The Power of Story Telling

One of the biggest struggles for many people during this time in the world is knowing what is “right.” What is the right story? Is the virus a huge monster waiting to annihilate everyone or it is being oversold in the mainstream media? Is the death of George Floyd the catalyst for the next Nazi occupation or is it a total farce made up by big government to push us into socialism?

Obviously, these are extremes and the truth is there is no “right” story. The stories that we hear are all true in certain ways. There are aspects of both sides and everything in between that is happening in this world.

There is one story though, that is the most important. That is our story. The story we tell ourselves.

People have this amazing capacity for storytelling and when those stories are solidified they become real. Almost immovably so.

I think with everything that is going on one has to really think about the stories that they have been told, who has done the telling or the teaching and evaluate the source. As I am discovering more about my own ignorance I am realizing that the stories that I heard growing up and in school were very passively let in. The things that teachers taught, just one more thing to learn enough to pass a test. A test created by people with their own agendas. The insidious part about that, is that even when we passively hear stories, they start to create pathways in our brain that, as we age, become solidified. This can come in any number of forms. If I am told repeatedly that no man will love a “big” woman, then this becomes a subconscious pattern that I don’t even realize I let inform my world view. Even though the evidence is contrary when viewing the world, that thought might creep in every time I take a bite of ice cream and I might feel guilt and shame.

If I am told that racism is bad but that that was a construct that only existed with the advent of slavery and now that slavery is over, there is equality, then that is likely the world view that I will move through life with. It often takes a pretty big event in our lives to realize that we should even evaluate our stories. And that is where our society is at. Story evaluation.

There are a couple things we can do when looking at stories. We can refuse to look with an open heart and mind and continue in ignorance. We can completely lose ourselves to shame and guilt over what was and try to prove that we are not the result of our story, or….. we can change our story.

Humans have this tremendous ability to alter their realities. We hold enough power to completely transform ourselves over and over again.

This is thanks to a little thing called neuroplasticity which is basically a fancy word that means the brain has the ability to rewire and relearn new patterns. We can rewire thoughts, patterns… old stories… and replace then with ideas that serve us better. This is accomplished through the basic framework of duality and perspectives.

Sadly, as we live in an instant gratification society, this does not happen overnight. In fact new patterns take months to solidify. It takes diligent effort and work. It is very simple, but not easy in any way.

Constant. Conscious. Effort.

If I had to identify one thing that has resulted in the biggest change in my life it would be the incredible power of perspectives.

I have a friend who tells me, “if you are going to play the ‘what if’ game then you have to play both sides.” This is where duality comes in. When I was starting the process of reframing my life it was very difficult to see anything other than what I thought I had right in front of me. In my case I was conditioned from an early age to see only the fear and awful parts of any situation. Anything good that happened to me I would hold my breath knowing that it wouldn’t last, it wasn’t meant for me. In order to change these thought patterns I had to start by finding the complete opposite thought. It was only in going to these extremes that I was able to create enough space that I could start to see all of the other possibilities in any given situation.

What I learned was that in any scenario I could come up with a perspective that served my version of my highest self. A perspective that showed that the world was working for me instead of against me.

Does this mean that I always choose a better alternative? No, not yet. Sometimes I meet myself with a hard line of resistance attached to an old idea or paradigm. I can see other perspectives and know which one would be best suited and still choose something else. And that’s okay too, because life is dynamic. There isn’t a wrong way or a right way to do it and everything changes all the time. I know the choice to change my mindset is always there. So sometimes I go down a different road, explore that for a while, educate myself see how it makes me feel and then go back and choose something else. I am nothing if not a perfectly imperfect work in progress.

When we have the perspectives that we want we are able to craft a new life. A life where our lenses have cleared and we are able to see opportunity and resources instead of giving into a victim mentality and helplessness. In this way we are able to start to live an empowered life. Pretty soon that becomes normal and we start to attract things that serve us better and we find ourselves on an upward trajectory and when undesirable things happen we are better able to handle the bumpy transitions and maintain momentum in creating the life we really want.

The power of perspectives can be used in any situation. We can use it with reference to something that is going on in our personal lives, but we can also use it to evaluate the world in a broader sense. We may realize that the stories we have been told are all we know, but once we open our awareness to the fact that there even ARE other perspectives then we can start expanding our capacity.

I don’t know what is right for the world. But I do know what is right for me. Shifting perspectives to promote inclusivity and love for all has meant that I have had to evaluate some of the stories that I was told, stories I have told myself and all of the other junk that has settled in my energy system. It has been and continues to be a redirection, a reframe, an expansion of awareness and a compassionate pursuit.

The people who are willing to look at and change their stories (if they need to be changed) will be the people who find harmony and joy in life because in this deconstruction one will find themselves. As the inner knowing becomes stronger and the voice amplified a person will no longer be content to passively receive input but will become a purveyor of exactly what messaging their heart resonates with. ❤ ❤

Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay

Arriving

I have always hated the quote, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” I lived my life in frustration over that quote. What did THEY mean, it’s about the journey??? What journey??? (As an aside I should put in here that the “they” referenced is actually Ralph Waldo Emerson, a pretty badass and quite famous dude, so I listen to the “they” with reverence).

I always pictured myself “arriving.” Much of the arrivals, I realize now, were preconceived ideas about what it meant to be a successful woman in the subset of society that I lived in. White, middle class, picket fence, 2.5 kids. If my parents had their way I would have remained without higher education, barefoot and pregnant at 20. Not that there is anything wrong with that…. if it’s what one wants.

For me, I always knew I was different. If you told me I was adopted I would have believed that without question. I always wanted more, wanted to see the world, to experience new foods, sights, sounds, cultures. I remember my parents getting so mad at my brother as he worked his way through college. They would always retort “isn’t this life enough? Why do you think you are better than us?” I took those words in and realized we weren’t better, we just wanted different.

I always waited for that arrival. That feeling of success when I was a doctor, success when I had a good man, a family, a house.

My life has looked NOTHING like that. And for that, I am extremely grateful.

When I become a doctor I felt….. excited to be done with school. That was about it. There was no moment’s pause to even consider what I had done. I was just… moving on to the next piece. That’s when I started to take that quote a little more seriously. It was about that time that I realized I was still, and would forever be, on a journey.

I wish I could say that I have stopped waiting, but there are days that is exactly what I do. I wait for the feeling of success to wash over me. I wait for that feeling of happiness. I wait for whatever. And I realize in that waiting that I sometimes miss what is right in front of me.

This journey has been epic, this journey of transformation. And it is true, the journey is the beautiful part because there is no such thing as a destination. We may hit milestones, we may tick boxes but the only destination we are assured of is the final sleep.

Now, as I walk through this world, I see the beauty in this journey. The beauty in the uncovering pieces of myself, the beauty in breaking down barriers and stories. I see the greatness in other people and see more and more that we are all connected, that we walk alone but we are all on the same journey. Our paths may wander in many different directions and some will stop and stand in one place for a while, but for many we will keep walking. We will question everything, we will approach the world and each other with curiosity. We will listen to stories of those that look nothing like us and we will take them into our hearts knowing we are all from the same energy soup.

Life is a journey. It is a beautiful, hard, painful, ecstatic journey. A journey where we can be sad but feel joy, we can love someone and know they cannot be in our life, we can sing and laugh and a second later burst into tears. We can approach it all with curiosity and wonder and we can move through life with the innocence of a child and the tenacity of a viking. We can be and do whatever we want. All of the resources are here, we just have to be brave enough to see them, open enough to receive them and confident enough to know that what we create is unique and necessary to this world, simply because we created it.

Enjoy your journey. Recognize that even as we are alone, we walk together. Be brave enough to take the first step and the next and the next. Know that sometimes you will trip and fall and skin your knee and sometimes you will fly higher than the mountain tops.

Embrace your journey, approach it with curiosity and know that each moment is its own perfect destination. ❤ ❤

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Tackling Racism

I am getting to the point in my journey where it’s time to expand my energy outward a little bit and take a peek at what is going on in the world. I have largely isolated myself during this pandemic and have cut myself off from most social media platforms. I haven’t owned a TV in years and mainstream news sources are too biased for my tastes. But, there are things happening in the world that need to be addressed.

Full disclosure, I am a white woman from a middle class upbringing.

I knew racism existed but like so many of the people I have talked to I just assumed if I didn’t have an issue with people of color then I wasn’t racist. Nice and tidy and in a cute little package. And this meant I didn’t need to speak up or do any work.

I was so wrong.

I did what a lot of us did when I first heard about protests and riots. I jumped on the internet and googled what was going on in the world. The first thing I did was look at Minneapolis. I used to live there. The destruction was intense and broke my heart. The next thing I did was jump on Instagram and see who all the women that I follow were following with reference to POC and I joined their communities. I did what most of us “good white women” were doing. And then I stopped for a second.

I have listened to so many stories and talks by these badass black women and holy smokes, they are mad. And they have every right to be. Their words are brutal and honest and so engagingly beautiful. It was quickly pointed out that all of us white women were doing the same thing, flooding their social media platforms, reaching out for help, giving money. Man, that hurt. I thought I was doing what was good and right and for a second I was mad, I wanted to scream I’m here, I’m open to help and still you are saying it’s not right!

Then I checked myself. I took a deep breath and shut the fuck up and started to listen.

I have a huge capacity for empathy but being the target of racism is something that I know nothing about. I have not even given it much thought and why? Because I lived and grew up and went to school and joined a profession of predominant whiteness. It was not a conscious choice, but it has been my reality. I have black friends, I have dated lots of brown men, I have friends in the LGBTQ community. I am a pretty open person. But in this, I knew nothing.

I heard stories of young black girls seeing cops and feeling unsafe. I heard stories of women being gunned down, dying in their beds at the hands of cops while they were sleeping. I realized I was one of those people who had immediately prioritized destruction of property over the painful reality of the existence of this group of people that I knew largely nothing about.

Ignorance is bliss… and it can also be deadly.

The more I look into white supremacy, racism, white fragility and all of the current buzz words, the more I realize I have no idea what these things really mean. I have never taken the time to unpack them. So I started reading and researching and stopping and listening.

I still don’t know “what to do.” Except to educate myself and know that next steps will unfold the more I learn. And I would encourage others to do the same.

I have never been one to push my beliefs on other people. I firmly believe in everyone following the path that is right for them. But I do encourage educating oneself, thinking critically about the information presented and to put yourself in the shoes of others even for just a second.

I don’t know what it is like to be a black woman in America, but I do know what it is to be a woman. I know what it is to be scared to leave your house or to walk alone at night. I know what is it to feel unseen and unheard and to feel like my presence has no value. I know what it is like to be threatened and I know what it is to hurt.

There is so much yelling and noise in the world. There is so much pain and fear. Pain and fear are things that we can all empathize with.

I don’t know the right actions. I mess stuff up a lot in this space. I try to start conversations and am met with resistance and often quiet my own voice so that it fits with the audience, so I don’t make people uncomfortable. I don’t push people. But I empathize with everyone. I empathize with the distrust that people of color feel with this situation and the discomfort of having the safe spaces they have created invaded by people who may bring in hate and destruction. I empathize with the people rushing to those spaces who think they are doing, and want to do “the right thing.” I empathize with the ones who have lost family members to brutal deaths and I empathize with the cops that are acting appropriately within the confines of that label.

This is what I can do right now. Empathize and educate and realize that all the outrage, the destruction the yelling… these are all people in pain. And as I said many times before, one can not have growth without destruction, without breaking barriers, without challenging beliefs and breaking weak foundation to pour something more solid. We can see people for who they are. We can acknowledge the distrust and fear from black communities and we can shut the hell up and listen so that we can learn. This is being human. This is humanity.

It isn’t about “love and light and everyone getting along.” This situation is about loving fiercely. It is about sitting and thinking instead of reacting when faced with opinions that ruffle your sense of ignorant safety. It is about opening your mind and heart to some of these badass black leaders who are paving the way for change. Love is not a one way street full of joy and mirth. Love takes real work. It takes sustained effort and the willingness to work through limiting beliefs. It takes eating some humble pie and sitting in your heat of embarrassment and shame. And it takes forgiveness and grace and compassion for oneself as you stumble your way to new beliefs.

Love fiercely. Challenge your beliefs. Create new patterns and choose something different. ❤ ❤

Image by mmi9 from Pixabay

Happening “to” versus “for”

I have had some really massive shifts in the last 48 hours and it feels really really good.

One of the biggest realizations was about things happening for me versus happening to me. Empowering mentality versus victim mentality. It’s taken so much work to get here and it is a constant balancing act to keep from tipping back into old ways of thinking, but for the first time since I started this personal development journey I feel like the balance has shifted into this new realm.

It’s really exciting actually and I am really proud of myself. And in many ways I owe much of this to the push that I have gotten from this situation with Mr. X. I have learned SO MUCH from that relationship. It has really shifted my world view in so many ways.

And still I am devastated. Devastated for the loss, for the distance, for the space. And that’s okay. This was a love that broke open so much in me. There was a deep vulnerability and caring that I have never experienced before and a very tender caring. It is totally normal to grieve. Honestly, I love that grief and I love that it is persisting because it shows me just how deeply I can love and be loved. I don’t have to sit in it, but I can appreciate its presence and take it into my heart and honor it for the depth that lives in me.

The difference now is that I can clearly see the roll that situation has played in my life. I can see the benefit it has brought. It is still tough to think that our journey may be over but I am, for the first time in a long time, excited about the future. I have gained so much clarity around what I want from life in the midst of this shit storm. I have been able to shift my focus to that and that feels AMAZING!

This life is a journey and so much of it the last year has been spent waiting. Waiting for a shift, waiting for a decision, waiting for clarity. I realize now that I have all of those things and I gained them not through waiting at all, but through conscious effort. Every. Single. Moment.

That’s were for vs to comes in.

I grew up thinking everything happening in the world was happening to me. Didn’t get a job, someone was out to get me. Failed at school work, clearly the professor was an idiot. My entire life was shrouded in this haze of victim hood. Flash forward to today. I have spent the last several months correcting every thought, reframing as much as I can. Sometimes it was a miserable failure, but also the most massive arena for growth. I realized somewhere along the line that I was the one standing in my way. I was the one perpetuating these thought patterns. I was the one gripping and writhing and holding on to the only way I knew. Everything was happening to me and I was always waiting for the next shoe to drop. I would hold my breath when something good happened, knowing it wouldn’t last, that it was a mistake for it to be happening to me.

Now…. now I realize I create my life. My mentality creates how I see it and the best part is that I can change my reality at any time. All it takes is making a shift, doing the work and stepping out of my own way. I can take every situation in my life and ask what it’s doing for me. I can thank people for showing up as they are and the the lessons inherent in our interactions. I can pick out the gains just as much as the losses these days and that is a HUGE shift for me. For the first time in my life I am proud of myself. I am looking forward to new challenges so I can continue growing.

When the script can be flipped to something that is empowering and forward focused then life becomes a bit more fascinating. There is, instead of fear of what’s happening, a curiosity that presents itself. I can ask “hm, I wonder what this situation is trying to teach or show me?” Life also becomes easier from the standpoint of reducing fear around new things. I am less afraid to try new stuff, to go out into the world. I put less weight on the decisions I make, knowing that they are all lessons and are leading me somewhere and there is more emphasis on the internal ability to course correct and trust in my own intuition. It’s really cool actually.

I have had glimpses of this in my work the last few months. There has been this kind of knowing of some path that I was traveling down and people have told me this would happen, but I didn’t really believe it fully until now. In many ways I still feel hesitant, like stepping out into the sun after a long, cold winter, but I know it will get easier from here.

This relationship happened for me, so that I could have a love experience and discover my capacity and my strengths. It’s really true that everyone we interact with is here to teach some kind of lesson, it’s all about seeing it as such and honoring that person for the role they play.

As I come around to this situation with Mr. X, this new mental framework is rippling out into my work and making it more tolerable. I am still making decisions and moving away from my current profession but I can indulge in the steps with a little more ease.

This year has been and continues to be brutal in so many ways, but for me, it has been the most growth I have ever experienced. Between my personal relationships, work transitions, discovering what I want out of life, a pandemic and now a civil rights push, my mind and heart have been stretched in ways I didn’t realize they could. There are a lot of things I thought I knew and was solid with that I am finding instead a real capacity and need for expansion.

As Glennon Doyle puts it, it’s Brutiful.

With this shift my heart feels… lighter, more open, tender and delicate but also strong and resilient and I cannot wait for the next adventures, whatever they may be. ❤ ❤

Surviving

I keep thinking things are getting better, I am feeling better, the intensity of feelings is lessening, I am focusing on the gains and not the losses.

And then a pain comes in my heart. It is a weight on my chest that makes it hard to breathe. My fingers are clenched, drawing blood from my palms. Tears start to stream and my breath is caught in my throat. The blood in my head starts to pound and I am on the floor in the fetal position choking down sobs. I wake up in tears for weeks on end, nausea bubbling up in my throat and fall asleep at night in a pool of grief. The mornings and nights are the worst. I have started to dread them.

The urge to reach out to him feels almost unbearable today. There is a need to know that he is still there for me. Even though he shut the door. Even though he knows I am not okay. He doesn’t reach out and I know that I can’t let myself go there. His actions say all that needs to be said.

A friend of mine told me recently to dig my roots deep into what I love and what loves me and to be honest there hasn’t been much love in my life. Except him. I love him. I love him in the depths of everything that is me. I love him in my heart and mind and body.

And I know he loves me. And he has finally let me go so I can live my life. And I dig my roots deep into him in the only way I can… by letting him go to do what he needs to do in this life.

That’s the cruelest irony of love, sometimes digging into love means letting go so that your hearts can be free.

I have so many questions, so much confusion, so much fear. But at the end of the day his actions speak louder than any words. And right now our place is not near each other. And some days it breaks me in pieces.

But I love him enough to let him go.

I am not good at this relationship business. I give way too much of myself. I give myself in ways that people don’t ask for. I give myself so much that I am labeled a unicorn and I make men feel great. All I want in return is someone to love me back. To stay when they say they will stay. I put myself so firmly in their shoes that I justify all of their actions and words even when they slice through the tenderness that lives within me. I forget I have shoes of my own. I get so scared they will leave that I don’t speak up. I don’t say what I feel.

This time, when I did, he did what I feared. He walked away. He walked away and I didn’t die. My heart breaks over and over and over again. He has disconnected us. I no longer feel him at all and this … this is brutal because I know he feels me. I know he has that sense of connection and can visit it whenever he wants to. He gets me in a way I can’t have him and it makes my insides scream.

The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes. He loved me. Maybe still does. But I am not what he wants his roots dug into. I am not someone he wants to support right now. I am not one he wants a life with. And he loves me enough to let me go.

There are so many stories going on in my head. So much downplay and back talk. So much diminishing my role in his life. So I had to make up a story that works for me. One that makes me feel honored and loved and cared for. It is the only way that I can get through. The only way that I can be confident moving forward.

I told him I didn’t know if we would survive this. At the time he laughed. Now his head and heart are clear and I am not in them. I am right… we have not survived. We will never go back to what we were. And honestly, what we were wasn’t that great.

I want great. I deserve great. And so does he. He deserves all of the best things that this life has to offer and I know he will have them. That thought… that brings me comfort and some relief. I know he is okay. I know he will be okay. So I am free.

I realize that even though I can’t breathe, even though the weight in my chest threatens to crush me, I know I am ready to receive a healthy and loving relationship. One with a man who is free to love me completely. And I am really really excited for that. It brings up its own set of new fears. Fears that I would love to have on my plate because it means a new experience.

I know this will come in waves, and every moment of relief from this agony is a welcome glimpse of the future. Those glimpses are distant and don’t come often right now, but they do come and I know I will be okay. I know I will be brave enough to show up in the way I need to for the next relationship. I know I will start out speaking my truth, and though there is so much fear in being accepted, I am no longer willing to put myself in someone’s experience so much that I lose myself.

I am, instead, finding myself. Every tear. Every sob. Every darkness and light that comes into my awareness. This is me. I love this person. I love this woman who is seeing herself for the first time. I love this woman that is starting to use her voice even though it means losing some things. I love this woman who is willing to lose in order to set herself free. I love this woman whose heart is so fucking big it has the capacity to step in someone’s shoes and give them the love that they need. I love this woman that is figuring out how to do that and still stay in herself. I love this woman whose heart is bleeding but open, who isn’t shutting down. I love this woman who is strong enough to give the man she loves what he needs and to be strong enough to support herself. I love this woman who is resisting the urge to reach out because she knows how she will feel if she does. I love this woman’s laugh and smile and the sparkle that visits her eyes. I love me. All of me. I love the messy shit and the good shit and everything in between. I love her fear and the lessons and challenges within it. And I love that she is still here. She is still trying. And though today she is just surviving, she is still here.

I am still here. ❤ ❤

A Grand Illusion

I used to think that in life there was a destination. A point of success or achievement that would make me feel like I made it, that I had things figured out. I have spent a lot of time running towards this unknown goal, feeling like I was always chasing something that was just outside my reach.

The longer I move through this life the less I seem to know or understand, mostly about the outside world. And the more I discover about myself the more there seems to be to uncover.

It is in the uncovering that we can begin to play. We begin to understand how our “reality” shapes our world view. We start to see into the future to our reactions and play with the what ifs. If I hit this button here, what kind of reaction do I get or if I change how I interact with this scenario how does that feel? It is with this internal play that we are able to change our life, to create new normals, to build the life we want to lead.

The grand illusion? That there is one single destination. That there is one place that will bring us to full understanding, to having it all “figured out.” For me, figuring it out meant I would no longer be in pain. But there is a difference between pain and suffering. In pain there is the capacity for tremendous growth. In fact, most of my growth has been brought on by pain. Suffering is self induced. Suffering is the resistance to what is happening in our world. Suffering comes when we sit in and amplify the pain we are experiencing, when we hold on to the hurt instead of simply becoming curious and accepting that it is there. Here we have a choice. The choice to suffer or free ourselves from that burden and accept what is.

Back to the destination. I think there are people out there who reach a place where they are comfortable and choose to remain there and maybe for them there is a sort of destination, but for me I cannot imagine finding one way to live my life and just sticking with that.

Along the journey there are endless chances to try new things, to find the lessons and growth in all of the emotions. To experience not just pain but also joy and happiness. To wake up gratitude and appreciation and play in the fields that those gifts bring.

The illusion is that we are already here. Each moment is the destination and in each moment we get to decide what the next step will be. To suffer, to pain, to fear, to smile or laugh. So enjoy each moment. Know that it won’t last but will build on the next and the next. There will be good days and bad and a world of contrast. This is the journey, this is the destination. This is life. ❤ ❤

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Confusion of Our Burning World

Man.

The world we live in right now is incredibly heavy, it is on fire – literally and figuratively.

It is really hard to know what to do. What is real, what is media fabricated. It is hard to know how to help, how to stand up for justice. And for a lot of really sensitive people it doesn’t even feel safe to do so.

The world we are living in needs help. I am doing my own educating, uneducating, sorting through and trying to make sense of all that we are experiencing and it is not easy.

Conversations are strained, people are furious and there are a lot of reasons to be. I used to live in St. Paul, and I see my old digs burning and destroyed. Where I live now we are on curfews and threats of bombs and terrorist activity is landing in my current home town.

My heart aches for all of humanity.

I know I want to do something, but I have no idea what that thing is, and neither do a lot of other people.

We are yearning for connection and love in a world that is, right now, encouraging isolation and destruction. We are seeing police states and talk of tracking of citizens.

And people are screaming. Screaming their opinions, screaming with violence and anarchy. Screaming so loud it is difficult to have a conversation, to talk about the truth, to stay with an open heart and mind. Even among friends.

Through the confusion I come back to my core belief. Love will heal. I don’t mean romantic ooey gooey love, I mean the gritty consuming love for humanity that needs to take place. I mean the standing up peacefully to have your voice heard. I mean the refusal to isolate from your friends and neighbors so that we can pull back down the barriers that keep civility at bay.

When I get overwhelmed into inaction I remind myself that sometimes love starts small. It starts with what you can do right now. Maybe that means donating time or money to a good cause. Maybe that looks like engaging in a conversation with a stranger until they relax enough to laugh and put down their wall of fear that is keeping them from connection.

I don’t know much right now, but I do know that we need to rise above fear, speak out our truths and let love surround us all.

You are loved here. Every one of you. ❤ ❤

Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Paradox

I have never felt like I belonged in this world. It has always been a bit difficult to keep my feet tethered to the ground. Sometimes I am so in my head that I forget where I am and what I am doing and I can lose long spaces of time. I go somewhere that is deeper than myself. Maybe it’s a meditative state or some other brain wave than what we normally survive in. For me it feels a little like being high.

I have always felt that there was something not quite “right” about me. I don’t make connections with people often, I don’t feel things like other people do. I am a pool of paradox. I don’t connect often but it is all I long for and when I do connect I want to be completely engrossed. I feel nothing from most people but I feel too much to be comfortable in the world. I am addicted to love and finding love but my heart does not easily open. I am broken but whole. I am confident and uncertain. I am the deepest depths of love and the darkest of fears. I am sad and joyful. Dark and light. I am all things. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Everyone seeks belonging. For me I have never felt like I belonged anywhere. I was never “home,” instead a perpetual wanderer with a hole the size of Texas in my heart. I would go down these rabbit holes to see what fit. I found a little part of me in the Myers-Briggs test, I found pieces of me in a group of forward thinkers, I found lots of parts of me in the people who were going through struggles and hardships.

I recently took a peek at the enneagram (at the very basic it is a method for personality typing, but it’s much deeper than that) after listening to a podcast (Unlocking Us) with Brene Brown and Chris Heuertz. A good friend of mine LOVES the enneagram. It has given her a much clearer understanding of herself and a tremendous amount of comfort. For me it was much the opposite initially. The first time I took the test I came up a 4. I read a little bit about it and yeah, it fit well enough but I had little tolerance for being stuffed into yet another box, it’s never that simple with me. Along comes this podcast and they were talking about each of the personality types and the struggles that each has and why they suffer like they do. As I was listening there was a paradoxical awakening and joy at finding more bits of me and a deep sinking as I realized I suffered like ALL of the numbers. Every single hardship that was talked about, all of the ways to feel inadequate…. I felt all of them. Viscerally. They say there is often a number that you resonate most with and yes, a four was a punch in the gut, but the rest…. all of them sliced my heart. So I took the test again and while I scored highest as a four…… I tied for almost all of the rest of the types.

I have always felt like I have lived a lot of lives. Lots of people tell me I am an old soul. I have been through wars and famine and all kinds of things. I don’t know how I know this, I just do. So as these types were being explained and I was checking all of the boxes I felt at first, that maybe I was just plain crazy and actually mentally ill. Maybe I actually had a BUNCH of different personalities! And then I laughed and remembered this is a human construct to try to understand people… and we all have a little bit of all of these personalities in us. And me being balanced across them all meant not only that I have the capacity for all of the gifts that these types have to offer, but it also means that I can connect and empathize with most people.

As I move further and further from the life I am currently living, and start to align my inner world with my outer one, I am starting to see these things about me that I have always shunned as actually really powerful.

I DON’T fit in boxes. I am not able to be “figured out” by many because I haven’t even figured myself out. I will never be exactly what anyone thinks I should be.

And I am okay with that. I am better than okay. I don’t fit, and that…. that “brokenness,” that estrangement…. it makes me really valuable. As I am not like anyone, I am also like everyone. I fit with no one and everyone at the same time.

As I look back on patterns in my life and the relationships that I have had I realize that anyone who I have let close to me has been able to use me as a catalyst for some really life altering changes in their life. I mean, really big. Sometimes I come in like a wrecking ball. I see what people aren’t saying and I excavate it and gently brush the dirt off and sometimes violently encourage people in moving. I haven’t known this was what was happening and now that I am recognizing these situations I am better able to adjust a little more patiently and lovingly. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I wreck shop, but we always survive. There is always growth and movement.

As I sit with my own broken heart I am tempted to fall back into the darkness, to latch onto my suffering but I realize that in this moment I can choose a different road. I can see that what I have been through and what I am going through is all in preparation for whatever is next, whatever is better and more elevated. I am growing. In the depths of despair I am growing stronger and more resilient. I am finding my voice and using it. I am finding love in myself and showering me with it. From little niceties to kicking my ass into doing what NEEDS to be done for my future self, I am doing things different. That is really all anyone can do. Be better. Choose different.

As Chris Heuertz says, “[about fours] are misunderstood and they get bullied in the literature because they are sort of hard to wrap our minds around in terms of character structure but this is the person who has this ache within them that they don’t know where they fit in. They don’t know where they belong…. There can be a deep sadness and ache and longing and yearning that brings meaning to the fours…. When the fours are seeing beauty in everything what they are simply trying to do is see an echo back inward. If I can find what’s fabulous about this person, this meal, this environment, this song, maybe I will pull that thread all the way inward and see, maybe there is something like that here… There is a lot of shame that drives the ego structure of the four.”

As Brene continued they talked of terminal uniqueness. Bullseye.

As for the strengths, “The fours bring equanimity, emotional balance of being able to live on the spectrum of highs and lows, joys and sorrows without over identifying with any of it, and finding the beauty in all of it, and fours will see that for us and in us.”

I don’t really think there is anything more beautiful than that.

Embrace who you are. See the things that you don’t love about yourself as assets and contributions to your own uniqueness. These are the things that make up your song, your dance. These are the things that, when accepted and integrated, will change the world. ❤ ❤

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Rawness

Sometimes I am pulled from a deep sleep, into my conscious mind, by this cavernous, unrelenting pain.

It isn’t physical pain. It is pure emotion. It is all of the things I keep myself from feeling during the day, all of the hurts and arguments and fear that I have logged into the tiny crevices of my body. It is as if my body gives up in sleep sometimes. It puts the shields down for a second, trying to get some precious rest. When those shields are down I wake up in a place that is unlike any other. It is dark and empty and from the oozing volcanic ground erupt these black demons that seem to be made of tree branches covered in tar. Their fingers are long and sticky and their eyes glow red and they grab for my neck. Their bodies are hollow and I can see through them to past versions of me, future potentials of me, bits and snippets of centuries lived. They attach themselves to me and we start to sink downward….

Down, down, down

Until the only things left are the tips of my fingers reaching for the sky. Panic on my face as the ooze starts to invade my nostrils and I begin to choke.

Sobbing and gasping for breath I find myself once again in my room. Fingernails biting into flesh so hard that I am brought back to this plane of existence.

The only thing in the room with me then is my own choking fear.

This is what the bottom feels like. This is what being stripped of your flesh one cell layer at a time feels like. This is the point where people give up on life.

And I completely understand why.

Living takes guts. Living takes looking those demons in the face and saying “not now, motherfuckers” and it is coming back to face them with tools and an uncertain readiness to take them on. Living is not backing down, even when you feel so tired that any breath could… happily… be your last. Living takes grit and courage and determination.

Living takes a tremendous amount of faith. Faith that even though you’ve never felt love, love exists for you, inside of you.

And when you realize that you are the one who powers your life, that you are the keeper of all of the love that you need, that you are a badass warrior that has survived eons of violence and discrimination… that is when you can fully live.

Being human is boundless joy and the most wretched rawness imaginable and it is everything in between. It is full spectrum. And when those demons are quieted and boundaries set and patterns broken, there is a soft warmth of healing that sits in the chest and you know, without a doubt, that you are free. ❤ ❤

Image by Josch13 from Pixabay

The Path of Healing


A beautiful friend of mine reminded me the other day that healing was not a linear path.

I am reminded of this today.

Healing requires repair, regrowth, rebirth.

Sometimes healing is the warmth of the sun and the feel of the breeze as it tickles the finest hair on your skin. It is comforting like a warm embrace of a loved one.

Sometimes healing is walking into an ocean of demons and slaying them one by one as they come to pull you under.

Healing is not linear. It can be all of those things all at the same time.

It is a path that winds and turns and there are boulders and fire ants but also the most pristine clear pools of water that exist on this earth. It is flying through the stars and laughing with the moon and tempting the devil to touch you.

The last week has been very raw. My skin has been stripped away and each moment has been pure acid.

And I am reminded also, that the path I travel is also a choice. I can let myself be pulled under by latching on to all of the bad things I find which in turn amplifies that darkness, or I can find the smallest particle of light and focus all intention on that and amplify that.

When you have grown up in darkness the natural thing to do is reach out for that comfort of what surrounds you. The effort it takes to sort through the ashes and find the tiniest glowing ember is monumental at times. But once that ember is found and breath laid upon it and the glow intensifies until a fire is burning once again…. that… this is healing.

Sometimes healing is a gentle exhale. It is a reminder that you are strong. That you have been through darkness before, but that you have also experienced light and will do so again. It is realizing you have choices, you have power and whatever decisions you make, even if they are the unexpected are never wrong because they lead you somewhere. Somewhere with more wisdom so that the next choice can be made and the next and the next.

Healing is trusting that all of these decisions are leading somewhere bigger than this moment. It is trusting yourself. It is the gentle blush of intuition that lands in the heart.

We are not born broken. We are cracked and open to bloom and bend and shift and constrict with all of the moments in our life. We break, so that we can rebuild. We buckle under the weight so that we can make a stronger foundation.

We survive. We heal. We thrive. ❤ ❤

Image by Захари Минчев from Pixabay