As many of my readers know, I am a big advocate for anxiety. I've been through it, in every possible manifestation. My mind has entertained every possible reality or un-reality, in my lifetime. So...I know.
I just get it, like that. I'd out-weird you in 3 milliseconds.
That said, I've been paying attention to my own ebbs and flows, lately. Because the point...the meaning... the message in ALL OF THIS... is to keep learning and keep sharing out. When we focus on ourselves, and our small, narrow spot on this hunk of rock, we become overwhelmed and anxious and get stuck. But when we flip it, find the lesson, and share it...we let it cycle through us. In and then out.
I've often wanted to survey people with anxiety and "personality disorders" and look for common denominators. I know straight off how many folks have gifts that they struggle with and it often results in anxiety, depression, cyclic emotions. And there are ongoing debates about this: is it mental or spiritual? Was John of God...a true healer and mystic? Or would the DSM categorize him as mentally ill, and his followers as naive fools? Or do we just not know enough yet about the brain, mind, soul to even guess? This is an ages-old debate, and there is no answer. It's like trying to solve and impossible riddle; God or not? Things that can't be proven or disproven take on a special sheen, an allure of the unknown, they become surrounded with mystique and drama and excitement and worship. Because it engages us in searching. it's delicious, we get to go on a quest. A journey.
I'd also be curious to see how many of us, who struggle with these ways of seeing and being in the world, have been close to death. And this is a part of my new writing project...how a near-death experience can create pathways into new and alien understandings, never before witnessed. And how those moments change us, eternally. And I think true anxiety stems from something so simple: awareness. To be awake, alive and attentive in one's life, is to notice. To notice what is happening all around us, to internalize and empathize and wonder. To associate and try to understand. Always questioning. And such awareness leads to deeper awareness, within. It's a true paradox: because to remain in safety, in the middle, not disturbed by the goings-on of the physical world, is to be disconnected to much of Life. Numb. It's a bit of a bubble-wrap existence. Which sometimes, is needed and preferred, for our own well-being. But on the other side of that, if we venture out...we face those unknowns, which induce fear, anxiety, panic...there's no easy way about it. Unless, you are numb and in the deep-seated routines of our mechanized society, like Cipher...back in The Matrix, enjoying his steak, and are truly oblivious. Ignorance as bliss.
I once saw this psychic, out in Dix Hills, her name was Karen. She was the most in-tune, spot on, detail-driven reader that I'd ever seen. She had a true gift. I do believe, and know, that some of us have true gifts, and now more than ever. Although there are also plenty of enterprising folks who are great actors and will gladly take your money to confirm that yes... you are sad and "your soulmate is coming. Please by the True Love candle for $20 and light it on the full moon." It's an old line and they all use it, because it's such a common plight. Be wary of those. I call them "record-players," because they all repeat each other. They are well-trained and play on insecurities, they can read body language and subtle cues.
Those with true gifts have met and communicate with Spirit and can read subtle energies. They gather clues and symbols from the ether...and steer through the fog to some Truth that resonates with you, that helps you, that validates concern and points you toward a path of healing and growth. True psychics are teachers, sharers, ponderers...they just can't not. They often make money, but they can't not share, or their gifts will literally tear at their psyche propelling them into distress and disorder. Often they have troubled pasts until they come to terms with what they are experiencing. It's really fun when they're skeptics because it turns everything upside-down. Anyway. I greatly admire those true teachers, I've been very, very blessed and humbled to have crossed paths with some who are really out of this world. Selfless, humble, kind, compassionate, and never enabling. Always empowering, even when it's hard. Role-models. Superheroes, in my eyes. Living to teach and inspire and not indulging in nonsense. Which is also teaching; it's leading by example and showing us how to set boundaries. My heart goes out to them, my soul honors them; deep bow, deep bow in gratitude.
But Karen... well, she gave me specific dates, she did auto-writing, and everything panned out, perfectly. She wrote down the birthdate of my son...years and years before I met his father. She just saw things. A beautiful soul, one that melded with and changed mine, as some special souls do. And way back when, she also made a comment that always stuck with me: "I see squirrels in the attic. You're sitting there, watching life from the second-story window. You're commenting, and watching, and imagining, and pointing. Packing away your little nuts and berries, for later. You're safe. But you're not really living, are you? You're watching."
Wow. Haunting. For years and years. No more attic windows, I declared.
And writing, well...it's a peculiar thing. To me writing...is like a self-inflicted torture. It's isolating, challenging, heartbreaking, scintillating, exhausting, invigorating, maddening, and yet...it's salvation. It's induced madness, it's breaking your own heart, it's bleeding for art, constantly. And i love it. <sicko
But it does keep me in "the attic." Which is why I always push myself out. A new adventure, a new story, a new enchantment, a new mode of creativity to employ. Something to start the creative fires burning, something to make me feel alive, something to connect me, enliven me, jumpstart me. I'm someone who must feel and live the bits of story before I write them. That doesn't mean Ana was autobiographical, but that certain scenes and moments were flavored with truth, from actual experience. Well, some...Antonio was made up. A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste. :)
And the current project is also inspired by real-life. Lessons that are lived through, painfully, in many cases. It's a bit psychotic, to intentionally hurl myself into lesson-bearing experiences, but I'm learning loads, and at the end of the day, I get to be someone who can lay out some cold, hard truth, from the ground, from the front-lines of Life...to throw it back to those stuck in the mud: Here are some things that work...you're not alone...and you can absolutely get through this. What a gift to even be able to do that. Grateful for every encounter so far, in this Campbell-esque journey, truly. Deeply. I take none of it for granted.
So, one thing I became keenly aware of in my throes of anxiety, a few years back, was the isolation. Having an entire world to fear, a thousand voices, every word a possible threat, and not being able to explain it to anyone. And the disillusionment, which is the killer for so many of us. We idealize and wear our rose-colored glasses, and when those ideals crumble, as they must, we are distraught. Illusions fall, and once again, we are naked and trembling, lost in the void, climbing out of the primordial soup, searching for anything to cling to. That's where that spark inside is found.
And it is there, right there, in that deep pit...where the choice is made. Give up, start the dying process. Become bitter and stagnant and lost in your pain. Or fight. Lost your mind? Make a new one. Reconfigure your life as you would your hard-drive. Defrag and dump what doesn't work, limit interactions and input to those that can lift you up, inspire you, remind you why it's worth it. Environment is key, internal and external. We are amazing, resilient, self-healing machines. As much as I jokingly bash tech, I admit that we, human beings, are incredible, electric machines that work on and with energy. It's all the same, I see that now.
And anxiety can be crippling. It can stop us from living the lives that we want to. But there are ways to reinvent ourselves, find focus, notice and steer away from destructive behavior when we need to, our own or someone else's, and find ourselves back where we should be...within ourselves, present, alert, and ready to experience Life. Committed to the work, which is different for each of us.
And for me, spirituality has been a cornerstone. And it's non-negotiable, it's a reality for me. Religion is not, but spirituality is. It's an undercurrent, a coming-home, a knowledge and wisdom, deep inside, that we're all connected. I've seen it and felt it. That unconditional Love is real, that these connections are real. And that God is Love, and that we can heal with Love. Which is why I have no problems when people get religious around me, because I don't put men in white robes or any of that into my equation. So I don't get turned off, really. Each individual has their own God or figure head in place, to represent that pure Love. God is Love, I might even go so far as to say that God can be... all of us, aligned, in service to each other, for Love. I might say that we, collectively, joined in consciousness, are God, or at the very least, channels for God/Love/Universal energy to flow through. And how often we forget to connect, within. MEDITATE. It starts within.
Love, the most powerful force in the Universe. The most formidable weapon that we have against hate. But don't listen to me, I'm a hippie. Naive. I take kick after kick, live in constant disillusion, and still choose to understand and Love people that don't understand me. And that's fine. I don't do it to get it back, I do it because the world needs it. Because when we send out those tendrils of hope, compassion, understanding, when we resonate and acknowledge, a new world is born, leaving its new inhabitants changed...hopefully for the better. I believe in waves and ripples, I believe that energy is contagious, I believe that it's never a mistake to genuinely care for someone and wish for their best.
And it doesn't always work, because...anxiety, all around. We're brilliant on our own, wrapped in our art and our safe spaces. And then we interact. Enter variables. It's become an act of courage and bravery to be the first one to consider perspective, and choose empathy. To put down the shield, to lower our guards and say...hey... it's all good. We're cool. Go do you. Nothing but Love, here. And yes, it's exhausting and confusing and trying and sometimes, we make mistakes. And there are times we need mile-high barriers because not everyone means us well.
Because we are also human and fallible. And we get nervous and confused and we overthink and get further and further away from those little kids inside of us that just want to play, and we put up these walls to push people back and away from us, because we just don't know if we can trust them. Because Life is hard, and things suck, and we grow weary. That happens. Oh well. But I still Love. Like one of those inflatable dolls that you punch and it bounces back, smiling like a dope. < yeah, me. Let me try this again, I know I'll get it right this time. But not forever, I know when to let go and move along. And we're just not compatible with everyone. (I'm like a fungus though, I grow on people. :) Just give it time...)
Anyway, I'd rather walk through Life knowing and appreciating this magic, this force, that connects and drives us. If its all in our heads, why choose to live in a self-created hell? No, not for me. Not anymore. I allow myself to flow in and out and experience different ways of being, to gather perspectives. I will take any hardship or challenge and spin it around and try...try... to make something beautiful with it. Sometimes we can't. But I always try, first. Gullible? Maybe. But determined to spread Love and sincerity and wide-open humiliating heart-sharing wherever I can. Because we need it. I've wanted to rebuild the world in Love since high school. Finally, all these years later, it feels like the world is catching up. Or...I'd just been in the wrong places and didn't see or feel it. Environment.
Many think that being spiritual, is being religious. Believing in a God-head, following a set of rituals, and all the rest. Not so. True spirituality is found in our humanity. In compassion, kindness, altruism, loving attention, forgiveness. Seeing the best in people and urging them on. Planting seeds of hope and encouragement, to combat the negativity that surrounds us. Choosing to hold the torch...the lamp... beside the golden door. To illuminate the path. To support, without harm. To acknowledge, to appreciate. To understand. And this is huge. I think one thing that an anxious, deep-thinking mind craves, more than anything, is understanding. That moment of: I see you, I get you, you're not nuts, I think that stuff too. Lots of people do. You're not alone, in there. There is a huge clan of us that see the world differently and take in the world in different ways. We're all weird and squirrely. And we're all in it together. <3
Lost in my adolescent past
The gift of a second glance
Days of impetuous, unbridled Now
Undertow, letting go, holding on, reaching for Bliss
Rose petals and mystery and magic in the mist
Galaxies collide, collapsing into the
grand symphony of a brand new whole
pulsating, undulating, reborn as One
Each dying into the other
Separate from the rest
Shining, apart, its own work of Art
Yes, yes, I remember, I know
I can remember, Spring's taste still sweet upon my lips
Then, Summer's sweet effervescent kiss
The allure, the torture, the pull and twist
Such a cosmic, scintillating glow
When two worlds combine
and no one else has to know
But time and experience have taught this little girl
that I'm the only one who can design my Life, My Love, my Heart ...
This woman, here now, is not that little girl
Pain changes people and I live in a different world
But the question hangs heavy in the air
Can prying open Love's box lead to Joy and not despair?
Can we recall Spring and dance eternally in Summer's Sun?
One never knows, so we call in Faith and Chance
and we Trust in the Moon and we wait
And we wait
And we writhe
And we wait
For a sign, for a clue, for a hint that it's safe
But Love's raw gaze is never safe!
It's a raging ocean and a tranquil sea
It's holding space for a You while honoring Me
It's a dizzying dance on the edge of a razor sharp knife
And then if we fell...
If we fell
Extreme love, ripped out hearts
Bent and broken into splinters and shards
Recreated again and again, as the Sun and the Moon in the sky that we drink into our very bones and skin every night!
And we breathe, into knowing
These glimpses of perfection that are gone too soon
Because to Live is to feel, to Love, to risk, and to bleed
But Now, but here and Now
Growing into wholeness, this womanhood, this thoroughly scarred and
It's a want, not a need, I am already all I desire to Be
All the while, holding fast to my hopes and Spring-time dreams
that are also Me, yes, these are also Me,
as sure as the Sun, the Sky, the Birds, the Trees
An awakened woman will dance only with those
who can heal on their own, in the way she has learned:
painfully, slowly, deliberately, energetically
We must hear our own heart-songs, first,
before we attempt to make music together
Despite our hunger, despite our thirst
So, I'm finally getting around to telling this story:
Her name is Ilana Limoni. She's a local library patron, a sweet soul, and a woman with a lifetime of stories and...art. If you Google her name you might find some blogs about her needlework. She's devoted endless hours to scripture (The Torah) and to visualizing and creating her masterpieces, which are wall-panel sized creations of epic scope.
She showed us (a co-worker and I) to the table where she prepared lunch: a simple German potato salad, with peas, pickles (yum), eggs...it was delicious and light. Served on romaine leaves with cherry tomatoes. Lovely.
Later, she showed us around. At first, the jaded control freak inside me started to rumble..."we have to get back to work, we punch a time clock!" Raaaaa... shush, I said to myself. Surrender...
The more we gazed, the more transfixed I became. She showed us her easel, her worktable, where she conceptualized each piece, the images, the Hebrew characters that would tell the stories that she wanted to convey. So many of the epic parables that we grew up with in the West, these grand and lasting stories: the stone tablets, Moses parting the Red Sea and the Exodus...the detail was impeccable and her devotion was touching and astounding. This woman is a true artist. A slow, deliberate, meticulous, and deeply inspired artist. A master at her craft. Some of these pieces should be in a museum of some kind.
In the other rooms, were some non-religious pieces. She offered some of her pieces to my co-worker and I. (I should mention that we help her get books and have known this woman for quite some time, there's a friendship here. It's not normal for us to visit the homes of our patrons.) Anyway. I saw this piece, the one pictured above, and I was smitten. Drawn in. Women and changing seasons? Um....yes, please. Oh my Goddess! Me, up and down. I loved it and I was grateful to accept it. It will hang in my bedroom.
The experience blew me away. Here was a woman that I spoke to on the phone, she asked after my son, often gave generous gifts on his behalf...and behind closed doors...she is this artist. I was blown away.
How often...do we take people for granted? Not knowing what happens in their daily lives, what and who they are, in their private time. What might they truly think and ponder, what might they be creating. What gifts lay hidden, beneath the surface.
"See the Light in others, and treat them as if that's all you see..." - Wayne Dyer
I always say that each of us has some special gift, maybe more than one, if we're truly blessed. And something happens. If we're not raised in an environment that supports free expression and exploration of the Self, we often stuff these gifts down, where they become hidden. Pushed and shoved into a box, smaller and smaller until they're barely noticeable. Because sometimes, it just hurts too much to feel the desire to create and the inner knowing of more, with no freedom to pursue such things. So, we get into school and we're expected to conform. To fit. To quiet our inner impulses to see the world differently and spit it back out; digested and reformed into the way that we see it and understand it. We're dissuaded from a path that might foster growth and the celebration of our gifts and creativity by those who were wrapped in their own fears and ideas of Life. And so another cycle continues...go to school, memorize facts, don't question anyone, and then get out and exhaust yourself making money for someone else, savoring the weekends, longing for those getaways. And becoming dependent on a cyclic system that keeps us in one place. Work, eat, sleep, spend. Etc...
And in the "rat race" as they call it, in this blind stupor, this routine, that we've become accustomed to living in, day in and day out...we lose that...spark. That thing, that tingle that sets us on fire, from within. That thing that connects us, so deeply, to something bigger, something vast, something unseen and magical and powerful and passionate. That thing that makes our eyes open just a bit wider and the hairs on our necks stand up. That makes our heart beat just a bit faster, at the idea of being able to pour ourselves into it, uninterrupted. That thing that pulses, deep, deep inside, and we just know that others are waiting for it, that only we can shape it in our particular way, and share it. The thing that we can lose ourselves in, lose time in, and find ourselves in after a matter of deconstruction. Our...art. And it doesn't have to be visual art. I'm talking about song, dance, sculpture, writing, poetry, painting, speaking, film, photography...needlework. Anything, really. Anyone who can imagine a thing and pull that idea from the ether and manifest it, into physical form, in the present....is an artist. A creator. A force of all that is natural and vital and primal and pure.
Because at our core, beneath the busyness and struggle and complaint and rushing back and forth, beneath the bills and obligations and appointments and people-pleasing and noise...we are creators. Way back, before industrialization, before becoming so "civilized," human beings had a psycho-spiritual connection with their home...our planet. And we celebrated the Sun and Moon, the tides, the stars...oh, the stars. The Gods, in the Heavens. The elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth...plus, the all-encompassing Spirit, the energy that holds us all together ...made up all that is Life.
"Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else." - Leonardo DaVinci
We are amazing creatures simmering with all sorts of potential to feel, hear, and see our world and everything, everyone in it...with the eyes of God, with the eyes of Creation, itself. It's already within us, sometimes deep, so deep, that we forget. Sometimes it takes a shaking, of sorts, a vigorous change of perspective, a world flipped upside down...in order to find that spark. An awakening. A reckoning, a moment of realization, that yes! Yes! There is more, I am more!
You are. We are. All of us. And being there, sitting with people, and living in a way that encourages them to explore, within, and look for that spark? Is becoming a life's quest and purpose for me, in and of itself.
I remember when driving back from my failed Boston adventure with my father (the historian), and the epic conversations we had. Remembering...as a species...how much we've created. In the history of the human being. Look around you. At anything. At the device in your hands, right now. Once upon a time? Sand, maybe.
Imagine a world, raw and vast and teeming with unimaginable dangers and beauty at every turn. Unexplored. Brand new. Raw materials, only. Earth. Water. Air. Fire. Fire meant heat. Heat could alchemize and transform things. We could melt things, cook things, change things at a molecular level. Imagine having to take sand, mud, water...and create all the synthetics and materials that you'd need to build an iPhone. With a microchip, to make it work. And an unbreakable rumble-cover. And the cute little decals on the back. Could you possibly fathom how to do that? With a handful of dirt? No. Unlikely. We're too far removed from our innate capacity to create new things out of raw materials and inspired ideas.
We're too busy. Buried beneath sound, clutter, routines, and obligations. We've forgotten who we really are.
I don't expect anyone to duck out of society and abandon everything that they know and love, to go live a la Lennie and George, "off the fat of the land." But I will say, that carving out time to hear ourselves? To allow new ideas and inspiration to bubble forth? To allow time for crafting, creating, inventing, theorizing...creating time, for the New? Is life-changing. Even the thought. Even entertaining and holding that thought, "I will create time alone, and allow my Self...to take the floor. I will spend time with just me, for me. And see what happens." Just in that declaration, you are making a choice. And that choice creates a ripple that tells the rest of You, that this is important. And all the little beings and systems and ideas and energy that make up You...begin to get to work, in creating that time for you. Sometimes, even that, just making Time...is a first step. And it's huge.
And it's absolutely worth taking. You are worth that time. And i'm sure, I know, that beneath everything that you believe about who you must be and how you must show up, there is a magic within you that wants to express something. Something that no one else, not one of us, can. Not how you can, because it's yours. Alone. And the more we let it out, the more rises up, and wants out...too. Choosing to honor your creativity sets a new standard for how You do You. It builds momentum. And you get to step out there on that ledge, over and again, a new journey, each time.
More and more alive, each time. Until that nearly damp still smoldering ember becomes a burning flame, that can light up all of humanity, eventually. I believe this. I believe it truly is contagious. And I believe we are underway, toward a new way of being in this world. Awakened, alight, alive, inspired, compassionate, honest. Toward a collective good, an evolving populace, that will raise up all of us, into a thriving future. Not an unbalanced utopia, but a balanced and healthy world, that represents the best of all of our divergent ideas. Brought together, for a greater good, that serves all of humanity.
Big dreams, yes.
Where clean waters have the freedom to flow and nourish, wherever they meander. With towering, cleansing trees and greens and lush forests, to filter and heal our outdoor spaces. With restored and nourished soil, that grows vibrant living food, in a way that makes sense, for all of us. For all of us. It's a huge planet. There is enough. If we can start to shift how we live on it. And these are the waves that we see, toward focus of the Self. Energy imprint, healthy lifestyles, knowledge of Self and less co-dependence, compassion, caring, and a desire to serve in some way. A longing, a deep-seated need to uplift for the greater good. And it's loaded, for sure. Because we are so divided, with the remnants of old ideas that don't serve anymore. Not where we're going.
It's epic, really.
There is me. And then my family. Friends. Community. Town, State. And somehow...we've all jumped to a worldview, a global village. While countries deteriorate and fight, within. Something is missing. We need to focus on our countries, so that each limb of this current working (?) surface-built system called Life on Earth can flourish and heal, even as we heal, underneath all of that. Healing in the physical, in real-time, at the country level, and then participating, together, at a global level, will help usher in a healthy and sustainable global village faster than depending on individuals, even working collaboratively. We must all work on multiple levels, not just in energy, not just on the ground. It's both. Together. The connective energetic tissue and the physical manifestations that lead us in body and daily living. It's both.
Just my thoughts, of course. But I do know that it's all connected. We don't get to skip things because they're hard. The hard is where the work is. it is my wish to work toward rehabilitating and uplifting the American Dream, in a way that is reverent and respectful, of this land's first people. I don't think we did it right the first time. I think our current leadership is a huge wake-up call to get our shit together. To restore the values, ideals, freedoms, creative pursuits and inventions...that came with a New Frontier. This land is great one, for many reasons. Regardless of who is in charge, I LOVE this country. I love the initial idea of it: a land free of persecution, where new and emerging ideas could flourish. The United States of America, was in and of itself, an idea, brought into being my rebels and visionary thinkers. Bells ringing? And it's still a good one, if we could fix what we broke when we first got started. And we broke a lot of stuff, we stole from people, we hurt people. We just did it wrong. All around. I just want us to do our part, in trying to get it right. For our children's children. And our planet. That's all. No biggie, really. <3
It's been just about two years. Since it all went upside-down. Meaning, life changed, in a big way. My marriage didn't work, we were new parents already dealing with so much. And there is...a lot... that goes on when major life-changes like this happen. For sure.
It can be very traumatic, even when things end rather amicably. It can induce severe stress. Body systems, hormones, all sorts of things can go offline and misfire and wreak absolute havoc on the nervous system. On every system.
It can be absolutely maddening, even when it's "easy." (PS, it never is, it's always a last choice.)
But here's what I want to, perhaps need to, press on. Someone, somewhere, some little boy, much like mine, needs to hear this.
Mommy is okay. Your Mom is the strongest person that you've ever met. You know, I came from a home where my parents split, in the 8th grade, my sister in 4th, my brother a year older than me. But here's the thing...just open your mind, and try to hear this, regardless of where you're at:
I know families where they stayed together. For too long. And fought, and argued, and fell apart and raised children in an environment that stunted them, when they got older. Do you know why? Because their models of love were broken. They grew up and thought love meant pain. They thought love meant abuse and depravity and bad decision making and slow endurance of heartache, until death. They thought love meant suffering and stifling dreams...but together. This is very damaging to the childhood psyche, even if well-intentioned. It affects all of their later relationships and only spreads more suffering to those that they meet.
Now, consider the flip-side.
My parents split, yes. I was an adolescent, yes. It was rough for a time, but...but...
Soon thereafter, my mother met someone new. A man who saw her differently, treated her in the way that was...closer to what she needed. So, I have been blessed with knowing what love looks like, what spontaneous romantic dancing on the deck looks like, what intrinsically knowing the other looks like, and what ... suffering looks like. Growing up in a stoic household, with miserable parents who no longer love each other...is a fate worse than living through divorce. Ideals get twisted, and these kids grow up and look for the wrong things, they look for silent suffering and sacrifice, they pick up harmful addictions, they seek more and more pain...rather than a joyful, rocky, but adventurous exploration of love, compassion, sharing, growth.
So, I guess my point is this: Mom is fine. Dad is fine. We all move on, and then put all that love into the children, and heal...perhaps on the lookout for what may be someone, somewhere, closer to the love that we really needed. And maybe we just weren't ready for that big Love, the first time around. Divorce isn't always tragic, and sometimes staying together for the wrong reasons...is tragic, as well.
It's hard for boys to see their Moms "alone." I hear it a lot and people warn me about the psychology of it. A growing boy, feeling as though...he has to step it up, be the 'man of the house,' and take care of his Mama. it's touching, but not necessary. I'm lucky though, I co-parent. 50/50. My son has equal access and time with both of us. He has his Daddy, and he has me, we just aren't romantically involved and don't live together anymore. And we're getting good at it, I think. Our son is thriving with the situation, all things considered. He's got a great support system and he's surrounded with love all over the place.
Sweet, sweet boy, as you grow, know that Mom is okay. She's probably the strongest woman you've ever met and you'll never, ever know what she went through, what she held together, what she fought through, deep inside...for you. To be okay...for you. Because you are her heart, always inside, even when you're apart. You grew inside of her, her ribs and organs moved to accommodate your growing body. You're never apart, really. That's how Moms work. It's an unconditional thing, it's just built in. At least it should be, I know it doesn't always work that way, and that truly breaks my heart.
But all she really wants? Is for you to forgive yourself for something that had nothing to do with you. Nothing at all. She never needed saving, she was saving herself already...for you. Going to battle, inside, facing demons, slaying dragons, finding her strength, her resolve, her best...for you. To provide you with a safer and more loving space within which to thrive and grow and learn to love in a more healthy way. She wanted better and more open and healthy relationships...for YOU. She went to the mattresses, healing herself, to provide you with a healthy foundation.
I'll make sure my boy knows, as he grows, that he is immeasurably loved. On both sides of his family. That he is surely treasured, but is not above anyone else. That he is appreciated when he is thoughtful and kind and helpful, and will be taught to honor and respect women and their opinions, but not be expected to be a stand-in, ever. That he will one day, be his own man. Strong and sturdy in his own confidence, from having faced his own battles within, as do any of us. As do any of us. It's the human condition. We can't shelter and save our children from their wounds, just as sure as our parents couldn't shield us. They did their best. I'm doing my best. He'll do his best. That's it, that's life. Do good work, have lots of fun, take chances, use your vacation days, and love over and over again.
If I could fast-forward...to his questioning years, when he looks back and digs into his own childhood, as I've been doing...for me... I want to tell him...
None of this is your fault. You were an amazing, bright-eyed little boy, who only wanted to explore. You chased butterflies through grass, you blew bubbles into the wind, you marveled at the sky, you rubbed Buddha's belly, and all with a smile and joy for life. You dreamed and imagined and wished you could take flight, right there, with a blanket tied around your shoulders. You wanted to be a superhero, you wanted to save everyone, everything. And one day, in your way...you will. Not with tricks and illusions, but with your heart. With your sincerity. With your courage and big ideas. With your problem solving and big thinking. With your measured and thought-out actions. With your willingness to face your troubles, head on, and see them through to the other side. And your ability to make people smile and laugh and not take themselves so seriously. You were a goofball, a troublemaker, and you loved, loved, loved your hugs, even if you started smushing Mommy's face away when she kissed you too much. You saw a beautiful, magical world, and even then, you took up your plastic bat as a sword and beat away invisible bats to protect your Mommy. Not because you are born to fight, but because you are born to LOVE. To love and protect is in you, but so is joy and wonder and exploration. Trust both, honor both. Find your sacred middle, dear one. It's there.
You can do absolutely anything in this world, if you set your mind right, if you practice and work at it, and if you treat people well, as you go. Your people are your currency. if they don't give you good feedback, then you retreat and figure it out, until they do. People, other human beings, are your gauge. Not money, not wealth, not fame. Financial security is important, to a point. But it's humanity that will steer you to true success. They are your brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, friends and co-workers... human beings are your family, and they come in all shapes and sizes, ethnic backgrounds, they speak all different languages, and they wear all sorts of different clothes. And we're all in it together. See? We're all trying to figure it out. Make good friends, that you trust, and keep them. Friendships are important, family is important. Always honor and appreciate them, and remind them often, that you care.
Let them reflect you back to yourself, and dear one, pay attention. Stay humble, but be proud of the capable, dazzling, interesting, loving, powerful man that you've become and are always becoming. You are a miracle. I know, I made you in my body, I know what it took to bring you here. You can do anything, you can love anyone, you can help to transform this world into what you've always dreamed it might be. You can fly to the moon, maybe! Yes...you can. And you will, if you want it enough. If you're kind, if you're honest, and if you stay the course and do the work. Learn how to focus and hone your attention into your skills and passions, while balancing your time with honoring your heart, your relationships, your body, and your own inner peace.
Life is juggling act, it's all about balancing things out. You can have it all, but not all at once. Make time for what moves you, inspires you, heals you, soothes you, invigorates you, pushes you closer to what your want. Honor those people and experiences. Spend less time, or no time, on that which diminishes you, belittles you, takes advantage of or berates you, or takes for granted your beautiful, sensitive heart. Don't let the world turn you cruel, but build boundaries and guideposts for yourself. Know who to steer away from and who to let in. This discernment comes with practice and experimentation, and probably lots of heartache...as you learn. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil. We have to get hurt to know what we don't want. Not everyone understands a heart like yours, be alert, and patient, but stay open. And love, always love, this is what your special heart was born to do This is why you feel so much. And it grows back, every time, even when it feels like it won't...it's never really gone, I promise. This Love is your superpower! Because this Love, it's everywhere, in everything. It's in you. It's in me, when I lay down to sleep and visualize wonderful things for you. And you'll make mistakes. You'll say stupid things and regret them. You'll make a fool of yourself and feel awkward. You'll trust and get hurt. You'll trust and find love. You try things and fail, you'll try things and succeed. You'll do all of these things, and it would be a lonely and quiet life if you didn't.
The world is full of beautiful and magical things, just awaiting your keen attention and time. You'll be just fine, I know you will. You've got a kick-ass Mama who's walked through fire and back. Of course you'll be fine. Once you understand...that she is fine, too. And that she loves you, and your time, and your attention...but she doesn't need to be rescued. You'll need to focus on you. That's all she wants. Is for her boy to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted, confident, and to feel so, so loved. To be the kind of man that follows kind words with sincere and true deeds. That handles his inner troubles and expresses them in a healthy way that doesn't hurt others. That loves his life and always chooses the bright side, but also knows how to empathize with his fellow human beings. You've got a whole world out there, waiting for you. And you deserve it, you really deserve all the good things that are out there. Stay kind, keep humble, reflect and be proud, and keep dreaming and falling and dreaming again. This is how to make a great, fulfilling life. Kindness, compassion, adventure, and tranquility. And love. Always with Love in your beautiful heart, amore. Ti amo, mio Principe, per sempre. <3
***Big props to all the single Moms, divorced Moms, widowed Moms, who had to learn how to saddle up with a tool-belt and put down the tiaras (let's be honest, we never really got to wear them...) and learn how to spackle walls, lift heavy things, hang TVS, drill holes, pack and unpack, settle accounts, open new accounts, inspect wiring, fix ceiling tiles, unclog pipes, call in support, get the right help, hang and unhang curtains, de-stain bathroom tile, remove scary insects, relocate rogue birds, fix baby's boo-boos, fix their own boo-boos, put their babies' first, not gain 1,000 pounds, not give up... and then showing up, getting to work, getting healthy, staying sane, fighting through hell, keeping our wits, keeping our friends, keeping our GOALS... all while putting on a happy, smiling face...ever-grateful for those minutes with those precious, little angels that make it all worth it. Ladies, I salute you. I honor you. I deep bow to you. You're fucking badass, and we're all in this together. My sisters. We got this.
And to the men who get it and don't choose to exploit these women at their weakest: you are treasures and are appreciated. Life will reward you in due time, for your thoughtfulness, caring, genuine concern, and far-reaching, endless altruism. You are the ones who remind us of goodness, trustworthiness, and it keeps us going.
And...breathe...goodnight. My Loves. xo
I woke up this morning still sleepy, having stayed up too late writing, as I do sometimes.
I would've slept later, but in remembering a dentist appointment that I had, I did my thing and rushed out the door. I had "cleaning, 10 am," in my planner. I was ushered right in, no problem. I sat down.
"So, you're here for a filling..."
Gulp. Uh, no...? "No, I'm not, I'm getting a cleaning, I thought it was a cleaning." I'm prepared for a cleaning!
"No, it's a filling. You had a cleaning last month."
Gulp again. The mind, the mind...the inner dialogue beings...
I'm not prepared. I'm not ready for this, I was counting on it being something else. This isn't what I thought, what is happening? This is all silently, mind you. On the outside, was, "hey, whatever, I knew I made an appointment for sumthin, haha...no worries..." Inner turmoil continues. Novocain. Jaw tightness. Pressure, drilling, numbness, not being able to eat... I haven't even had coffee yet!? Shut up brain, shut up.
And so it went for a minute or so, until the dentist and assistant started their weird conversation about Tiger Woods and all kinds of other weirdness. It began with a chat about Father's Day, and how my Pops likes to zone out in his chair and just watch the Open. All day. Golf, golf, golf. Then we went into Tiger. And behavior, and addiction, and cheating, and Hollywood and affairs, and the otherworldliness that celebrity-lifestyle can bring. It was starting to circle the drain for a bit, but the conversation shifted, quickly. In every conversation, every interaction, there will be whisper of deep truth, almost as if from the universe to you...if you listen. You have to wait for it, listen for it, but always something poignant and meaningful and worthy of exploration will pop out. And it's usually accompanied by a momentary shift in perspective. That rare glimpse when we jump into another's shoes.
Doc said, "although, I can't imagine...being so much the center of attention, not knowing what people truly want you for. For the fame, the connections, the money, the places they can take you... or are they being loved for who they truly are, the person beneath the image?"
Wow...right? Deep thoughts on the dentist chair, while the novocain set in. I can't imagine the challenges in identity, and how important it must be to stay grounded, and know who you are, who you can trust. I'm not excusing Tiger Woods' behavior, for even a minute, but rather...appreciating the environment in which celebrities and phenoms live. Life under a lens. I can mosey in and out of a movie theater, no problem, no one cares. If I were Tiger? Nope. Spotted, chased, hunted, reported on, judged, scrutinized. It must be quite a challenge today, taking the celebrity route. I can imagine it would be quite lonely, at times. Here's me! (Not really though, that's my image...) So the real person is tucked away and saved for friends, family, trusted folks. It's a kind of schizophrenia, it seems, if you've got to be on or off in different environments, am I me, or the real me? Goodness. It can't be easy.
But this is changing a little. I feel that as humans, regardless of celebrity status, wealth, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs...that we are all learning to respect, understand, and know each other, moving ahead with kindness and compassion in our hearts, and speaking our truths, with reverence. Balancing rationality and emotion. Nurturing wholeness and authenticity. Healing together, as a world, as a people. Wave by wave. Ripple by ripple. I can absolutely tell you that it's a real thing that is happening. A transformation in the way we communicate, feel, empathize. I'm awed to able to witness and experience it. What a magical moment to get to live in.
So, back to the chair. The conversation got lighter, we cracked some jokes, and we laughed. And in that moment, letting the experience be what it was, rather than what I planned for, I released the anxiety about it. This is what they talk about, when they say, surrender. Giving over to what is. In doing so, the thoughts swirling around in our heads...just poof! Evaporate. As we step into the new moment, fully.
So, in a world full of unknowns, often uncontrollable circumstances, and all the rest...can we... truly prepare for experience? We can make plans, we can rehearse, we can idealize, we can imagine...but really, it's only in the showing up and surrendering to the moment, letting it be what it is, that we get to be fully present in any experience, leaving expectations at the door. It's those tendencies to revert back inside, into the mind, to analyze, mull over, calculate, emote frustration...and repeat, cycling over and over in receptive haze, until we work ourselves into just...wretchedness. This is where we hide from realities. Instead of simply...opening our eyes, diving into the moment, accepting what it is, and living in it.
Hello lovers, searchers, fighters, hiders, seekers, friends...readers:
I may ramble a bit, today. Here's why. In the vein of "keeping up with writing," I'd been doing Morning Pages, a la Julia Cameron. And it's great. Gets the funk out, clears the pipes, information and inspiration flow through much more easily. In high school, I called it journaling, in a trendy lil notebook with lots of doodles and NKOTB and Bob Marley lyrics and puffy unicorn and/or faerie stickers. In my twenties and beyond...I mean they started AOL dial-up in homes just as I graduated high school! Imagine??? Yes kids, you'd have to leave the room to upload that new pic of your crush, because it took like a half-hour...pixel by ever-creeping pixel...so my output became blogging: my out-loud, crossing the void, searching for souls, diary...of sorts. "Is anyone out there?" And I'd wait. And even then, I made new friends in the ether, over the internet, mind to mind. Soul to soul, as I saw it. What a fascinating new medium this was...how...magical. Ones and zeroes harnessed and sent in packages at a time through the air itself to form images, sounds, where they touched down...OH! ... I was hooked. Wow.
I'm an adult now. A Mom. A known and recognizable member of the community that I love and live in. A public servant, to boot. So, I find myself...filtering. How much do we put out there? Be authentic, but not that authentic. Write to bleed! But not that much. Keep your juiciest bits, and write what suits your "image."
What a bunch of bullshit. Sorry. I can't keep up falsehoods for long. Not a bit. It's just not me. I'm all out there, as many of you know. Hell or high-water, as they say.
So, as a wanderer, absorber, seeker, explorer, a new soul, as it were...with old soul tendencies... I've come back to what comes naturally for me. Instead of maintaining: morning pages PLUS sculpted, careful blog entries PLUS the work in progress or two PLUS a day job, a child, laundry, and adventures... well, I am consolidating. Because efficiency. And sleep. And well-being. And priorities.
To keep in practice with blogging, I am keeping it real. Morning pages became anytime pages which have become my blog. Again. Funny how that works...I guess I just have my ways of doing things, and as much as I try to obey the self-help books, sages, gurus, teachers, and all the rest...I just have to do what works for me. That's it. (The wind just blew over the mouth-hole of my Shakeology cup and made music.) :) So cool.
"The Earth has music for those who listen..." - Wilmot Hyde Bradley
Speaking of science...this was strange.
I was driving around today, getting things done. I made more than one stop at Starbucks, that kind of day. Fully caffeinated, here.
So, I've be reintroduced to Michael Franti, a favorite from back in the day. Just a great beach vibe. So, I'm doing my little car-concert, bouncing along to this tune...and I maneuver to put the top windows up, because: too windy, eating hair. A/C on. Windows up, and it's like I went through a wormhole... "this one is much more violent!" The car shook, the pressure was unequal, my ears were popping... WHAT THE FUCK? Had I driven through a space-time ripple? Was I in the Nexus, a la Star Trek Generations? And if so, what time had I landed in? No such luck, it was way more simple...
I turned around and low and behold, one window in the backseat was still down. What actually happened there? Why would one window down, in a car driving 55 mph, cause such violent weather inside? I didn't know. So, I let Franti sing to me some more. He knows one thing: he loves me, he loves me, he loves me. And we sang a diddy together on St. Thomas, in my mind, for 5 nanoseconds. I got to shake the sand-shaker. I was good, you guys. Right on. So. Window forgotten, temporal energy ribbon or not.
And then Starbucks happened: Now, my new drink, since Iced Caramel Macchiatos are about 4,000 grams of sugar, and I'm trying to curb sugar intake, is a doppio over ice with a smidge of coconut milk. Yum. I've found that I love strong coffee, or espresso, I don't even add sweetener. Because I am so badass. So good, though. And it's half the price of the fancy, sugary, syrupy stuff. So. Win. But here's what happened...I felt deep guilt about the plastic. I didn't bring my travel cup. So, at Starbucks the Sequel, I handed over my slurped-on-lipstick-strawed-used plastic cup from before, and asked for another doppio, please. I got a look. Yeah... one of THOSE looks. The no-she-didn't look. I did, I really did, though. It's called reusing and it's good. Try it. Punks. Anyway...he carefully handled it like the test-tubes in the infectious disease labs. I imagined him in a yellow Hazmat suit with the weird breathing apparatus, like in Outbreak. DON'T RIP THE SUIT! You don't know what's in that cup!
So, I got my drink, and all went well, but the way it creeped these kids out, was funny to me. The credit card machine that they handle every single day, the cash that exchanges hands, the air they breathe, the pump at the last gas station... all of these things that they touch, daily, sometimes...have WAY MORE GERM POTENTIAL than my lil old cup. I'm just me. My mouth, that straw, that's it. One universe of germs there, manageable. And I'm pretty healthy, I eat sauerkraut and drink kombucha, so. I mean...yeah. You know what I'm saying.
I might be the nosiest person I know. I can't not observe, when I go places. When I do anything, really. How does this work, who are these people, what are they saying, what do we have in common, what do we not, why are they behaving like that? Why am I? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
And then music. And words. And music and words and words and music. And Gaia.
With fully opened eyes and mind, the realities we face, daily, can be overwhelming. We all need our anchors and grounding methods. Sometimes Life is terrifying, sometimes, manageable. Sometimes we get beyond fear, to that place where it becomes utter magnificence and effortless Bliss. Yes...that. Oh, that. We LOVE that. Let's just always be THAT! Ah.... (mental vacation to the beach...) But, the truth remains, that potentialities can be paralyzing, too, EVEN WHEN THEY'RE GOOD! What is that? Why, humans, why, do we do this? Why do we shield ourselves from those things which enliven us most? It all boils down to two things, with every experience in Life. As I was reminded, by a mind body coach friend, during our epic girl-talk sesh on the beach, recently: I am not enough... vs... I am enough.
"You are a ghost driving a meat covered skeleton made of stardust riding a rock floating through space." Right? So what are we all so afraid of? Yet, we are. Fear exists, it's real, it's genetically encoded in our cellular and energetic memory, although our threats have diminished, greatly. Is that right? Am I reading that right? No lions and arrows flying at us as we scavenge for berries and wash in the river basin. Got it.
Still. I don't think we "get over" fear. Waiting for it to leave, to transcend it, to arrive above and beyond it, through whatever self-help scenarios that we try...I just don't think that's how it works. I think our psyches are far too stubborn and like to hold on to what they "know." We thrive and learn experientially. Our animal selves have to look at it. See it, up close. Study it, flip it over, move it about with our big toe for a while. Check in with our counterparts... "looks okay, right? I don't think this will eat or dismember me, do you?"
Fear is right to keep. And we still need it, because there are still harmful and violent forces out there. And maintaining a good, reasonable radar, is just smart. I am all for adventure, but I won't tape cash to my naked body and stroll through Central Park at midnight. Because that's not brave, it's idiotic. Most of the irrational fears that plague us, as a society, these days...most...are fear of emotional experience. Fear of feelings. Yes, it's true. I can't because... I'll be scared. I'll be timid. I'll screw up. I'll say something dumb, and get embarrassed. I'll do it wrong, and then I'll be sad. I'll get rejected, and then I'll be sad. "They're all gonna laugh at you," like in the Adam Sandler skit. Fear of feelings, fear of...not being enough.
You guys...Life happens, and not every path leads to eternal Bliss, but sometimes they do. Sometimes it's for a long time, sometimes, it's a whisper in the breeze and it's gone. Whether it's a job, a relationship, a romance, a friendship... That's reality. But I promise you. I promise you, whatever it is, you are enough to engage in new experiences. And you are enough to recover and keep going if it's a mistake, and you are enough to let your heart open more, and keep going if it's intriguing and worth it.
You are enough. We all are. Take chances. Live. Experience. Wonder. All of that. Life is short. So am I...but it doesn't stop me from living my Life. Ha. Off to write some wild horses into a corral... such a beautiful day here. Sunny, warm, yet breezy. Ah...just blissful.
Ciao for now. xoxo
So I am "on vacation..." away from it all, on location. A writer's retreat, an artist's date. Right on the southwestern tip of Florida, dancing in the gulf. Paradise.
Ongoing conversation this weekend, originally inspired by exotic meat on a stick. But applies... to... ya know. Everything:
Me: what is this?
Life: try it. do you like it?
Me: I love everything about it, I love how I feel right now, I love being ABLE to FEEL right now. I love BEING so ALIVE right now. Free, yet tethered to some current of magical unknown-ness yet connectedness. But what is it? What are the ingredients? How can I repeat this?
And so it goes...takeaway? Sometimes we need to not think and extrapolate. Sometimes... we just plug into it, whatever IT is, and we charge up there. Resonate there. Shine, glow, learn and unlearn there. Love there, as long as we can. An environment of Bliss in which to explore the reflection of ourselves so deeply, that we nearly melt into the mirror, examining likeness. The sublime surrender of particles melding with particles, into new ways and understandings of beingness. Because the YOU then and the YOU now are different, thanks to one subtle, yet powerful change in input.
Unclenching those curled up fingers, that are squeezing that elusive control and need to know things.
Sometimes, yeah. It's about Being, experiencing, and celebrating.
I'M IN LOVE!
Life itself. And isn't that... isn't that why we're here?
So I'm at the airport, which already feels like I've stepped into Back to the Future 2: I haven't flown in a while. I had to sit at a table and order my breakfast on a tablet... luckily a sweet-faced young woman was here to walk me through robot-land here. It feels truly bizarre. We can't order through people anymore? Visions of Minority Report and Fifth Element are flashing through my head. Holograms traveling through the air, every inch of airspace congested with information and data. We are on that precipice...how much does tech encroach upon our lives, our work, our interactions? Where is the line? And are we mature enough, responsible enough, for all of the implications? Big questions for 6 am. :yawns:
So. I've been reflecting. Looking over my Life, thinking about Paris, climate, countries, states... all of it. It's all one organism. How often we forget. We...are all one giant system made of a gazillion sub-systems. But again, too heavy for 6 am. Haven't had enough coffee yet. But... work. People. Work and people. With people. For people...
The field of public service can be brutal, in many ways. There are a plethora of things to complain about, for sure. And we do, sometimes. We all have days and we are quite human and have our own lives, as does anyone else.
But sometimes, I get to see "my kids" come back. Teachers and counselors and public librarians are so lucky in this way, almost like a parent: that we get to be there for certain growing periods of a child's life, when they are earnest and studious, and then rebellious and snarky, or they're bullied or they're being the bully ... or they're triumphant, or questioning, or confused and lost ... and on and on. Oh, to see a child in their innocence through to their formative adolescence, and then...years later... to see them return. The great return, a bit like birds flying back home to the nest.
And this doe-eyed child is now a young adult. Perhaps they've finished college, or they've found a trade or a passion in something outside of academia. They speak eloquently, respectfully, they are kind and make eye contact. They read. They think. And they engage in their world. They strive for earnest success. They have...evolved. Grown. Matured. And in that moment that youth flashes before your eyes, and the gratitude... the deep, deep humbling bow to even being able to effect the life of another in such a way... just erases the rest of it. The politics, the petty issues, the whatever-it-is that doesn't make sense in the given workplace, and there's always something.
But those moments, those precious, awe-filled moments, are irreplaceable and graceful reminders: I am here to serve. These are my people; this is my community. And I get to participate in their lives in such a powerful way. What beauty in that.
And to any and all teens reading this: stay the course. People will hurt you, belittle you, tease you, misunderstand you, be jealous, be uncaring. Just as much as your friends can be supportive, lifting, caring, loving, and will commiserate with you at a moment's notice. High school isn't forever. If you're one of those wandering souls, mind alight with fascinations and stories and bewilderment, just stay the course. Make it through, and the world will open. You will meet other people who see and feel the world in the same ways, and you'll connect with them. And you'll learn and grow and and look back on these days ... as a training ground. Stay the course. You're worth it, and there's a whole world of people, beyond the present circumstance, who really do support you and believe in you. xoxo