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

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

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

Moving The Sludge

Man. The last couple of days have been kind of tough.

I have been waiting for test results for COVID as I have been sick. And they came back negative. I should be relieved but there is a part of me that isn’t. A part of me that wishes I had it so that I could know I had a mild case and I survived and had some immunity and could potentially help others through donating plasma.

I am trying not to let the fear get me. But going back out into the world with a compromised immune system, likely bronchitis, in the wake of a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system… to care for horses….seems fucking pointless and a little stupid to me right now.

I have had a grip on my fear, but as this touches closer and closer to me it is hard to move away from it all. People are really scared. A buddy of mine text me tonight with updates from his friend in NYC where things are really bad. I feel his fear in my heart, his hopelessness at not being able to do more for his friend. It cuts deeply into my humanity.

And I remind myself that this is also nature balancing itself out. That we will survive this. Not all of us will make it, but we will, as a whole, survive.

This has got me thinking a lot about my own mortality and whether or not I would be happy with the life I have lived here. And I honestly don’t know the answer to that. Sometimes I think yes, I am done here. Sometimes the answer is no.

I got into a bit of a sludge today. Part sprang from the above questions, part from this sickness that’s descended on my body. There were tears, lots of them. Loneliness. Stagnation. There was also confusion about what to do, what to think, how to feel.

So I did the only thing that I knew would shift some of this. I moved my body.

Sometimes when we can do nothing else we have to remember we can always take a step. It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect or “right,” it just has to be motion.

Ten minutes of weights, some ab exercises and head stands and I was feeling better. Then I made some fresh juice and a nice meal and I didn’t feel so stuck anymore.

I don’t have the answers to the above questions. I still don’t know what is right or wrong and I am a hot mess in my life most of the time. But I do know that moving helps. So when I need to break the cycle of torturous thoughts, I move.

We are in a time of survival. Something that many of us have never had to face, not in this way. When we are in survival mode we go back to base instincts. To break this we have to breathe. We have to move, we have do something creative or constructive. Some of us have to prepare to feel safe, some of us have to create art or music. Some of us just need to move. Whatever that looks like for you, it’s perfect.

As I look around, in this moment, I know I am safe. I can relax and breath and enjoy my dogs and the flowers that are starting to peak through the dirt. I can feel the Earth under my feet and marvel at the beauty of nature.

I am safe. I am strong. I am choosing something other than fear. ❤ ❤

Day 83: The Cold Grip of Fear

I almost titled this “CHILL THE FUCK OUT!”

But I held back.

We are living in troubled times. People do not feel like they have any control, and we don’t. This is a breathtaking, intense reminder that Mother Nature is in control and we aren’t immune because, guess what… we are nature. We are animals, we are biologic organisms.

Someone told me yesterday that the Corona virus was really deadly because it wasn’t MEANT for humans… who the fuck is anyone of us to say it wasn’t meant for us. We are … animals. A virus that lives in animals doesn’t mean we are immune because we don’t see ourselves as such. We have elevated ourselves to a status that is shockingly egoic about our place in the world. Yes, ego has its place. It allows us to step beyond fear and accomplish great things, but we have become so disconnected from the natural world that we forget we are a part of it and that means we are subject to her will.

This is an awesome, raw display of sheer power.

And it is making people very afraid. Rightfully so. But what isn’t right is to not realize our place in this world. It isn’t to keep fighting for us being more than nature. Biology cannot be outrun. It will shift and mutate and spread and do whatever the fuck it needs to to create harmony or homeostasis. We are so keen to think we know what that looks like.

Why is this coming up? Because I am getting tired. I empathize and sympathize with the fear. I have it too. I am in no way immune to what everyone else is feeling. In some ways I feel it more intimately as I have to keep working and exposing myself and potentially others (who’s to say I am not a carrier) to this thing. I get it. But when I was asked today by two separate clients to euthanize their completely healthy animals for no reason other than they are scared about the future, that was the end of my rope.

When people are scared they will do a lot of crazy things. We are seeing the best and the worst come out in people. The best is pretty great, there is so much coming together and community and people reaching out and people being creative and loving and it warms my heart.

And then there is the worst. There is the fear mongering, the people preying on that fear for their own benefit, people stabbing other people over food, hate speech, panic and thievery.

I refuse to let my own experience be one that is focused on the bad. But today was hard. I had to get real with some people and choose my moral high ground. The thing is, when you stand clear in your purpose and firm in your heart and mind people settle into that. Both clients that I talked to I gave feedback lovingly but firmly. Both of them woke up a little bit and came around to what they were asking, and then we came up with a plan and guidelines for when that time comes of what to look for and what the process would be. Then I made myself available to them at any time they might need me so they had that peace of mind. And I will be available to them. This is not a role I love to play, to be on call 24/7 but at the end of the day I have a purpose to advocate for my patients and today this meant showing up in this way.

These are interesting times. Things are changing rapidly and our normal is shifting in massive ways. It requires us to be flexible, strong in our ethics and to have courage of conviction. It is too easy to get swept up in fear and start to break down and walk away from our moral compass.

Please stand strong. Remember the image of yourself that you have been working so hard to bring to fruition and stay the course. Care for yourself, tend to your needs but do not lose the core of what makes up your values. This is the time to bring them forth, put them in your heart and project them to the world. We need strength and kindness and love more than ever right now. ❤ ❤

Image by ambermb from Pixabay

Day 82: Community

I decided to take a break from social media today to get a little reset and to connect with me a bit and really dig deep into what I was feeling without all the noise from the outside world.

I can see really clearly the capacity that this situation has for good. No, I am not discounting the devastation and the loss of life. Not in any way. But…. I am choosing to focus on the positives.

When I went back online and my awareness was focused on the good that was all I could find.

People are coming together in a huge way. Communities are popping up to bring things to people in need, neighbors are reaching out to neighbors to lend a hand, we are supporting our elderly and immunocompromised communities with special store hours just for them. This. This is what life is supposed to be.

Community. People coming together in love and support.

It sucks that it has taken a global event to make this happen, but it is mother nature moving back in balance.

We are supposed to thrive, together. We are supposed to feel safe with one another and be collaborative and cooperative. We are supposed to love and be loved.

Spread joy. Be a light in the world. ❤ ❤

Day 81: Letting Go… Again

Letting go.

I would like to think it will get easier the more it is practiced. Right now I am not so sure.

We let go of things, jobs, people, places we lived, lovers, friends.

Letting go means taking your hands off the steering wheel, taking a deep breath and just accepting what is. Without fear, without judgement. It means to stop grasping for control.

I talked about this a while back within the context of a relationship and me letting go of Mr. X (still a work in progress). And now I had the same conversation with myself today about this virus situation.

I woke up this morning feeling like utter shit. Not physically, but emotionally spent. It is really taxing sometimes to have to go out in the world, put your feelings and safety aside, council clients and tend to patients all the while having an air of authority and decorum. Sometimes I want a day where there isn’t life and death and where responsibility is nil. I don’t have that luxury in my job and now people are acting even crazier than before. I get it. I hold space for them. I listen to their fears, their stories of people they know who are susceptible, people they know who have died, I hear stories about their animals, their grandchildren, all of the happenings in their life… all within a 3-4 foot radius, and under five minutes? No… that’s not a thing. I have had to consciously put my own safety aside to allow these conversations to happen. Maybe that isn’t right. Maybe I should be looking out for myself more.

It is an interesting phenomenon being a vet. People tell you EVERYTHING about their life. Way more than what we need to know. We act as therapist, social worker, confidante, priest and anything else a client needs. We are in the unique position of not just caring for family members but actively participating in life and death scenarios. We have authority. And as such, clients assume we also have some sort of concrete evidence on the virus.

It is exhausting. Sometimes after work I come home and I just cry because it I have to release all that I heard and witnessed from the day. I have to let go of all of my walls and protections so I can find some calm and peace within me.

In this time of need in our society, letting go is critically important. As I sit here thinking about what tomorrow will bring and already feeling the pull of tired on my mind and heart I realize that I am resisting all of it. I am resisting talking with clients, seeing patients, putting my own safety needs first, the anxiety that I feel about the unknown, the fact that we are experiencing a pandemic.

It is the resistance that creates suffering and panic and hysteria.

The more I am focused on how much I don’t want to deal with any of this, the bigger it all seems.

Here’s the part about letting go. Have you ever been told that if you are in a car crash in those moments before it happens, that flash of time when everything slows down, if you can relax yourself the impact and bodily damage will be much less? Same principle applies.

Every moment of today was about letting go. It was about accepting there is a new normal. It was knowing that there is a virus and it is here and if I am going to get sick I am going to get sick. It was letting go of the resistance to the fact that I may not have a job in a few months, that people I know, or myself, may not be alive.

I took a few minutes today and sat with a friend of mine. He is a really powerful intuitive. We took a moment and he helped me connect back to myself. Not the self that feels overwhelmed and scared and tired but the essence of who I am. The part of me that is love and tenderness and kindness and compassion. He helped me breathe it back into my awareness and when we were done I found that I was able to relax into this new normal a little bit more. I was able to come out of my own flavor of haze and look around and see what was really happening for me in that moment.

I saw sunshine and mountains and flowers and people smiling and laughing, and as my heart filled more I realized I would be okay. We will all be okay.

As we battle the river that rages in each of us, grasping for rocks and trees to cling to we become battered, bruised, exhausted in our effort. It is only with the letting go, the becoming one with the river that we are able to flow with the water, and in that moment find the space to breathe. ❤ ❤

Day 80: Self Love in Times of Unrest

In the last week or so… man, I can’t believe it’s only been a week… so much has happened. People are literally getting swept up in fear and panic. And I get it, I truly do. Fear has a place here.

When we go into survival mode we resort back to base instinct. Food. Shelter. Water. Toilet Paper (goodness, we will never live that one down). We end up in fight or flight mode against an enemy we cannot see. People aren’t meant to live in fight or flight. We are meant to react to an event and then for our body to go back to a homeostatic state. When we live in crisis mode we change our biology and these changes set up shop in our nervous system, adrenals etc.

The real enemy here is panic and fear. Yes, the virus is real and fucking scary, but the panic and mass hysteria is even worse. People who are feeding into the fear… that is all they see. There is no other perspective.

Self love in this moment looks like grounding yourself, bringing yourself back to reality of the present moment so you are not caught up in negativity and what ifs. Self love is choosing to focus on happiness and joy and all of the things we have to be thankful for. Self love is reaching out to your friends and neighbors and extending a touch of humanity to elevate the collective.

Right now self love is not fluffy, feel good, sunshine and roses. It can be… but for the vast majority it isn’t. For me right now self love includes focusing on my business future and finding ways to be creative as creativity and fear cannot exist in the same space. It is about slowing down my breathing, feeling into my heart, recognizing where the panic lives, acknowledging it and setting it free.

I have no idea where this pandemic is taking us. I don’t know what is real information vs fake. I don’t know if quarantine is justified or not. What I do know though is how my body is feeling and that me panicking and causing fear to breed in the hearts of others is not helping anyone and only adds to the problem. Each one of us has the capacity and ability to reach so many others, to touch so many lives. If there are enough of us spreading messages of hope and love and care we will shift the tide of panic that is occurring and we will come through this stronger than before.

Be a light in the world. It’s okay to feel scared and unsure, but feeding and fueling those feelings creates mental and emotional chaos that spills out and effects even the steadiest of souls. We have a responsibility to our fellow men to rise up and share love just as much as we do to wash our hands and keep our distance. ❤ ❤