Small and Pure – an interview with Jo Hilder

Ahem. A quick interview with myself about Small and Pure, off the cuff. Just a chat with author-me so you can get to know my littlest protagonist a little better.

Q) Jo, how did the story of Small and Pure come about?

A) Thanks for asking me about that, Jo. One day, when we were living on the farm in Victoria about eighteen months ago, I was daydreaming as I worked around the house, and felt an urge to write a short story about a little person – a small, pure someone – in fact, it was her short-life story.

So I sat at my desk – it was an easy desk to write at, as we were at that time living inside the 1850’s built mansion/homestead on the Victorian-era property, filled as it was with the shadows and ghosts who resided there, and my desk faced a nine foot tall window which looked out through the bluestone walls across the croquet lawns towards the creek lined with agapanthus and pepper trees – and the story just seemed to tumble out of me. It was almost as if a small, pure person had climbed into my lap, and was telling me what to write.

And I looked, and behold, there she was.

She told me her name was Small and Pure, so I started with that, and just allowed her to guide the pen with her words. As we worked together, she snuggled into my belly, and I noticed her hair was wild and tangled, and her toes were crusted with dirt, and her arms were smudged with muddy streaks. Her clothes were frayed and her hair smelt like pine needles and honeycomb. All the time we were together that morning, she sat in my lap as if we hadn’t just met, but had known each other for many, many years.

I think we have.

So I wrote. I did as I was told. After all, wild things don’t climb into your lap and ask you to write down their story very often, do they?

That’s how the story of Small and Pure came. It literally came. I wish it was always that easy to write stuff.

Q) What, in a few words, is the book of Small and Pure about?

A) It’s about you. It’s about me. It’s about the Small and Pure self who resides with all of us. It’s about the truest, most essential part of our spirit and soul and self. Small and Pure is like us – she is us. But something happens to her in the book, and it’s something I think we will all relate deeply to.

Q) What happens?

A) I can’t tell you. That would be giving it away. 🙂

Q) Where is Small and Pure now?

A) She will never leave me, but as to where she is now, I don’t know. Sometimes I close my eyes, and I smell pine-needles and honeycomb, and I know she’s close by. I feel her. She is safe, and she is well – I know this, and it gives me great joy to know it. But she’s a wild thing. It’s her work to remain elusive to me, and my work to seek her. I wouldn’t have it any other way, by the way. 🙂

Q) What message does Small and Pure have for the readers of your book?

A) Ah, people will have to wait and read the book. But I will tell you she wants those who will listen to know their own stories matter, and need to be told, as hers does, and will be.

Q) Thanks Jo!
A) Hey – no problem!

Small and Pure – A Cautionary Tale is due for release on June 1st 2016.

Pre-order your copy now.

View the book trailer here

Small and Pure – Ready to pre-order!

Today is a very exciting day.

This morning, I am delighted to announce my picture book for grown-ups, Small and Pure – A Cautionary Tale, will be released by Rhiza Press in early June, and is now available for pre-order!

But first, let me introduce you to the tale of Small and Pure, a story for all ages.

“Many years ago, when children loved to hear fairy stories and parents loved to read them, cautionary tales were used to teach us about choices and consequences. These most beloved fables brought to life long-known sage and moral life lessons. It’s in the tradition of these folk tales of old we learn the story of Small and Pure.

Small and Pure is little girl; a symbol of our most pure, untainted self. She grows up as all of us do, adapting to the world around her, subject to the expectations and conventions of those who keep her safe and into whose care she is entrusted. But something tragic happens to Small and Pure. She comes to us now with a sobering message, one she hopes we will learn before it’s too late.

The story of Small and Pure encourages us to seek and hold onto our most authentic truths, lest we become burdened with identities that disguise, bury and eventually cause our very essence to disappear, perhaps forever.”

Would you like to meet her? I am so excited to bring her to you.

Please click the link below to visit the Rhiza Press website and pre-order Small and Pure right now!

And keep close – I’ll be adding more products and delightful snippets to this page in the coming weeks so you can bring Small and Pure into your home and into your heart.

She’s ready to share her story with you, and she’s coming.
Love, Jo

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW

Me, God, and the Moon.

“At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come and press its face against mine. Breathe into me. Close the language-door and open the love-window. The moon won’t use the door, only the window.” – Rumi

When I was four, I would sit in my bed and gaze up at the moon and feel God see me.

It is said the sun sees our body, but the moon sees our soul. When I was that very small girl, the light of the moon woke me up to the fact I had a soul, and it could be seen and known, by me, and by God.

And it, and I, and God, were good.

All my life, my spirituality has had its source in the silent, joyous conversations I had with God as a tiny child under the light of the full moon. I never doubted the conversations were real, nor doubted God was. I did not grow up in a believing or church-going family. I was not churched, nor did I know how to pray. But I knew how to believe, and so I did. Believing God was, and that I was loved and seen, right through to my little white bones was as natural as breathing.

Spiritual searching and yearnings of my heart and a need to belong led me in search of God-people. I had many years, most very happy, amongst those tribes. But then, to my surprise, I was led behind the safety and security of the tribes into the wilds, a place I’d never know, a place I feared God would not follow me.

But the moon, ever my brother, mother and teacher, taught me a precious truth. Just as the constant moon in the night sky can be found ever at my shoulder, no matter where I turn, so is my God in my sojourn through with wilds.

And just as I do not despair on moonless nights, so I don’t despair in seemingly Godless ones. For like the moon, God never truly disappears or leaves us. God is simply out of our sight for a time. If we are patient, and prepared to sit with a little darkness, God appears to us once more, and ever after.

No one can make me believe there is no God. Don’t try. I was convinced of God before I knew the earth was round, that I needed oxygen to live, before I could read, and way before I knew there was such a thing as the Bible or shame or heaven or hell.

God saw me when I was but a few days along the road in my spiritual journey, and said, little Small and Pure, you are Very Good.

I am, still. Always was. Always will be. So are you. We are born good, and God always sees us this way.

When I see the full moon, it reminds me the spiritual journey is all about believing that with all of our heart again.

Selah, my friends.
Jo xxx

Do You Remember Your True Names?

If you’ve been a woman alive on this planet for more than a few years, then you have been exposed and subjected to shame. Since you were very small others helped you understand shame is simply what we do here.

And then there were the things others did to you, and you did to others; things that brought you a full, close and intimate understanding of the architecture of shame. You were abandoned, or you abandoned them. They commoditised and consumed you, or you them. They violated you, or you them. They used you, or you them. They desired you, or you them. They wronged you, or you them. You needed blessed relief from the burden of guilt for what was done, and what you did, when you were afraid, and bound in the dark, or taking flight in terror, or fighting to keep what you had.

They introduced you to Eve, your mother in sin, and explained your ruination was inevitable because your history, all your mythical past and all your moral present, are steeped in deceit and ambition and lies. If you lay down your power to this god and his representatives, you will receive rest and protection for yourselves and your children. So you gave away both your right to know any other myth, and to your power, and made a home in the grounds of the new masters household, bound to endlessly repeat genuflectures of obedience and submission and confession of the sin of being a woman, in return for respite from the battery of accusations and your own suspicion they could be right, and you would never, ever survive out there.

Yes, I am bad, and I am ashamed. Now please, just let me be.

We who believed we were naked, who have believed the story shame told us, that the things that hurt us were made of ourselves – we need healing, and we need help to become whole. And we must bring that healing and wholeness to ourselves.

The healing we bring will be made of ourselves; our true selves. The healing from shame we need will not come from some other place or some other person, other than from other fellow healing, and fellow healers. The shame we felt wasn’t made of us, not really. We once were tricked, fooled and held to ransom. But we are not fools, and we are not victims. Those are names given us to cripple us, to hold us down, and back, and out. To begin to walk toward wholeness and healing – which is all any of us can ever do, walk towards it – we must connect back in, back to our true names; the names of our beginnings, the names without end. Small and Pure. Good and Beautiful. Joyful, Powerful and True. Strong and Smart and Clever. Formidable. Free.

Do you remember your true names?

What Happens When The Broken Become Wild.

Sometimes, when people have had to become very wise very early in life, when they’ve had to grow up quickly, or make themselves into a partner or a parent when they were not quite finished being childish or gotten to spend much time alone, they might go a little off the rails later on.

When you make vows and promises and covenants and pacts in your youth, you often have to break them again sooner than you thought you might. It’s not a thing to feel ashamed of. It is what it is when you can’t stop a thing from falling apart, when you realize love really isn’t all you need. It simply is what it is.

But when it happens, the person who is breaking it, or who gets broken away from, might scatter for a little while, then do this other thing where they seem to run in five directions at once, all of them terrifying and dangerous and risky and apparently self-destructive.

When this happens, we might be tempted to rush in and save them from themselves. We see the wild abandon and the tightrope walking and we cry out, stop! It isn’t safe! You’re vulnerable right now! Come back, come back! Be small for a while! Let us protect you from yourself!

Grief is a peculiar animal. It has this way of making us long to force the unfinished parts of us into process. It drives us towards dangerous people and dangerous places, because we long to feel something other than numbness and loss. We want to feel like conquerors, instead of conquered. Grief makes us feel around for the young, vulnerable, untested aspects of our psyche and grasp them to us tightly, kissing them tenderly on the forehead, before we drag them out on the town to get tattoos and meet dangerous strangers wherever they can be found.

Breaking a promise you made in your youth is often a kind of death to hope. But it is also often the rebirth of the self that stopped exploring the wild, wide world when that premature promise was sealed.

If you do not finish your exploration of the wilds when you are young, the wilds wait until you are free again. Then, if you allow them, they come back to claim you.

You will heal all your grief with process, my friend. And the school of process is out here, in the wild.

You Belong In The Wilds.

This is what I know. Life in the wilds offers us not exposure, rejection and confusion, but confidence, self-direction, autonomy, and independence.

You are not going out – you are coming in.

You will not be alone. You’ll need to learn to become self-directed, but you will not be bereft of company, or support, or teachers.

This is no forlorn exodus. There are many of us on this journey towards wholeness and healing. It’s a homecoming. We are students of each other, and ourselves. We have all suffered loss and damage, and indeed, lost parts of ourselves. We have been broken, and we are scarred and tired. But we are survivors.

We learn to make fire, shelter and new friends. We have all left tribes, families and homes. But we discover how to feed and clothe ourselves – emotionally, spiritually, creatively. We make those social and psychological deserts and woods and coasts and forest our realm and our domain. We create new rituals, ceremonies and celebrations. We no longer need to seek approval, protection or wear others names for us.

Freedom to be who we are, and always were, is our birthright, our ceremony and our song. Come with me. Come with me.

She Has You.

The you that you once were – that small, good and vibrant child who once was – that’s the real you. All the things you were then; those things are who you really are. Still. Now.

You wonder what you’re made of; you’ve spent your whole life seeking and searching, holding up mirrors to yourself and picking up labels and sticking them to yourself. You’ve rejected the story of your inner child, because there was so much shame around that space, and that place. But you are not those shameful stories.

You are the you who wondered, questioned, asked why, thought those hundred thousand thoughts. You are the you who felt all the feelings. You are the one who knew just what you knew. You are the you who always was, and always will be.

When you wonder now, in your confusion and your memories, in the mess and the sorrow and the fear and at the rock bottom, what to do… go to her. Go to the one you have always been – the small one, the pure one. The one who questioned. The one who sang. The one who ran, who read, who wrote. The one who stood, hands on hips and said no, I won’t. The one who loved and held on tightly. The one who knew beyond knowing what was truly right, and what was absolutely wrong.

You had so little power then, and you suffered. But it is not too late. You can listen to her now. You can empower her now. You can take her on your lap, and hold her until the tears and fears are gone. She has you, now. She has you, and you have her, and that is a very, very great thing.

The Small, The Pure, The I Am.

Once, you were not ashamed.

Once, you knew instinctively you were good at the very core, and your heart was intrinsically pure. You were curious, you were adventurous and you were free. You were blissfully unaware the way you saw the world and everyone in it might be different from how others see it.

I Am – the most essential name for God or Source in many spiritual traditions – was your name for yourself. I Am happy. I Am hungry. I Am small, and I Am pure. I Am home. I Am Good as Gold. The nucleus at centre of an entire universe, an unending source of energy, life and beauty – this was who and what you were, and you embodied it completely.

When you were that little I Am, you were not an empty vessel waiting to be filled. You were the whole universe in a seed. You were like a pomegranate plucked from a tree. You were a complete sphere of perfection and goodness, with yet more seeds inside you. You were a life-giving ball of goodness. You smelt good, you felt good, you looked good, and you were good.

You held the capacity to nourish, both from within, and in giving of yourself to others, and to please and delight. You were joy, and joyful. Everything about you was right and worthy. If nobody had ever looked upon you, knew you or held you, if you were never named or had your feet and hands touch the earth, or given rites or blessed, or kissed by the sun or moon, you would have been no less good, no less pure, no less beautiful, worthy and perfect.

You were I Am.

You are, still.