November 29, 2015

The Power Tool

There are always going be those who roam around as though they are the gatekeepers of every answer, to every questionand most of them are. Sort of. 
I’m not saying they’re right answersor that you even asked a question for that matter...but hey! They’ve got answers. We wonder if they think we’re all hopeless souls just one opinion short of a fabulous life; their opinion more specifically—but even when it seems they’re mounting their high horse, most of them mean well.
It may not be obvious to those on the receiving end, but they really do. They’re still lovablequirks, opinions and all. 
The truth is we can all get a little stuck in our inner gatekeeper from time to time.
However, it would seem there are some whose only aspiration is to have us down on our knees praying that they either lose our phone number or never find our online space. We all have theories as to why it is some people so strongly need to oppose seemingly…um… everything!…and with such conviction and harshness, no less—but realistically speaking, why they do it is an answer that only they know {albeit, an answer probably hidden under a hundred others}
Whenever an opportunity presents itself, rest assured they will feel much obliged to take advantage. It doesn’t have to be a grand opportunity in the online world usually the discovery of public contact information, an open online profile or any old comment box will suffice—and the most head scratching part of it is that their criticism would leave almost anyone wondering “What… the hell...was the point of that?!”
Although the internet is abundant in unsolicited {and often irrelevant} input from faceless people shielded by their computers for many women, criticism and judgment pours in directly from a stream much closer to their heart. Some of which were born into a family of critics and some ended up marrying into one; others, from different sources.
No matter what the circumstances, most of us would rather avoid judgment. Let's be honest.  
A lot of women have found themselves at a complete standstill always just slightly outside the reach of their intentions because of the residual backlash of the past that may, potentially, perhaps, come back to haunt them.
Every time they even think of moving into the arena of their own answers, old recordings loop in their mind reminding them of just how much opposition they may endure if they choose to follow through...instead of just....you know.... follow. This can make a decision to branch out painfully dauntingespecially to those who spent most of their childhood thinking their name was You're Wrong, middle name, So.
We all have the capacity to voice our beliefs, thoughts and ideasand we all have the right to do so as well but our voice is like a hammer. Many of us have one, but there are just some who can’t seem to use it without putting holes in walls because they keep missing the nail completely.

We definitely wouldn’t go walking around in our day to day life just swinging the thing all over the place for no good reason. The same applies to self-expression.
Our voice is a tool, and if not used with precaution, we just become that crazy person everyone keeps at a safe hammer-swing distance.  
When someone’s Inner Gatekeeper falls out of line so to speak, as does the power of their tool—it’s power, being quality contribution to interactions and relationships and because humans are the only things that seem to not come with instructions or directions, I felt inspired to have a creative go at a User Manual of sorts specifically focused on keeping the tool powerful.

1- Most people (excluding the Dalai Lama’s of the world) will receive your message not as your expression, but as the feelings that your delivery evoked in them it’s best to make sure you love the intention and resonance of your message and not just the sound of your voice.
2- When real value can’t be shared through your words, silence really is always a reliable representative.
3- Take a stand! -Unless you’re deliberately standing to obstruct what most would consider a phenomenal view In which case, take a seat. Now. 
4- Don’t try to turn the lights off in an art exhibit just because you can’t find an appreciation for what someone else is admiring.  Find another art exhibit.
5- If you aren’t convinced, realize it was never a requirement in the first place. Likewise, if you are convinced, know it was never a requirement in the first place.
6- You can be wise or you can be judgmental you cannot be both at the same time.
7- Greatness does not develop from Criticism. Criticism does not develop from Greatness. Sit with that one for a minute. Be Great to help someone develop their Great. It’s cyclical.
8- There’s an old idiom If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing. Here’s a new adage- If you don’t have anything nice to say, first ask yourself why that is. It’ll teach you something of worth.
9- If you aren’t making music with your message, you’re just making noise. Most people won’t stick around to listen to un-harmonious racket.
10- There’s a smart way to say something that most would have considered stupid, and a stupid way to say something that most would have considered smart.
At the end of the day there is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping curmudgeons at a safe hammer swing distance, and you most certainly don’t have to engage in their battle. It’s one person on both sides of that battlefield anyways. 
Back away from their answers, never away from your own.
Keep your sights on your vision and on those who would hold your hand and listen as you describe what you see in your mind’s eye. Keep at the forefront of your plan the knowingness that those who want to see you rise will never miss an opportunity to help lift you up!
Step into your arena.

October 05, 2015

When darkness shows up— pull out a chair and offer it tea.





Dark night of the soul happening in real time—lots of searching, lots of questioning, lots of vigorous pen- to-paper sessions...and Oh, lots of tears. 


After a while you stop fighting them off and you let them free flow as they come—sounds romantic, but mostly, it’s just snotty.


Ye not be foolish in judgement of the snot cry—it’s fucking cathartic.

I’ve become intoxicated on stress and anxiety—and when that happens, I tend to get a little cold and icy with the outside world, because in those moments, the outside world is not my friend—the outside world is who my mind is blaming for my angst, or at the very least, the outside world is aggravating my angst…

I know enough to know that’s just my ego talking—that’s just the child in me who shows up from time to time and wants someone to just come in and fix it in some pragmatic and tangible way, or to sit down and shut up if they aren't going to.— it's a pick one, or go away type thing.   

Knowing that isn’t enough though.

Simply knowing, is what has, for years, stopped me from allowing myself to feel the magnitude of what was going on inside me at any given moment.

Simply knowing, is what caused me to avoid, distract, resist, numb, avoid and fake my way through the emotional turmoil. 

Simply knowing, is what made me lash myself for feeling what I felt.

Simply knowing, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be if all you know comes only from outside yourself.

Most of us know everything else there is to know about worldly things far better than we actually know ourselves. But all that pays homage to is our ability to memorize and repeat information. 

We exchange knowledge like recipes, but no one else has the same capacity to know you the way that you can. It’s a privilege that most of us deny ourselves. You have to know yourself intimately in order to be able to apply all that outside data to the inside. 

So even though I know that my ego is the one screaming and having a tantrum, I have over the years, had to take the time to get to know who my ego is in all its facets and not just be able to recognize when she showed upI had to get to know how she acts, how she reacts, how she speaks, how she makes decisions, and the many disguises she can show up wearing as she tries to fool me into believing it isn’t her this time around. Whether I like it or not, she’s a part of me and always will be a part of me. I had to make peace with her, and truthfully, I’m still working on it.  

I understand what’s happening right now and that brings me some ease. I understand that my current circumstances have showered unhealed wounds in divine salt. I understand that the pain is here to show me where I’m still stumbling and why I’m still stumbling. This sick, heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach is actually untapped answers to my questions. I understand that if I don’t show up for myself as vulnerably and authentically as I can in all my darkened glory to tap into those answers, I’ll be sent back to this place… it’s only a matter of time.

I am allowing my fears to be what they are without trying to convince myself that I am not as terrified as I actually am, because… I’m actually terrified.

I am allowing my uncertainty to be just that—uncertain, because right now, I really just don’t have a clue.    

I am allowing myself to question my beliefs, my dreams, my options, my path, my choices, my purpose and my abilities, because I’m doubting myself and I have to explore its possible validity.   

I am allowing my anger and frustration to be as uncensored as it needs to be without labeling it as ugly, wrong, or bad, because, I’m fucking gut wrenching pissed off!!    

And in all of that vulnerable allowing, a tumultuous pain emerges, and I can feel a hunger that I’ve starved along the way for reasons that I still don’t understand in their entirety.

For the past few weeks I could feel the belief in my dreams slowly being killed off...and last night I realized just how dead inside I feel without that faith and vision. My sense of wonder, curiosity and passion seems to have escaped me…or taken cover somewhere safe during this time.

My human existence, my life, and everything I’ve created up until now is a very real thing in space and time—but to recognize just how dependent my life-force is on that which I can’t actually see, touch, smell, hear or taste, but rather, is dependent on faith and hope, that which exists in nothing more than an innate feeling, was shocking to me.

I woke up this morning and sobbed on my bathroom floor at 6:30am. When I finally picked myself up, I was faced with a woman in the mirror I could barely recognize;whose lively eyes were now absent of lightness and life, and I cried some more as I said to her: “We'll figure it out, but what do you need right now?”

…and as easily as I asked, she answered.


“RESTORE AND PROTECT MY DREAMS. FIERCELY.”

June 29, 2015

the hard work —it's an inside job

The Hard Work is found on the path to forgiveness.

The Hard Work is in the resolve of anger.

The Hard Work is in maintaining a loving relationship with yourself even when society whispers lies of unworthiness. 

The Hard Work is being devoted to hearing the silent inner-workings of your heart and soul while everyone else is shouting out thoughts, opinions and criticisms around you.

The Hard Work is focusing on the truth that lives within you, while the world is insisting your primary focus be set on what is happening outside yourself.

The Hard Work is asking yourself the difficult questions—the ones that will give you the answers you need, knowing they may not necessarily be the answers you want.

The Hard Work is taking that faith-filled step aside so that you can finally get out of your own way.

The Hard Work is the decision to move on with it while fear is weighing on your shoulders.

The Hard Work is in recognizing the difference between letting go of what isn’t working and self-sabotaging avoidance.

The Hard Work is in the willingness to distinguish the difference between the distractions, and the actual hard work—the excuses and the reasons—the detachment and the non-attachment.



That's The Hard Work —the worthy, bare-knuckled, calloused palms, sweaty, messy hard work...and it will facilitate all else. It will serve you.  

June 24, 2015

strength — are we perpetuating the wrong message?

We all know how to survive.
Surviving is primal.
Survival can get ugly though. 

Like many, I have felt victimized—and as the story goes, I have fallen because of it. It was then that I decided that living as a victim was one of the worst places I could reside.

So I got back up, threw my nose up in the air and I called it my strength. I charged forward armored in anger and resentment. Wounded and ravenous, I set out on the warpath of self-preservation.

I closed myself off. Trusting no one, I became inflexible and built mile high walls that looked a lot like deception, manipulation and intimidation. 

I beat others down and fought damn hard to nail them to the wall just so I would know where they were when my back was turned. 

Somewhere in my hectic villainous schedule, I found ample time to numb-out at every chance I got.  It was during this time that I visited the dimmest corners of my mind and then subsequently made choices from those corners. Needless to say, dimlit corners hold nothing but dimwit decisions. It would seem that I was making it a point to slow dance with my demons. I was suddenly becoming the victimizerI knew it, but I couldn’t stop. I felt I had nowhere else to go other than victimhood and I desperately did not want to be there. 

Please, anywhere but there...


Eventually, it was the heaviness of my choices on my conscience that knocked me back down—and so I fell again. This time I stayed down. I called it my weakness.

Totally bare, I curled up and shivered as I lay in the unforgiving frigidity of rock bottom. 

Shameful and guilty, I proceeded to lash myself until it felt as though the remnants of my heart’s goodness had bled out. 

My personal value was being stripped away as the shame and guilt from what I had done ran through my veins.  

Self-damnation brought me to the very darkest corner of my mindthe mindset I now respectfully and a little fearfully refer to as Hell between Ears

This is the darkside venue that no one knows exists within them until it pulls you in for an impromptu visit.  

It was there where I rubbed elbows with my own darkness and entertained thoughts I never fathomed experiencing in this lifetime. 

I have, on this journey, asphyxiated on lies in an attempt to drown my secrets. I have housed my fears and fed my faults. At other times, I have flown on the wings of self-righteousness and self-medicated on my narrow judgments of others. These are not the markings of human weakness, nor are they the tellers of human strength. 

These are simply the deepest footprints of someone struggling to survive in the wilderness that we call our human experience. 

We spend so much time being romanced by the grandiose nature of getting back up. 

Is it really strength though?

Sometimes the aftermath of getting back up doesn't come from a place of inner strength. Likewise, we quickly avoid showcasing the times in our life where we stayed down. 

Is it really weakness?

Sometimes the aftermath of staying down is not the results of inner weakness.

Maybe strength hasn't a thing to do with getting back up and maybe weakness hasn't a thing to do with staying down.

What if the ups and downs are simply a response to an inner knowing? A gut feeling which either pulls you up by the suspenders, or holds you down at the shoulders both of which are for your greater good in the grand scheme of things. 

I have learned so much as I ran around swinging my fists at unsuspecting by-passers who got in my waybut it was not until I was willing to stay down for a while that I was able to really see any of it. At the same time, I have learned so much while I hid away under the covers of my shame, but I was blind to it all until I was willing to get back up. 

It seems to me that both the ups and downs play vital roles in the support of the other. 

Is inhalation more respectable or beneficial than exhalation? 

Perhaps strength by definition is in our willingness to walk back into an emotional war-zone after the dust settles in order to try and see things from a different perspective. Maybe it’s in the hunt for our lessons where our strength is developed. It doesn't take much strength to get back up much like taking cover, very often, it's basic survival.

It would seem to me that being able to let go of what tears and weighs you down is what requires indomitable strength.

Perhaps strength lives in the willingness to take an honest look around at the mess and see it for what it really is? 

What if strength is the ability to haul the lessons and messages out of the debris of your misfortunes and mistakes without lugging the debris around with you?

What if strength is having the courage to clean up any messes you've made as best you can?

Maybe, just maybe, real strength is the ability to fall down without berating yourself while you're lying there—or to get back up without using vengeance as a driving force?

What if strength is being able to come out of anything as a whole person, no matter what? 

The ability to believe you are still a worthy whole person. No. Matter. What.

Phew.

That’s a big one.

Maybe that’s strength.



June 21, 2015

the great father—happy father's day!


Father’s Day—a day to celebrate piggyback ride givers and boo-boo kissers, the kings without crowns and heroes without capes. 

We're celebrating the very determinant of a little girl's perception of men...and the barometer that she will one day use to decide how she is to be treated by them. 

We celebrate the map that will guide a little boy into manhood, and the toolbox of wisdom that will help get him there. 

We celebrate the great fathers—the men who understand that love and gentleness is the foundation upon which not only their strength is built, but the strength of their children. 

For all the great fathers —you have my deepest respect and admiration. 







June 17, 2015

excavate your unwavering truths —random ramblings along the way.

There are innate and unwavering truths rooted in each of us— 

truths we've long since tucked away for safe keeping. Or at least I think that's what we've done with it—and it's all because, once upon a time, we didn't yet know how to step up and live without feeling as though our truths were either being killed off, or killing us off—both mercilessly.

There was a time in your life where safety was far more seductive than any virginal truth could ever be. 'Twas better to be safe than it was to be you. 

Our truth coaxes us to take another look, only after it’s been marred in blood, and sweat, and tears, and dirt, and dust, and criticism—after it’s been kicked around and tortured; tried and tested; berated and underrated; mocked and misunderstood—after it has weathered the pains and become raw, yet, for some unknown reason has still unfathomably remained steadfast, unchanged and ever present no matter how deep it's been buried.

It is in the moments that we get fed-up enough, become ballsy and bear down to dig it all up; striping adversity off in layers, pulling out the lies that have grown intertwined with it, one by painful,one it's in those moments where we go on and clean it up that we get to see just how enduring our truth has really been this whole time— and what it shows us, is nothing more than a reflection— a reflection of how enduring we have been this whole time and that's what makes us, us... our truth. Perhaps it's time to dig  up and let breathe, the person we were born to be.  











       

May 31, 2015

I went and broke my body


2015 has been a whirlwind of a year for me so far. I can only assume that its theme is: "Here... let me show you exactly what still needs to be cleaned up...but we're going to do it at an intense and rapid rate."

"Why spread over 5 years, what can be done in one?” is my typical attitude—that attitude is also my typical problem.

I'm a quick paced, over-achieving, fast moving, fast thinking person, so a small part of the way this year's lessons are all being handed to me suits me just fine. The big part of it is causing me to collapse.   

And that was my light bulb moment. 

Let me tell you, I am so sure that had I not been actively working on myself for the past few years and acutely more aware of myself and my inner workings...I'd probably be lying in fetal position, crying, in bed, refusing to come out from under the covers until life becomes fair—except probably worse than that. 

Out of all of the stressful challenges I've been faced with recently, by far the most debilitating one is that I have pretty much been sick for the past 6 months with scattered periods of health.

For someone who has never had to deal with chronic physical pain or sickness before in my life...my tolerance level for it is incredibly low but my compassion and empathy for those who have experienced it is exceptionally high at the moment—it’s hugely affecting my ability to handle all else the way that I normally would. Even my everyday tasks and routines feel like a steep and jagged rock climb. My immune system is shot. 

I used to laugh in the face of germs—recently, I fight urges to use disinfectant spray as perfume—I see a coughing person in my vicinity and I move to another country—I want to wear a hazmat suit every time I venture out of my house—I have become one of those mothers I swore I'd never become and chase my kid around with a face cloth and hand sanitizer. Germs have the capacity to scare the pants off me. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I suspected that I was burning out in 2014. Truthfully I’ve probably been in the process of burning out for years, but I’m too stubborn to have fully accepted or acknowledged it. I’ve been writing about simplifying my life for a while now, and I actively have been. It’s clearly not simple enough though and it might have been too little too late to avoid this place I'm at. I'm trying to release a lifetime of habits that don't serve me in the least bit. 

So as I sit here today typing this, because I could be dying and I'd still be writing something, somewhere. (At least I think I would. Or maybe I just want to give in and whine about how sick I've been. I haven't decided yet.) 

My body is aching, my sinuses are on fire, my ears hurt, my throat is inflamed, I’m cold yet sweating, and I still feel a world better than I did this morning before taking a hot bath. 

I was barely able to get myself up the stairs to do so, but I sure am glad I forced myself.

As I slowly let my body slip into the hot water, the sensation of relief was so intense that I groaned out a very grateful “Thank youuuuuuu.”

Out loud!

I startled myself.  

Who said that?

Who was I thanking—the water?

And I realized it was actually my bodies’ sentiments and I was merely being its voice.

It spoke to me.

I’m not too proud to admit that I cried, and if I wasn't so sure that my body had just expressed gratitude, I’d think I was looney.  

My poor body.

I've pushed it so hard my whole life and now I've gone and broke it real good—I broke it, and it’s still thanking me for the temporary relief and comfort I had given it!

As I lay there in the Himalayan salt and eucalyptus soak that I couldn’t smell at all…Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” popped into my mind. It’s a book that I read for the SWAT Institute, and I'd read it all over again in a heartbeat. 

So I started dialoguing with my body—with every ache, with every pain, with my exhaustion, with my inflammation.

What did it need?

Why was it there?

What was it trying to tell me?

It had my full attention and boy, did I get answers.

I figured some affirmations wouldn't hurt any, so I started with “I am healthy…”

That felt like absolute malarkey as soon as I said it, so I went with “I am healing.”

That felt just right.

Some emergency self-care is in order—self-care, self-compassion, self-acceptance and self-love.

During this rocky and unpredictable time that we're going through, for however long it may last, I desperately needed to remember that no matter what, I will be good.   


“ That I would be good even if I did nothing
  That I would be good even if I got the thumbs down
  That I would be good if I got and stayed sick
  That I would be good even if I gained ten pounds
  That I would be fine even if I went bankrupt
  That I would be good if I lost my hair and my youth
  That I would be great if I was no longer queen
  That I would be grand if I was not all knowing
  That I would be loved even when I numb myself
  That I would be good even when I am overwhelmed
  That I would be loved even when I was fuming
  That I would be good even if I was clingy   
  That I would be good even if I lost sanity
  That I would be good whether with or without you” 

                                                                 | Alanis Morrisette




May 20, 2015

when your passion goes AWOL

There is such a thing as caring too much

Trust me, the struggle is real. 

Very often, strong-willed, passionate people can suffer from this pandemic that I like to call OCC: Obsessive Compulsive Caring. 

They’ve long begun to give themselves up to their passion as opposed to giving of themselves for their passion—and the trouble with us kind of crazy but still endearing folk is that the line that separates giving of ourselves and giving up ourselves is a fine one—one that doesn’t always send out big loud warning signals when crossed.


And then one day…

 *POOF*

You’re waking up and heaving your carcass out of bed in the morning just to sit at the edge of it feeling utterly lifeless, uninspired and underwhelmed by your own existence. If you could find your ability to give a shit, you’d be highly unimpressed with yourself for not giving a shit.

When did life become so bleak? 

When did people become so dull?

When did I become so antisocial?

Dear good gawd, I’ve become a flat-liner!

All that once breathed life into you—your driving force—the very reasons you’d jump out of bed in the morning, could now go to hell in a handbasket for all you care.

All of it.

The only thing worse than staring blankly into the abyss, as you try to figure out where you’ve misplaced you passion… is... um...nothing.

Nothing is worse and I’ll tell you why.

We’re dependent on passion. Passion is the very thing we use to define who we are and what we contribute. We have no life outside of our fire—so we take it personally when it seems to have burnt out on us.

Surely, there must be something wrong with me!

Side Note: Wouldn’t it be nice if fear, anger, hurt and embarrassment would get lost as easily as passion does?

So what do you do when your passion goes AWOL?

You take a deep breath and you stop.

Yunhun…

You just stop.

Stop trying to force it.

Stop trying to make it happen.

Stop banging your head against the desk...

the computer keyboard…

the piano keys…

the easel…

Stop banging your head against the notion that passion is the end-all and be-all to your worth. 

Stop meditating on it…

Stop reciting affirmations about being passionate when it feels like complete bullshit, because guess what? Right now, it is.   

Stop wondering why it left you and start realizing that your unconscious mind arranged for you to take a sabbatical from your passion for your own damn good because you weren’t going to do it on your own—it just took a while for your consciousness to catch-up and clue in that you’ve lost your balance somewhere along the way and you need it back. Stat. 

So stop.

Stop and go do other life instead.

Do curious life…

Do Backburner life.

Use the opportunity to actually do the one day I will life you’re always talking about.

Do if I had more time life…

Do mundane life…

Do practical life…

Do that which is merely enjoyable life…

Do get on your hands and knees and scrub the hell out of your house life…

Do ‘oh dear god, not this crap again!’ life…

Do listless life…

Do simple life…

Wash your dishes at the kitchen sink and gaze out your window at the garden you never planted. Notice that you're now staring out at some uninspiring diddly squat because you once had passion. Feel the warmth of the water—smell the aroma of your dish detergent—notice the simplicity of the moment and make plans to finally plant those flowers. Wash your dishes like it’s the most important thing you’ll do today, because according to your temporarily monotonous existence, it will be, so you might as well wash ‘em like you’re Martha Stewart on camera.  

Feel the inner-vacancy within you. Be with your lack of purpose.

You’re not empty or incomplete without your passion—No-no! You’re spacious!—prime emotional real-estate because you, my friend, have gained inner square footage for other life!

Notice the space but don’t judge the space—don’t try to fill the space up with frustration, fear or guilt just so it won’t be empty.

Enjoy the bare white walls of inner possibility.

Passion is a rowdy, fast-moving, stimulating energy and it takes up a lot of damn space—passion monopolizes E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G and we’re often much obliged to let it. It’s always screaming at you to “Pay attention to me, pay attention to me!” while everything else gets pushed to the wayside in order to make room for it.

So while it’s gone, don’t worry about its return—sort through what has accumulated in that wayside and then go do whatever it is you find there!

Bask in the stillness of your passionless life and use the time to cultivate a curiosity and interest for all other life so that you can be brought back to life. 

Trying to boss your muse around works about as well as trying to get a pre-teen boy to take a shower. 

So just stop.

Your inner fire will be back in full blazing glory before you know it—just as it always has.