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Humans. Being.

For more years than I’d care to admit, I have always felt that something was missing.  I always felt that I didn’t have a clear direction for my life,  focus of what I wanted to do.  A clear path for how I wanted to show up in life.  I had no sense of belonging to something bigger than me.  I had no purpose.  No real sense of being.  So when I ran across a “quiz” on the subject, I thought, ‘why not?’  The answer that was given to me after answering a series of questions was that my purpose was a “Human.  Being.”  No additional explanation.  No resources to further consult.  Just simply, a “Human.  Being.”

WTF?

When I was in Bali, I felt a deep and real connection to God, Source, the Universe.  I had an all-encompassing feeling that every step, every person, every action, every word was being Divinely led.  Mine and those around me.  Divinely orchestrated.  Divinely held. Divinely created.

Divinely being.

I had a calm and peaceful knowing that I was perfect just as I am.  I was loved and accepted for exactly the me of this moment.  I had no feelings of needing to be different, better, thinner, smarter, funnier, more beautiful, more eloquent; nothing.  I was perfect in all my imperfections.  I embraced them and me.  I accepted and loved them.  I didn’t feel the need to change or control any of it.

The women I was in Bali with also loved and accepted me.  They saw me and I saw them for exactly who and what we were.  We were connected.  We were sisters.  We weren’t alone.

We were Humans.  Being.

Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Just humans.  Being what we were in that moment, then in the next moment, and the next…  I held great gratitude for that.  I allowed myself to embrace that, maybe for the first time ever, and to trust and surrender to it fully.

Surrender.

Not some laying down of arms in an imaginary fight I had lost.  But, to fully lean in to my intuition, my inner longings, my innate wisdom, and to embrace it and me fully.  To observe my thoughts, my musings, my feelings, and to not feel a need or responsibility to act on them or make excuses for them.  I simply allowed them to be.  I allowed myself to flow.  With no judgement.  With no analyzing.  With nothing more than acknowledgment, curiosity and reverence.

And I wrote.

I wrote with vulnerability, with honesty, with tears streaming down my face, with laughter bellowing out of my lungs, with my fingers and computer capturing it all.  Capturing it with flow, acceptance and support.  Capturing it with a knowing that as I wrote, I was healing some part of me.

Healing.

That part of me that had been afraid to be seen.  That part of me that struggled with wanting to be something other than what I was.  That part of me that was ashamed.  That part of me that had never been honest, had never seen the light of day, had been cowering in the shadows of my inner thoughts for years.  Since the first act of abuse.  Since the first time I felt that I was only here for someones else’s pleasure.  Since the first time I had been betrayed, used, rejected.  And all the times that came after that, like second acts to the play that my subconscious was producing over and over.

To control.

To control some part of me that I had tried hard to change into what I thought I “should” be, do, feel and look like.  I tried to control all of the things I could.  My weight, my words, my feelings.  Never to put out there how I really felt.  Afraid that if I did, I would only be abandoned and rejected again.  So I held tight to control.  I squeezed the breath out of it.  I looked at every facet of my life to see where I could have more control.  Only to feel more and more out of control.

So I shared.

I shared those parts of myself with abandon.  It felt good to allow those parts of me to be seen.  To put them out there vulnerably.  To trust and allow them to heal.  I felt whole.  I felt, for the first time in my life, like I really loved myself.  Loved all those parts of myself that I had shamed into hiding.  All those parts of myself that society had sent messages to that they were wrong, that I was wrong.  That somehow, because of all of it, because of the things I could and couldn’t control, I was fundamentally flawed.  No good to anyone.  Not worth love.  Not even from myself.

I also saw myself in others.

And them in me.  We held each other up.  We held the beauty and sisterhood in each of us as sacred.  We acknowledged that part of us as being whole, as being magical, and we trusted it.  We showed it to one another and found value within our Divine circle.  We had come together to heal.  We had come together to surrender.  We had come together to loose control.

Loose control.

We didn’t need it anymore.  I didn’t need it anymore.  I no longer felt the need to control my thoughts, control my feelings, control my tears, control how I moved my body, or what I put in my mouth.  I KNEW what to do on a level beyond outside influence and judgement.  It was absolutely a feeling of freedom.  A feeling of being exactly that which you are and embracing the hell out of it; both consciously and unconsciously.  Flying high on the freedom of connection to me and my Higher Power.

I listened to my body.

She told me wonderful stories of where she had been hurt, asked me to move and stretch into alignment, and thanked me for finally listening.  I thanked her also for all of the hurt she had endured.  All of the pain she had stored.  I thanked her for being so strong.  For processing all of the junk I had put in her.  From bullshit stories and beliefs, to processed food and laziness, to societal pressures and lies.  I embraced her.  And our connection was like nothing I had experienced before.

Or since.

Coming home has been less than magnificent.  Upon arrival it almost immediately felt as though I was being swallowed alive.  Hit with political anger and unrest.  Hit with expectations of holiday responsibilities.  Hit with financial challenges.  Hit with negative messages of “gaining the holiday 10” and the how to’s reminding you just how unfit you are to figure it out yourself.  Just how much you cannot trust your body, your feelings, your intuition, your inner wisdom.  Just how much you need “them” to tell you, guide you and disconnect you more into a “how to” of control.  “How to avoid overeating at holiday parties”, “how to survive the holidays”, “how to survive your family gatherings”, and on and on they went.

My Bali bubble burst.

I fell into a deep depression.  An utter disdain for life.  I no longer wanted to be here if this was it.  And I had come to this place before.  Why was I here again?  After all I had felt and learned.  After all I had done to change and heal.  I finally faced it.  And decided it was time to get my bubble back!  But how?  And still live in a society of negativity, a society bonding over strife and anger, a society of media-based addictions, of shock and awe, of terror, of being lost is the new found?

I didn’t have a clue.

My first instinct was to RUN.  Run back to Bali or Mexico or Thailand and never come back, never turn on the TV or read a Facebook post again.  Erase myself from this life and it’s addiction to division, to fear, to controlling what others’ think.  But that isn’t really possible…

Or is it?

Maybe I need to listen to my instincts, my intuition and get really curious and really real about what it’s trying to tell me.

Over the course of this year, I have committed to doing just that.

To listen with curiosity, acceptance and compassion about what my intuition, my instincts, my body is telling me.  And to face it with a supportive and open mind.  Not a mind of reaction.  Not a mind run by my fears, society, my past stories.  To face my inner messages with love and arms opened wide.  To sit with them and have vulnerable conversations about all the things I’ve been tucking away and hiding from the world.

And share them.

Share them like I did in Bali.  Share them with fear and tears.  Share them with joy and excitement.  Share them with human beingness.  In all its messy glory!  Share them with my fellow soul sisters.

So I hope you are open to taking this journey with me as I dive in to my deepest fears, my most uncomfortable beliefs, my dark, hidden truths.  And I hope you are open to having some of those conversations with me.  And with yourselves.  Because we are not alone.  Because there is strength in sharing.  Because we cannot BE without one other. Because we cannot rise without each other.  Because we are one.

Because we are humans.  Being.

MLK Day: Dare to Dream?

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On what was supposed to be a great day of honor and celebration for a man and his dream, I woke up and found myself inundated with words of judgement, division, narcissism.

Words of fear.

And I found myself asking, ‘what has become of us?’

What has become of a place founded on diversity, freedom of choice and freedom of speech, among so many other beautiful ideals?  What has become of a people who fought with their lives to be free of tyranny?  What has become of the idea that if you worked hard and with integrity, you could achieve the American Dream?  What happened to a people that came together to create their dream lives?  What happened to a place where “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” was of utmost importance?

And yet here I was, on this great day, witnessing not the honoring of a dream of unity, but rather, witnessing a state of panic, of vilification, of judgment for that which is different, and of division.  Where everyone, regardless of their views, felt afraid on some level to express their beliefs and opinions.

And tears began to fall.

They fell for congressman John Lewis who was once an organizer and speaker in 1963 at the March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” address and also walked in fear and hope in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama for voting rights, and was met with bloodied beatings during that march for freedom and equality.

They fell because the undertone of division and disgust being expressed with the public boycott from the Democratic party of the upcoming inauguration reminded me of a part in Dr. King’s historic speech where he warned, “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.  Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

They fell for a President Elect who was elected because of people’s desires for something different than the lies and back room agendas that we have become accustomed to with many previous political candidates, yet doesn’t see how important and needed it is to become a leader “of the people, for the people” and threatens to further polarize and divide a nation already on shaky ground.

They fell for a young high school student afraid to wear her hijab to school for fear of being bullied, teased or beaten up because of her religious and cultural identity.

And they fell for a young high school student at that same school afraid to wear a “Make American Great Again” hat or express her Republican opinions because as her dad warned her, she could be “bullied, teased and beaten” for her opinions and beliefs.

They fell because we can’t see that we’re all saying the same things.  They fell because we, a nation of diverse people who have always fought for the freedom to exercise our speech, our religious ideologies, our right to peaceably assemble, are now vilifying one another for exercising these exact rights.

In Dr. King’s famous speech, he said, “I still have a dream.  I have a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.  I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”

All men are created equal.

He did not say all men who believe alike are created equal.  He said ALL men.  And even though we may not agree with one another, it is that much more important that we agree to disagree, respect one another, and with compassion and tolerance, look for a common ground.

Find the common ground of being equals, or being free, and respect one another as such.

Again in Dr. King’s famous address, he describes his dreams of unity and freedom, ending by saying, “When we allow freedom to ring-when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.'”

All of God’s children.  Free at last.

Not only the children who believe in God.  Not only the children who do not believe in God.  Not only the children who believe in government services.  Not only the children who believe in less government involvement.  Not only the children who believe as we believe.  But all of God’s children.  And he goes on to specifically note people of opposing views, Catholics and Protestants, Jews and Gentiles, black men and white men.  I believe he makes note of these groups to make a larger point.

A point of unity and compassion for each other regardless of individually held beliefs.

His dream was for unity, freedom and the American Dream for all.  A place where people aren’t afraid to express their opinions and experiences.  A place where people aren’t shamed for not holding a socially popular view of some issue.  A place where people aren’t afraid to worship freely.  A place where people aren’t shamed because of skin color, sex, age, size, shape or creed.  A place where, within the freedom and safety to express ourselves freely, we might listen without judgement, grow in awareness, learn, open up to something or someone new or different and grow as a people.

A place of equality, of compassion, of acceptance and of tolerance.

And as my tears fell, they also began to wash away the division and bitterness I saw before me and something new began to take root.  A dream of hope and opportunity began to plant its seed.  An idea that this was actually an opportunity to connect through the face of fear and division.

An opportunity for a new beginning.

An opportunity that we use the fear we are currently faced with for connection.  An opportunity that we choose to see that we share in this fear together and use our collective fear to unite us.  And instead of falling into the victim roles and pointing our fingers at those who don’t hold our same views, we choose to look at ourselves and our leaders and, rather than disrespecting them and the offices they hold, we choose to hold them and ourselves responsible.  We choose to hold them and ourselves up to a higher standard, we choose to take responsibility for our own actions and act in integrity and acceptance of what we do not understand or agree with and meet disagreements with curiosity, compassion and tolerance.

That we choose to agree to disagree, respectfully.  That we choose to view one another as different but equal.  The we choose to celebrate our differences.

That we choose to find unity in the face of division.

And I hope that we seize this opportunity to connect through these moments and choose to come together to create a world where we can safely dare to dream once again.

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Reflections for Robin

Sorry for my absence last week.

It was tough going for me, and many people I know.  Robin Williams’ untimely death created an impact on a lot of people, myself included.  Although many of us did not know him personally, we felt his loss deeply because he was a part of our lives, because we identified with him, because we saw ourselves in his silent suffering.  Saw a part of ourselves reflected in his actions.  He was such a bright light, as many of us are, which is why we couldn’t understand how someone who possessed and projected such joy and laughter could be so devastated and alone inside.  We subconsciously understand that he was very much like the rest of us.

He struggled with the same secrets that many of us know intimately.

Addiction is something I am very familiar with and have dealt with personally.  My addiction is with food.  I never saw it as an addiction until recently.  I just thought I had no will power, was big boned, had a “fat” gene, etc.  Food addiction is tricky.  It’s an addiction of shame.  It isn’t widely talked about and certainly isn’t one of the most recognized of addictions, but it is a very common addiction that many times, goes unnoticed.  There are many different types of food addictions as well.  Bulimia, compulsive eating, anorexia, emotional eating and sometimes a combination of those.  They are all shameful and they are all just as difficult to overcome as any other addiction.

Maybe even harder.

Because we are taught to “clean our plates” and have to eat for sustenance 3 times a day, it makes controlling eating addictions that much more difficult.  Everywhere you go, people are eating.  There is food everywhere you turn, it’s made fast, appears inside clothing stores, it’s peddled up and down the beach.  Trying to control an addiction that you are confronted with on this level of availability creates a feeling of helplessness, of not knowing where to turn, how to cope, and how to heal.

Depression is another struggle that I have known intimately.  Depression is difficult because it is hard to explain, even to yourself.  I wondered many times, why can’t I just “perk up”?  Why can’t I “snap out of it” and just be “happy”?  And I longed for happiness, craved to feel good and normal.  Even just being slightly less depressed would have been a welcome emotion!  So since I couldn’t figure out how to do that, and since people don’t enjoy being around someone who is unhappy, I chose to isolate myself.

Devastating and dangerous.

And it is difficult for others to understand also.  Friends and loved ones don’t know how to help so eventually they end up turning their backs.  Not because they don’t love you, because they feel hopeless and don’t know what they can do, or because being around you brings them down.

And so the cycle continues…until the ultimate decision is made.

I have never come to the point of planning my suicide, so I can’t relate to that level of depression, but I can only imagine the pain and mental conversations were so bad that suicide seemed like the lesser of the evils, the only escape.

I found my way out of both by taking small steps toward the light.  It wasn’t easy, and there are still days that I fall back a bit, but when I look back at where I was and where I am now, the difference is overwhelming!  I’m not sure if I will ever be completely healed but the journey has brought me understanding.  And that gives me the strength to keep moving forward, to keep finding new ways to embrace happiness, to connect with my Higher Power and with true joy.

Recommitting with each set back.

There have been many things and people who have helped me along the way but I’d like to hear what has helped you with addiction, depression or any other difficulties in your life.

What have you done to pull yourselves up and begin the road to recovery?

Where did you find your inner hero?

How have you helped others in their struggles?

I feel we owe it to ourselves and to everyone who is silently struggling with a shameful secret, whatever it may be, to open up.  To shed light on our inner battles and share them so that others can find a way to understanding and belonging.  And we can all participate in a larger scale of healing that is so very needed at this time.

I look forward to your vulnerable shares…

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Inspired Peace?

I ran across a Facebook post this week from one of my dear and long-time friends regarding the atrocities surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict.  In her post, she was asking if anyone was going to stop the conflicts, how we (the world) could let it continue, how could peace be reached?

The conversation that ensued was emotionally charged and diverse.  Some posts touched on people’s sadness, some on anger, frustration.  Some people pointed their fingers at the media, big business, politics, government, and of course the big two, money and power.  Some posts insisted not enough is being done, some said we should take the power back by refusing the system and boycotting America.

Others took sides.

Some ventured that a world without class would create equality and peace.  Others had no idea what to do but felt we had a moral obligation to do something, anything.

I wasn’t sure.  Maybe a little of all of it.  But how?

How can we effectively create change?  How can we take our power back?  See equality universally?  Help others in peril?  Inspire peace?

So I meditated on it.

The answer that came gave me pause…the answer was, that God, (Source, Universe, Light) lives in us, as us, for our unique experience.

We are not here to feel perfection, that is where we originated from, and where we will return.  We are here to experience.  And that experience can be good or bad, pain or joy, love or loss, persecution or acceptance, and probably, hopefully, all of that, and more.

Not to say that we should not take action, or become complacent.  Far from it.  But we are here to experience so we must accept that first.  Accept ourselves and our experiences.  Accept others and their experiences.  Whether we agree with them or not.

Not to choose sides.  To experience.

In fact, the side we do not agree with is the side that begs for our attention the most.  And not to say that those actions we don’t agree with are right or ok, but that as a part of taking action toward change, we must first accept and experience what is.

We must accept and love ourselves first.

As hard as that can be, and trust me, I know it’s hard!  If we don’t have peace and love within and for ourselves, then how can we help others?

We can take action, of course, but when that action is a reaction instead of coming from a source of love, peace and our God within, how can that action be inspired?  How can we give if we don’t have that which we want to give within ourselves first?  And isn’t inspired action what we are looking for?  The type of action that will create change?

We must have patience.

Whoa!  This is a tough one!  Maybe even harder than loving ourselves.  I always want to BE in the future I desire NOW!  But patience is understanding that all is happening as it should, when it should, and trusting in that and our Universe.  That the student must be ready for the lesson or it will not be learned.  And that patience creates the space for transformation.

They depend on one another.  They are inextricably tied.

Does any of that solve conflict?  No.

Does it give us some perspective and a place to start from?  I think so.  Does our own peace and acceptance create a higher universal vibration?  A place to find and connect with something bigger than us?  A sort of infectious universal desire?  I believe it does.

What I do know for sure though, is that when I surround myself with people who are in tune with God within, I am inspired to connect as well.

To ask better questions.

In turn, I hope to be that inspiration for others.  So that the ripples continue to grow, to travel.

If we got to a place where more people were taking action from this point of divinity, all over the world, what kind of change would that generate?  Where would the power lie?  How would we see others?  Would that inspire peace?

 

 

Moments Along the Path

Ok.  So today starts the beginning of many things for me.  The discovery of my voice through writing, the discovery of the me within, a new chapter, a new journey, courageous action toward inspired thoughts, and this place, to document all of the moments along the path…

I don’t imagine this journey will have an end, but I do expect many twists and turns which I cannot anticipate completely at this juncture.  However, I do plan to enjoy the moments, surprises, and even the difficulties.  To face them all with wonder and love; looking for the opportunities they bring and allowing my decisions to flow from my heart and not from my ego and my head.  Easier said than done, I know!  But as with all things worth doing, there must be a starting off place, an expectation of skinned knees and bruised egos, and a willingness to embrace them.

So this is my pledge.

I know there will be times of failure.  And in those instances, I will choose to be kind to myself, forgive, and refocus.  As I have learned from so many great people, the ability to recommit is how you win.  It’s not in doing it perfectly.

I would also like to add that I currently have many frustrations and challenges in my life.  Don’t we all!  But I no longer want to solve them from the point of ego.  Which, by the way, has been leading me for as long as I can remember!  And what I found is that it was only making things worse.  Making me focus on negative thoughts, negative self talk, and actions, that at times, I couldn’t believe were stemming from me.

Because they weren’t.

They were coming from a place of trying to belong to something that I am not.  Clinging to some imaginary finish line, that every time I neared, was only pushed further back, justifying the self talk, and continuing the circle of negativity and sadness within.

This reminds me of a time I once took LSD.

I was around 15 and had a trip where everything kept repeating, and because of that, nothing could be accomplished.  It was very confusing and somewhat terrifying, to say the least!  Yet, that is how I was leading my waking life.  On repeat.  I have come to believe that activity may just be a course in insanity.  And last I checked, I don’t believe I am insane.

Strange, yes.  Not normal, of course!  But insane?  Not yet, anyway!

I CAN recall moments in my life however, where I did allow my heart to lead me instead of my ego.  Where I took action based on faith, felt fear and did it anyway.  One of those moments was when, at the age of 23, I decided to travel throughout Europe, by myself, for an indefinite time frame, or at least as long as the money lasted.  I gave the outcome of each day to something bigger then myself and found more delight, excitement and love in those months than in the many years I have spent trying to control my life and it’s outcomes.

So it is with that realization, that I begin this journey.

It is my desire to share this journey and the moments along the way with you so that together we can enjoy the story that unfolds and collectively thank our minds and egos for their need for control and significance, but also let them know that they are no longer needed.

I choose to live this next chapter of my life above the line, and I look forward to the many unpredictable moments to come…