rodgers
You Are Strong
“You think you’re strong because you have that tough armor around your heart? Come sit with me for a while and I’ll tell you stories about true strength.
I’ll tell you about people who have had enough courage running through their veins that they’ve braved the worst of storms and did it all with their hearts fully exposed and yet still beautifully intact.
I’ll tell you about others who watched it harden after years and years of gathering layers of sediment, but who had the strength and resolve to chip it all back away and learn to be vulnerable all over again.
You think you’re strong? Well, you are – but not in the way you think you are.
You’re strong because you too carry that kind of courage in your depths, and you too have that kind of boldness in your bones. You too have love left to give and the kind of flexibility and softness that can carve through even the thickest, most rigid of shells.
Yes, you are strong. But not because you have armor. You’re strong because of what’s still beating beneath it.” -Cristen Rodgers
“One day you will see that all the answers you seek are already slumbering within your own quiet depths; and eventually you’ll understand how the only secrets are the ones you’ve subconsciously kept.
One day the sun will rise to evaporate your fears like an early morning mist, and your mind will start to reflect your soul’s natural bliss.
Until then, keep walking and trust in yourself, in love, and in the power of truth to set you free. Until then, listen for the whispers from within and give your heart the permission to lead.” – Cristen Rodgers
If You Could Tear Open My Chest
“If you could tear open my chest and take a look inside,
entire worlds within worlds are what you’d find –
rivers of potential rushing like blood through veins,
vast currents of energy rippling like wind across plains.
There are tears unshed and words unsaid,
hearts of gold and sleeves painted red,
creatures great and small, with their joys and their pains,
and spills of all kinds that don’t leave any stains.
There are stories untold, lives together, and worlds apart;
there are galaxies within me, spinning inside of my heart.” -Cristen Rodgers
“Judging is easy. Anyone can make their own goals appear closer than they are by warping their perception, shrinking those around them in proportion to their own desired greatness. Anyone can stand tall on the proverbial backs of their fellow man. What makes someone truly great, however, is when they can stand tall while on their knees. What takes real courage and strength is vulnerability, softness, tenderness, calmness, kindness. What’s really striking is when someone can point out the beauty in another, knowing that it doesn’t diminish their own. Anyone can paint the world in shades of grey and then relish how their own colors stand out – but what really matters isn’t how you compare to others but how you relate to them. The only true way to shine is by finding ways to amplify the light in those around you, knowing full well that this is how you illuminate yourself.” – Cristen Rodgers
A Beautiful Kind of Magic
“Sometimes I wonder if the most healing art is the kind that turns pain into beauty. I wonder if that’s the real reason that art can be such a powerful, if also poignant, teacher – not because artists are wiser or even more experienced in life, but because when they find a way to dip their pen in something as horrendous as tears or blood and paint something beautiful with it, it gives those who consume it the permission and perhaps even the courage to do the same. In that way, I suppose it could be said that just one honest and fearless artist has the power to heal others as much as themselves. Even more, it could be said that each one of us has the ability to be an honest and fearless artist, if only we find our passion and then have the audacity to break ourselves open and bleed into it – just bleed, and cry, and laugh, and love beyond reason and without restraint until all of that madness is transformed into a beautiful kind of magic.” – Cristen Rodgers
“Sure, it takes courage to die. It can be hard to close an old chapter, or lay old versions of yourself to rest. You must be daring enough to let outdated beliefs be incinerated before that heat can forge the purer truths that will eventually take their place. But, what I want to hear about isn’t how many times you’ve died but how you’ve been reborn.
I want to hear about the first time you watched a cold shard of judgment melt into warm waves of compassion – the first time let an aspect of yourself live instead of expire. I’d like to see your eyes light up and your soul shine as you recount all the little moments of self-discovery that came after the self-denial died.
Tell me how you recognized yourself in another person’s smile, or you forgave your own shadows in their eyes. Now I want to hear about what lies ahead, instead of rehashing the ashes you left behind.” -Cristen Rodgers
“I am not here to make you comfortable. I am not here to take on whatever role you think would suit my frame.
I am here to love, to learn, to teach, to dance this life in my own perfectly inimitable way.
I am here to pour gasoline on your costumes and light a match in your mind.
I’m here to tease the truth out from wherever it now hides.
I am here to love, and be loved, not to give you some reason to be proud.
Mine is not the song of morning birds but of the siren calling you out.
Its purpose isn’t to soothe but to show you that you breathe spirit and so it’s impossible to drown.
I will not be your mirror, no matter how determined your mind.
Instead, I will be the face that keeps looking, even from behind.
I am whole and I am complete as I already am. I am not here to be molded but to break the mold under my heel.
I am not here to make you comfortable but to show you what’s real.
I am here for love. I am here to learn and teach and dance, so make no mistake –
I am sure, secure, and strong in each step that I take.” – Cristen Rodgers
This is It
“Inhale deeply and let the energy of life rejuvenate your body and relax your mind.
Step deliberately, mindfully – feel your connection to the earth vibrating through the soles of your feet.
Look up for a moment, from your path, from your plans, from your phone, and let your eyes feast on the shapes and colors of the flowers and faces, the trees, the skies, the scenes.
Let go of the inner noise and listen. Listen to the crickets with your ears, to the world with your heart, to the silence with your soul.
Just be. Right here. In this moment. In this place. This is it. This wholeness of experience, this automatic harmonizing, this transition to giving and receiving, this appreciation, this feeling is the essence of life. Drink deeply and stay drunk. Only this drug can, in equal proportions, diminish and sustain you.” – Cristen Rodgers
Love in all Her Glory
“Have you felt the sensation of soul slipping against soul, the penetration of a mind, or the soft caress of a heart? Do you know what it feels like to lead with your own, so that its warmth precedes you and tenderly touches the essence of life before you? Do you know love yet, or are you still wandering the corridors, trying different doors, searching? Are you still afraid that the light may burn your eyes?
Oh how I pray that one day you might let down your guard and slip into something real, that you may know the tenderness, feel the firm but gentle grip of Love in all her glory.
I dare you to walk through the flames and discover yourself fully, fantastically alive on the other side. Only then will you truly know her, only then will you know what it means to drown in an ocean only to discover that you breathe water.” – Cristen Rodgers
Winks and Nudges
“I used to think that fate was an idea embraced only by hopeless romantics and those desperately looking for somewhere to drown their responsibility or silence their conscience. I used to think that the millions of little stories we live and those we tell were disconnected, spontaneous, a result of chaos and the overriding power of will.
I used to think these things but now I know. Now I know that, not only does it all have meaning and purpose, but it also follows a pre-ordained path – the kind that hasmany decision points but that, in the end, will always lead you to one of two ends. A path of love or a path of fear. The path of heaven or the path of hell.
Now I can see the signposts everywhere I look, little winks and nudges from the universe. Now Ican feel it just beneath the surface of everything, the subtle vibrations of a grand orchestra that’s perpetually unfolding and yet always conducted by none other than love herself.
I used to think that the answer was force. I used to think that the way was lonely. I used to think this world was chaos. Now I know that the answer is flow. Now I know that the way is together. Now I know that this world is love.” -Cristen Rodgers
He Doesn’t Have What it Takes
“Beautiful girl, he can’t give you what you’re really looking for. He couldn’t possibly have what it takes. No man does – not because men are lacking, and not because you are somehow too much, but because only you can do what you’re hoping he will.
If you love him and enjoy his company, if he can meet you in your depth of spirit, in your heart and intellect, if he can grow with you as a partner and friend, then go for it because of those things. But don’t do it because you think he’ll make you happy. Don’t do it because you think he’ll complete you; and don’t do it because he makes you feel special, worthy, or unique. Don’t do it expecting him to fulfill you, because he can’t.
Only you have the magic to break that spell – the one that makes you appear smaller than you are. Only you have the power to unlock your inner universe, to realize that you contain multitudes, that everything you could ever need is already within you waiting only to be unleashed.
So don’t ask him to fulfill you. To do so would be doubly unfair, because there’s nothing that any man can do to improve the worthiness, beauty, and immensity of you and your galaxies upon galaxies all wrapped up in the skin of a human star.” Cristen Rodgers
Every Love Poem
“Don’t you know by now that every love poem is about you? Do you not yet see that every song, every hastily scribbled line, every passionate rendition is for you as much as it’s for anyone? Love isn’t a one-on-one thing, something that can be kept between one giver and one receiver – because in love there is no ‘other’. There is just love and the expression of love. So go ahead and receive it as if it were meant for you. Read every poem as if you were the writer’s most precious muse, and listen to every song as if it were written with the image of you in mind, with the sound of your voice inspiring its tune, with the warmth of your heart fueling the fervent soul expressions that became that inspired art. Do you see now, beloved, that they are all for you? Accept them. Gather them up like precious little jewels and disperse them in your own fashion everywhere you go – for you are the world and the world is an expression of love. Be at one with it and you will know riches beyond your wildest dreams.” Cristen Rodgers
“I’ve always been infatuated with things that have unknown history – things like abandoned houses or old, unmarked photo albums. There’s this irresistible intrigue whenever I stumble across plots of land where man once trekked but mother nature has since reclaimed, or rickety antique stores where miniscule fragments of various lives are piled atop one another, just waiting to be uncovered. It’s more than just the misty memories that they hold within them, but also the almost tangible potential of what might have been or may yet be. There’s an extraordinary mix of energy spent and energy that still lingers – and they dance together in a hauntingly entrancing sort of way. That mystery will always pull me in and compel me to take a deeper look. I suppose it’s because these things are like physical displays of a spiritual truth – that somewhere beyond the trappings of the mind, the known and the unknown live together as one.” Cristen Rodgers
It Lives On
“Our story could never truly end nor will it ever fade away. Our story will live on, because the earth herself holds it close to her heart. It’s written on the shores where we spent those lazy afternoons, and it’s etched in the trees where we shared giggles like kids. It’s painted across the evening skies and it’s remembered by the moon who stood witness as we bared our souls. Every plant that we grew holds a piece of us forever in its flesh, and every shell that we admired has our fingerprints on its skin. It lives in the oceans where we allowed ourselves to be washed away and it sits forever in the bellies of raindrops that mimic our tears. The stars that we wished upon will always remember, even after time and age have had their ways; and the winds will carry our love on their wings forever, even as all the rest fades slowly away. It could never really end because, you see, nothing ever does. It lives on, in one form or another, given new life each time it touches another heart, each time we remember it’s song, every time we tell it or call out it’s name. Our story is eternal, because our story is love -and don’t you know that love never ends? It lives in everything, donning scraps of stories stitched together to create the most exquisite of gowns. Look for it. Look for it in the ocean and in the moonlight, in the heavy branches of trees and the songs of the morning birds. It’s there, always alive, always waiting for a chance, any chance, to keep adding line after line, character after character, like a collaborative poem that will continue being written until the end of time itself.” Cristen Rodgers
“Some people love to say that the truth is simple and anything more just muddies the water. I hear them repeat this and I wonder. I wonder if, in seeking the truth of heaven, they’ve forgotten to enjoy the illusion of earth. I wonder if they’ve forgotten that there’s a world of complexity in even the simplest things – like the millions of little miracles that go into a single booming flower, or the thousands of years it takes to see the light of a single star. Things like happy tears and nervous laughs, falling in love and broken hearts, the trials of growth and the blessing of pain, like the thousands of days that lead to a single smile, or the millions of people that contribute to one collective step. I wonder if they know that you don’t have to simplify these things just because you know you can. I wonder if they’ve forgotten that even intricacies can be wonderful teachers if we allow them to be, that sometimes it’s just as wonderful to see the complexity in simple things as it is to find the simple truth behind complexity.” Cristen Rodgers
“Some people are like light rain and spring flowers, fresh cut grass and sweet-scented breezes. Other people are like autumn leaves, sheets of poetry, knit sweaters, and oak trees. Some are like blue skies and blank canvases, white-tipped waves and puffy clouds; while still others are like polished cherry, wine glasses, and heavy musical notes under soft, golden lights. Maybe love is a bit like being a student of art, getting lost in the mystique and drinking in the atmosphere that makes someone who they are. Maybe love is about getting sucked into a world that’s different than our own, about the overwhelming intrigue that makes you want to know what else is hiding beyond the edges of the frame, that mysterious fascination that keeps you coming back to see it again and again.” Cristen Rodgers
“Oh how I wish there was some way I could show you the millions of miracles that surround you, the things that I know your heart yearns for but your eyes struggle to see. There is such splendor, such sublimity in every little thing. There are wings fluttering and spirits dancing, mystics chanting and forests whispering, if only you know how to listen. There are the glints of sacredness and the glimmers of secrets, there’s magic glistening out of every last little crook and corner of this world, if only you know how to look. And there are such glorious sensations meandering, roaming, rambling, flittering, and dancing upon the very air! There’s mystery and magic, love and longing, beauty, birth, creativity, and life, so much life, just hanging there like heavy dewdrops that would make you so gloriously drunk if only you had the courage to taste them. Oh how I wish I could help you see that this is it. This is the paradise that you so long for. All you have to do is open your heart to feel it, open your eyes to see it, open yourself up and breathe. It’s in the very air, it’s in the moonlight, in the music and the silence, the roses and the thorns, the tears, the laughter, the stars, the mist, and the mountains. Just be still for a moment and maybe you’ll start to see. Just be still and look, listen, and breathe.” Cristen Rodgers
“It’s not your fault and you aren’t less than enough. You aren’t what they did to you. You aren’t the person that grew in all crooked and bent under the pressure of what happened to you. You aren’t the awkwardness that came from being stepped on and over-pruned. You are the spirit that survived. You are the deep roots that continued to grow beneath the surface even when you were outwardly rejected. You are the life that went on despite being mowed over time and time again. You are the beauty that remained, waiting patiently for the right time to bloom. And now, because you held on even when the world turned away, your strength and compassion are the kind that know no end. You, my dear, are so much more than enough. You are exceptional – because you survived, because you beat the odds, because you are a warrior, a self-taught healer, and because now you have become a beacon of hope for others who suffered like you.” Cristen Rodgers
“While other men longed to grab her by the waist and follow the curve of her hips, he was busy running his mind along the curve of her intellect and admiring the way it bows to the fullness of her intuition. As they dreamt about her naked body, he was excited by the prospect of her slipping off that mask and revealing her naked soul.
While other women were assessing his physical strength, she was impressed by the strength of his spirit and entranced by the way he flexed his intellectual muscles. While they raucously sought his attention with verse and vice, she silently seduced his spirit to sing and then relished the way that his song softly serenated her soul.
When he met her with the penetrating force of his sincerity, her heart opened and melted in perfect vulnerability. Only then, after all of their secrets were spent and their spirits completely dissolved into one another, did he finally lean in to kiss her for the very first time.” Cristen Rodgers
“All I’ve ever really wanted is freedom, because once you’re truly free, everything else falls into place. Once free from restraints, you can explore. Once free from expectation, you can appreciate. Once free from belief, you can learn. Once free from fear, you can love. That’s why, if there were a single pursuit that could define my life thus far, it would be the pursuit of freedom in every form. As far back as I can remember, I was fighting battles to win that freedom and some were oh so fierce – but none quite so brutal as those I fought to win it, not from others, but from myself.” Cristen Rodgers
“Yes. I’m a bit quiet and I don’t share a lot of what’s going on in my mind. But it’s not that I’m afraid to. It’s just that I don’t often feel the need to. I don’t share everything that crosses my mind because I know better than to believe everything that crosses my mind. I need to take my time. I need time to observe, to assess, to understand, and yes even to correct my thoughts before I let them flow out into the world. I need time because I understand and respect the power of words. So no, I don’t speak often and I don’t speak loudly. But at least you know that when I do speak, it’s going to be something I feel I really understand, something that excites me, that I believe matters, and that sounds true to my soul – because to me, that’s what speaking is actually for.” Cristen Rodgers
“Don’t hide your hurt, beautiful soul. Grab a hold of it. Run it through the purifying flame of your heart and mold it into something beautiful. Allow the depths of your pain to expand the breadth of your compassion. Gather up your stumbling stones and build a bridge for someone else. Remember what it’s like to be lost in darkness so you can be someone else’s much needed light. Don’t deny your pain or bury it away. Let it rise to the surface. And then transform it into something that makes it worthwhile.” Cristen Rodgers
“Oh, of course I stumble. There are times when I’m confidently skipping along and then I trip over my own poorly-placed steps and fall face first into the thickets. But I think there’s a sort of beauty in falling. Each time I fall, I’m reminded that I’m still human, that I’m still learning, that there will always be more lessons, growth, and discovery up ahead. So, although I have times when I’m weak, when I’m critical of myself, or I lose hope, I wouldn’t give them up for the world. I cherish them – because it’s the risk of falling that makes life a grand adventure rather than just a guided tour.” Cristen Rodgers
“As we begin to embrace the idea that we are all one, interconnected whole, we begin to see everything around us in a new light. No longer can the world be neatly divided into good and bad, light and shadow, beautiful and ugly. We slowly begin to realize that all things are playing an important role, sustaining the whole beautiful cycle – a lot like the way that all of the various plants, animals, minerals, and molds contribute to the health of the entire forest. We realize that things are so much more than we once gave them credit for. What was once just a tree reveals itself to be a living presence stretching her arms and fingers high in the air, forever reaching closer to heaven. The wind becomes more than just the movement of air; it whispers to and caresses our souls. Unsightly weeds and unkempt grasses become windows through which the laughter of God echoes out; and roadside puddles offer a glimpse of Divine artistry in action as a myriad of colors reflect off their surface. The world remains the same, but because our perspective has changed, so also does the way we see, understand, and relate to it. We realize that the Divine doesn’t live somewhere far away, gracing only a few, select beings with its glory – but that it’s here, now, surrounding us, and revealing its beauty in every tiny detail of the world that surrounds us.” -Cristen Rodgers
“I release ribbons of gratitude to flow back upon the path I have walked as it stretches out behind me, so they brush past everyone whose path crossed my own. May they feel the brief kiss of remembrance within their hearts, there and then gone again, passing like a spring breeze, so that they suddenly know the things they have done for others, in so many ways big and small, seen and unseen alike, somewhere are known and treasured.” Cristen Rodgers
“The world doesn’t need more people beating themselves up inside, making a bloody mess of their broken hearts and tattered shreds of their minds. There’s quite enough of that and all it brings is more pain. The world needs more beautiful souls like yours who choose to see the beauty in their scars, who dare to forgive, to take their great big hearts and turn them inside out and give themselves the same kind of compassion that they give to others.” Cristen Rodgers
“Pre-conceived notions are bland; they dull the true flavors of life. When we’re brave enough to wash them away, we’re rewarded with a new richness of experience, finding pleasure in the full array of flavors that life has to offer – the sweetness of beauty, the zesty joys, the tartness of growth, and even the bitter sorrows. We have to stop limiting ourselves by believing that we like this and don’t like that, and open ourselves up for the endless array of exciting combinations that life has to offer. Only then will we switch from powerless consumers of life to the artisans of our own experience.” Cristen Rodgers
“Beat by beat, we each move to the unique rhythm of our souls, following the song in our hearts. We spin and glide across the dance floor of the universe, flowing into and back out of one another’s steps. We dance in groups and then in solitude. We switch partners and we change speeds. At times we become so lost in the flow, so comfortable with our rhythm, that we seem to float above the floor. At others we stumble, our music stutters, and sometimes we even fall. But even among all of this movement, there is a kind of synchronicity. Even when our dances and our songs are at odds, when we bump into one another or we abruptly change rhythm, everything seems to flow. It all comes together, and even the missteps begin to seem as if they are part of a larger dance. It’s as if somehow, it were all choreographed from the start and, if only we could see it from somewhere way up high, it would be the most exquisite, most extraordinarily beautiful and perfectly synchronized work of art that any human eye has ever seen.” Cristen Rodgers
“We all have a unique art, a personal passion that serves as a vessel through which our souls can speak. True happiness is found by filling it, and purpose is fulfilled by pouring it out.” Cristen Rodgers
“Perhaps we’re surrounded by angels who are sprinkled throughout the population, dressed up in aprons and business suits, overalls and high heels alike. Maybe there are wings resting atop the shoulders of everyday people that, in countless little ways, peek out just long enough for us to get a glimpse. Maybe, just maybe, we see them all the time but we just fail to notice.”
“Every season of the heart has its own perfect time and an important purpose. Even those that shake you, like the harsh winds of fall shake the trees, for they help you drop unnecessary things. Even those that challenge your footing, like the rains of spring loosen the ground beneath a flower’s roots, because they give you the chance to dig even deeper. And even those that feel like they chill you almost to death, like the winter cold does to the once vibrant flower, for they cleanse and ready you for the beauty of your coming spring.” Cristen Rodgers
“Mother nature, in her own unique way, is a flagship on our spiritual journey. No matter how fierce the storm, she remains steady and true; always offering up the knowledge we need without charge. Uncolored by the egos of men, she can show us in her green leaves, blue skies, and clear waters what we cannot see within ourselves.” Cristen Rodgers
“There is a pattern of sequence in everything, tying our worlds together. It’s easy to miss because of its translucence, much like a spider web that, even when right in front of you, can only be seen when it catches the sun in just the right way. Only when you become spiritually aware will you be able to illuminate these webs and see the connections. But once you do see it, you will never again be able to overlook it. You will never forget the way that every last strand gently vibrates across the entire web when you touch just one little corner. It inspires both a sense of humility and of power that will stay with you forever. The beauty, the passion, and the magic of true awareness is overwhelming, but you cannot look away – because suddenly seeing something so intricate where before you saw nothing is the kind of miracle that will stay with you forever, changing everything about how you see the world and how you see yourself in it.” Cristen Rodgers
“To recognize the true beauty of something is a courageous act, because it means stripping down the protective barriers that we have built around our hearts and opening ourselves up to feel what’s in front of us rather than just seeing the mask it wears. This is what it means to look through the eyes of the spirit, to see reality as it truly is behind the filter of physical form.
The more that we develop this spiritual sight, the more that we will start to see depth in what once seemed shallow and beauty in what before seemed mundane. We find that beauty isn’t just waiting for us in the gentle folds of a rose petal, the exquisite colors of a masterpiece painting, or the face of a loved one; we discover that beauty is hidden everywhere and tucked inside of literally everything. In every raindrop, in each smile on the street, hidden inside of mountain ranges and pebbles, stars and twinkling eyes alike; there is a spark of life that is so heavenly, so exquisite, that the way we think of beauty is changed forever.” Cristen Rodgers