February 12, 2017

A Manifesto for Living Fiercely with Heart.


I don’t want to just be happy.

To die, having only tasted sweet sprinkles of positivity on my tongue.

I exist for more than that.

I know it like truth, as I spread the span of my black and gold wings. As I open my lips to taste the nectar of being alive: multidimensional, complicated, dark, light, powerful, vulnerable, messy.

I revel in it.

I want to feel it all.

I want to plummet to the depths of my darkness and taste it.

I want the thunder of existence to pour into me and shake me awake.

I want to have intense awareness around fear—not by pretending it’s not there—but by facing it. And facing it. Over and over and over again—until it dissolves back into the earth like rain.

I want to know truth—the raw, undressed truth—so intimately that she sleeps next to me, curled up by side, every night.

I want to dance in the roaring seas of my pain and be blessed by the gushing salt rivers of my tears.

I want to feel it all.

Every earth-shattering and subtle, lily-scented nuance of emotion is allowed in my life.

This is my freedom.

After spending so many years with a fake smile stapled to my face at all times, it feels so goddamn freeing to frown. To grimace. To let tears stain my cheeks in public sometimes.

Because I am not here to be a one-dimensional, ever-chipper version of the vast technicolor magic that swirls within me.

I am not here to be a glossy someone who seems perfect but never knows herself, never goes deeper than conversing about the weather.

And I can’t settle for a life where I stuff my emotions down, as they secretly simmer, bubbling up, until I eventually explode, a Medusa-esque version of Mt. Vesuvias.

I want to feel it.

The anger. The rage. The intense sorrow and weeping rivers of loss. The pleasure. The grace. The subtle breaths of joy. The ignited invitation to sacredness within me.

I want to feel it all.

I want to jump into this life with both feet, with the streaming colors of all my feelings—beautiful and terrible and sweet and every damn thing in between.

I want to rip off my mask so that my oozing tenderness can show from underneath.

I want to know joy that is not arrogant because it also knows pain. Joy that is wise, and not contingent upon success or other people liking me. Joy that is pure and propels me toward the quivering lips on the divine.

I want the confidence that comes from being really vulnerable, and knowing that my naked heart is enough. Always.

I want to feel the fire of my soul spring to life and burn like the sweetest madness through the honeyed center of these words.

I want real.

I want to stomp on the earth and shout out loud and hear the vibrations of who I really am travel like tiny earthquakes deep into the ground.

I want to laugh and play and stick out my tongue and make a complete fool of myself—and not care what anyone thinks at all.

I want to love with every drop of my gushing, ruby heart.

I want to be messy. And I want to be loved for the tornado of a strong, wild and kind woman I am.

I want poetry that stops me in my tracks and makes my soul throb in a symphony of sighs and shouts, as my body writhes to the rhythms of ancient melodies.

I want stillness.

I want change.

I want transformation that lasts. That is guttural and real. I can taste it. Name it. See it. Embody it. Share it. And be it.

I want destruction that leads the way to flourishing, vibrant spring-like creation.

I want a life full of beauty.

I want bravery, the kind that comes from being shattered—and rising and rising and rising, over and over again until I finally become the fantastic phoenix soul I really am.

I want connection that is so deep and true that I can’t hide anything.

I want to surrender in the face of chaos without caring what that means intellectually; I want my body to feel that current of smooth, feminine energy, and just do it.

I want to be alive. Desperately, madly, magnificently alive.

I want to feel it all.

Here I am, with my heart splayed to the cosmos. Heaven splits me open like a tree, then splashes into me—the kind of heaven that happens spontaneously when I let myself be myself. With a lot of heart, but without any apology.

This is no new-age declaration of living, of becoming—this is real. I’m messy. My yoga is often engraved with thrashing tears. My meditation practice is inspired by my ongoing recovery from PTSD.

I am no stranger to pain. But I am all the better for having kissed her bitter lips. Taking her inky hand has changed me forever—for I no longer deny the darkness that lurks inside me, inside us all.

I no longer live in fear of my own shadows—I honor them. All of them.

And I want, I need, I breathe—to feel it all.


The agony. The joy. The sorrow. The regret. The calm. The jealousy. The disappointment. The bliss. The melodious laughter.

This is the freedom I now grant to myself.

Because when I feel my feelings, I can release them—I can finally let go.

I can be free.

I am me, and it is rapturous.

I want to feel it all. Not just the pretty, pink sprinkles. I want all of it—

The mud and grit and sweat and the truth that shakes the world, changing everything.

I want to feel the whole of life surge through my toes and fingertips in an epiphany of color and light and shadow and chaos and movement.

I want face the trauma and all the really hard things I think I cannot face—because that is the portal.


Facing our deepest, darkest parts is the portal to states of consciousness and lightning-like awareness like we’d never dream. It is the only way to become whole.

And this journey toward wholeness, toward oneness, toward awareness—it’s not all rainbows and white light and pretty butterflies like they told me it would be.

It is the bitter depths of loneliness. Rage. Exhaustion. It is crying an ocean from my eyes. It is ripping off my mask and revealing the tenderness that erupts from my soul. It is the hardest thing I have ever done.

And it is the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced.

Because we are not truly on the journey to living as our most brilliant self unless we are facing the darkness. Our shadows. Our pain.

Because feeling everything is what makes us human. It is also what makes us holy—beacons to capture the raw light of the divine and bring it down to earth, with fire and grace and complete humility.

I have risen to euphoria and fallen to the utter depths of despair. I am grateful for it all.

For it has only made me softer. Fiercer. More human. More holy.

Besides, I could never be okay with a life that doesn’t uncage me, that doesn’t unravel me, a life that doesn’t blindly challenge me, a life that doesn’t let the fire of my soul burn daily, a life that does not reach to the deepest, darkest and most powerful parts of me.

I soften, my bellowing voice a truth-soaked whisper now.

Yes, I wish to live this boldly. I have to.

This is my manifesto. This is about living fiercely, with my whole heart.

‘Cause I did not sign up for a paper-thin, numbed existence of going through the motions, drinking lots of coffee to feel alive, and never thinking too deeply about anything.

I signed up to experience everything.

I am here to feel it all.

I may not always like it.

But it’s what I need.

It’s what my soul requires to be vibrant and satisfied and strong as hell and madly alive.

Nothing less will do.


Author: Sarah Harvey

Image: Flickr/Erin Kohlenberg 

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock


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