October of Love

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Hello! I have done something miraculous, I have turned on my computer after it’s been mocking me for weeks. I do not understand the reasons why it takes so much for me to sit in front of this machine, but it currently is not my natural state. I am okay with this. Though, I feel I miss an opportunity here and there to share things with those who are not in my immediate vicinity. But, maybe that’s not important. Maybe that’s my circle of influence? I think so.

Like the rest of the country, I woke with the news of Las Vegas. Again, another massacre. Again, innocent blood spilled seemingly without reason. There is no logic for this violence, the language of the heart, the mind, the spirit, nothing that resonates or brings about understanding. Yes, this is so wrong! This hateful violence is unnatural! It goes against the very consciousness granted to humanity, that spirit that moves inside all of us at our core.

I only browsed headlines, as I cannot entertain the details. In many ways, it’s the same story. I know. We all know. The lack of the word “terrorism” explained enough to me, I know who did this. I know where our collective wounding lies. I refuse to entertain anything other than the love that surrounds those who lost their lives, the mourning that is summoned only from a place of relationship, which is love.

We are better than this. We keep asking ourselves, ‘When will it be enough?’ If I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that it tends to get worse before it gets better. Intuition tells me that there is more darkness ahead of us. But we are so close. We are so strong. Do not live in fear.

I’m choosing to tune into all the beauty that is happening right now. All the weddings and proclamations of LOVE that will happen during the month of October. I know so many different couples, from different walks of life who are choosing THIS month to be the month that they say sacred vows and move into this life as one. That is something to celebrate.

All around me, I see people healing and striving to be their best selves. I am so proud and overwhelmed with joy as those same people choose to see themselves as Whole and fearlessly overcome each obstacle as they tune into their heartbeats. Bravery is an act of the truest Love.

I know it’s easy to turn on the news, or even scroll through our newsfeed and feel sadness, anger, frustration— but there’s something about the low vibrational feelings and embodiments that make us believe they are stronger than they truly are. It must be the Divine Mirage, a skewed perception of power. It takes strength to see it for the falsity it is. If there wasn’t something to love, if there wasn’t something you loved, this wouldn’t bother you. If there wasn’t hope, and vision, and strength, this would mean nothing. There are reasons we smile and laugh each day. People and things, reasons we write, make, dance. Sit solidly with whatever popped into your mind when you read those words, entertain that joy with your mind, your spirit and use that to your advantage. Do not be deceived by the darkness. You cannot fight darkness with more darkness, you can only bring in the light.

It’s easy to entertain all the darkness for the garbage it is, to let that garbage vibrate as a hate in our bellies. But, today, maybe do something different. Today light a white candle for the love that surrounds all the people who left their bodies behind. Light a white candle and think of all the things worth fighting for. Remember why you exist as you are today, how you are in this body perfectly made, and how lucky the world is to have you. Be a warrior of light. Do good. Be open. Be brave.

Listen, Learn, Repeat

flowersThis summer has been a summer for the books. (If that book was about patience-making and lesson-learning. But, for the books, no less.) I have had the pleasure of being able to enjoy the summer heat with my children almost every day and for that, I am eternally grateful. I don’t know if there will be a summer after this that I will have that same privilege.

There have been a few experiences that have been less than desirable. A summer of accidents, losses, falling-outs, and unforeseeable misfortunes: the types of things that make you feel tired but aware of the master plan, that you are worthy of such pruning. I’m continually being shown all the areas in which I need to tighten my game, trust my intuition, work a little harder, etc. I can undoubtedly say that Adam would say the same. But I see the light that seeks us on the other side of all this and it keeps me strong, motivated.

I feel like the word “boundaries” has been coming up a lot. Establishing them, respecting them, honoring them. A few years ago, when I was still living in Iowa, I read the book, “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No and Take Control of Your Life” by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. This is a Christian book- its teachings corresponding to scripture throughout. I didn’t agree with everything that was written (and I encourage you to digest the things you read with a grain of salt, to not treat everything as gospel!) but there were so many great things that stuck with me long after I had finished it. You have to not only know yourSELF but listen and honor yourSELF in order to truly feel happiness in your connections, both internally and externally. 

For a long time, I had a tendency to give away a lot of my time and energy to those who sought my guidance. I felt like I had to “fix” things for the people in my life. If someone came to me with a problem, I was their armor. In my late teens, early twenties, it was especially toxic-looking something like a twisted-loyalty-call-out-syndrome. If someone had done something I perceived to be “wrong” to a person I felt loyal to, you bet your ass they’d be getting an earful from me.  Looking back, I feel shame about my behavior but I’ve learned to forgive that naive girl that I was and know she was just doing her best.

But, wow, did I hate it! I would constantly feel drained, complain (and even write stories about!) why I had to always be the ‘asshole to call out the asshole.’ Then one day, I realized I didn’t need to be that person. I was choosing to be that person. Once I didn’t offer that type of armor, a few of my “loyal” and “close” relationships shifted into a more distant connection. (Some would say that this is a classic case of the Emapth/Narcissist dance at play or even a bit of a Savior-Complex.) Though I mourned the connections I felt I had lost, I had gained something much more real: mySELF. I wasn’t dragging mySELF into dramas that really had nothing to do with me, I was able to listen and offer counsel without becoming the solution. I could express empathy with disconnect, no longer internalizing everyone’s problems, but merely being a warm and comforting presence that allowed those close to me to find peace and solutions THEMSELVES. Everybody wins.

There was a quote from “Boundaries” that stuck with me:

“When we begin to set boundaries with people we love, a really hard thing happens: they hurt. They may feel a hole where you used to plug up their aloneness, their disorganization, or their financial irresponsibility. Whatever it is, they will feel a loss. If you love them, this will be difficult for you to watch. But, when you are dealing with someone who is hurting, remember that your boundaries are both necessary for you and helpful for them. If you have been enabling them to be irresponsible, your limit setting may nudge them toward responsibility.”

I was clearly working through this boundary-making in my early twenties, though I wasn’t aware of it. And, still, at 31, I continue to work on boundaries.

If there are people in your life that choose to see you only one way, that do not honor the natural changes we all go through as we age, that insist you exist in a tiny box, that expect things from you, or constantly tell lies that make you feel uncomfortable: let them fall from you. Not every goodbye has to be dramatic, sometimes, like clouds, we just float away from each other. It hurts, but it doesn’t cause any harm. Which makes me think of this other quote by Dr. Henry Cloud:

“There is a big difference between hurt and harm. We all hurt sometimes in facing hard truths, but it makes us grow. It can be the source of huge growth. That is not harmful. Harm is when you damage someone. Facing reality is usually not a damaging experience, even though it can hurt.”

In many ways, this summer has taught me to create boundaries with myself. (This is probably true for most of this last year living in Minnesota.) We sometimes forget how important it is to stop and listen, to learn the rhythm of our heartbeats and what our physical responses are trying to get us to emotionally detect. When I’m anxious, yes, sometimes it’s because I’m in the city and there are toooooooo many people around (haha), but when I’m at home and get hit out of nowhere with a panic attack: it’s because I’m dishonoring myself in some way. I’m not eating well. I’m not being physical enough. I haven’t written. I haven’t sat down in the quiet and made a project that’s been on my mind. I haven’t told someone the truth of my feelings. I need to sleep. I haven’t been creating my own boundaries: telling myself what I need to hear. Like- No, I can’t do this because I need to do this. ie: No, you can’t watch the entire season of Riverdale this weekend because you should be getting outside and pulling weeds to feel the sunshine on your skin and the pride of taking care of your home. (I watched Riverdale, had Miss Grundy feelings about Jughead and now have a pretty bad cold. I’m still learning.)

Boundary making isn’t always going to be easy, and it is a continual learning experience. Give yourself and others grace. But don’t give up. Don’t stop listening. Keep going. Healthy boundaries allow you to flourish and bloom. We all deserve that.

 

 

 

Here I Go Again

It has been a terribly long time since I’ve blogged. I started out on MySpace when I was 15-years-old (read: 16 years ago! and also, I can’t figure out how the heck to take that page down– it’s embarrassing and I’d really like for it to disappear from the internet! Tips are welcomed but I have no idea how to log into the email that I used back then.) I then spent many years on Blogger writing about my day to day life (ah, the issues of an early 20-something waitress/student/eventual 21-year-old-mother) and even ran a health blog under the name “Mama’s Got A Big Belly” (it was, and probably still is ‘big’– whatever!).

I don’t know why I stopped blogging. Maybe I was too busy to keep up with consistent posting– I had 3 kids by the time I turned 28 and I was still (am still?) figuring out how to balance motherhood without it fully taking over my life + the small press I was running was taking up 99% of any “free” time that I found myself with. Maybe blogging became a saturated market? It did seem like suddenly EVERYONE had a blog and we were all writing about the same things. I remember feeling like if I wasn’t “branding” myself I didn’t have much to offer. I’m not a brand. I’m a person. I’m sure I was just a bit uninspired? Actually, lack of inspiration probably had a lot to do with it. Who knows really. But I stopped. And during the time I stopped writing, my life underwent a storm of changes.

I moved across the country and back, have separated and divorced from the father of my children, have entered into a relationship (and moved in) with my best friend of twelve years, started a full-time job that I recently quit, and have experienced a string of loss that has left me a bit dumbfounded. What the fuck? has become a bit of a mantra for me. But I’m happy and I feel for the first time that I’m on the brink of a new, beautiful beginning in my life. I’m still trying to figure out how to tell the story thus far without throwing anyone under the bus, hurting feelings, etc. But there is a lot to tell and I have a lot I want to share.

I do know that this will be a lot of me in the raw stream of consciousness: much like my journal, I’m not going to spend too much time worrying about spelling and grammatical errors. I’m going to blog like I speak, and if that type of thing bothers you: well, this might not be the space for you. If this turns into another thing where perfection seems a requirement, I know I will not show up. There are too many areas within my life that I feel leaves very little wiggle room for errors and I’d love the opportunity to be completely and utterly free from restrictions. (Shout out to WordPress autocorrect for notifying me that I have a “confused preposition” up there– ya know what? I don’t care.)

This space is very much a work in progress (like me!) and I’m not exactly sure what it will evolve into, but I trust the process (another mantra).