Wednesday, February 14, 2018

So This Is Love

"You keep the love," he had said to me. "The forms change. The love goes on and on. You don't have to stop loving. You keep the love and let it transform you." I paraphrase this a bit, as this conversation between myself and my teacher took place over a decade ago and over a different relationship whose ending I was mourning. Regardless of the circumstances, the advice remains steadfast. Keep the love. Let it change you. Heal you. Grow in and through you. Renew you.
Once again, I find myself in this place of mourning not knowing how to let go, move on and yet doing it anyway. A different lover, an even more poignant loss. Sadder, harder to say good bye, hope mingled with regret, mingled with longing, taking flight into freedom. I had told him awhile ago, I did not know how to let him go and this it true. I do not know how, yet I do it anyway all at once and in incrementally, slowly unfolding the energy that we shared from deep within, where it had come to rest in my body and meld with my soul. I also told him I wanted for him to heal, even more than I wanted to keep him and I wanted to keep him an awful lot, yet here I am without him, because despite the undeniable love between us, we were not healing.
With every tear shed, my heart lightens, my head clears and I am healing. Yes there is loss. Loss over what I miss in my bones, loss over what might have been, loss of myself. This loss is bittersweet for in letting go, I am rediscovering myself. If we think that loving will protect us from loss, then we are not truly loving. When we are holding back for fear of what might be taken from us, for fear of what we might lose, we close down. We make accommodations for fear and in doing so, we deprive ourself of real love. Love that has nothing to lose is freedom. The conundrum is though, when we really love, we risk losing everything because life itself is always in transition. We risk love to death, to departure, abandonment and rejection, only the most painful elements that we can endure as humans. If we close ourselves off to love however, we abandon our heart, we reject our soul and humanity and we die slowly, becoming cynical and brittle before ever losing anyone or crossing deaths threshold, ourselves.
Life does not come with an instruction manual and love offers no guarantees save this... Love will open you. Love will change you. Love will break down your defenses if you really let it out. You will grieve and wail and mourn the passing of those who you open your heart to because that is the cost. Love carves a deep well within your soul through which the most beautiful aspects of humanity are drawn from. Love sustains us in times of famine, feeding our souls, transcending time and space and calling us back to our hearts over and over.
Of course here will be mistakes. A human heart is a tender, fallible thing, preciously mortal and fragile and oh so fucking resilient, imbued with the an eternal spark, which we must all do our best to flame. When we love, we fan those flames and inspire that conflagration in others too. We lift that spark into a blaze and that becomes a roaring fire of transfiguration for in loving we are forever changed. Keep the love. Let it alter you as you bow to its wisdom. Let it heal you as it burns through the fog of disassociation. Let love renew you as you are forged again and again it's sacred flame.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Truth Currents ~Honoring Vital Presence and Honest Agreements

How is your year going so far? We are three weeks in and I continue to shake, shimmy and shift! I have undergone some significant changes since before the end of the year that continue into this one. Changing physical locations, being true to myself in regards with where I stand in my own life, what I need, what I feel, confronting what is no longer acceptable to me, healing my heart and allowing, as a result of this process, for some significant relationships to shift or end, has all been a part of my journey, thus far. For me, this all connects with living in my current truth and rebirthing my heart. 
I say current truth because for me, truth is fluid. It needs to be because I am not a static being. I too am fluid and I need to be able to renegotiate values, dynamics and situations based on what is emerging on a moment to moment basis. This does not make me incapable of commitment in any way, it in fact lends substance to my commitments by honoring the natural shifts in myself and others.
Of all things that we like to fixate on, truth is both the most constant and the most fluid. It is constant in that the underlying energetic nature of reality is constant, only in that the base substance of reality, which is intrinsically linked to consciousness, is always changing. 
Very often we construct a version of truth based on our preferences and those are founded in personality. There is nothing wrong with doing this, just as there is nothing wrong with having a personality or an ego. These are necessary and useful human constructs that allow us to move through the 3D world, create references, preferences and boundaries, relate, love, work and do pretty much everything!
It behooves us to acknowledge that personality is also another construct, created from ideas and experiences that develops in response or reaction, to internal and external stimulation, both positive and negative. Beliefs are another product of being in active relationship to information and stimulation both, internal and external. A belief may provide useful context for our experiences. A belief will never be able to wholly define truth.
I am reluctant to ever permanently define truth, small t or big T, as so many like to use. I think that leads to stigmatism and dogma and I'm not a fan. I see too many issues arise both in personal life and in the collective story, with the identification of any belief as truth. Truth then becomes an ideology instead of living breathing agreement within what is current and life's currents are always changing.
In order to live in our truth we must be available to, or able to notice, the nuances of each moment and respond as we are called to, in that moment. Each moment brings new information to integrate, ignore, reject or in some other way, respond to. This keeps our agreements fresh with what is current and able to be renegotiated with what is relevant for any participants through honest communication and sharing what is the current truth and based in that present awareness. In relationship, this practice allows us to ask question like, do we need to revaluate where we stand or how we are choosing to relate with each other?
Each moment we can be refreshed in truth. It can begin with taking an honest breath in, a full release out and activating the willingness to ask ourself, in that moment, what is true for me right now? As we take in that which is new or nurturing and release that which is old, stagnant or toxic, we can be reborn into each moment. That is the process of rebirthing or breath work, which is simply, breathing new life into the body and all her energetic systems, cycling vitality which can and will, produce the effect of emotional release as well as uncovering what creates unrest in our systems. 
Our willingness to vibrate with a living truth, allows to become more flexible in both our mind and body. Often it is the ideas of who we are, what we believe, what our stories and experiences mean about us and others, that hold us hostage to stale identities and locked in unhealthy dynamics both internal and external. 
Establishing a practice with honest acknowledgment is how we stay vitally fluid with truth, which means, sensing, feeling and responding in the moment, as we feel into what is instinctually authentic for each of us. This practice requires presence and attentiveness with our bodies, allowing ourselves to sense and feel what is being evoked from us, what we are emitting and generating and what our instincts are really signaling us in any given moment and being willing to respond, communicate and renegotiate boundaries.
Life is breath, transition and moving from one state into the next. With these shifts come changes in identity, behavior and even values. The emergence of our own authenticity can be scary, intense and so enlivening! It can also be uncomfortable as we come face to face with the adaptations that we took on to fit in, or even survive, and learn to break or re-negotiate the agreements with ourselves and others that we previously, by choice or through coercion, abode by. 
Living in our current truth requires that we embody our own honesty so that we may feel and respond in the way that is congruent for each of us, moment to moment, day to day, week to week and so on into the years of our life. This looks like feeling our feelings, advocating for ourselves and our self expression, as that is revealed to us and unfolds in each moment. We flow in truths currents when we are opening our hearts and taking the actions required on our parts to act courageously and live authentically. 
Being current with our truth is being outrageously alive in every way, in every moment, honoring the flow of our vitality, recognizing the shifts in perceptions and even values, staying honest and current with our agreements. This is how we practice breath by breath authentic emergence through honest accounting of who we are, where we are and how we feel in any given moment. This is how we take responsibility for ourselves, our feelings, our gifts, our relationships and our own, oh so precious lives. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Happiness And Boundaries Go Hand in Hand

It's funny when I write something. Sit on it a few months. Come back to it and it's even more relevant! So here we go, let's talk about relationships, boundaries, happiness and compassion.

For the last couple of months, who am I kidding, my whole life, really, I have been on a journey. At the center of that journey is me, my desire to know myself, give love, engage in mutuality with others and cultivate the space I need to grow into who I really am, uncover my gifts and offer them to the world. A big part of navigating all of that has been learning how to extract toxic patterns from my life and set healthy boundaries with myself and others. Notice I say extract patterns, NOT people.
People are inherently pure. People are inherently love. People are doing the best they can and trying to choose the experiences that they, themselves need to grow.
People are not inherently toxic but sometimes the energy and choices that they are aligning themselves with can be. Perhaps not even to them, who am I, really, to make that call? I'm certainly not their Soul. I do not know what experiences or even substances they may need to dance with for their own growth. All I can say without recrimination, is that the choices, substances and energies that some are entangled with, feel toxic to me. And that is where the bottom line lies, for me.
I cannot in good conscience and accountability to myself entangle with those energies. I will not foster connections based in misogynistic dynamics or distorted by substance abuse or bullying. Love the person yes, indubitably. And realize people have no choice but to embody the choices they make and as people with free will, we all choose to bring certain behaviors through our bodies and into our realities. To deny the effect that our decisions have on others is shortsighted at best, and can be selfish, abusive or even dangerous at times.
The point of relational boundaries is very simply this, distinction within the experiences of wholeness. There may be one energy ultimately a unified field of consciousness and that is manifesting through a billion and one flavors. Baskin Robbins ain't got nothing on consciousness!
Consciousness, whether acting in a conscious or unconscious way is full of variety, is full of choice, is full of possibility, none necessarily better than an other, just different.
Individuation is key in our journey into being a fully realized, loving, powerful, capable expression of that consciousness and that means a judicious use of our capacity and right to say, both yes and no, to patterns, activities, substances, behaviors and sometimes the people that are choosing to embody them. Health at all levels is a direct by product of individuation. We are not extensions of anyone or anything. We are whole individuals and a profound powerful part of our experiences here in this world, is our right to choose what and who, that journey needs to include. Sometimes that means we limit our time with certain people, sometimes that means we walk completely away. This does not mean that we cut off love from ourself or from an other, it means that we choose to let that love move in a way that is truly healthy and honoring for us.
A relational boundary is looking at what patterns I want to host in my body, in my life, in my reality. A healthy relational boundary is me taking accountability for how I feel, allowing another to have their experiences, no matter how unappealing or even awful those might appear to me, no matter how badly I may want to reach across time and space and choke or embrace them. I go back and forth on that one. Still human. Boundaries are not stagnant lines drawn in the sand, they are living breathing energetic agreements that truly allow individuation, communication and compassion to flourish.
Real compassion is me being responsible for my own feelings and experiences and ultimately my own happiness. I cannot be held responsible for any one else's feelings or experience. I can take responsibility for how my behaviors effect another and I can choose how to respond to another's behavior toward me. I cannot protect. I cannot save. All I can do is love. For that love to be authentic, it has to begin with me. I must honor love in the way that I need to feel full, whole and happy within myself and in my agreements.
Choosing congruent agreements is a powerful expression of choice and I will continue to feel my way into how that manifests moment to moment day to day. They cannot become stagnant or static. Agreements need to shift and grow with us, to be constantly negotiated and modified. Continued communication as a living function of agreements allow us to heal, change and grow individually and together. This will mean navigating joy as well as discomfort.
Living in happiness does not mean that nothing uncomfortable ever happens. Discomfort is a part of living a dynamic life, of being human. Living a life of happiness means that no matter what happens, I attend to myself, my needs with care and grace and as I do so, I become the best version of myself, my joy expands, my capacity to give as well as the way I show up for myself and others. I know when I say no to certain dynamics or leave a situation or relationship, it is with with mutual respect for all involved and with the intention to grow in authenticity and dignity. I know when I say yes to something, it is with wholehearted enthusiasm with which I engage. It is only with dynamic, healthy boundaries that happiness and can truly take route and flourish and our life can become a living expression of compassion.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Path That Winds Down Into My Heart

At many times in our life we are presented with a crossroad. One of these points emerged in my awareness about six months ago. I saw myself standing at this juncture and I knew if I went down one path, I would be getting married, probably buying a house and really rooting into Washington. The other fork for me to explore would take me in a very different direction. I believe the exact thought was, if I don't get married, I will flee the fucking premises and become a gypsy. I was admittedly torn. Those roads felt so different from each other and I tried to have both but my soul already knew deep down what was unfolding. The question that I was required to face was simply how much suffering was I willing to generate and endure by ignoring my instincts? Time passed and the choice that I was trying so hard not to make, made itself known when I performed a simple ritual asking for the love to be revealed in my life, the life of my lover and our shared terrain. Within days we broke up.

I am remembering I cannot make a wrong a choice. I can only step onto the path that calls to my soul and walk that road with dignity and compassion for myself and whomever I encounter. When love becomes an authentic release, the only possible outcome is freedom

It's dark cold and I don't know what I am doing. I have chosen the path which I will now walk. My life is changing. Things that were once my constants no loner exist for me. I find myself moving into what is truly constant and what is now reemerging. What remains no matter what else shifts is my own life force, the energy source that pumps blood through my heart and sets me to tingling at times. Into that place I let myself sink, feeling into that sacred temple that is neither here nor there. I think of it as my heart or maybe I once did, now my own heart is a mystery to me but we are getting reacquainted.

In this cold and in between spaces I investigate my own longing. Cold and in between, I mean quite literally, it's about 0 degrees outside. As for in between, I mean that quite literally too, what was home will not be anymore, not the one I called home nor the place itself. Home will simply have to be, right here in this body, this breath, this space that I occupy right now in this moment.
Let this be home.

The last time I was in Bozeman I came for a funeral. It was my ex-husbands fathers funeral, there is some strange, dark humor in that as well. As fate would have it, that funeral occurred the weekend I was supposed to get married. By supposed to, I mean, the date we had chosen before we called it off. Postpone was the word that was used, a polite way of saying, this isn't right. I can't commit. I'm terrified of winding up like my parents or very simply, I don't want to marry you. Does death on a would be wedding signal the death of the relationship itself? It did in this case. Not that single event itself, of course, nor at that time. It's never one thing that ends a relationship, I would imagine. It wasn't for mine and it's really no ones fault. I digress, I'm not there yet, I am. I am here recalling a not so distant past a few months between now and then; what feels like a moment and that moment, a lifetime.

In that past I was in Bozeman. I was sitting at the Co-Op having a late lunch on the picnic benches on the outside balcony with my mom, when the most brilliant creature pulled up on a bike. The creature was a man about my age and he was beaming. I mean, really fucking beaming as only a truly liberated human can. Mom waved him up and he ascended the stairs, landing briefly at our table. I watched their exchange and then he looked at me at me and said, "I can see you are burdened."
I replied, "I am here for a funeral." I said nothing of my growing doubt in my relationship although that was as surely a companion at our table as either of the other fully embodied humans who sat there. My doubt and grief was like a an overgrown child I carried constantly with me in one of those infant packs but it had grown way too big for the pack and was breaking my back, never mind my poor stupid heart.

The shining man-creature then asked me another question, "Are you cozy at night? Do you have a warm place to rest your head, enough blankets, do you go to bed with a full stomach?"
"Yes. So cozy," I replied. Dazzled.
He went on to say that he believed that was the first step to a better, kinder world, for every one to be cozy when they go to bed at night. That was his foundation and what he was working for.
Everyone deserved to be cozy at night when they went to bed.

I am cozy. I am warm. I am safe. I am loved. Though almost everything that I have found to be stable about my material life is shifting, I remain cozy. I have lost nothing that is fundamental to me and in fact I am more likely to regain some of my own key elements in this shift, even as I grieve for what I miss. There is an ache where once resonated the sound of his voice, an absence where once I rested in his arms, then there is that glint I would catch in his eye when I would walk into the room. The love spark. I miss drinking coffee in bed together and rubbing each others feet while we watched Netflix at night. Those things I miss and many more.

There are things that I won't miss. I won't miss longing for something with someone that simply cannot be. I won't miss tiptoeing around the trauma that no matter how hard I tried could simply never be uncovered. I won't miss questioning myself because now I know.

The backpack that carried my doubt and grief is empty. It is as gone as the marriage that we will not share. That I am grieving unapologetically. I deeply feel the loss of what might have been, as well as what was and the connection to all that still exists between us. Love doesn't die. It simply changes forms. In order to learn to love myself even more fully, I too will change forms. I will not leave this body to do it, although most anything else, except Grommet, my pug, is pretty much up for grabs.
Rather than focusing on what I want to do, I am asking myself, who do I want to be? It's a great question! I fucking love it. Some of the qualities I have come up with are, Bright, never fucking dim my shine for anything or anyone ever again, including my own insecurities. Kind. No matter what, never descend into meanness not even with myself, nor tolerate it from anyone else. Free. For me this one means I am choosing to know love as liberation even as I get to know love even more deeply as Belonging, to me, and to others who are available open and welcoming. 

I am trusting my instincts and those signals grow stronger with each passing day. I wake to a room full of plants, crystals reflecting clear mountain light and my sweet little beast snoring and rooting for attention. There are humans here who I adore. Who unequivocally love me. There are cats creating mischief, even as I type I am harassed by a tiny kitten who is a holy terror and totally adorable. Life is unfolding and no matter what emerges or comes next, I am cozy and I know I am exactly where I need to be. I  breathe in, a tear sparkles and a smile spreads. I am home.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Breaking The Cycle Of Holiday Stress And Disconnection

As the sun sinks lower on the horizon and the days shorten, now is the time of year when it is most natural to turn toward our center with an introspective eye. All the hustle bustle and socializing that tends to also come with celebrating this time of year, to me, really feels counterintuitive to what my body and all of nature is doing at this time. Many animals are hibernating. Trees have dropped their leaves to conserve energy and prepare for their next leafing. People alone seem hell bent on opposing the natural renewal process that is innate to this time of year.
Why is that do you think?
I think as people, we tend to fear the void, the unknown and this time of year activates those deep and primal places. As a species we have never been very good with the unknown. In their search for meaning and understanding, our ancestors created all kinds of gods and deities that governed the natural world. The history of this season is long and rich and much older than Christianity. Ain't nothing new or original there. People love stories, they love to participate in some kind of relationship with the divine, as well as each other, however they understand and enact that.
We are instinctively drawn to each other when it is dark and cold and naturally band together to ward off darkness. Gathering with friends and family and sharing energy and food is an ancient and wonderful tradition a beautiful way to celebrate, hold space and keep the torch lit in these short days. This time of year though, it is also important to honor the more solitary aspects of self and seek inner sanctuary.
It is in quiet reflection that we come to know who we are and what we really want out of life, rather than buying into the idea that whatever fad is currently being advertised, will make us happy. Perhaps one of the most significant and disturbing changes from ancient to modern times, has been the shift from the mystical appreciation of days past, to the worship of the material. Our ancestors those of many gods and many rituals, had a natural relationship with the mystical. The mystical and nature were deeply connected for them for survival reasons. It seems that now days the only god that everyone can actually agree on, is the god of materialism and the entire value system is based on bigger, better and more expensive.
Why do people get so absorbed in the shopping obsession this time of year? Will a relationship be made or broken by the the perfect gift? If so you have bigger problems than, will Amazon Prime ship in time. By the way, those perfect holidays don't exist. That drunk uncle will still be drunk, that parent that always asks, so are you still single, will still ask. Those tensions that weave the fabric of discontent through the family, will still be there no matter what is given or what is eaten. Those dynamics will more than likely remain the same. It's hard to break out of the familiar even when it doesn't feel good. We need a reference for what is unfamiliar and that requires courage and an individuated sense of self to explore what else could be possible.
Why do so few of us break free from this trance or stress, debt and hypnotic consumption?
I turn you toward our inherent fear of the dark days, of the unknown and our need to cling to what we can control as people. We may not be able to control how a family member shows up in life, whether or not they accept us as we are or we can even stand them, to be honest, but you damn well bet, we can control acquiring that perfect gift.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not against gift giving, I like to both give and receive a well thought out present. Giving and receiving is fun and it should be. That's the point. It should be fun and it should feel good not stressful. I do not need the cavalry call of consumerism to remind me to be thoughtful. If it makes me crazy to try to accommodate everyone else's needs while conveniently forgetting my own, then I'm doing it wrong! Yes, I said it, gift giving can be done wrong. If you are putting yourself in debt to make that fantasy gift giving, holiday feasting, experience a reality, you're doing it wrong. If you are running yourself ragged to make sure it's all handled to meet some absurd cheesy holiday standard, you're doing it wrong.
Do I sound like a selfish prick?
Maybe. But maybe this idea that extrapolating every last iota of energy and resources to perpetuate an unsustainable pop holiday mentality is selfish. Maybe the whole cycle is selfish and maybe the most selfish thing of all is draining ourselves to the point mental, emotional and financial break down.
The question that often goes unasked and unanswered in these days is simply this...
How do I feel? What do I need? How do I want to show up? What do I get out of participating in these rituals or relationship dynamics? So often we do what we have done because it is what has always been done. Is that a good enough reason to perpetuate any tradition?
No. Traditions die all the time to fit the evolution of individuals and species. We no longer select a member of the tribe to stuff for weeks and indulge every fantasy before sacrificing them for the good of the community in the coming year, thank god. That tradition, the tradition of Saturnalia, died. Or maybe it morphed, maybe we all bear the burden of indulgence and sacrifice now but we can put it down at any time.
When a tradition leaves you depleted, stressed, broke or in debt, it is not a tradition worth repeating. I repeat you can cancel that old tradition and replace it with one that leaves you feeling satisfied, grateful, relaxed and replenished. You can enter this season with joy in your heart and lightness in your step and money in your bank account for what really matters to you. Start by choosing to take care of yourself, save time and money for the people and experience that really matter to you. Feed your face, sure but remember to feed your soul as well!
Our ancestors got it right. Gather round the fire. Honor the dying of the light and with it the identities that no longer serve. Discover in these dark days, that inextinguishable inner light and share it with the ones who you love or even the ones who need it most. Most of all, take time to offer yourself the gifts of rest, renewal and reflection. Notice, as you look inward, is that light obscured by heavy or toxic emotions, incongruent attitudes or behaviors or even relational dynamics. Find the courage to commit to the greatest gift that you can offer yourself or even the world, your wholehearted, courageous, vulnerable presence. Be a light unto yourself and all you meet.

Take care of yourself and each other and have truly relaxing and enjoyable holy days!

To join me for a Solstice Renewal ritual visit

Friday, December 8, 2017

Healing Seas Of Sorrow

I am inspecting my own Emotional Town, a model for looking at and engaging with different emotional aspects, that has recently emerged. In this model, I am the mayor, you might say and all my feelings are residents with their own houses. I can look at the condition of each house and its members to notice and engage with my own emotional health. As I begin to take in the houses and their current conditions, I see and feel, Sadness is leaking out of of me everywhere flooding the landscape going to all my houses like an evicted beggar and asking to be taken in. Her house is boarded and broken. No one would want to visit her there. No one really wants to let her in either. Sadness is a small blue child, who cries rivers of abandonment and sails her boat, Rejection on waves of grief. She feels lost and lonely, unwanted and unlovable, a ghost drowned in sorrow come back to haunt all my choices and my future. Now she won’t come off her boat at all. Her river flows through the middle of town and we are suddenly a coastal town. She pulls right up to my own house and I have no choice but to board her boat. I can’t abandon this small sailor.
I look more closely at her and I see that she is not the blue of drowned and forgotten things, she is the blue of Krishna, soft and radiant, pale periwinkle fading to pink and there is gold all around her. Her boat is actually a treasure ship and she is an adorable imp, a bit of a pirate who has no crew. I see the other emotional houses have paid her off to stay away and so she has become rich. She is rich but she is also lonely. I look into the seas she sails as we pull away from Emotion Town and I see dolphins in the waves. They dip and dive around the boat. They are her companions. She is not now, nor never has been alone, even in her rejection from polite society, she has had company.
She wants to take me away. She wants to show me something. The water has changed as we sail out into the Void. It sparkles and bubbles all around us. Adventure beckons! She doesn’t want to live in town. She wants to sail the seas and be free to do and go wherever she pleases. She is my spirit of adventure and she will never be truly happy just sitting around in town. Town bores her. The houses that have shut to her, she feels hurt by but she has learned not to long for them or the company within. She is wild, creative and a bit unruly. Her hair blows in the wind and she lights a joint. 
Suddenly she is crying and the sea becomes stormy. Lightning flashes in the distance and I get the distinct impression she will sink the boat with both of us on it. She tells me she doesn’t care. We will become mermaids but this is not what I want, a cold lonely existence at the bottom of the sea. She points out the dolphins and whales, friends and guides. Freedom. No one asking anything of her no one needing her, her needing nothing. This now feels lonelier and lonelier. There is lightning in her eyes and lightning all around. I admit I am afraid but I am also curious and I now feel sad for her, with her. She flashes and snarls. She doesn’t want pity and I can really feel now, she doesn’t want to be alone either. 
Her little blue feet are planted on the deck of the boat as it tussles about in the swells. I get down on my knees and open my arms to her but she is not interested. The waves crash harder. We are beyond hugs to fix this. I get off my knees and grab for the rigging. I do not know how to sail but I will not let us go down, either. I manage to pull the sail in and boat calms a little. She looks surprised that I am even trying but I don’t quit. I grab hold of the steering wheel and try to navigate even though I have no idea what I am doing. 
I tell her, I will not let her sink the ship. I will not let us drown. We will not become mermaids this time. I tell her, I’ve got this. I don’t know what I am doing but I will not abandon her and I will not let her sink this ship. She smiles. “That’s all I ever wanted." Her toes wiggle and there are crescent moons in her eyes instead of lightning now. The stars come out above us and a whale breaches near by. Moonlight glitters off the water and plankton glows all around. The ship stabilizes, the seas calm. 
Now she comes to me and we sit in the netting cuddling and watching the sea life stir all around us. She calms and shivers. Now she does indeed seem like a frightened human girl. There are hollows under her eyes and her lips are blue. I use my own magic to manifest, from thin air, a huge soft comforter, which I wrap around her and small brazier over which we cook hot dogs on sticks. As we snuggle into each other, the shivers subside for both of us. Our bodies and bellies warm and I pop a whole huge pillow nest into being for us to fall back into and gaze at the stars. 

“Thank you for showing me your world”, I tell her. “Thank you for coming with me,” she replies. 

Art: Ocean of Dreams by Josephine Wall 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Integration: Melding The Lovely and The Awkward, Unapologetically

I am committed to integration and the alchemical fusion that it brings. This means owning myself. ALL of myself, the past as well as the present to give rise to the future in which I want to live. Integration is not about forgetting or about making excuses or spiritually bypassing with premature forgiveness before the nitty gritty processing is done. It's about accountability and claiming my energy and feelings within the memories of my past, my energy, my story and my belonging, if to no one else than fully, to myself.
I'm in an odd place right in this moment. I feel weird and wobbly and powerful and the wind howling around the corners of my house is like my own inner banshee, only she is not angry or morose at this moment. She feels free!
Lately I have been sharing on social media, about my own history of violence, as a young adult, as a child, the family heritage of trauma and anger. Doing so not only exposes me, leaving me feeling incredibly vulnerable but also my parents. One who many of you know, who is somewhat of a public figure. I have no desire to tarnish anyones reputation. But really, a reputation is a collection of projections, positive and negative. It does reflect our actions but it will never fully encompass a whole person. It is a mirage. It is not real.
Experiences though nothing more than memories now, are still stored and felt and lived through this body. Those experiences negative or positive affect my energy and choices, my relationships, my life and my body. This body is mine and I need to claim it, beyond the energy that I was steeped in as a child, as a teen, as a young adult. Beyond what my parents could or could not give me. Beyond the leakage of their toxic inner worlds onto me. Even beyond their love and care for me because that too, I must claim to fully integrate.
I love my parents. I know they love me. That is not in question. Nor does that love exempt my own need to examine all the emotional or behavioral references that I inherited from them. As a child they were a lot of fun and they could both be emotionally volatile and it was scary. My mom was manic depressive as I was growing up. I never knew what I was going to get. Now she is one of my best friends, we have done a lot healing of our shared shame heritage together. My dad can be rude, dismissive and emotionally unpredictable. I love him and I love my fathers work, Matrix Energetics, which has been a huge part of my life, something we shared for many years and helped me see him in a new light and grow into more of myself.
That does not change our family history nor my need to investigate and express my experience of it at this time. We are mixtures, all of us, of dark and light. We have the capacity to both hurt and heal each other in life altering ways. Staring only into the light is blinding not healing. Stumbling through darkness is frightening and isolating.
I must integrate all my elements to heal. For me that means acknowledging all the material that I have to work with. Feeling into all the references that have taken up residence in my body, that inform the way I make my choices and agreements as well define who and how I choose to share my life with. It's all in there, in me, the fun, powerful and supportive references as well as the memories that make me tremble with fear and shame.
I wish no harm to anyone through sharing these explorations and revelations. It's not about that or even asking anyone for anything that they may or may never be able to give. I want to let the old traumas go and fully become the person I am meant to be. My deep desire is to claim all of myself and sharing my process openly, is part of how I am doing that as a writer and a healer or at the very least, one who is healing, one who believes in the power of vulnerability and honesty and is tired of holding in secrets. I have no desire to present a one dimensional persona to myself or the world, we've all had enough of the masks. I am not at this time talking about specifics of my past. I will.
Why? To dethrone shame and isolation. I deeply believe we heal when we share our stories. Shame causes us to isolate. It says to us, you are the only one who feels this way who has had this experience. There is something wrong with you. Normal people don't feel or live this way. And we sure as shit don't talk about it!
So I say...
There is no such thing.
The truth is pain and trauma, violence and neglect are so pervasive in our society that they have become normal. Hardly anybody talks about it. We hide it and numb it, mask it from ourselves and those whom we want to be intimate with and it kills intimacy. We pretend that it didn't happen, covering up the hurt, either as perpetrators or as victims because to confront it might cause something to shatter. We might lose some ideal of ourself or of our family, a marriage or a reputation may not be able to withstand the truth that with love there is also pain. With love, fun and support we also experience trauma. Intimacy is sharing both. Integration is us allowing it all to be there without shame.
Love and toxicity are not mutually exclusive and we need to stop pretending that they are. We can deeply love someone with as much of our heart as we have access to and still by no conscious or willful ill intentions, cause them pain and inflict trauma. We all harbor hurt and have been indoctrinated with shame language. We internalize and act out diminishing beliefs and behaviors that simply get passed down from generation to generation. Both weeds and flowers grow in our gardens, naturally and some weeds are quite beautiful. Some just keep coming back and if we do not uproot those weeds once in a while they take over and choke out the life needed for other things to grow. They cut us off from the energy and the light that we need to flourish.
I feel very strongly that as individuals and as collective, this is where we are. It's not enough to sit around and try to only focus on how beautiful some things are because those weeds are out of control. We are all slowly being choked by the weeds of shame and guilt and without compassionate intervention, they keep growing.
I see a world that is ready for honesty, generosity and REAL COMPASSION. Not this cheap drug store variety that simply says, it's all ok. You're FINE. Everything is as it's meant to be. Which maybe it is in a sense. But that does not excuse us from confronting what is toxic, or even incongruent, sad or frightening, both in our inner and outer worlds because that is how we clean our wounds. That is how we discover our courage. That is how we truly heal and grow as spiritually and emotionally mature beings. If my sharing of my experiences as well as my process gives one person the permission, the courage to face their own trauma or can act as a glove for them to find the strength to uproot some noxious weed in their garden, then any potential embarrassment or discomfort to me is worth it because others have done the same for me. Others have shared their pain and struggle their process and given me courage. I owe it to myself, to life and to love to do the same.
Thank you for listening, for feeling for being as real as you can be too!
Together We Thaw!

With an open heart and a belly full of courage.