Friends. I feel like sharing tonight. I've learned so much about myself, about life, in these past six months or so. Through most of 2015, actually. And I've reached a plateau, of sorts. A place of tranquility, where I can rest. Breathe. Reflect.
I spent a furious summer into fall and into December writing away, camped out in my cave of creativity. An interesting facet of this was having to balance the time over evenings and every other weekend. The weekends that I am with my little boy are all about him. Playing, learning, laughing, exploring life. Teaching boundaries and dealing with emerging tantrums. And I soak up every minute with him because he's growing so fast and I don't want to miss a moment. On the weekends that he's not with me, I used to break down. Obsess. Miss him. Feel sorry for myself. Until I came back to writing, the thing that also lit me up. I think I've been writing all of my life; observing people, watching, trying to understand and encapsulate what I saw with my words. Writing is a go-to for me, I feel blessed to have this form of expression.
From the moment I started Ana's story...until the present moment...including all the crazy, unpredictable, emotional moments in-between, I have changed. The very act of listening to the story that I wanted to tell and expressing it, has changed me. What a gift that is. In creating a fictional story, I rewrote my own story. It's quite a balance to maintain: a full time job, co-parenting, new ways of seeing the world, changing relationships, keeping up with weight loss and fitness goals, attending night school...and writing a book? Was I mad? At times I thought so, but mostly, I'd go mad if I didn't write it. I know that about myself now. Writing, telling stories, journaling my thoughts are all vital ways for me to let loose pent up energy inside me. It's a passion. It's one that I ignored for far too long. Even now, in writing a simple blog post, I feel lighter, more free, and more filled up. Just in the creating. So it's something that I know I must do. It's a part of me.
Now that the story is out, and I've gone through it...I've sent copies out for criticism and extra eyes that might help me make it even better. And I wait. And I entered into the world of book covers, ISBN numbers, how to publish...it's a completely different side of the brain. One that requires patience, time, discernment, diligence. The soul thrills in raw creation, in effortless flow. The ego fine tunes and makes sure the soul wrote something coherent. That's how I see it, anyway.
Even now, at this stage, I get to see how I behave through the process. I've learned so much, and I continue to every day. We have endless opportunities to reach inside and pull our guts out, to make sure we're making good choices. And sometimes we don't. We just don't. Because here's something valuable...
We're not perfect. Nope. Sorry, we're not. We are human beings, and we're supposed to be learning something. Isn't that the point? I've realized that I have a cycle: I have a habit of seeking perfection in things that are inherently imperfect. This is dangerous, and I work at it every day, trying to understand myself and my behaviors better. Have you experienced this? The idealism, the quest for the ultimate in things...only to disappoint yourself? And it starts with ourselves, it always starts within.
Many of us have a tendency to want to do things right. Get it right, get an A. Why? Because that's how we're conditioned. Our whole lives. Impress, get approval, get praise. We're trained from young. I'm over it. I screw up, all the time. I am slowly learning, though, that we're supposed to screw up. That's how we learn things. We all make mistakes. We all fall on our asses. But if you're a perfectionist, you can get stuck in putting yourself down each time that you don't get it right. Whatever "it" is. And then the negatives start to reappear: self-doubt, self-deprecating, punishing ourselves. It's vicious and it's harmful to us.
Part of self-love, I've found, is realizing that we are not perfect. We are becoming. We are losing illusions, we are stripping away patterns, beliefs, and ideas that don't work. That hold us back. That hurt us. But in order to learn and grow through this process, we must release the need to do it right.
Case in point: spirituality. It's so easy to get swept away with all the affirmations we see. Endless streams of positive messages, and they are lovely and empowering and divine and I'm grateful for them. Whether it's in daily interactions, at church, on the Internet...wherever, whatever the source, messages of inner peace, enlightenment, God, spreading peace and love in our world...are everywhere. And how wonderful, it inspires me every day. But here, again...we must avoid the temptation to do it right.
I am not simply preaching, here...I have no cause nor right to do so. I am just like you. Learning, falling, getting up, growing, and doing it again. All the time. But I'm sharing my thoughts because that what I do. That's me. And that's my point: allow me to come out of the closet, so to speak. I am not a yoga master. I have no more divine knowledge than you do. I just share what I learn. And what I learned this time around the circle...was that I'm full of shit. Again. That's life. Not one of us knows all the answers, because there aren't any. What I do know, is that we have to be authentic and honest about who we are. We may want out of the current paradigm so we denounce all the vitriol and programming from the part of our world that isn't working. Then we gravitate to its opposite, and obsess about it. Get wrapped up in it. Shout, yell, repeat what we hear. It's just trading one set of programming for another, I feel. I'm guilty of this. I'm not ashamed to say that. But I've come to a place where, I don't give a shit anymore. I'm just me. I'm human. Some things jive with me, some things don't. I've learned to make up my own mind, ask my own questions, and work toward my own goals. I've learned...that I am enough. Just as I am. In the beautiful, messy evolution of me.
Here's the simple truth: we don't need to get it right, say the right buzz words, be accepted by the right people...to live a spiritual life. I am not a dainty daisy. I don't walk around saying namaste to people, I just don't. That's not me. I don't use the word God in every sentence. I thought for a while that...this is what spiritual people do. All day, staying present, and thanking God or the Universe for everything that crosses your path. But it's not the lip service that matters, it's not merely saying "thank you, God," it's feeling gratitude, it's experiencing true gratefulness. It's not saying "I love you," it's being and sharing, showing love, without expecting anything in return. In the "getting it right," I got it all wrong. We are enough. Just as we are, just as we were created. I think this point has been shown to me so many times, and I finally see it. Who are you trying to impress? We can make ourselves nutty trying to be all things, trying to get an A. We simply aren't all of that, we aren't perfect. We are...us. Ourselves. Our unique, precious selves, that as a whole, collectively, can do amazing things to help our world and humanity to evolve. Yes. I believe this is true, I feel it more and more. We are shifting. But as individuals, we are unique. What empowers one of us may bounce right off another.
I am not a daisy. I'm a thunderstorm. I'm loud, I'm often inappropriate, I laugh at odd moments, I curse here and there, I'm a hypocrite, I suck at listening, but work on it every single day. Because I want to. Because I want to be the best me that I can, because I want to build better friendships, because I want people to feel understood and valued when they talk to me. Because I want to realize every dream that I have in this experience of life, and to do those things, I must first be the person who can do them. We can send our visions out into the ether but before we attract what we wish for, we first attract the lessons that will change us in a way that we can receive them.
I live for passion in all things. If I can't feel it rumble in me, it's not for me. That's reality, that's the truth. Religions and ideologies about peace and enlightenment denounce romantic love. So...how can I be spiritual if I still believe in romance? I'm doing it wrong. They tell us peace and harmony and beauty are found in nature, in the sun, in wildness of animals, in quiet meditative solitude. And I love all of those, at times. But I also find peace driving around in my car, singing like an idiot. I find connection, awe, and harmony at rock concerts, or any live music event. Does that mean I'm stuck in my ego? Because I enjoy loud music, and shooting pool, and dancing, and eating out, and lounging in my mother's hot tub in the woods? Am I spoiled and selfish and irreverent? I'm doing it wrong. I've thought for too long now that being spiritual, being closer to God, meant that this passion, this fire inside of me...was a bad thing, that had to be healed. Tamed. Fizzled out, if I was to evolve. That I couldn't want things, that I couldn't enjoy those things. No. That's bullshit.
We can be respectful. Honest. Giving. Kind. Compassionate. Peaceful. But we don't have to be timid mice if we are mountain lions at heart. We are already enough. Glorious. Divine beings. To dumb ourselves down, to hide who we are, to water down our thoughts out of fear and doubt...is a great disservice to ourselves, and to others. I'm done with that. If I feel a roar inside, I will let it out. It's mine.
I am not a daisy. I am a creature of inspiration. I thrive on words that drip with insight, but I also crave words that pulse with passion. I love my fellow human beings, I love my planet, my home, my family. Unconditionally. I also have a love in me that means to howl at the moon and count the stars and erupt into flames in endless devotion. A love that gets lost in the glow of a fireplace, that finds bliss in quiet moments of understanding, that holds and supports and encourages, unconditionally. And that will come when it comes. But it's in me, and I honor that, because it's me. You're allowed to want things.
Stop trying to get it right. Just release the need to belong. To find acceptance. To find approval. It's up to you, it always has been. Why give that away?
Don't try to be spiritual. We are spiritual. We're born with it. Just trust yourself enough to dig deeper. Know who you are, know what you want. You're allowed to want things.