Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stories (*NEW*)

“Humans are storytellers. It is our nature to make up stories, to interpret 
everything we perceive. Without awareness, we give our personal power to the story 
and the story writes itself. With awareness, we recover the control of our story. 
We see we are the authors and if we don't like our story, we change it.” 
~Don Miguel Ruiz~


In order to give birth a woman must conceive. Think about it; the complexities and miracles happening simultaneously. To conceive is described as an expressive experience, a forming. A single solitary point in space and time in which a person seems to almost fold life into itself creating clarity. There is many times an almost audible click letting us know the rightness of our path when we make contact with the divine.

Just as we are what we think, so can we fall victim to who others think we are. When we let the mirrors that are our friends and family; the beloved and the strange, tell us who we are we feel trapped. I think one of the most important things I have learned to take into my fourth decade is that I no longer need to search for who I am outside of myself. I am learning to trust. I am learning to trust me.

I am learning to bend, not break. I am learning to patiently observe, not assume. I am learning to watch the people in my life to determine their authenticity, because in learning to love myself I see the damage NOT doing this creates. I am learning patience is not just a virtue, but an imperative. I am learning that true, healthy love is soft and gentle, not hard and cruel. Whom you choose to let into your life is a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself.

We bring to us what we are equipped to handle at the time. When we reach too high we fall often, feeling like failures, but that is not the case. We rushed. We pushed. We pulled. We flailed. We did not wait. Most times, we know this deep down and it's just a case of accepting where we are, when we're there. Our nature is that of impatience, distrust. One can never hold fast to something they grasp quickly, loosely or ingenuously. Diligence and intent is needed to embrace what we truly desire. A tight grip on what we hold dear. A fierce possession.

I vow to myself to welcome goodness, light and positivity into my life. I promise to strive to be true with my word and impeccable with my action. And when I fail... I swear to get back up, clear the dirt and air, and breath again.

My story does not have to be your story. It doesn't even have to come close.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Daddy


“This is the ending. Now not day only shall be beloved, 
but night too shall be beautiful and blessed and all its fear pass away.” 
                                                                                           ~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~


It's a memory so worn in my mind there is a long dirt path, winding but always stopping at the same place. Shortly after my young father passed from a swift-killing cancer, I became an eleven year old island unto myself. I spent a lot of time alone. Mom worked full-time and my little brother was always somewhere else. I gave new meaning to the term "latch-key kid." I would come home to an empty house. The empty house that was the coordinates for my father's last breath. I think about this now and wonder what that first day must've been like...getting off that bus, fishing the key out of my pocket. I probably stopped in the driveway looking at the looming structure. I probably marched right up to my giant, hands postured to open that door as quickly as possible so that I would not loose heart. The door. Open. Staleness. Quiet. Empty. Gone. What did that feel like to a barely developed mind and soul physically unable to comprehend what this trauma would mean in my life; compulsive desperation, looming fear, permanent uncertainty. Did the rooms echo just a bit more than usual? Was the light unable to push through those clacking felt wooden blinds? Would this happen to everyone in my life? Would they all leave? I think I went straight to the empty dining room where a hospital bed was so quickly removed. I think I stood right in the center. I think I held my breath...for 27 years...hoping this was a mistake and daddy would come through that door. He didn't.

I now know that I need to take this child of eleven years and hold her, comfort her. For years all I did was try to strangle her one way or another. I could not make peace. I could not stare it in the eyes with Davidic ferocity. We had a beautiful antique Singer sewing machine in the hallway giving a panoramic view of the cedar foyer, front door and driveway. Like a dedicated puppy I would sense when it was time for my masters to come home. When they did not, I lay paralyzed on that floor, fingers tracing SINGER over and over again. My heart felt stopped; in my throat. What if they did not come back? What if I really AM all alone? Will this house swallow me? For years, I had recurring dreams of that house, always in stages of disarray and construction. I finally realize what it means; that I was literally stopped developmentally searching for something to complete my house. This yearning led me all my life to search for things outside myself to change the way I felt, because I could not leave that house. I was stuck, tips of fingers sliding over black gilded letters. I am ready to get my slingshot.

How do I do this? I step through it. I find a comfortable place within that fear, uncertainty and desperation not to stay, but to move through; shake it up, turn it loose. Think of days as a child sitting on the ground. Through a boredom, you are picking at the dirt. You find that perfect rock, but its beauty is embedded deep in the earth around it. With marked determination you start out with small picks at it getting that sparkly earth under your fingernails, musty damp hits your nose. You just take it one small movement at a time, but you don't give up and you stop looking to see how far you have to go.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The truth you are





 “I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” 
                                                                   Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I never meant for it to happen. I lived my life as I was taught; the importance of achievement, the honor of degrees. I became a slave to standards of perfection that I was not able to garner. After years of doing what I was 'supposed to' do, I rebelled with fervor and systematically destroyed my life. I owned the homes, drove the cars and filled my closets with stuff in the hopes that things would make me happy; things would make people like me, things would sustain me. Being raised in a southern baptist family as the daughter of a preacher and a teacher, I was given a definite code of ethics to follow. I was given the blueprint for how my life should go, and when I started going off-course I looked at myself as a failure. I became captive, frozen in time to my failure. I was defeated.

It took years of poor thinking to get me where I landed. I was negative, fearful and suspicious. It seemed I was suspended in time as the eleven year old who lost her young father to a quickly devouring cancer; never to return. I lived in constant fear that everyone was going to leave me like he did, and that I could not trust in their existence. The more fiercely I held to this belief, the more it happened. This kind of retaliatory thinking leads one to actively push away people who attempt intimacy. I vowed one night soon after my father's passing to "never let anyone get close to me again." And, that's just what I did.

If you spend your life running from love, sooner or later you will stop, look around and see you are all alone. I picture a completely bright, white room with no edges; just a vast smooth, egg-like place where you find yourself, alone. Enclosed. A vacuum. There is a reason why a vacuum is nothingness. You must exhaust the gas in order to make room for something else. Just as we have to fall down before we can get up, those fortunate enough to have found their bottom- their vacuum- are blessed to have reached that white room and accept it, thus allowing space for more. More love. More life. More lessons. Oh, there's pain abound in this dark illusion of light where shadow cannot pass. The brightness around you blinds you to your shortcomings, your habits, your thoughts until one day you find shelter. The refuge of god. A higher power who will guide you through this process and, most importantly, never leave. Being able to address the truths about you that no one else knows and move through them is how you get to that space where you can finally, truly love. To be a giver, not a taker. The opposite of a vacuum is compression. Compression pushes out on whatever is surrounding it. Pushing out is giving. Arriving at that place in life where you are overflowing, leaking light on whatever is surrounding you is beauty in action.

It's all a big circle, life is. A cycle of wounded, broken souls spend time on their vision quest emerging transformed. As teachers of  the soul who know they can never go back to the person they were, they are obligated to reach out, see who grabs their hand. Come on, they say, let's find the truth you are.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Freedom


The whole war of control between humans is about making assumptions 
and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that.
 ~taken from The Four Agreements~


Assumptions are like expectations. Assuming is accepting that something is true without proof, and taking it for granted that you could be wrong. It is believing that something is or did happen; you have already formed an opinion. Expectation is more of an action. It inspires hopeful anticipation based on the probability something will occur. There is expectation in assuming. Expectation can be assured confidence or fearful apprehension that lives in the present with its eye on the future. Assumption operates from the past being  more of an event that provokes judgement. Both can, however, cause us pain.

I discovered last year that I was selfish. I was absorbed in only how things affected me. I was not looking outside myself for how I could positively affect my environment. I was only dwelling on how it affected me. This is such a prison within itself that so many of us unknowingly remain. We think that we are not being focused on ourselves because we tell ourselves we are thinking of others. Yet, the way in which we think of those around us qualifies as absorption because we are thinking about how they affect us, not the other way around. And there you have it.

Seeing our character flaws is a brilliant thing, and changing them is a miracle. What we do not realize is that it can be done. It takes hard work, courage and a good support system; people around you who are not afraid to tell you what they see, and you being open enough to receive it. The recipe for success in this is put together by having something greater than yourself in your life, and being humble to that source. Learning that perspectives are filtered by thought-life gives you a head start in that the more positive your thoughts, the more adaptable your behavior.

I encourage others to really study this in themselves. I am not perfect by any means, but when I finally figured this out- I felt peace. I no longer took things for granted, or took them personally. Taking things personally is having personal importance over others where we make the assumption that everything is about us. Discovering that life is not all about you means that it is about others. What others do is not about you, it's about them. It's about their world, not yours. Taking things personally is making the assumption that they know what is in our world. Recognizing this will open up your heart, and free your soul. Try it. You might like it...


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brave

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” 
~ Anais Nin ~

I did something yesterday that I had never done before. I saw the red flags about something and stopped my involvement. Usually, I would ignore the strong intuitions I had about the situation, keep moving along and eventually get hurt all the while knowing that "I should have known better." What was it that finally made me do the right thing?

A smart man I knew once said that you have to be afraid of something to be brave. He was right. You do not have to gather courage about something that does not scare you. No one wants to be alone. Really. Many times we will settle for less out of the sheer thought of being by ourselves in a terminal way. Whether it is a job, a significant other or a place of residence if we do not let go of what we think is all we can get (therefore holding on for dear life) then we cannot open our arms to the wealth of existence that life in harmony can bring. This does not apply only to tangible things, but to ways of thinking, feeling and acting. So many times, we get stuck in believing things that do not serve us anymore or acting in ways that are self-destructive. At one time in my life, I was so fixed on negative ways of thought that positive thoughts repulsed me. I realized, however, that it was fear that fastened me to misery. Somehow I knew I was wrong, and in changing I would be admitting this. I would have to accept that I was wrong; alter how I viewed the world. As I adapted to this new reality my life became easier- I found joy!

When we get healthy emotionally, we realize that being alone is better than settling for things not good for us, or even just things not of our preference. We are willing to be brave; courageous in the land of the unknown. This realization is so freeing. It grounds us in a way nothing else could. It seals our fate in a way that will bring what we do want into our lives. Now, I'm just waiting....


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Light


“At the temple there is a poem called "Loss" carved into the stone. 
It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. 
You cannot read loss, only feel it.” 
                                                                  Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

We are all a little broken. Some of us more than others. You may be fragmented in a polished marble kind of way; all shiny with nothing but surface, or you may be torn like tissue paper wadded up and discarded at Christmas; someone enthusiastically pulled you out, but forgot to put you back together.

Seeds do not grow in light. Seeds need darkness; the darkness to push out all their attributes. The space that the darkness creates is needed for the seed to become its destiny. We become taller by being pushed down. We gain sight from being blinded. We are able to run because we once limped. Just as the seed only grows once it is planted deep into the ground, do we become stable only from having been in flight.

A light in hand will not always assure you safety from treacherous rocks, but the light does let you know that you are not alone. Every heartbreak. Every loss. Every hurt. Every regret are all accompanied by wisdom when we are finally able to climb out of the prisons we create for ourselves. For without us, our problems would have no fuel. Our fights would have no fury. Our losses would have no sting. It takes us to give our struggles meaning. As a painting needs its creator to find substance, shape and form as our tears cannot be seen without a mirror, only felt. If we choose to sit and wallow in it, then that is where we will stay. We choose how we want to reflect ourselves. It is our job to take what tragedy has wrought and pass it on to others. The point of this is not to take their pain away, but to guide them through it. Be their comfort, as the light was once yours. You can be someone else's light.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Navigate



But in order to make you understand,
to give you my life, I must tell you a story.
                                                                                         Virginia Woolf


We all have a story. Some are sad. Some are happy. Most are bittersweet. With this, we all possess the very human need to tell them. Like a balloon, the pressure is alleviated when released. Story is heart and nourishment. Before television and cell phones, man sat around fires telling stories. And, stories spread.
Quickly.

Stories are how humans kept navigation by the stars alive; they became a part of the BIG answer when we lost our way. We have the need to feel a part of something, and when we don't we feel afraid. When we cannot figure out where we fit in, we scramble, we kick, we scream. We all crave the hero, long to be courageous and need to know our role in relation to the world. Our story is how we experience the present; it makes or breaks us.

Macbeth ponders whether life is a tale "told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." And, we all have those moments of  fury. What am I doing here? Who am I? Why is this happening? What do I do? Where do I go? How do I do this? Followed by the sound of either our own hearts breaking, or more disturbingly... nothing at all. That silence, that still click in the air when everything seems to hover above the ground before it falls. Then, we run. We think getting away from the darkness that keeps us in bondage is the answer when it only makes it worse. When we are not brave and unable to walk into our (many times) self-made fires, we give them fuel as they continue to pursue us. The goal is to devour; to hide every essence of the divine within us. This is when we look up. 

Even people without a declared faith tilt their heads up when facing trouble. We reach our hands out wanting someone to sweep down and rescue our heavy, prickly hearts. I think what I forget so often is that god is always within us to give us the resolved determination we need to make it through; our own inner GPS. Darkness wants us to forget about our light, without which we feel helpless. In that fear we just want to lay down and sleep; quit. Stillness. One less warrior.

When it all comes down to it, everyone becomes known by their true name. Your sin will always find you, always come back to you. It may take time, but that boomerang comes back. Every. Single. Time. Now, don't let this scare you. Let it develop you steadfast. Make your stance. Do not falter to tell your story for if it sets a wildfire, it will spread. Do not fall down at the mere thought of defeat. Show defeat what you are made of. You are made of God.