"Soft music at night, pulling us into slumber, singing us to sleep." ~ Tyler Knott Gregson
"Music is the space between the notes." ~ Claude Debussy
The space between. The stillness. Why is it that sometimes this is the most uncomfortable place to be? The space where there is nothing to actually do. Why is sitting the hardest? What is it about stillness, that is so terrifying? Why is the surrender to life, the choice I must choose to make each day? The choice. Love or fear. Moment by moment. trust.
We know what to do when there’s something to be done. Our socially constructed and imposed beliefs that we will never be good enough. Unless. More. Consumerism seeps from our veins and in the world of illusion we’ve bought what they’re selling. all. of. it. We know how to struggle. we were born to struggle, right alongside Lady Liberty, for the American Dream we’ve all been promised.
What is Love? My mind is running away with me.
Why is that we only talk about the good parts, the highlight reels of our lives and act as though that’s what’s really happening? Look around you, the world is riddled with pain. Do we care? We should.
It's curious. We want to be known and yet we hide the depths of our soul, our realness, for fear it's unsightly. We run full speed in the opposite direction when faced with something real. Honest. Challenging.
"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness." ~ Maya Angelou
I seek refuge in the peace of the stillness of my own soul because I know what’s there. I’ve reached the edge of my own darkness and stumbled in. The dichotomy. The power of being alone and knowing yourself but also knowing you can never truly know yourself without another. It is. In the mirroring between souls that we uncover the dark spots, the spots we so convincingly hide even from ourselves. Human relationship are the most challenging venture and they are also the most rewarding. The fine line between finding yourself in another while refraining from synchronously losing yourself at the same time. Balance. Yin. Yang. It is not accident that this is what people spend their lives mastering, it is a practice I am certain I will spend my life attempting to understand.
The ego is a crazy person that lives in my head. Insidious. Compelling. Brilliant. Completely and utterly insane.
It is because if it’s insidious nature that I require the space. The stillness. The sitting. It’s only when I give myself space that I am able to properly observe the madness that is in full operation just beneath my well composed exterior.
I need time. Silence. Reflection. Patience.
"...The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep." ~ Robert Frost
I have no idea what it is that I’m doing and I rarely ever have. The only semblance of difference now is I used to put much more of an effort towards convincing myself. I take my life step by step, moment by moment, and I fail daily in my practice to refrain from attaching to what I find enjoyable and pushing away what I find uncomfortable. But. I’m still trying.
Writing helps. It offers me a medium. It supplies a mirror. A way for me to connect in the solitude of my own soul, a fractal glimpse at the whole of life within my own skin. Flesh. Bone. Blood. When truthful, reflected back to me on paper, in ink. Silver. Gold. Stardust.
When you have the courage to be patient. Tell me about the stillness. What does she softly whisper to you?
Wolf Prayer Spirit of the wolf You who wanders in the wild lands You who stalks in silent shadows You who runs and leaps Between the moss covered trees Lend me your primal strength And the wisdom of your glowing eyes Teach me to relentlessly track my desires And to stand in defense of those I love Show me the hidden paths and the moonlit fields Fierce spirit Walk with me in my solitude Howl with me in my joy Guard me as I move through this world ~ Unknown
Sometimes she brings me to my knees. She rips up the carpets of the floors I’ve spent my life sweeping things under. She unearths that pit in my stomach that I sometimes forget. Like a wolf, she stands tall in the darkest woods of my soul on the blackest of nights.
She waits for me by the well. It’s cold. I can see the wisps of clouds leave my lips, suspended in the air for a moment before vanishing. The only signs of life. This softly dissipating condensation from my shallow breathing. The night is still. By the well, she waits.
I know what she asks of me. She awaits the hero’s journey. The slaying of the dragons of my soul. You would think it would get easier and maybe in a way it does. I’d like to ask you a question. What if you’ve spent your life feeding the dragons that fill your lungs with smoke from the inside out? I’m asking for a friend. What if you wonder if you’ll miss the choking, what if you’re terrified of the burning that will inevitably accompany your first deep breath? Stop it. I told you. Like I said. I’m asking for a friend.
Somehow the scariest parts of life are the decisions that I have the beautiful freedom to make. I crave my freedom and yet when it offers itself to me I am shaken, petrified.
Freedom. Responsibility. Mistakes.
Nobody else to blame. Ugly truth. I have to step off my high horse, stumble from my soap box. The fall to the floor triggering all the places where shame still hides in my gentle frame. On my knees, once again, I am weeping.
Humbled. Curious. Grateful.
You see, this is my fear. When completely free, what then?
The unknown is terrifying, the choosing it is worse. I’m good at reacting. Throw me into something that overwhelms me, don’t give me a choice, capsize me into the violent waters and I promise you I will fight to survive. Survive. But. What if you want to do something more than survive? I’m curious. What then?
Wait. Did I say I? My mistake. Like I said, I’m asking for a friend.
"Abandon hope all ye who enter here." ~ Dante Alighieri
The wolf. She waits for me. I must ask myself what I treasure more, my freedom or my dragons. You can develop a love for the things that make you sick. I think there’s a term for it. Oh. Yeah. Wait. Addiction.
My willingness. I pray for my willingness. I often don’t have the courage, I often lack the strength, the grit. I pray for the willingness to be moved, knowing all too well, that if I can (God allowing) become willing, the whole universe will conspire to move me.
The wolf. She is my willingness. She has come for me. Once again. She always comes for me. It’s then I am met with another decision. I have called. She is here. Do I have the courage to answer, the grace to be led through the fogs that are clouding my vision, the confidence to walk on completely blind?
I sit with her. My wolf. I tell her my fears. I share with her my heartbreak.
She offers me her fur, clenched in my fists.
She does not speak. Yet, she asks. as if her thoughts echo in the whispers from the moon, I hear her. Gentle. Fierce. Echoes.
How much do you trust the dark path where destiny leads?
I close my human eyes. Her fur clenched in my fists. When I have the courage to let go. The willingness to be guided. My wolf of Destiny. She leads me.
"How often Love shoulders the blame for the troubles of Doubt. ~ Chloe Frayne
"Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free." ~ Rumi
It feels like summer, but it is not summer. The winds have changed. I hear crickets outside and a warm cool breeze breathes through my window. I’m feeling a mixture of things. A heaviness. A weight on my chest. Sadness, melancholy, loneliness. My heart breaks, but not for me. Well, partly for me. For the world. Who am I kidding? For me. My heart is breaking. It breaks for all the times I haven’t been met there, on that bridge of vulnerability. That bridge. Where heaviness is always eager to greet me. The times I’ve waited. past. present. I’m still waiting. The feeling not the same, but similar. The faces. so many different faces.
"Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready." ~ Nayyirah Waheed
So many people think they’re being vulnerable, allowing me to peer through the cracks in their well intentioned and cleverly built walls. They give me glimpses, so many glimpses. Do not try to seduce me with your well-planned words. With your false vulnerability. I feel you at your safe distance. I can see what you are doing.
We're all scared. Risk, I get it. Heartbreak. Of course. Memories. So haunting. I'm tired of the indecisiveness. Meet me on the bridge, or don't. I say this lovingly. Do not settle for an unready love. A love that still needs healing. A love that has not let go. A love that is not free. Heaviness will meet me there, heaviness is willing. We spend our time together, we sit, we share. This is real sharing. This is real. The heaviness.
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..." ~ Jack Kerouac
You see, my problem is that I believe people when they tell me who they are. I believe them, why wouldn’t I? It takes time for the incongruence to show itself. Cognitive dissonance. People can talk a lot at first, they share the dreams they hold, upfront, with dreams. So many dreams.
Dreams are built in the sky and have a tendency to fall from the clouds when we don’t risk ourselves falling to jump and meet them.
So many hearts, protecting. So many hearts, brimming with fear. My dear, where has your love gone? Your trust was never taken, it was offered. Trust is a gift, it must always be offered. Do not be scared, my love. Do not be angry. It was a gift. The time has come. Let it go.
"do not choose the lesser life. do you hear me. do you hear me. choose the life that is. yours. the life that is seducing your lungs. that is dripping down your chin." ~ Nayyirah Waheed
What can I do when they haven't the courage to meet me? And I get it. The bridge is not for the weak, and I have spent years of my life. weak. The bridge is not for those who would rather stay safe than to risk their life for love. Love is not safe. It is mad. dangerous. beautiful. What can I do when I see through the veil of cloth they think protects them? What can I do when they deny its very existence? I have no time for your halfhearted love. I dip my toes in the river. I sit on the sun soaked grass. I weep. My heart is breaking.
My heart is heavy with ink. Words. Words needing to be real, to be penned.
"Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious." ~ Rumi
People have this way of small talking me with their depth. Sharing certain depths of their life in an attempt to protect their heart, it’s a fascinating thing. This. Adaptation.
Be cautious of those who will not open for you. For it is only those who have truly opened for themselves that have the strength to open for another. Be cautious of the buds. Tightly closed. Beware the addictive nature of hope. Unrealized. Potential.
Ready. Whatever it takes. Utter abandon. This love both electrifies and terrifies me. It is. wild. Incautious. Unapologetic. Curious.
This love. Ready. To meet me on that bridge.
The New Colossus "Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. 'Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!' cries she with silent lips. 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door?" ~ Emma Lazarus
Leave me. Take your caution with you. I have no time for a guarded heart. No energy left to convince you. No desire left for the challenge of the cracking. Glimpses. You can only offer me. Glimpses. I swell and rise with the coming of the tides, pulled by unseen forces. Leaving seashells in my wake. Tell me, have you seen the glory of nature, does it play so small? I didn't think so.
You do not scare me. Whatever it is you are fearful of, I can handle it. Closeness. Terrifying. The space, I can hold it. Do not underestimate me. Fragile frame and kind eyes, but do not be fooled. I am half girl. all warrior. I do not run.
Leave me. Take your caution with you.
I want real. If you’re staying, then stay. Give me you. give me real. I crave to be healed. Don't be ridiculous. You can’t heal me. But I can. but. only if we’re real. The magic is in between the mirroring of authenticity. That’s where I find my healing. In truth. The magic. between the mirroring. The addictions take hold in the illusion. the falsity. the manipulation projected as truthfulness. You’re covering your wounds. But. They need the air to breathe. You’re manufacturing your pain and calling it a healthy caution.
I’m skeptical. Don't be ridiculous. I don't believe anything too scientific without checking its sources. but. I'm a fool for love. A fool. The world is riddled with lies. People would sooner manipulate you than share with you their scars. Yet. I'll plunge, again, and again. I'll dip my toes in that river and sit on the bank on that sun soaked grass. I'll weep. My heart will break, again, and again. Still. I will always. be. ready to meet you. on that bridge.
Leave me. Take your caution with you.
True sharing is otherworldly. Transformative. You share and I share and we discover something. I share and you share and we come to know ourselves. in ways. Impossible. alone.
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayins of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." ~ Matthew 7:24-27
You ask me questions. You keep me. answering. I share me. Tell me, my love, when did you close your heart? Is her memory worth it? Living. The rest of your life. Chained. You’ve been hurt. I know. We all have. It was different. I know. They all are.
Do you feel the anxiety as you get ahead of yourself? Do you feel the familiar ache of depression at the memory of how it was? Do you shut down, the truth, to stop from feeling that way again? Do you convince yourself you’re opening up? while. collecting brick and mortar. Are you building a wall just behind the sternum, between rib and heart? I've been there.
Tell me of your fears. Do they involve me? Are you terrified?
Share with me. your truth.
Give me your heart. Offer me. your risk. For only then, it is real. Only then. It is love. An offering, a gift. No guarantees. All heart. All risk. Then I will know you have the courage to love me. You have the same desire to share. To be. Vulnerable. Truthfully.
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." ~ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
"And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are. All we can say is that this is a good deed, because it helps someone or that's an evil one because it hurts them. People are too complicated to have simple labels." ~ Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
When we don’t know who we are we are desperate to be anything. We shape shift. Having not built a solid foundation of our self identity we claim to know who we are. We say I am this or I am that. I truly believe that people are always changing, continually evolving. You have the right to be a new person any moment you decide to be. I’ve changed so much sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize my own behavior and trace back the steps on how I got here. I ask myself, who is this person who trusts and loves herself? Who have I become? The fact of the matter is that I’ve changed some of my patterns and repetitive cycles, I’ve rewired my subconscious in certain ways, but I haven’t really changed that much at all. I am both entirely different and completely the same.
"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost." ~ Dante Alighieri
I was lost, for a long time, I was lost. Yet I remained here, lost in my destructive patterns, lost in my dysfunctional cycles, lost in the layers of personality I had mimicked from those around me that I decided I should try and be like. I’ve betrayed myself more times than I can count, but my point is I always knew it never felt right, I always knew something was wrong, it was never quite right. I couldn’t do it without hardship and I lacked the awareness to realize that it wasn’t because there was something wrong with me, it wasn’t because I was broken. I felt off because I was off, trying to be like people I was never meant to be like, trying to fit a mold I was never meant to fit. My life only shifted once I began to slow down, to take time to figure out what it was that I was actually like, outside of trying to be everything everyone wanted me to be, rather everything I thought everyone wanted me to be. We’re constantly projecting our insecurities onto the world and then paying attention to any behavior we see that confirms our bias. We don’t see ourselves as we are, we don’t even see ourselves as others see us, we see ourselves as who we think others think we are.
"Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of 'I know.' Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas." ~ Eckhart Tolle
I honestly don’t like the term awakened and how it’s been used as another label to separate people. Life is always changing, it is in constant flux, it is never static. We are never simply awake or asleep, we are variations, heterogenous mixtures. We are never just one way, that simple verb fails to describe what's actually happening. I understand using the terminology as a communicative means, a descriptor to convey an understanding of a concept. However, I now hear this slapped on people left and right, a distinction and separation, another ego identification. Those out there and us in here, another clique, another selective club. I don’t know what it means to be awake or asleep. I refuse to label my multidimensional being as something so arbitrary. I mean, what does it even truly mean, to be awake?
I know people who are consciously aware of their carbon footprint, meditate daily, have started amazing nonprofits and appear to be the most generous individuals you will ever meet. Some of these people that I have just described, with a generous helping of neatly stacked labels, are people that I genuinely love to be around, there is something vivacious, something otherworldly in their presence, something grounded. I also know people that can be described with the same stacking of labels, people that I would really rather not be around, there is something disingenuous about them, something lost.I know people who aren’t aware of their carbon footprint, eat meat with every meal and haven’t even heard of a sound bath. Some of these people that I have just placed into finite boxes of existence are kind, generous, loving, and can make me laugh until my ribs ache. Some, that would fit just as well into these finite boxes of existence, are angry, selfish, fearful and could really use a good evening of laughter.
I myself am a mixture of labels, depending on the week, the day, the hour, I think you see the pattern. Are we not all a jumble of labels, albeit some more consistent than others over the illusion of time we have so aptly constructed? I know some days I’m terrified, some days all the walls feel like they’re crumbling, some days I’m drowning in a sea of labels clawing for a breath of life. On these days it’s helpful when I go outside and put my feet on the bare earth, but at times of drowning it can be challenging to remember how much freedom that simple act can offer me.
So I ask you, what does it mean to be awake? Is it not just another label, something malleable? Is that not just another identification with the ego? I ask because I don’t know, but I surmise that it very well may be.
"The danger of labeling someone is the separation it creates between who they actually are and the perception of the person they think they have to be." ~ Jairek Robbins
It’s hard for me to trust the label, it’s challenging to navigate the attachments we all hold to them. It’s easier when you let people be, however it is they are choosing to be, and don’t hold them in a state of continuity. Hmmm. I say it's easier. That's a lie. What I mean is, it's much more challenging, but it's worth it. The labels convolute the simple power of being. It isn’t simple, it’s complicated. Have we made it complicated? We create labels to fast track our judgments, to make the separation easier. Wait. It's harder. No, but wait. It's easier. No. Stop. It's just confused.
Everybody has reasons for why they are the way they are, everybody does the best they can with what they know. Everybody. We’re all just searching for connection that we never really lost. The complicated part is the illusion, the feeling of separation, the longing to go home. I think that’s why we all dream of love so much.
The presence of love gives us a glimpse of the unity our hearts crave.
You see, we never really change, we’re always there underneath the labels and the white noise we’ve grown accustomed to.
We’re always there, witnessing the experience.
Sometimes it’s just hard to remember who we are, souls born to be free, buried in the yard beside the oak tree, 6 feet under all those labels.
"You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens." ~ Rumi
"We don't realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace." ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Sometimes something happens that knocks us off our feet. During times of confusion, during times of uncertainty, when you’ve lost all stable ground, how do you respond? Do you fake it, act as if you weren’t shaken, so that everybody thinks you’re fine? Do you use a facade in an effort to fool yourself? Do you react outwardly with impulsivity, making moves you haven’t clearly thought out, reacting to the emotion you are allowing to drive your actions? Do you push it away? Tell me. Do you run? I'm curious. Do you stop? Do you allow yourself to feel the pause and overcome the fear of the thought that you might be giving up? Do you surrender to this and thus flow beyond it? Do you offer yourself moments? Do you allow yourself to reflect?
How do you respond when you’ve lost all stable ground?
"Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul." ~ Thomas Merton
Moments. We deny ourselves so many of them. Joyful moments, so caught up in the fear of them leaving us that we fail to appreciate them for the glimpses they offer us. Glimpses of a feeling so special and real that even words now fail me. Moments. Sorrow filled moments that break our chests wide open, so caught up in the wishing it would end that we miss the gifts they offer us. Gifts. When wrapped in the slightest awareness could break us free from the chains that shackle us to all the lives we live that we fail to turn our backs on. Seeds. Watered with the slightest awareness, festering, sprouting, reaching towards the rising sun. Seeds that have the potential to guide us from our darkest caves and lead us to our highest calling. to be of service. to gather courage. to go back into that cave. to tell the others of the beauty that awaits on the other side of their imaginary monsters and socially conditioned stories.
"It is the task of the enlightened not only to ascend to learning and to see the good but to be willing to descend again to those prisoners and to share their troubles and their honors, whether they are worth having or not. And this they must do, even with the prospect of death." ~ Plato, The Allegory of the Cave
I find myself in a place of reflection. A time of pause, a feeling of softness. It is strange to feel the softness, to feel a strength other than the fight. I have felt the fight so long that it’s all I ever thought made me strong. It’s a different feeling, a grounding strength, a stability. How do I respond when I’ve lost all stable ground? I began writing this answering that question for myself. in the process. as often transpires with heartfelt writing... I discovered something about myself. This feeling is different, it has not been known to me, until now. this softness.
When I’ve lost all stable ground outwardly, it’s the reflection, the pause that allows me to turn inwardly, only then am I able to realize that I’ve never lost my footing. The outward ground that has caved and sunken will always do so, it is illusion, and illusions all fall in time. The stable ground within does not desert me. The stable ground within, will not desert you.
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." ~ Psalm 1
In moments of reflection I may return to the meadows of green, I may bathe in the electric blue waters of the stream, and lay beside the white oak tree. It is here, where my soul remembers but my mind so willingly and aptly forgets, that I belong. I must remember that I cannot stay, I am never permitted to stay as the angel that guards the waters will always usher me on, reminding me that this is my home, but homes are meant to be left. My work is of the world, the broken hearts of men need tending and it is this soft and subtle strength that supports healing.
“Wherever you to there you are” ~ Confucius
Have you found your respite? A stable place of rest? Where do you go when this world becomes too much for you? When you feel broken, battered and beaten on the wheels of life. What does home look like for you? A beautiful soul shared something with me as we stood overlooking the rebellious corner of lotus flowers that unhesitatingly began their bloom in mid winter, attesting to their divine resiliency. Subtle. Soft. Inherent. Strength. They need not wait for spring to share with the world their beauty. We stood there and he asked me what does “home” mean to me. I don’t remember what I told him, something along the lines of a place of rest, a haven, a sanctuary of rejuvenation for my tired soul after the long days. Although, I am far less eloquent in conversation, for it is the reflection, the pause, the space filled with aware solitude that gives my mind the words to speak most clearly. So, truthfully, I probably stopped after rejuvenation. He thoughtfully listened and when he spoke, he said he had something he wanted to share with me, after which he playfully stated for fear of butchering it and it losing all its meaning, he’d better look it up. Upon finding what he was looking for he handed me his phone and I read:
“i have built a home with another person a few times now, always expecting it to be a lasting haven. as the storms came and went the homes would show their weakness and eventually come apart. being left with the dread of sadness and the hollow feeling of unwanted new beginnings, it has finally started to dawn on me that if i build a home within myself, a palace of peace created with my own awareness and love, this can be the refuge i have always been seeking." ~ yung pueblo | foundation
I have forgotten what I said after reading it, but I have not forgotten what he shared with me. It's rarely the words that leave the lasting impression, it’s the feeling that accompanies them. There’s magic beyond the mere understanding of words, you can feel words if they are spoken with the essence of heart, if they are written in the ink of truth. It is feeling that pens the lines of life upon our pages of living. It is feeling.
“be softer with you. you are a breathing thing. a memory to someone. a home to a life." ~ Nayyirah Waheed
Where do you go to rest your tired bones? After returning from the grueling life of the modern day. Where does your soul find repose? While your body is still breathing. I am curious. Where do you find comfort for your soul?
"I want to live simply. I want to sit by the window when it rains and read books I’ll never be tested on. I want to paint because I want to, not because I’ve got something to prove. I want to listen to my body, fall asleep when the moon is high and wake up slowly, with no place to rush off to. I want not to be governed by money or clocks or any of the artificial restraints that humanity imposes on itself. I just want to be, boundless and infinite." ~ Unknown
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I dream, often, of walking away into a heavily wooded forest and disappearing into the mountains. It’s a deep forest that looks as if it will never end, but the trees speak to me, in hushed tones and gentle whispers. The wind softly blows through the leaves as I walk, the air is mixed with a palpable adventure and a necessary longing. In the middle of these woods there is a secret meadow. The grass is a vibrant green, speckled with wildflowers. To the left of this magical oasis, there is a stream that opens up into a pond filled with electric blue waters. I have never been here before this moment, and yet, I know this place well. I feel a melodic humming in the air, a spontaneous comfort, an instinctual recognition. I am home. I dream of the peaceful walk here, I dream of arriving. I lay myself in the grass beneath the branches of an old white oak tree. I feel the support of the earth below me as the crispness of the air fills my lungs.
When I give I give myself. ~ Walt Whitman
The sun is warm and consoling as I bask in its loving glow. I dream of staying here. Suddenly I am reminded of The Angel That Troubled the Waters and I remember that although I long to stay, I have always been meant to leave. I have been here before, I remember now, but I am never permitted to stay.
“Without your wound where would your power be? It is your very remorse that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men. The very angels themselves can not persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service only the wounded soldiers can serve. Draw back.”
As I hear her speak her fluid and forceful words, I take in one last breath of crisp air, feel the earth cradle my bones as they rest and walk back into the world where there’s more healing to be done. You see, I don’t dream of coming to this place because I hate my life and I need an escape from it. It’s just. the pressure. the illusory constructs. I am not immune to their tugging. I am not free from their manipulative attempts at. bondage. I live between the worlds. Grounded in the earth of a world riddled with confusion, lifted by the spirits of an unchained soul. Suspended in the. limbo.
“O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall?” ~ Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy Dante
Tell me, what do you say? Do you believe the stories? Is heaven and hell just a perspective, an illusion we create for ourselves? I do not believe that heaven and hell exist except in the living of our daily lives. We choose. moment. by. moment. A life of true service, a life of utter abandon. Falling on our knees, bowing our heads, offering ourselves to the flow of the Divine. or. a life of fearful grasping. control. We offer our minuscule problems to the gods. that should keep them busy. we say: 'these are real problems, it’s best I handle them myself.' What do gods know of struggle, of life, of the world of mortals. Real problems. I feel like I’m drowning. but. these are big problems. it’s best I handle them alone.
Alone. Our ego will readily have us think. We’re all alone. The most insidious lie that’s ever been told.
Tell me, what will you do with your freedom? It is only a matter of time, my dear. What does it taste like? What does home look like to you, can you feel it? Does it smell of wildflowers, does it wreak of grace?
What will you do with your freedom?
"Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality." ~ Emily Dickinson
Will you sit with me, and tell me of your dreams. or better yet. Your nightmares? Who do you want to be? What does it feel like, when the fear curls around your spine? I want to hear your voice break as you speak of the heaviness. as you speak of your heart. I want you to trust me. I promise I’ve been there. We both know it’ll be okay. It's always, okay. but. that’s not the point. I want to hear the strength in your fragility. I want to see your humanness. Do not tell me of how we are all gods. Do not tell me of things that sound nice, things we already know. Tell me of your humanness. I want to know you haven’t forgotten. humanity. we all forget. too often.
Do you remember? The sound of the meadows? The sight of the melody? Do you still taste the music?
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep." ~ Robert Frost
I hope you remember your humanity. I hope you find peace within your shadow. I hope you find your freedom. and. when you do. I hope you remember to go back for the others. remember. I want to know you haven't forgotten. your humanness.
“Peace lies beyond personality, beyond invention and disguise…I believe we’re a field of energy dancing for itself. And I don’t care.” ~ Jim Carrey
"According to the philosophy of Lila, God creates the world by an act of self-dismemberment, or self-forgetting, whereby the one becomes many, and the single actor plays innumerable parts. By this act of self-dismemberment, God becomes all beings, yet at the same time never ceases to be God. And in the end, God comes back to find himself -- the one dying into the many, and the many dying into the one." ~ Joseph P. Kauffman, The Answer Is YOU (p. 79)
I am constantly learning, that's my one true passion; it burns through all my interests and hobbies and I imagine that it will continually burn through me, until my days on this earth are done. Life, my favorite subject and my most trusted teacher, never ceases to surprise, amaze, endear, crush, and enthrall me. I have unceasing curiosity;I have an unending desire to know in spite of my awareness that my questions may never lead to solid answers. You see, it's the wondering I'm addicted to, it's the awe... the rediscovering of everything that I already know. The wonder. The awe. The rediscovering. It's the poems that I read that I feel every word of, because once upon a time I wrote them with another's hands. It's the depth of understanding that cannot be explained when I hear another's story and all the tiny hairs stand upright, as my body remembers all the lives my soul has lived, that my mind has willfully forgotten.
"'May your eye go to the sun, To the wind your soul...' You are all the colors in one, at full brightness." ~ Jennifer Niven
I'm curious, will you tell me of your pain? Will you whisper me your burdens? Where does the pain enter you? For me it rushes through my chest, it claws around my heart and makes my blood pump faster, it twists my insides around in a whirlwind before it snakes its way up to my right shoulder blade where it nestles itself between the muscle and bone. It rests there, until it occasionally ventures off to the base of my skull where it lays itself down, gripping my muscles tight, clenching, terrified of letting go. I try and fight it but it pushes me, it pulls me, it disrupts and engulfs me. It imprisons me. I have a curiosity, an unending desire to know. You see, it's the wondering... what if we were to sit with this pain to allow it to grieve, to extend to it our kindness. Tell me, have you sat beside your pain? Have you stroked it's face gently as it grieved its own illusion? Is what I'm saying making sense, have you penned these very words through my own hands? Tell me, I have a curiosity.
"The only way out is through." ~ Robert Frost
Pain is never ours, it's a visitor in the guest house of our lives. It's an emotion, a feeling, an illusion. The issue is not the pain, its whether you choose to allow it or not. When faced with incredible pain, what do you do with it? Do you give yourself to her storms, do you let her have her way with you? Do you allow your pain to ravage you, to shake fruit from your trees and unearth the bodies you've kept buried in your garden? Or do you let her imprison you? Do you push her away, do you run from her? When we are no longer scared of facing our emotional pain we are able to see her as a gift, we learn from her before she leaves us. When I allow my pain to flow, when I welcome her to visit me, she leaves the sweetness of truth on my tongue and flowers on the bed with a note saying "Next time I'll bring chocolates." When I deny her visits, she takes up permanent residency and gets cozy building a coffin in my bones. It's important to remember that you'll blind yourself if you turn your face from the pain of your shadow and gaze desperately into the fire of the raging sun.
"The greatest art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain." ~ Lord Byron
We're often challenged by choice. You know that even when it comes to salad dressings, options are often overwhelming. Therefore, we know how difficult the moral dilemmas are, too often avoided in exchange for complacency. Options. Projections. Decisions. I find myself challenged by these things, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. What others perceive as love is not always love, sometimes all people know is manipulation. They use this in an attempt to guide attention, driven by a desperate desire to mimic the love they continue to deny themselves. It isn't shameful, it's understandable. I've been there, and I'm sure more of you have been there than are willing to admit to yourselves. We've all been there. So I ask you, what do you do when faced with a manipulative interaction? Do you risk upset, pain, confusion and denial in order to call the person out and speak the truth, do you risk disruption? Do you tell a half truth, which may as well be a full truth? Do you lie to yourself and say that you don't see and realize with your real eyes, the truth their denying that's there? How do you know that it's truth, can you feel it? What does the truth feel like to you? For me it begins as a knowing, from where I have yet to discover, but I feel it in my cells as it bubbles up inside me, asking to breathe. We always have the choice, to push it down and drown it out and deny its very existence. However, I will warn you, similar to pain when ignored and deprived of its right to freedom, it stows itself away, lodged somewhere in flesh and bone and blood, disrupting your cells' ability to freely dance, troubled, disturbed, replicating, until it can no longer be ignored. For truth ignored turns into pain.
"There is nothing so kingly as kindness, and nothing so royal as truth." ~Alice Cary
Pain is a disguise that offers us many gifts in it's unveiling. Are you able to see how truth denied leads us to pain? Do you see the wonder of Indra's net of jewels present in every pulsating facet of life? I wonder, will you tell me? I have a curiosity. The body has an innate and genius ability to heal itself unless we deny it the choice to do so. We often grow attached to the emotional wreckage we hold just beneath our skins surface, stuffing our closets with skeletons until the door falls off the hinge. We hide our crying faces behind the filters of social media or we throw our sob stories at anybody who even mildly looks our way, in a desperate cry for help. I find it so fascinating that we can become addicted to the facade of perpetual positivity in the same way we can become addicted to our stories of unending pity. Even those who speak of nothing but their pain often do so to mask the core of where it truly lies. When did you turn your face away from your shadow, hoping that it wouldn't keep up with you? Why do we dictate with suffocating control which parts of us we will let another see? How can you use your story to be truthful in the surrender to your pain? We hide our pain from the world, we hide it from ourselves, and yet, secretly we're often attached to it, fearful of the winds of change we distract our minds with anything and everything to forget its origins. We bury it, and we bury it deep, our minds may have forgotten, but our bodies remember.
"Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror." ~ Rabindranath Tagore
I cannot be genuinely with another who has not befriended their pain, for if their ego remains so unshakably intact, they are incapable of being genuinely with themselves. In a world of illusion the truth can get tricky, especially when we've become the most cunning con artists, convincing ourselves that we're fine, no, we're great, replacing the dead sod with vibrant turf all while masquerading as an accomplished gardener. Lay your self-righteous deceit to rest, surrender to the pain, allow it to shake the truth from your lips. It's okay to not know what it feels like to be okay. Lay down your tired head, you've spent a lifetime running from the wounds you still carry with you. Sit with me darling, let's listen to your pain. Tell me, what truth does she whisper in the stillness of the night? I'll tell you of my pain. Today she brings me to my knees, she folds my hands on the bed at eye level, she casts my shaky voice upwards towards the sky. She softens me. She stayed with me to write this and when she left me, she left me tired, but she always leaves her gifts, today a new insight.
"Doubt though the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love." ~ William Shakespeare
I hope you're able to allow your pain to soften you. This world gives us many gifts, blessings of change, challenging perspectives, new insights. I hope you let the world break your heart daily, with beauty, with wonder, with pain and all the treasures of what it means to truly be living.
"The martyr sacrifices themselves entirely in vain. Or rather not in vain; for they make the selfish more selfish, the lazy more lazy, the narrow narrower." ~ Florence Nightingale
"'no' might make them angry. but it will make you free. -- if no one has ever told you, your freedom is more important than their anger." ~ Nayyirah Waheed
I was raised to believe that nobody mattered more than me, except for everybody. I was raised to believe I should question everything, but that everybody probably still knew more than me. I took care of myself from a very young age, yet still, I was taught that I could never do anything on my own. Such self-efficacy would have offered me too much freedom and my unintended captors still needed me. How do you learn to value yourself, when you're raised to believe that you need to, but you aren't shown the tools on how, or educated on where to begin? I was raised to believe that somehow I could save the world, that I should offer my soul to anybody who wanted it, as my duty. I was raised to play a role I never intended to play, and yet nobody seemed to have any problem taking what they needed from me. I was raised to be sacrificial, to give all and take so little. Like so many other girls, I was raised to believe that I will always need outside approval, to believe naivety was cute, I was brought up to stand there and look pretty.
"Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." ~ Norman Cousins
I had my first Romiromi massage a few weeks ago. A friend of a friend whom practices this ancient healing technique had reached out to me saying that he thought a session could be of benefit, although he wasn't exactly sure in what specific area, he said that he felt it would give me a new clarity on life. Romiromi massage is an ancient Maori (indigenous people of New Zealand) healing technique that works with the physical body, emotional body, and etheric body to release anything that is no longer serving the person being worked on (me in this case). This is done through the stimulation of pressure points and the activation of cellular memory in order to release the old and increase cellular vibrational frequency. Being that I do not believe in accidents, I of course welcomed the invitation and made an appointment. I felt like I was being blessed with a gift and I also felt nervous, like I was about to disrupt some dormant things that I was more comfortable forgetting. I'll be honest, the deep tissue massage is uncomfortable, it resembles pain but on a more psychological level rather than physical. I was told beforehand to use it as a meditation, breathing through it, surrendering to it. There were times I wanted it to stop, times I felt like I was being forced to face traumas in my life that I wanted to erase from my memory, but I breathed through it. I'm at a point in my life where I want freedom more than my comfort. After the session I stopped at a gas station to get some water, since it's good to drink lots of water after massages, it helps flush the toxins out of your system that have been released from the muscles they were once encased in. I felt oddly frustrated and angry, and then all of a sudden like an unsuspecting bystander and a bus, it hit me, and the tears came.
"Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again." ~ Alex Tan
I've cried for others, many times. I've grieved people I've lost, the ways I've treated those I've loved, the pain I've caused the world with my actions before I knew any better. I've blamed others for hurting me, I've held anger for being victimized, I've put up armor to protect me. Yet, somehow, it has taken me all of my life to realize the heart wrenching truth of how horrible I've been to myself. It's taken me all of my life to cry for me. I've given explanations for boundaries when none were deserved. I've allowed people to use me because I was too afraid of losing approval. I've questioned my own judgment and cast aside my intuition for the flicker of love from another. I have betrayed my own soul, countless times, again and again. They say the truth will piss you off before it sets you free. The weight of this truth merely crushes me.
"Sometimes we go out and seek the fire that will burn away what is dross in our lives. More often, we awaken suddenly to find ourselves encircled by flame. Intense experiences of the heart transform us. I want to know if you can stand with me, eyes wide open, when the fire - asked for or unbidden - consumes all we think we know. I want to know if you will offer yourself as fuel for the flames and let the Mystery we seek, the Divine we long for, which comes in unpredictable ways, consume and transform you... Talking about the fire, we forget what it is really like. It is only in the stories of our burning and rising from the ashes that we remember the flame." ~ Oriah, The Invitation
That feeling you get when you've done something so hurtful to another that you aren't sure you deserve to be forgiven, that stomach churning feeling, that sickness in your gut. I've felt it before, the shame of causing pain to a life other than your own. On this day, I felt that sickness, the thought that I may never be able to look at myself in the mirror the same way, I felt that, but I felt it for my actions toward my own being. I found myself encircled in unbidden flames, engulfed in the smoke of the denial I had grown so comfortable in. How could I have lived with this for so long and denied its very existence? The power of the ego in the midst of pain, its ability to make you forget, its propensity for survival, it's a hell of thing. Here I was, shattered and burning, and all I could do was cry. I cried because of the immeasurable pain I denied every time I simply said "I'm fine," the weight I felt nearly breaking the bones in my chest everyday I tried to believe my own lies. I cried hard, for what seemed to be the most truthful moment of my life, my own betrayal. I cried, not for the things that people have done to me, but for all the things I've allowed, the things I have done to myself. All the boundaries I never set, all I have enabled to happen in my life, all the pain I've inflicted, all the hate I've felt towards my existence, all the wrongs I've sanctioned, all the covenants of my soul that I've let give way to appeasement. I cried for all the times I never stood up for myself, all the times I expected people to hear me but never MADE them. I cried because it's heartbreaking, the damage that I have warmly greeted at my door and granted entry.
Love is Not All (Sonnet XXX) "Love is not all; it is not meat nor drink Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain; Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink And rise and sink and rise and sink again; Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; Yet many a man is making friends with death Even as I speak, for lack of love alone. It well may be that in a difficult hour, Pinned down by pain and moaning for release, Or nagged by want past resolution's power, I might be driven to sell your love for peace, Or trade the memory of this night for food. It well may be. I do not think I would." ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
The truth is I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. It pains me to become aware of all the times I put another first. All the times I heard the whispers of my heart speaking to me, cautioning me to briskly walk or run away, all the times I knew better but chose to act from a broken neediness rather than a place of clarity. All the times I chose to trust another over myself. All the self sacrifice under the guise of love. Despite what they may tell you, love is not sacrificial, love gives life, it does not strip you of it. I was conditioned as a child, I didn't know better than to believe in the lies I was fed, I hadn't yet learned proper discernment, I hadn't yet learned of the unwitting faults of man. As an adult, I had convinced myself that I had been freed from the shackles of my childhood, that I had brilliantly escaped the unhealthy cycles of dysfunction. It took me all of my life to realize that my clever masks of deception had hidden these cycles well, but they remained alive and well in my unconscious, actively perpetuated in my experiential life. It took me until now.
"'i love myself.' the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution. ever. -- ism" ~ Nayyirah Waheed
Life always has our back, even in the unlikeliest of ways. Going into that seemingly harmless massage I felt as though something was about to change, but I would be lying to you if I told you that I was ready for the decimating blow to my seemingly "healed" psyche. Healing disrupts our lives because it is uncomfortable, wounds ooze and scab before they heal, sometimes the only way out is through. It's uneasy to look into the places we've sworn to never acknowledge again, it can be painful to revisit old wounds, but what is more terrifying is that it can be imprisoning not to.
"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." ~ Oscar Wilde
I wish you all courage in facing your demons, freedom in breathing through the discomfort, and clarity whilst standing amongst the flames. Free yourselves, it may not be the smoothest of rides, but I promise you, it will be a life worthy of remembering. It is in accepting all of ourselves that we surpass the falseness of mundane existence and embrace the reality of the simple complexity in the true beauty of the human experience -- a life well-lived.
Truth /tro͞oTH/ That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
"The stories we tell literally make the world. If you want to change the world, you need to change your story. This truth applies both to individuals and institutions." ~ Michael Margolis
Stories teach me in the most unlikely ways. I love to hear the stories that people tell, it gives me so much insight on where they are in their life, what they truly desire, and the hurts they hold that haunt them. I've told lots of stories about myself, some were true, some I thought were true, some I just plain wanted to be true. I respect the truth much more these days, even if it isn't pretty, and even if I don't always like facing it. I've found freedom in truth, I've found release in letting the old stories that no longer serve me bleed free from my shadow, I've found peace.
Truth can be scary, no, it can be terrifying. It can rip you apart from the inside out and make you feel like you'll never be put back together again. This is beautiful, this ripping, this coming undone at the seams. It's destructively elegant, falling to ruin, creating a life of dream from ash. The ethereal life, raised from the mists of disaster, fully realized in the vulnerable embrace of true surrender to all of life's experiences. To me, this is the journey of a life well-lived.
“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them." ~ Anthony de Mello
The stories we choose to tell ourselves and others shape our perceptions, they shape the way we see the world and those in it, they shape us. The stories we are told by those that we trust to tell us the truth can be just as powerful. We rise to unthinkable heights when a loved one believes in us, we fabricate lies to protect an abuser and eventually begin to believe the stories we tell, we all tell stories, and, deep down we're all very similar, we all love to believe. There is great power in stories, the question is how we will choose to wield this power. What stories will we choose to tell?
I choose the raw and uncomfortable truths. The real stories. Lies, no matter how momentarily comforting, always bring a fleeting hope and an aching pain. Lies and half truths feed us false beliefs. It is the widespread dissemination of false beliefs that eats away at the colorful and diverse cultural fabric of society. Ignorance is subversive, often masked as truth, we are spoon fed beliefs from a broken system, and we are so successfully conditioned that we never think to question the storytellers. We want the truth, but we're also painstakingly mortified that it might one day find us.
"The word 'why' not only taught me to ask, but also to think. And thinking has never hurt anyone. On the contrary, it does us all a world of good." ~ Anne Frank
Dichotomy, something I have had to get very comfortable with in this life. The more people that I come into contact with in life the more I realize how surprisingly similar and vastly different we all truly are. The fallacy of the assumption on identical universal experience and the truth that we all share a great number of similarities, always keeps me on my toes, guessing.
I make assumptions all the time, without realizing, without thinking. I was talking with my very close friend on the phone the other day and we were discussing something as insignificant and meaningless as a hashtag, #vibetribe. This of course, (because this is what happens when you surround yourself with intellectuals and conscious minded people), turned into a wonderful discussion on education, compassion, conditioning, and the nature of assumptions. You see, my friend wasn't fond of the term tribe, she preferred to use the word community. I on the other hand, love the word tribe, finding it much more meaningful, symbolically. I asked my friend why she wasn't a fan of the word tribe and she honestly responded, saying that it reminded her of aggression because of how she had been taught about the native peoples of this country in school. I've held the strong belief that we are often subtly conditioned, throughout our lives, without being given a choice in the matter. It's mostly a passive act on our part, we're born, and the world around us imprints the socially agreed upon conditions within us. It's such an artful process, we hardly even notice its effects, that is, until moments like this.
As a student, getting my MA in teaching and completing my student teaching in a 11th grade US History class at a local high school, I found this absolutely captivating. I had ignorantly assumed that all children learned about US history the way that I had. This is the true power of conditioning, so subtle, we hardly realize it's there. It is only when truth stares us back in the face, steady, unflinching, that we are able to reconcile the errors of our past and progress forward into the future, with our eyes wide open.
I was homeschooled, often teaching myself because of absentee parental involvement. I self instructed and turned in packets to a charter teacher, who would in turn hand them to the state every couple weeks. I learned through lots of reading, both textbook and supplemental. I read a book on Columbus when I was about 9 years old and I remember meeting with Janet, my charter teacher, to turn in my book report. I told her I was sorry, but I couldn't agree that Columbus was a good man, he tortured, hung, enslaved, and dismembered natives. I couldn't admire a man like that, I asked why she would have me read something so terrible. I was confused then, shocked by the truth that stood in stark contrast to the lies I had been told by the society I lived in, I'm grateful now.
My mother came from a small town near Monreal in Quebec, Canada. When she was in good spirits she would tell lovely stories of the native tribes in the area, of their wisdom, of their healing, of their respect for life and all of nature. She told me of how their land had been taken from them, quite easily, but not without bloodshed. "You see", she said, "the tribes respected the land, they never saw it as belonging to them, they were one with it, they were in love, belonging to each other." My mother always warned me to be careful what I believed, to question everyone, and everything, even if the information came from what I thought to be a trustworthy source. Growing up, this was the story I had been told, and I failed to see, at the time, the impact this would have on the remainder of my life. My mother wasn't a perfect mother, but this she did well, anybody who knows me, knows that I ceaselessly question all, even that that I believe in.
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ~ George Orwell
In my study of history I have found that the truth depends on which side it's being told from, and in case you need a refresher on the definition of truth, scroll back up to the top of this blog, I hate to break it to ya, that ain't the definition. The truth is based on reality, on facts, it should not be subjective. In one of the texts for my program, titled: "Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History" the author James. W. Loewen discusses the case, Loewen et al. v. Turnipseed et al., where he sued the textbook board in Mississippi in federal court, for banning history textbooks that told the truth about the atrocities inflicted upon African Americans. He won the case, but he goes on to say that Mississippi was not an isolated incident, textbooks often choose to alter history, to sugarcoat it and make it much more pleasant for the mainstream view to swallow. Maybe they're scared that if we knew the truth we'd abandon our patriotism. Wasn't this country founded on freedom? Shouldn't we get to decide how we feel once we're presented with the facts, reality, the truth? Isn't that our right?
I think this is an important lesson, not just in history, but throughout life. It is when we try to protect ourselves from facing the realities in life that we hinder our progress. We are all conditioned, I continue to learn of my own conditioning regularly, I witness the ways in which life and all I have encountered, have shaped me. The truth, the facts, the reality, the options that offer us the gift of learning, in facing our mistakes of the past. This is just one of the things that I love. So I ask you, how do we want to shape the future? What stories will we choose to tell? I hope we choose the truthful ones.
"The mistakes that you made in that game. You have to do the hard stuff. And watch that game. And study that game. To not make those mistakes over and over and over again. Just because you weren't brave enough to face it. You gotta deal with it. Face it. Learn from it. It sucks, but you don't want to have that feeling again, do you? Right, so you gotta really study it and face it. Not to say you'll win the next time, but at least you'll give yourself a better chance." ~ Kobe Bryant
Who would have thought? Kobe dropping truth bombs on our consciousness. Apparently his quotes apply to basketball, history, social conditioning, assumptions, and life in general. As I've said, this world never ceases to amaze me.
“…loneliness – that terrible loneliness, in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold, unfathomable, lifeless abyss.” ~ Lord Bertrand Russell
I feel it’s panging. I’m happier than I have ever been and yet, I still feel it’s panging, maybe it will never go away. The loneliness. Maybe that’s part of the price we pay for the evolution of universal consciousness. The necessity of the illusion of separation, the illusion of the ego and the consequence of such an ensnaring hallucination. We’re allowed glimpses of union with the Divine but we’re never allowed to stay there. It’s a challenge, the balance… walking the fine line of living.
In moments of loneliness it’s important to feel it, to feel it and let it pass. To feel it, but never stay there. Everything is impermanent. I struggle there. To not hold on, to let it pass, to release it – this is a skill, one I have yet to master. Maybe without this illusory separation we wouldn’t search, and thus we wouldn’t evolve. Writing helps me to question, to clarify my ever expanding inquisition into the nature of reality, and the life I find myself in. It helps me in making sense of the life that is moving in perpetual motion, all around me.
“That is why I write – to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance.” ~ Paulo Coelho
If we were in constant union with the Divine, why would we go anywhere else? Would we not just stay, for all of infinite eternity? Would we not just resort to complacency? It is this unfillable loneliness that keeps us searching and I think it is the process of acknowledging its unending presence that may show we are on the path towards true surrender and acceptance. Isn’t it avoiding this loneliness and trying to fill it, that gets us so lost in the first place? Isn’t it this running?
I understand the pain that precedes acceptance, I have lived in the fear, just before the relief of ultimate surrender. I have a new appreciation for writers and artists who say they create their masterpieces because they have to. It’s the only way I find comfort in the soothing of my pain and loneliness – the only comfort I find that hasn’t allowed me, or ever tempted me, to join the madness of the loss of self. Writing is me, speaking to myself, reminding me that I will never be alone, yet as this world so dichotomously exists and mysteriously works, I will always be alone in my experience. Therein lies the contradicting beauty of life.
“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself… It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.” ~ Harper Lee
Divine discontent. Mmmhhh. It knocks the wind right out of me, the only way truth knows how to hit, fierce and fearlessly. The loneliness subsides when I reach out and touch it. When I begin to do something of purpose. I write because I have to. I write because it is the only way in which I have come to know myself. I write because it allows me to touch my pain, to visit my wounds, and to feel my loneliness, without losing myself in it. I write because pushing aside this human condition of unshakeable emptiness can only be soothed by divine intervention. For me, writing is that intervention. Writing gave me time and space, it never forced anything out of me, it couldn’t. Even when I tried to force it, writing never let me. It was a flow, mind to body, body to pen, pen to paper. It’s a form of being, a form of meditative dance. Recalling my thoughts and emotions with a new presence, letting them pass through me. Writing was a friend that heard the poison and let it out of me, before it consumed me and had the chance to spread, to grow. Writing taught me compassion, forgiveness, love. It gave me space not only figuratively, without placing the weight of guilt on me, never questioning how long I would be gone; but physically, by offering me a space to grieve, or joy, or feel, or just simply not know and write.
“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
This. This speaks to me, because it is in the hurt, in the midst of this pain that I write the truth of the sorrows and wonders of existence and the ethereal beauty of life. It is in the soothing of that loneliness that the Divine speaks to me. It is in the the freedom of expression, the flow of thought, and the release of the pressure that often builds in my brain. It is in this condition of creative flow, the extravagant nature of the words that somehow fill the page, without my being able to claim ownership over them. It is there, that I find myself, that I find my voice for painful authenticity. I write because it has always been there for me. It has always given me so much, and asked for so little in return. It has given me the gift of life, the gift of myself, and it has given me the gift of bringing this awareness back to me. It never asked for my dedication or commitment when I wasn’t ready to give it. It brought me comfort when I was sure there was none to be had and it brought me the gift of company, when I felt lost and lonely. It offered solace, a place to rest my tired eyes and weary head, when all I had to offer were my own words in friendship. It challenged me, but only as much as I was ready to be challenged. It never pushed me away and understood when I needed a break from the weight of its verity. You see, writing only ever asked for one commitment from me – it asked for truth, and truth, I wasn’t always ready to give. Writing was good to me, always understanding, patiently waiting for my return, no matter how far I wandered.
“Writing eases my suffering… writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence.” ~ Gao Xingjian
I used to fill my notebooks with my pain, tear out the pages so nobody would ever accidentally find them and see the truth of my life, the truth I tried so desperately to hide. I would burn them, erase the memories from my existence, hoping one day I could forget. I planned to rewrite these old stories and start my life anew. I would write when the pain became too much, when it seemed there was nothing left to do but write. I wrote because I had to, because my other options left me drowning without the hope for one last breath. I wrote for survival, I wrote for freedom, and I continue to write for these reasons, blessed by the collaborative commitment to sincerity.
I write because the pages never judge me, not for loving those who hurt me, not for spilling all my shame, not for sharing all my secrets, not for almost breaking – I write because it never tried to save me. I write because it’s never tried to make me choose between my love and my freedom, it never threatened my independence and the will of my free spirit. I write because it never punishes me for my mistakes or belittles me for my lofty ideas and less than perfect grammar. I write because it meets me in my sorrow, reminds me of my power, and leads me to my strength. Writing is my gift to myself. It is in sharing our gifts with the world that true healing can occur, and so I write because I don’t know what else to do, and I desperately crave my own healing. I write to remember who I was and who I am, and to understand the gap between the two.
I write because it soothes, it breaks me open in all the right places and allows me moments to touch my pain. I write because it reminds me to never get lost in the notion that I will ever be free from my wounds, and it is in this realization that I am truly released from the shackles of my own mind. In never trying to save me, writing always gives new breath to old life, and renews my spirit. Acceptance comes to sit with me and avoidance leaves my bedside. I write because while it may be critiqued by others, as long as I follow specific parameters, nobody could ever tell me what to write.
“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.” ~ Gloria E. Anzaldúa
I write because it bridges my worlds, the ethereal and spiritual become physical, when I put pen to paper. I write because as I touch the pages I touch my soul; with each motion of the pen my chains are broken. I write for my sanity, because existing in this world is tough enough and living in it is bound to make you go insane. I write to remind myself that I will never be like them, that I will never be known or understood and I write to remember that’s perfectly okay. I write to understand myself, and I write to remember that mindful self-acceptance is a practice of self-love and care, and that is enough for me.
I write because it relieves the darkness in me and allows me to not be overcome with sadness. It relieves the pain that will never leave me, for I am a healer and the best healers remain wounded. I write because it has never dismissed me for speaking the truth, even when it wasn’t exactly what it wanted to hear in that moment – writing has always been faithful and has honored our lifelong agreement, a commitment to truth.
Writing gave to me, and so, I write because I have to… because giving back to the only thing that has continually given me a remembrance of my reverence for life, deserves all of me. Writing consumes me and never spits me out. Writing hears, feels, sits, and gently takes my hand, whispering to me: “remember who you are…remember. No one passes the gateless gate, so be no one, or say ‘fuck it’ and be anybody you want to be.” I write for me.
“Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me – the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.” ~ Anaïs Nin
I write to make sense of the world, to make sense of my thoughts, to make sense of me, and to make sense of my place in the mess of it all. I write because it transcends thinking, the words flow through my finger tips as if they are finally coming home, familiar, belonging. I write to love myself, to go within and love all of me, because grasping out there taught me lots of valuable lessons, but never did me any favors. I write because I am all I will always have, and because in writing I realize the beauty in that statement – the beauty and truth that transcends the sadness at the thought of such a lonely path. It is in writing that I feel the palpable truth of life, that I feel whole, that I feel complete. I can never give that up, it is all I have ever longed for. It is writing that always takes me home, back to me, back to my freedom. I truly write, for me.
“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” ~ Roald Dahl
Thank you for reading, the original article can be found on my favorite publication, here: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/12/why-do-i-write-literature-a-love-letter/
"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." ~ Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
"There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." ~ Leonard Cohen
To make my life narrative a very dramatic and long story short: I had to experience a lot of people showing me that they weren't properly prepared to love me well, for me to awaken and accept that my path would always be a different one. It took repeated cycles, pain, my choice to suffer, and innumerable lessons. It took clear instances of my being shown through experience how those broken on the wheels of life often resort to hurting another. It took my being told, by those lost and separated from their own divinity by the veil of illusion, that I wasn't worthy of love. It took that. All of it, for me to find my place amongst my hearts longings, and in it's midst, to remain grateful.
I of course believed the story of my lack of lovability, I agreed with it. Within myself I found it to be true. So through my life's experience at that time, I kept finding those who would prove it to be true. Those who would agree with the horrors in my mind, those who would believe the lies I had been fed. I attracted those who would confirm the story I had already been telling myself, and in this confirmation I felt familiarity and comfort. The self-fulfilling prophecy was well and alive in my life, feeding me shadows and illusion and leaving me feeling broken, desperate, and hungry. It took somebody looking me in the face, emotionless, telling me they couldn't love me. It took somebody I loved, somebody I admired and respected... it took this one, not the person I expected, but of course the right one for the job. It took this perfect situation, this terribly ideal heartbreak. It took him. It took the words, said without feeling or hesitation, without compassion or regret, telling me that he didn't love me. It took this. This is what was necessary for me to recognize the patterns in my life, for me to come to my senses, for me to comprehend the totality of what the fuck I had been doing to myself.
"Upon the dark road you are traveling, do not seek out the light, the illusion, the fallacy and incessant need for all things external. Have no fear, take the darkness as your comfort because you are the light shining in the dark." ~ LJ Vanier, Ether: Into the Nemesis
It took lots of pain for me, it took decades of darkness. They say everybody goes through their dark night of the soul... but I lived there... for me it was home. It took decades of my staying there for me to realize that I had been asking all the wrong questions. Why didn't they love me? Irrelevant. Ego based. Illusion. They couldn't love me. They never loved themselves. Thus, while I acted like I loved truly, and believed it, I had become terribly good at projecting the lies of this illusion I had so willingly bought. I had learned to become clever at avoiding my inability to love myself, so well in fact that I was able to hide it, even from me. Soon I was violently shaken by life's inevitable turmoils and I was suddenly faced with the realization that my lack of self love and violent self-doubt, walks lovingly, hand-in-hand with an inability to fully accept, and truly love another. I never loved myself. How could I expect another to love me? I didn't know what that would look like. That's why I was there, trying to convince somebody who could never truly love me that I was worthy... all a contrived subconscious trick to feed the ego, in hopes of temporarily satiating its thirst, so that it would momentarily feel whole in the illusion of worldly, outside-myself-love. I never asked myself what made me worthy of love, what made me worthy of my loving me? I never took the time to feel, and grieve, and mourn. To feel my pain, fully, to fall to my knees in despair at dusk, only to awaken at the start of a new day and understand that it is my existing, my simply being, that makes me worthy of all the love in the world... including and ESPECIALLY my own.
"Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done." ~ Rudy Francisco
The story doesn't necessarily matter. The ins and the outs. I remember the story, and I remember it well. It is my gift in being grounded in the world. My wounds offer me the ability to remind people that they can find their way out of the shackles of their subconscious programming. They hold the power necessary to reconnect with their most trusted and oldest friend, their highest, most connected selves. We hold the ultimate power in our own lives, we can liberate ourselves from the madness. It is only when we choose to walk ourselves out of the dark and lonely cave, it is only when we choose to walk into the light. It helps to have support, it helps to have somebody who understands, somebody who has been through it, it helps to have a connected soul to guide us on the journey. However, it still remains our journey, we cannot be carried, it is up to us to take the steps for ourselves. It is up to us, individually, because on the other side of the illusory veil of fear lies your unremitting freedom.
"It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. Time - the mind, protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone." ~ Rose Kennedy
I remember my wounds, I tend them daily, I keep them open... uninfected and cleaned. Tended, but open. So that when a friend tells me that she finds her heart shattered by the man she loves and finds it hard to pick her pieces up off the bathroom floor... I remember. I was there yesterday. I'll visit again today. I bring fresh flowers to the graves of my old lives and thank them for the gifts they offered me in our time together. I feel the ache in my chest where it becomes clear once again why they call it heartbreak. My chest yearns to be filled with anything, anything that will help me forget, forget the hole that is left, in the place that used to be occupied by my beating heart. The feeling where your chest aches in pain as if your heart has literally been broken beneath the ribs of your outwardly in tact chest. The throb of loss, the ache of heartbreak, the emptiness. I take a moment to breathe it in and remember that I am comfortable and safe here. I no longer need to run from this feeling. I welcome it. In its knee breaking totality, I surrender myself to its pleading.
When she asks me if I cried like this, like she is now, I am able to softly tell her, with a gentle confidence in my voice, "I did, and it felt like it would never end... but it does... it does end." I know it well, and it is because I am comfortable and safe knowing it well. It is because I accept it and no longer run from it or grasp to change it, or fix it, or heal it. It is in befriending my heartache that I am able to keep my composer and appreciate the beauty in the moment, as my heart relates to hers through the blessings of experience and understanding. I see her, without judgment, because how can I judge a place that I have been? A place I visit often. It is in these moments that I am grateful for my remembering, for my holding these memories close to me. These memories of my lostness in the world and the suffering I endured as a result.
"become intimate with your fears. listen to them. sit cross legged. give them your undivided attention. offer them comfort. offer them rest." ~ Nayyirah Waheed
I suffer less now. I still feel pain. I feel it more completely. I let it take me, wherever it so desires. I let it have me, without fight. I feel it fully when it visits me, without asking it to leave. I thank my pain, I ask it to stay. To sit with me, for just a few moments longer. I feel my longing before I part with it, that piece of myself that is merely illusion. Yet it brings my physical mind some comfort in knowing that it still remains. In remembering my pain, in being visited by my demons, I am reminded of how I am not at all the same, and yet I remain. I am reminded that it is my consciousness that continues to experience. That I am a spiritual being having a human experience. That I have always been the observer. The witness. This pain sits with me, never touching me. She sits cross legged in front of me, loving me with the understanding and sadness that fills her familiar brown eyes. It is in this moment that I am reminded of my humanness. I am reminded of my attachments. But I, in this instant, am also simultaneously reminded of my freedom and the parts of me that remain unscathed and unchanged. I am reminded of my soul. It is in these moments I am visited by my demons of the world and reminded of the love of this universe... which is one with my true divine nature. The collapse of my duality, the implosion of my awareness through this experience. The incessant bleeding of my human existence collapsing into stardust. In a flash, in a moment, it is gone.The bones of my past keep my longing company, before returning to the graveyard where they await their fresh flowers.
"The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise." ~ Miguel de Cervantes
Those of us, the lucky ones, strong enough to blaze a path through our heartbreak, always come out the other side. Leaving ash in our wake we shed our skin like a snake, and let it burn with the stories of our past. We sweep out the cobwebs of the people we've been, and the lives we've lived, all that no longer serve us. We gather our courage and weave new webs of light to better suit our higher calling. The journey isn't easy, choosing to step into challenge and discomfort every step of the way is painful and scary. But your time in the fire pales compared to the pain of living a life that is not meant for you. It is us, who make it out of the fire and find our freedom, that then have the tools to go back into the fire, to burn once more and help our brothers and sisters find their way. The fire cleanses us, it frees us from the shackles of our subconscious story, it gives us the fresh slate we need to carve our new life. Like the Phoenix, we rise from the ash reborn. We all have heartbreak, life has a way of breaking us wide open, leaving us with a choice: to heal and soften to the wonder of the world, or, to build a wall and close ourselves off from the ecstasies of true connection. The various ways in which life breaks us all, is part of what reminds us of our humanness and offers us comforting visions of the beautiful vulnerability of our true humanity.
"This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." ~ Rumi
So it is here that I leave you, hoping to have helped you feel something. Hoping that you are able to take something from these words of truth. Be gentle with yourself, be kind to yourself, give yourself the gifts of feeling.