Monday, April 23, 2018

The Mouse In The Coffee Pot: Unrequested Guidance

My morning ritual is very simple and absolutely essential for my mental and emotional well being. It consists of waking up, putting the water on to boil, letting the dog out to relieve himself and then letting a nice small pot of coffee brew in the french press, while in the five minutes it takes for it to soak up all the dark, dreamy, caffeinated, deliciousness, I plank and stretch. Coffee in hand, dog by side, I find a place to sit and ruminate onto the paper, my dreams from the night before and any thoughts or feelings that are floating about in my gourd. This ritual literally, lets me maintain my sanity and come to terms with my life.

I've been road tripping for the last month and I'm currently staying with a friend in her apartment, in Austin. We're on the second floor, so when I let the dog out I have to go down the stairs with him to the lower level. He's recovering from a hotspot right now and as any dog aficionado knows, those are not fun! He's got a cone now that flops loudly when he shakes it and frankly, it drives me a little crazy in moments. We are connected, he is more than a pet he is my partner right now and we have been doing some serious processing together.

This morning I decided to fish my cute little ceramic, french press from my car. I'd been using my friends the last couple of days but I was missing my own. Opening up the car, then into the bag where my all my travel goodies are stashed, I grasped the pot and was hit by a rather malodorous scent and an unexpected weight in the pot.

The mouse that has been hiding in my car for the last month of my road trip, had sneaked into my perfect little french press and was, as I watched, literally taking his last breath.

Death in its fleeting moments has been a theme for the last week. Just the other night while walking in Lagrange, TX, I came across a fluttering luna moth in her last moments. This morning finding this tiny rodent tucked into my coffee pot, its life expiring, opened this place of tenderness and curiosity and profound connection in me and in relation to this tiny being, my undesired companion, who frankly had been a bit of nuisance, chewing and what not on things as mice will do. Truly though, it was the things that it chewed that bore the significance, a book mark (displayed above) a handbag I like and a favorite blanket I've been carrying since I left Washington, bearing the most meaning. It was the last thing I bought as a couple and its been like my woobie.

In Shamanism, mouse asks that we pay attention to details, but that we not be consumed by them, or that we leave the details of others lives to those who are living that life. Touch things. Investigate. Proceed with vigilance. Don't chew important things to pieces. Mice can go most anywhere, even from Montana to Texas, apparently. Mice feed nearly every predator in the food chain and in so doing they are as intrinsic to the circle of life as death itself.

I am acutely aware of what I am releasing in my own life, of what is coming unraveled, of what requires my attention and of what is ready to die. Tending to these aspects in my own being is no more comfortable than finding a dying mouse inside my favorite coffee pot, yet it is just as vital. The serendipity does not escape me, this tiny creature made its dying moments part of my most sacred morning ritual. This ritual, itself, is simple, no fan fair, no costume, just me, my journal, my coffee and my thoughts and dreams. Mouse too, is simple.

One cannot get closer to the earth than a mouse lives and I have to say, I admire this little beasts' fortitude. It has been riding with me since South Dakota or even Montana, where I left over a month ago to start out on this epic journey. Hiding among my things, nibbling annoyingly at whatever it could get but with its last breath it offered me this gift, to be its witness as it had been mine and in the greatest courtesy possible, it chose to die somewhere I would inevitably find it without arduous excavation. That too is a gift and most significant.

I am at the midpoint on my journey and I have recently hit a low point in my own inner exploration coming across some undesired characteristics, of which I will excavate with you at another time. For now I can say this, all things must pass in their own time, in their own way and it is a pleasure and gift, if at times a painful one, to share in that journey.

Death truly is another beginning.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Love, Oscillation, Personality Constructs & Empathic & Narcissistic Liberation

I've been digesting and integrating the material that I recently presented in Louisville, Kentucky. The title of the workshop was Love, Luck And Synchronicity. The truth is from the moment the idea for this class was conceived during a mountain thunderstorm over eight months ago, I have been living in it. Lightning had struck, a message from the Mooneagle came through. A flash of a map scintillated through my mind. It formed slowly and I began to change, to embody the material that I would present. My life began to shift, my internal and external worlds, slowly at first, then picking up momentum. I found myself living more deeply in a state of presence than I ever have. Things I had believed I needed and wanted that had come to in some ways, define me, shifted and dissolved and new state of joy and integrity emerged.

What I am discovering is there is a simple key that is needed to truly support wholehearted living that perpetuates, naturally, more love, luck and synchronicity in life. That, simply, is a deeper understating of and participation with our capacity for oscillation. Our ability to fluctuate between emotional states and ideas in the way that is inherent to us, can free our energy in the now, through time and space and heal trauma, misunderstandings and liberate the energy that we need to live the life of our dreams.

The essay I present below is my digestion, thus far of the material I am teaching, how to play more wholeheartedly with life and increase the flow of love, luck and synchronicity. May this offering bring you to a more wholehearted state within yourself. May it help you feel your feelings deeply and honestly, to recognize the state of stagnation within yourself and others and develop a deeper state of compassion for the world we are living in. Please feel free to share this material with proper credit.

I believe as energetic beings, and as humans the key to us having more coherent life experience, we need to be in touch with and processing our emotions. Emotions are not inconveniences they are the material through which we create life with. They are neither good or bad. They convey to us through our bodies, energy and information about our internal and external worlds, that help us to inform our decisions and values about ourselves, others and life. Emotions are energy and as energetic beings we need to learn to navigate them and discern the difference between our own emotions and others as well as the identities that form from the emotional investment in various ideas.

As electromagnetic beings are constantly in a state of flux. Our energy is alway moving. To me, our natural state is love, which is vitality. So the jump I am making is that love and health are equal to our natural state of oscillation.

Oscillation, in general, "is a periodic fluctuation between two things; in the broadest sense, oscillation can occur in anything from a person's decision-making process to tides and the pendulum of a clock. Oscillation in a device called an oscillator is usually a back and forth motion over a central neutral point, created by changes in energy. " Your body is actually a crystalline matrix but we'll save going into that more for later. 

I am going to propose that humans beings are oscillators and that our most natural state is one of  oscillation, a free dynamic sate of balance generated by our ability to notice and experience ourselves as curiosity in constant motion between states of polarity or contrast, if you will. What we tend to think of as identity is a solidification of of an idea, or state of potentiality into a formed structure that takes on rules and agreements to substantiate it's claim to energetic stasis.  I am in no way proposing that identity is either good or bad, but that the solidification of emotions, ideas and agreements can go beyond generating stability and move into stagnation. What we tend to believe about ourselves and our reality, becomes the foundation for an identity, which can, without the encouragement of exploration, become stagnant. 

Enter the ego, who is not the bad guy, but who is formed through youthful observation and interpretation of ourselves, our environment and interactive interplay, to become the enforcer for personal identification. I happen to believe that we need our ego, that it creates a necessary form through which we move through the world as a functioning personality. This includes our ideas, or beliefs as well as our preferences and dislikes. In as much as ego provides a useful structure for navigating in the 3D land, it also tends to carry our wounds and more importantly, the scabs that form around them. These become part of the agreements through which we unconsciously, substantiate our identity and the interface for how we interact with others. Part of the egos main job is to help us feel secure, to protect us and our wounds and to gather information about pain and pleasure to help us learn how to navigate the world. An ego can be toxic or healthy, containing elements of both and various permutations of personalty depending on the presence of love or fear within the being. 

We clearly experience both love and fear in childhood, but it is the dominant presence of one or the other, that creates the foundation through which we formulate our ideas, (identities) around how we get our needs met, what is love, acceptance and belonging and what needs to be done, agreed to, to guarantee we get it. As children, we confuse the unconditional state of love, with the conditional state of acceptance. To a child, acceptance is equal to survival so we learn very early what is permissible, acceptable; what will get us rewarded, what will get us punished, what energies are encouraged and what energies are to be suppressed. We learn to adapt to our environment, how to condition our natural personality traits, based on how we experience ourselves and those traits and energies being accepted or rejected by our primary care givers, most often, our parents. 

The parents most often see the child as an extension of themselves. Into the child they deposit their beliefs, values and expectations and wounds. The child learns by both approving and rejecting affirmations and actions what is expected of them and adapts their personality to maintain the necessary agreements to get their needs met. Remember, to this child, acceptance equals survival so they will figure out very early in life, often pre-verbally, what is acceptable and what will get them rejected. They learn whether their distress brings help, neglect or criticism, frustration or even violence. The child learns quickly, absorbing the energy and creating internal constructs that can then respond to the internal world of the adults whom they are surrounded by but they do this having no idea that the adults around them have complex internal worlds of their own, worlds that are leaking energy and activity out into the environment and into the child. Having no personal filters, the child comes to believe that everything is about them, what they do right or wrong, quickly becomes who they are and a construct for what they need to do to get acceptance, which they've confused with love.

When acceptance is withdrawn, it often feels that so is love and combine this with a thick cultural layer of shame, a child can now begin to wonder, what is wrong with them. Creating the distinction between what has been done wrong vs being inherently wrong, is the job of the parent, through mindful acts of both discipline and encouragement. This distinction is what forms the layer in the in consciousness of the child that can allow them to begin to notice the difference between action and identity. In other words, a person does things but does not need to become them. A person has ideas but that is not who they are. A person may own things but that does not define their worth or value. Value is quite simply, inherent and love is how value is most fundamentally demonstrated. Acts of love can simply be defined as the encouragement of oscillation or in a more practical sense the encouragement of curious expression and a broad vibrational bandwidth or emotional fluidity as well as affirming words and actions. 

With the introduction of any idea, we also bring into awareness the opposite of that. If oscillation is the the dynamic movement from a center state between two polar opposites, I would posture that the liberated self, he she without fixed or stagnant identity, is the center point and whatever notions or ideas that are introduced to the field or mind, serve as the fixation points between which the energy naturally fluctuates. To create an identity or stasis within the this naturally dynamic system a fixation must occur with an idea, that then through practice or obsession, becomes and identity and that identity will hold the natural dynamic movement in a more stagnant state, and even go as far as attracting more copacetic ideas and then identities to itself, establishing further concretization with the form of that identity as well as community through which it can function.  In my opinion, this is where a rigid ego construct comes from and if allowed to fully harden whatever wounds and poisons lay behind that construct will eventually become a toxic ego. Either weak or strong depending on the level of boundedness. A personality construct with out boundaries but that is stagnant with lots of pain, becomes a weak toxic ego, an over bounded personalty construct containing lots of poison or pain becomes a strong toxic ego. The identity then seeks to bolster its ideas about itself by gathering other ideas and egos that substantiate its own position and solidification. 

The less dynamic the movement is between the states of contrast, the more fixation and solidification permitted or even encouraged, the more dampened the state of oscillation becomes. This leads to emotional stagnation, physical illness and egoic posturing.  In reverse, in the absence of stability an oscillator, or human being for our intents and purposes, can become manic or potentially develop empathic dysfunction as a result of not having a container or a defined center point from which to move. In this instance the constructs of the individual become too porous as opposed to over bounded. When an identity construct is too porous it is always seeking other systems to define it or tell it who it is, what's important or that it matters or is allowed to have matter or take up physical space in an individually appropriate way. 

Where the over bounded may find companionship with other over bounded, it is the under bounded that they will usually seek more intimate relationship with. The attraction between the over and under bounded can be mistaken for compatibility and it is that, in so far as the dysfunction between the two types will be well matched. An under bounded will find structure in the over bounded and the over bounded will find someone that they can define in the under bounded. This dynamic is precisely why narcissistic dysfunction and empathic dysfunction are so often bonded together, over bound and under bound. A person with empathic dysfunction may have a hard time telling themselves from others. Feelings move through or become stuck disrupting the natural flow of oscillation, it could become stagnant, eg. depression or hyperactive, eg. anxiety or potentially ADHD. It is not to say that the over bounded may not be susceptible to the same conditions, but it is more likely that those conditions will be a result of energy building up beneath the boundaries, which more than likely have over solidified over time and then those toxins and wounds be acted out as aggressive, explosive or suppressed. 

Between these two constructs, real love is nigh on impossible due to the diminished capacity of and ability to oscillate for each individual as well as for the relationship itself to find its own uniquely dynamic balance. This does not mean that there is not love there, far from it. What it means is that the focus of identity and the adaptations made to accommodate that identity, do not promote the state of oscillation in either the individual or in the pair. Essentially the childhood adaptations that both learned to make, inhibit a state of emotional dynamism. Toxins and poisons get passed back and forth, held in, exploded or suppressed as is necessary to accommodate the the personality structure or lack of structure, as well as to perpetuate the agreements that were necessary for the child's survival. This basic need for survival is predicated on one thing, what felt safe. 

Both personalities are essentially functioning in the way that they learned to cope with trauma. For an under bounded individual, the need to anticipate the energy and actions of others that could be volatile or potentially dangerous, is often at the root of a more porous field. They learn that the way to stay safe is to be able use their bodies, intuition and precognition to sense what is coming, often from an unpredictable source. If their field develops in a more porous way as an accommodation to this need, then they will likely be skilled at interpreting and processing for others but less skilled at saying no or even in being able to define and express their own needs. If the response to trauma is to harden the wounds, numb the pain in order to stay safe, then the personality will develop in such a way that solidifying or armoring is the perceived method of dealing with trauma. Both constructs will develop numbing or soothing behaviors to cope with their unprocessed pain, poison and trauma and in both instances, the trauma will remain active in an attempt to resolve itself. 

One construct, the more porous one, will turn the trauma inward, criticizing, doubting and in general doing violence against themselves. The other will turn the trauma outward, blaming, attacking, belittling and in general acting out their trauma on others. This type of behavior is usually the one that gets labeled as narcissistic, this construct fragments others in its attempt to avoid its own fragmentation and wounds and further solidify its own identity. In as much harm that it can do, it can also turn the pattern around, claiming to be the victim, because deep under the layers of toxic justification and projection, that's what it is, a victim as well as bully. They will always be found together. The other construct, the more porous one, will try to make things better, try to take on and process the pain of the more bounded construct but will never really be allowed to fully access it because the other individual is not fully accessing it themselves. There will be moments of pure oscillation where both constructs can move temporarily toward a state of dynamic balance and in those moments, the love that is trapped within, or the love that has bee spread around, will meet in the middle as each individual and the relationship itself, wobbles in a state of openness and equilibrium. Because love is our natural state and love is always present and love equals oscillation, it is always a possibility and it is always in the underlying structures no matter how dysfunctional they may appear. This is something that is extremely useful to remember. Love is always there.

What truly gives love the opportunity to flourish is the individual, as well as the shared commitment to make oscillation the priority. When this commitment is met and followed through with, vitality as well as love, bloom as all individual and shared systems find balance and coherence through mutuality within oscillation. As the individual makes oscillation their own priority, so a state of invitation is generated by the being. This invitation is truly the activation of love within and without the individuals field. This invitation is also unconditional love and makes no accommodations for its natural state of balance but in its commitment to oscillate as can be discovered through moment to moment presence, become a state of synchronous flow which translates to love in action!

All material © Justice Bartlett April 4, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

When You Don't Know What Comes Next... Breathe

Times are tense. There is a lot of conflict in our faces. There are a lot changes that are calling to be made in our individual lives, as well as in our collective. There is violence, trauma, fear and frustration. It can be overwhelming at times to feel it all, to be a part of it, to feel it all deeply as part of ourselves but that is exactly what we are being called to do. 
We are connected through the air we breathe, the water we drink, the elements that comprise our corporeal bodies, the experiences and feelings that we share and the sprit that infuses us. When we breathe we feel. And feel we must. We must feel to heal. We must breathe to grieve to express the outrage, the sadness, the fear and even the joy that are inherent to our human experiencing. No matter what happens, we have to keep breathing, we have to keep feeling. It is our only chance for healing. It doesn't matter what comes next. There is no way to know indefinitely, no way to plan every detail, no way to control every outcome, no way to avoid what is always inevitable... change and that next breath. 
There are a dozens of ways to breathe at least maybe more, maybe there is a specific breath for each person on the planet, for each creature for all things that breathe. Maybe there is only one breath, like a giant wave that moves through each of us in peaks and troughs from the first gasp to the last sigh. Maybe the way we breathe becomes the way we live. If we take short shallow breaths, do we live a short shallow life? 
The Hawaiians called the white people who came to their lands haole, haole comes from: hā (breath) ʻole (without). People without breath or maybe soul, to them. Those who are shallow who cannot find their way into their bodies, or connect with others, may be missing soul, indeed. We may all be losing little scraps of soul. With every choice to numb instead of feel, a little soul departs, freezes becomes more rigid, less fluid and we become less real. Perhaps spirit and breath are one. To breathe is to feel and to feel is to heal to heal is to be whole in our life, in our soul. 
Our modern world tends to value the deeds done by the head over the deeds done by heart or soul. The head without the heart is a tyrant, reigning over the body, reigning over life. It is divorced from soul, from body, from spirit, from breath, yet it wants control and in pursuing its efforts to establish its dominance, we tend to forget the more subtle, often messy elements of human creativity and especially connection. Connection is messy. There will be tears, there will be deep sighs, waves of anger, feelings of helplessness, confusion, fear and then hope. When we open through our breath to ourselves and each other we consciously cultivate vulnerability and that is raw, messy human power. 
When we don't know what to do next we abandon the heads plans and schemes and return to our heart, our feelings and most of all our breath. In this moment, we get to be renewed. We get to breathe into our bodies, our homes, we get to ignite our heart fire and check in with our feelings for when we breathe, we cannot help but to deeply feel. The head then quiets, it capitulates to the instincts of the body, gives in to the need for restoration and release and in that moment between breaths, a new being is forged, not the being of moments before nor the being that is yet to come but this one right here, now, the only one that can be in this moment within this breath. We pause. Inhale. Exhale. Effortlessly we are transformed and healed. Together we breathe. We grieve and we heal.

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.

The Mouse In The Coffee Pot: Unrequested Guidance

My morning ritual is very simple and absolutely essential for my mental and emotional well being. It consists of waking up, putting the w...