Category Archives: Grab Bag
What you get when I can’t decide how to categorize these posts–or just wasn’t paying attention.
(originally posted 10-7-18)
I wanted to be a lot of things when I grew up: a nurse, a teacher, a judge, a senator, a singer. But the one that stuck with me most, that lit up my imagination the most was the ambition of being an astronaut. I grew up during the age of the space shuttle, Star Trek, and Star Wars. I was mesmerized by 2001: A Space Odyssey and consumed everything I could in those very early years about space travel. I even went to Space Camp. Twice.
This was it for me. My only destiny. I was destined to travel among the stars. My early childhood memories include watching the space shuttle, Columbia, roar into the sky. Innocence and imagination propelled me to research and learn, which caused me to grow and dream bigger.
My trips to Space Camp also got me started with public speaking rather early. Traveling to schools and scouting troops who wanted to hear about my experience. It also led to designing a space station with my equally geeky friend in middle school that won us some awards and Air Force mentorships. My life became a series of events, speeches, presentations, leadership councils, playfully personal arguments that illustrate a higher ideal than the everyday, ordinary obedience.
I since decided to stay on earth for the duration of my lifetime, I still am inspired and awed by the inspiration of space.
Whenever I’d sit and watch the stars, I saw the endless possibilities for discovery, for growth, for the experience of majestic beauty. I saw the potential for greater technologies to take us past our solar system. I saw the bright, twinkling possibilities for future destinations, greater understanding of our origins and even the capacity for humanity’s redemption in the vast, glittering expanse of space.
But space is also scary. It’s dark and mysterious. The boundlessness of such apparent emptiness often exceeds normal comprehension. And in those rare moments we allow ourselves to explore the vastness of that concept, we begin to see how it’s possible to let go of our smaller selves and connect to the vastness of the cosmos. It’s humbling and remarkable, sparking a flicker of wisdom within, as fleeting as a shooting star.
Sitting on the porch of my family’s cabin in the mountains. I needed this retreat for the past few months, but something else always seemed more important. In my efforts to cope with the stress of day to day life I had allowed myself to get drawn back into old patterns: reacting instead of responding, self-deprivation instead of self-nurturing, beating myself down instead of lifting myself back up.
The gravity of the world had weighed down my spirit more often than the beauty of it had lifted my soul; yet, I feel untethered, the ground never truly solid beneath my feet. Sometimes I feel like I have just been floating out there for quite some time. Drifting from one ambition to another – today I’m a writer, yesterday I was a lawyer, tomorrow I’ll be a goddess. While all of those roles are me, lately there has been very little of me left to inhabit those roles. There’s been very little of me to offer to the people I care most about in this world. Very little of me to become the sparkling mountain goddess I want to be. So consumed by the fear and anxiety, the doubt, and the anger, I have lost touch with the love and the wonder that set me on this path, to begin with.
So as I sit here on this porch, staring at a magnificently sparkling painting of stars overhead, I recall the girl who dreamed of being an astronaut – of seeking out a future for humanity. In this quiet of midnight, I finally feel free to reconcile my own destiny.
I had lost touch with the wisdom that is found when I slow down and consider the true vastness of the universe compared to the small and tiny problems of my life. Who cares whether my boss likes me if there isn’t a humanity left to bear witness to the grandiose majesty of our universe? Who cares whether I said the right thing or wore the right outfit or if I weighed 210 lbs or 135 – my weight and nervousness is not my legacy. Likewise, why should I care about which celebrity is dating who, when I am one tiny person in the vastly diverse array of human beings on this planet, inhabiting one of just a billion different rocks?
Life is so much more than our competitions and jealousies. Life is so much more rewarding than a lifetime of bitterness. Staring at the stars, we begin to question the uselessness of our structures and oppressions. Staring at the stars we know that life is much more than what we’ve contained ourselves to become. Break loose of the mold and find your light in the vastness of complexity and beauty within. Cut loose from the ties that have bound you to the ground and allow yourself to find your place in the universe around us.
I’m not one to get caught up in the craze of something. When tons of people are into a trend, I tend to step back. And while I hate to call the recent solar eclipse a trend, enough people were talking about it, enough people were desperate enough to find viewing spectacles and locations, that I tried to ignore that the great solar eclipse of 2017 was going to happen. I resisted and had decided by last week that I would not partake of the hype.
But it wasn’t just the hype that I was resisting. I was resisting the change that inevitably flows from experiences like this one. I was resisting the desperate urge to let go of my old self, my grudges, my anger, my horrible self-defeat.
For a long time now I’ve been talking about the Queen imagery and how it relates to where I am going in my life right now. For a long time now, I’ve been stopping short of inhabiting that role. That time came to an end during the eclipse.
I have been struggling to find the words to describe the strange sensations I felt before and during the eclipse. Struggling so much that I can’t seem to write anything else until I work through this issue.
It felt transcendent.
I didn’t look at the sun. After having looked at the miracle of the sun for several years before and after my trip to Medjugorje, that wasn’t what I needed to connect to. I needed to connect to the shadow that the eclipse would bring.
I looked everywhere but the sun. I chose during the eclipse to just be still, to be in the moment and to be observant of all around me.
I walked outside — no glasses, no plan. I wound up at my car on the roof of he garage. Opened the moonroof and played the I Am meditation track from Wayne Dyer. I listened and felt and set my intentions. And no, I never looked up.
Last week was one of the darkest weeks we’ve seen during this Trump presidency. It was demoralizing and exhausting for empaths attuned to feeling the mood of a room. By the time I got to Friday, my emotions and energy were all out of whack and were coming out in all directions.
First I felt anger –seething, hard to control anger at the world. Then I felt sorrow, heart-crushing sadness. Nightmares of my old car, fears manifesting tenfold. I stayed home from a planned trip to see Trooper on Sunday , which did me a lot of good because that’s when I started seeing the emotional outbursts for what they were – a need to finally let go of the past. To step away from my old self and embrace the new. By Monday, I was dizzy and lightheaded and slightly nauseous as well.
Letting go is hard. You can do rituals and confessions, cathartic releases and therapy–but until we realize the hold that the past has on us, will we ever be able to say goodbye to it.
I’m scared. I’m scared of falling on my face and not living up to whatever impossible standards that I’ve set for myself. I’m scared of being wrong, being arrogant and selfish. I’m scared of the impacts that my actions have on others. I’m so scared I’m not good enough that even when I am, I find a way to sabotage my own success and recognition.
But I also know that my calling is shifting and that the Queen is a phase of who I am and who I am to become. I know that I can either let go and let the current take where it will or I will be forced to vacate this old self.
A moment of stillness and presence
I observed everything during the eclipse – my emotions, my breathing, the lack of bird chirping, the heavier shadow falling over the earth. The temperature shift and the utter quiet.
In that moment under crescent shaped shadows, I confronted my own darkness, the parts of me that are holding back from fulfillment and success. I must move forward, carrying only that which will serve me in my future adventures. Only by embracing my shadow can I fill my next role.
Something is happening that I don’t understand. Dizziness, sleeplessness and pains everywhere imaginable. Some might say it is a transformation. Others might argue that it’s a breakdown. And there’s the camp who think it is all in my head.
I don’t know what to think anymore. I don’t have the wherewithal to continue dismissing these symptoms like they don’t exist. Nor can I really allow myself to believe that I’m the victim in some self-induced hysteria.
I’m burdened and tired. Regrets flow through me like a river where barren ground once cracked under my feet. Languid and wrung out. Waiting for faith to return to me while I stand locked in the mud of my own consequence. I can’t move toward it. There is no life beyond the present moment. No light at the end of a vast tunnel. Just fear and loathing and a heart dripping with diminished hope.
I bleed with the chasm of sacred sacrifice. A wound too deep to heal. A calling too vast to encompass.
I am only one person and at that not a very good one. I am depressed with the lost potential of my future. I am weighed down by the loss of gravity and importance.
Let the lake of tears claim me. Everyday is an old struggle. An impulse for the unthinkable. The shameful secret that is perched quietly over my bed that waits for insomnia and this insanity to descend. My constant. The option that lingers on the edges of my thoughts. A call to concede. “Enough, my friend. Your struggle can come to an end if you just turn to me.” It isn’t the opposite of hope. Instead offering me what the future can’t. A certainty of no pain, my anger, and certainly no guilt.
In the cold of night I remember the hurt. The banishment and the endless prayer. “Help me, oh God. I can’t do it by myself. But I can if I can meet you halfway.” And he did. Every single time until he didn’t. Until he left me as utterly alone as I had felt before I learned how to listen to him.
There is no halfway for people like me. We either live fully or not at all. We either embrace the shadow or we die of too much light.
And in the quiet of my little girl heart I thought I heard him calling me…a voice tethered to the smallness of the innocence I lacked. A girl who was told “no” but never allowed to say it. A girl who dreamt of ogres and closets. A girl who refused to deserve any gift, any charity, any worth.
Alone in the night. Misaligned and maligned.
I believe in honesty. I believe in truth. When I have been on the receiving end of deception it hurts.
I know that there are plenty of reasons why people lie and hide the truth, particularly from themselves. Almost all of those reasons stem from some form of fear. Not malice really, but fear. And that fear appears as manipulation to most, but it is less of a deliberate, cunning ploy and more like the actions of a scared 6 year old who believes that the truth will get them into trouble.
Conversely, I have known plenty of people who relish in giving others “THE TRUTH” as more of a hammer of justice. They think they are doing a public good and in that respect, I can understand where they are coming from. But the arrogance of thinking that your version of “the truth” matches the receiver’s experience of it is often what adds insult to the injury of having to be lectured to by a grown-up. More often than not the receiver already knows of the issue that this person is hammering them for. Maybe they’re not facing up to it. Maybe they do need to see it from a different perspective, but awareness is rarely the problem. And shoving “THE TRUTH” in their face isn’t always going to garner the best response.
Both of these are defense mechanisms but in very different ways and yet they both stem from a place of fear. One is passive and the other aggressive. Both are fueled by this similar sense of loss. In the first one, if the actor doesn’t tell his beloved the truth or lies to cover it up, he is doing it to avoid the consequences for the truth coming out. In the second instance, it’s preventative. Instead of facing their own harsh realities, often the actor is projecting their issues onto someone else. The more disparate the observation, the more projection that is being imposed. Both are from a place of fear. And both work to avoid resolving conflicts with one’s inner truth.
Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of the truth. – Mahatma Gandhi
I started writing this post just after the beginning of September. My life was in chaos at that point. Not only had I quit my job, but I was actively trying to re-engage with my ex and trying to figure out the best place to be in his life. And here I am three months later and still contemplating this issue of honesty and how to best integrate it within the chaos that still surrounds me.
Honesty and truth had a lot to do with the fall of many of my relationships. It wasn’t always about deception, but deception was usually revealed. It wasn’t always about not being receptive to the truth, but often the truth was used as a hammer of justice by both me and my loved one to injure and disable within arguments. It’s not something I’m proud of, in fact, I often look on it with worry and guilt.
But I think that is more of the point about “the truth”. I can admit that I was a dick back then…and still can be when it comes to the truth. I can say that I do my best not to hide things from the people I love. I don’t always succeed. However, one of the first things I ask for is a similar amount of transparency as I show to others. When I don’t get that, I freak out. And that is my truth too.
In the past I’ve required such a massive amount of transparency that I then start panicking when I feel something is being kept from me. Maybe this stems from some of my earliest romantic relationships: a boyfriend who was hiding that he was gay, a boyfriend who was hiding that he was cheating on me everyday with a co-worker for 4 months, a boyfriend who was hiding his drug use from me. Because I had been so gullible and naive I had to fine tune my sense of truth. I wanted to avoid being taken advantage of and being humilitated by the people I love. I am at a point now where I can not only smell out a lie (little inconsistencies here and there adding up to a bigger cover-up) but also sense when someone is bullshitting themselves.
Of course, this results in some false alarms. Sometimes the little details that just don’t add up are because the person was drunk and honestly can’t remember and is trying to fill in those details as well. Maybe they are bullshitting themselves about their own life because they have been taking steps to create something new after being in the dumps for the past 4 years and are trying to be more positive and self-assured. In either case, my accusations of dishonesty don’t help matters. I often forget that people don’t have the same inner trust for honesty and integrity that I do. Some of them still need these coping mechanisms and are possibly fighting a hard battle to confront them. Most simply feel that my honesty requirements are pushy and intrusive.
It doesn’t mean that I have to accept shabby or inconsistent treatment from the people I want to be intimate with. In fact, if honesty is what I need for intimacy, then, by all means, I deserve to receive it. And I certainly don’t need to surround myself with people who will be careless about that need.
But I also need to recognize and remember that I am not perfect and can’t expect perfection from others. I flub up. I act impulsively. I make up stories to explain my emotions so I don’t have to tell someone they are disappointing me or hurting me. I also impose my own truth on people as well. And I should apply that same lesson to those that have employed the hiding and projecting and recognize what is truly driving those actions. The same fear of embarrassment, shame, and loss as what has driven my own actions. And the more I judge dishonesty and brutal “truth” the less I create a structure with which people can feel safe in sharing their full truth with me…which in the end takes me further away from what I truly want to create for my closest friends.
And much like Mahatma Gandhi mentions above…truth is truly within and individual to the person viewing it. In order to act with my highest truth, I need to allow people the space to act with theirs; stop coercing them into adopting or conforming to my view of things, especially intimacy.