Monthly Archives: February 2013

“Mine…”

A friend of mine once advised me against giving all of myself away, and shared with me that some things should be “just for me”.  I was familiar with the concept…even wrote about it years before…but when I heard it at that precise moment, it “clicked” in a different way.

We’ve all, at some point, either witnessed or gone through the “Mine!” phase that all children go through.  That experience of joyfully playing with a toy, or sitting in a loved one’s lap, and another “competitor” (who usually doesn’t even realize they’re such) comes up and wants to share that experience…  All of a sudden something (or someone) that was taken for granted and the implied eternal loyalty of our now extra-beloved friend or object is “at stake” of being compromised, and there is a sudden surge of possessiveness that rises up and those infamous furrowed eyebrows and the barked “Mine!” appear out of nowhere.

What happens when that beloved object is one’s sense of self?

With the advent of reality television, I’ve noticed an increased use of video diaries and even recently watched a documentary that was formatted in this way for about half of the time.  These video diaries contained many of the most intimate parts of the documentary footage, because it wasn’t just observing the person’s life and interpreting a set of events…the video diary portion was the person’s actual thoughts, emotions, revelations, fears, and so on – a journey into the very “self” of the person.  From these diaries it was fairly easy to connect to how that person actually was outside of the persona that was projected in [or inferred by the] public.

Of course, they chose to make these diaries public, but I find a lot of value in just the act of creating them to begin with.  Video or audio diaries have a different depth than the traditional written diary, and here’s why: we can audibly verbalize much quicker than we can write.  And for a person whose mind is full of ideas, heart is full of emotions, and who receives understanding and makes certain connections as the thoughts come sometimes those moments can be lost in trying to put ink to paper.  Seems weird and might not make sense, but the temptation is to “edit” what’s written, whereas a video or audio diary just “is what it is” typically.  Conversely, a written diary seems to encourage a decision about which thoughts to actually pen, so reviewing it tends to read with the fascination of a novel.

Nevertheless, keeping a diary of ANY form has value because most of us have far too many thoughts and ideas to stay “squoze” (yes, squoze…keep it movin’) up inside.  And taking just a brief moment to get them out in SOME kind of way is much healthier than keeping them bottled up and trying to “sort through” them…that’d be kinda like dressing a baby before it’s born – good luck with that.

Another benefit of keeping a diary is having a “friend” to talk to, without bitching about the same shit and eventually realizing they’re not really paying you much attention anyway…you have become white noise.  With a diary, there’s no misinterpretation of intent or meaning and therefore no temptation to offer advice where there was none requested, and no hurt feelings when that advice is ignored or when the action taken seems to be completely opposite what was “advised”.  With a diary, you can be as silly, zany, discombobulated, confused, concerned, opinionated, angry, frustrated, inventive, deep, upset, emotional, revealing, perverted, experimental, curious, steadfast, strong…(you get the point)…as you wanna be, and no one is judging you except you.

Of course, thinking about it, hopefully we all have at least one person who comes to mind as our living/breathing diary…and we cherish that person to no end.  Maybe that person is even our chosen life partner.  But for illustration purposes, that person is excluded right now, because even with that person, as implied in the beginning of this entry, some things should be “just yours”.  And this is not to discount the value of that relationship…it’s actually to preserve it.  We know how WE need a break from our thoughts at times, so if another person is receiving them all the time how do they have time or space for their own?

So getting back to the concept of “mine”…  I’m the first of many siblings (I have 6 of them, to be exact), so I had to share all the time.  It wasn’t an option to keep anything for just myself.  I had a brief period in my teenage years where I was alone, but as a very involved teenager I still didn’t learn how to tend to “just me”, or that I SHOULD actually learn how to “be”, independent of outside feedback.  It was just habit to seek counsel and advice from everyone and everywhere except my own core.  Is there value in having another perspective besides our own?  That goes without saying.  But if external feedback is the primary sustenance for our personal growth, therein lies a serious problem.

Allow me, for just a brief moment to make an important and controversial observation.  Raised as a Christian, I was taught by well-intended Bible believers that we should “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart, and lean NOT to [our] own understanding.”  So how or why would I ever learn to trust myself to make good decisions without first seeking my warped concept of God?  What I thought or felt didn’t matter, unless it aligned with what my concept of God said was the right thing.  And how did I access that concept?  By comparing notes with other “believers” to ensure a right interpretation of what I thought I should do.  In retrospect, to call this dysfunctional and crippling would be an understatement.

I held onto this way of existence for a very long time, relatively speaking.  [I’m only 38, so it hasn’t been “that” long.]  And it wasn’t until fairly recently that my understanding of “God” evolved into fully accepting that I actually AM God.  How did I come to this heretical stance?  It is impossible to take anything from infinity.  And if God is all there is and my being here is just another expression of the infinity of that very God-energy, then I am still that same energy…just manifesting in another form.  Therefore, being cloaked in this human shell that I wear, my experiences and upbringing merely taught my human form how to be and perform in this world.  This means that “seeking God”, “praying”, and other terms for connecting to our understanding of what or who God is means actually pausing our humanity and stilling our minds to allow ourselves to more clearly express the divinity that we are…where we “know the Truth, and the Truth makes us free”.  Only when we marry ourselves to the idea that what we need is outside of ourselves or somehow away from us or NOT us, do we find ourselves fumbling, stumbling, and otherwise just plain ol’ fuckin’ up. (My humanity came back.)

And this is where a diary is helpful.  Because no matter how many times I forget who or what I am, I can go back and process my own madness to once again arrive at a place of not only functioning but maximizing my life experience with a renewed sense of self.  I can walk away from those pages, that recorder, or that camera and know that I was able to work my way through some of the clutter without burdening another soul…and what’s left is all “MINE”.


“Give Me Free”

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There’s something magical about releasing oneself from the predictable, “safe”, and usual into the ambiguity, excitement, and risk of freedom.  I only know this because I’m exposing myself to this freedom more and more every day.  For us who have rarely, if ever, launched out into freedom’s waters it’s like riding a rollercoaster…we “oooo” and “aaaaahh” and wonder what it will feel like to take the riveting twists and turns because it looks so exciting from the “safe place”.  We might even convince ourselves to wait in the line and step onto the ride.  Get excited about the slow and steady ascent into “God only knows”…ooooonly to find ourselves wondering what the HEYULL we were thinking, once our neck snaps back at the first unanticipated turn of events on this new adventure.  Others, who are accustomed to and prepared for the sneaky twists, laugh at us and shake their heads because they’ve learned that freedom really means piloting their own course, while understanding that there will still be turbulence but they are fully confident that they will also reach their intended destination safely.

Nevertheless, ask any right-minded prisoner which they would choose, and s/he will tell you that freedom is the obvious choice all day long.  Yeah, “knowing” that 3 meals a day will be served, living indoors and being protected from the elements, with a regimented schedule has its own comforts because no thought or planning is required and the end of each day is pretty much known.  But the freedom to create a new outcome every single day, with myriad possibilities of life and living is a luxury worth the premium price of a little anxiety and a few “unknowns” which are bound to come.

So how does one create this freedom (because we CAN “create” freedom, from wherever we are)?  I guess it’s different for each person, but for me the first step is to release myself from the box of people’s perceptions of who I am and/or should be…even my own.  And, don’t get me wrong, this is much easier said than done…or so it feels.  It’s easy to flippantly say “I don’t give a f*ck about what people think”…but quite another to actually face a person or situation in this new space who “knew me when” that wasn’t the case.

Owning my freedom is about more than having a new mantra or slogan, but about actually owning ME.  This includes all that I am, as well as all that I am not…for better or for worse.  It is literally entering into covenant with myself to love, honor, and trust…MYSELF.  And not turning my back on myself and what is true for me and wherever I am on my journey, because someone that I esteem(ed) in a certain way viewed me in a different light and so I attempt to keep up that image rather than bear the nakedness of my truth.

Because my life started in such a tumultuous manner, and I experienced so many tragedies I learned to actually seek out hope.  I can find possibility and “dawn” in even the darkest of dark nights.  I became adept at this because it just didn’t make sense to be consumed by the darkness…although I almost gave in a couple of times.  But picking up this trait in this manner also came with the handicap of not being able to (or probably just not wanting to) face reality for what it is.  It comes at the cost of having the tendency to sweep major and glaring issues under the bed and just put a nice quilt over it, and hope that nothing that was swept under there was still living (and growing and festering, just waiting to slither its way back out).  This meant living in fear or being “found out” or uncovered, unraveled, and undone.

But there is freedom in truth…no matter how “ugly” it may be.  There is liberty in being honest about my fears and insecurities.  Understanding is no longer held hostage once the facade is released and the true reality is revealed for what it is.  Is it convenient?  Never.  Does it sometimes stink?  Depends on how long it’s been smoldering.  When things have been kept wrapped up for decades, they tend to be pretty fucked up when they’re uncovered…but that’s the only way healing can come.  Keeping things covered up only lends itself to infection and death, because no treatment can reach it.  The fresh air of new perspective can only come and hit it once the bandages of despondency and shame are ripped off.  Yes, it hurts but it’s only temporary.  And I’m DAILY talking myself out of covering it back up and slipping back into a cozy emotional coma.  Because although it doesn’t “have” to take forever, I’m learning that healing from trauma is a maintenance program rather than one-time purchase and one that requires patience and damn near supernatural grace.

I’m also finding that this ownership comes in waves, stages, rounds, and levels.  I kinda liken it to receiving an inheritance.  It would be easy to “blow it”, by not knowing what to do with it coming all at once…especially without already being accustomed to the freedom.  But mine seems to be on a time-released schedule.  As I’m digesting and processing more of who I am, more understanding comes and I’m better able to make decisions regarding who and how I choose to be.  I believe that the core of me is untouchable, and my raw and essential self flavors and colors all that I’m creating.  I’ve sensed this from a very young age.  But my palate hasn’t quite matured  or acquainted itself enough to handle all of my own true divinity.  But I’m getting there…


Hard Decisions

These are the ones we usually put off the longest and deliberate the most.  We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or piss anyone off.  We don’t want to rock the boat or cause angst or friction.  In the short run, it seems much simpler to just allow things to continue as they have been and hope that whatever is causing US the inner angst or friction will just somehow miraculously subside or blow over.  But the familiar question then is… “How’s that working for you?”

 
Many times, we’re put in uncomfortable positions which merit some type of deliberate or thoughtful action because such action is needed to keep from perpetually finding ourselves from being put in those positions. Yeah, I know that sounded like one big circle but that’s because that’s exactly what it is.    The cycle continues to make its turns around irritation, frustration, discontent, anger–all of which are “bad” emotions and we’re told to “walk it off” and let ourselves cool down before saying or doing anything that we’ll later regret…only to later TRULY realize that the we’ve already done the thing that  we regret most: nothing.  We’ve put our heads in the sand once again, to let ourselves “cool off”…and when we finally figure out how to articulate in a less passionate manner, it feels inappropriate to bring up such an old matter that doesn’t even seem relevant anymore.  Until it happens again…and it ALWAYS does.  Only this time, it may be in a different scenario with different parties involved so we’re starting all over again.
 
For the most part, our western society has been programmed to believe that being polite and gentle is better than authentically expressing disapproval or disagreement.  It paints those who dare to speak to or about an injustice or wrongdoing as troublemakers and confrontational or even combative and inappropriate.  This applies to relationships across the board–on the job, in our communities, and at home.  And then we wonder why there are so many misunderstandings or continued infractions against one another.  When it all points to one of two “most likely” culprits: 1) the inability or refusal to shut up and really listen without assumption, or 2) not actually voicing or expressing a concern in the first place.
 
Now I’m not suggesting that everybody just “go off” and say anything and everything that comes to mind.  But I am suggesting that it’s important that we are honest in our own assessments of situations and learn to go to the appropriate person and call a spade a spade.  [Keep in mind the word “assessment” and that it’s not the same as “assumption”.  AND the element of going to the appropriate person. (Bitching about something to someone who has NOTHING to do with your concern is just that…bitching.  Nothing gets resolved, and it’s easy to cower there under the illusion of having “gotten it out”.)]  But when we can reasonably draw a conclusion, that’s the best time to act on what we know.  Because the longer we deliberate after that conclusion has been drawn, the more OUR motives and intentions are subject to being questioned.
 
Is it easy to do this?  Depends on how much practice we’ve had.  If you’re a person who rarely holds your tongue, people have probably grown immune to your yapping and don’t really hear you.  If you’re a person who takes a mousy approach, YOU don’t even appear to believe you so why would anyone else listen?  Balance–no, ACCURACY is key.  Yapping about what “might” have happened, or “should” have happened, or “needs to” happen with no evidence of imminent harm is just as ineffective as taking the “it’s okay, but maybe…” approach.  Can you imagine if “those unruly slaves” such as Harriet Tubman had just done what they were told and kept their head down and kept quiet?  It was said that she packed heat and threatened other slaves who wanted to change their minds and turn around and go back.  Kinda reminds me of the airplane scene in Jerry Maguire when Cuba Gooding, Jr’s character declared to the movie’s name sake that even if he had to “ride [his] ass like Zoro”, he was gonna “show [him] the money”.  In other words, there was no turning back.
 
Oftentimes these moments of truth present themselves to us, giving us an opportunity to step up or get beat back into the submission of a status quo which has persisted for far too long.  And no it doesn’t have to have gone on for years or generations…  How long do we have to have an infection before we go to the doctor to get it treated?  As soon as we’re aware of the symptoms, right?  Similarly, when we can identify the cause of unrest or frustration, THEN is the time to address it.  The symptoms show up to help us identify that a larger or more pressing matter exists, much like the siren on an emergency vehicle sounds to let us know that it’s approaching and we need to respond appropriately.
 
And as liberating as this may sound, it’s important to recognize that liberty comes at a cost.  Remember, as a society that generally rebukes complaining, not everyone will support such expression.  In fact, many will be offended or become personally defensive…especially if the matter involves them.  But I maintain that the more accurate the confrontation, the more readily it will be received.  [Also note that “confrontation” does NOT have to be combative, accusatory, or offensive.  Accuracy and truth in delivery is most vital, rather than dramatic inflation of facts, or language which doesn’t leave room for the other person to actually dialogue.]  When going for effectiveness, the ego (which pretty much insists that the other person know just HOW wrong they are/were) needs to be checked…but not your backbone.  It is entirely possible for a hard message to be delivered without belittling or berating the person being confronted; however, depending on how hard that truth is, they may still be offended…and that is not your issue.  When such a message is delivered from a pure place of genuineness and authenticity, there is no need to “feel bad” about how they choose to receive the message.  
 
Nevertheless, the opportunities will be presented to make a decision.  And there are no guaranteed outcomes, but the one thing that is guaranteed is that we will face that challenge again if we don’t adequately manage it the first time.  Are you ready to step up, or will you risk being shot in the back as you run from it…?

The Miracle of Love

I feel like I need to preface this post with a warning:  I am highly wired and have lots of rogue and non-funneled thoughts competing for expression right now.  So I’ll write as coherently as I can right now, but I make no guarantees of fluidity OR that where this post ends up will have ANYTHING to do with where it starts.  Just go with me as far as you can, and if I lose you just meet me back at Walmart (you know they have everything there) and we can compare notes.

February is one of the most inspirational months for me…and confusing.  Single or “boo’d up” you don’t know whether to create expectations and be hopeful, or to err on the side of caution and pretend not to care whether you are or become the center of a private affection festival.  [Personally, I prefer to treat every day as something special, because this way, whatever happens or doesn’t happen on the national day to recognize loved ones is neither here nor there and only complements what’s already a normal and natural occurrence. BUT I digress…]  All the external presentations are okay, but what is most inspiring about this month is similar to what is contagiously inspiring in December.  It’s a reiteration of the idea that anything is possible.  The possibility that at least one significant dream “just might” come true…or that I’ll at least be able to get a whiff or glimpse of it, even if it’s in the distance.  I can hold onto the notion that “something” magical is in the air and that good things will come.  And no matter what, I hold onto this notion in Love.

Although, there is one subnotion (Oh yeah…I make up words.  Don’t judge me; think of it as a riddle that you get to figure out) that has recently caused me angst…and it is that of marriage and choosing (and being chosen as) a lifelong partner.  Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am in love with Love and all the incredible things that I believe it fortifies one to be able to do.  Aside from the frustration, disappointment, anxiety, and occasional discomfort of loving another fallible human being, I honestly believe that those who wisely choose partners who match and/or expand their own realizations of life and the Universe have an advantage in life that cannot be bought or taught.  Something about having another kindred soul to connect and partner with gives us a certain protective shield and/or a cozy place to land when trials come.  There is an invincibility that we acquire when we know beyond all shadow of doubt that our kindred partner is covering us with their encouragement, support, laughter, compassion, accountability, understanding, and forgiveness.  It is a superpower, and available in abundance, but with relationship statistics being what they are it would appear that only a relatively few people “get it right”…which leads me to my angst.

As much as I TRULY believe in the core of my being that lasting and genuine Love is possible, I wonder and fantasize about the choosing part.  I don’t know that I subscribe to the idea of “the one”, because I believe that we are all the same energy…but depending on our experiences, environmental programming, what has taken hold and affixed itself to our Truth that may be obscuring the view or understanding of that Truth, we are experiencing ourselves as we TRULY are in varying degrees of accuracy.  As such, we tend to find ourselves attracted to partners who match our own understanding and perception of who we are as energy.  Whether that energy expresses itself the same way that we have chosen is something completely different; and actually many times we are more fascinated by expressions that are different than we are because it adds variety and intrigue to our experience.  [I promise I’m not smokin’ herb…stay with me.]  Nevertheless, amid a world so full of illusion, there is something mysterious and magical about the process of choosing a mate.  It seems to be as miraculous as creating human life.

Think about it.  In order for a baby to be born, there are a number of small miracles (an oxymoron indeed) that have to take place; from the millions of sperm that have to fight to the literal death in order for “the one” to plow its way through the ovum’s membrane just to BEGIN to work on multiplying itself, remembering to grow all body parts, while keeping other traits embedded that will develop at the proper time.  This includes traits that will allow the baby to endure its violent and traumatic delivery (no matter how serene the environment, there is still blood shed) and squeeze through that narrow ass gateway into this period of eternity, to do what exactly…?  Trust that who s/he is being born to will be as trusting and humble as they are in learning how to create the best environment to sustain and optimize the unique presentation of energy that they are.  Thus the term “miracle of life”.  And I maintain that the same holds true for choosing a life partner.

Removing the element of eras (and the couple billion years that life has existed on earth), just consider the billions of people that currently live on the earth. Then dwiddle that down to the various continents, countries, cities, counties, neighborhoods, ethnicities, social and demographic cliques/groups, religious faiths, and personal preferences that exist within ALL of those.  Factor in jobs, social gatherings, volunteer opportunities, grocery store visits, and other opportunities for people to interact.  Then figure in schedules, finding/making the time to get to know another person, emotional intelligence to recognize a potential connection, introduce families and friends, fend off mal-intended observers and other relationship viruses, while building a fort strong enough to make it through tough times, misunderstandings, and hormonal changes…PHEW!  There’s far more behind the scenes than just catching eyes across a crowded room…how did you both end up in that room at THAT precise time and present yourselves in such a way that would signal to the other that you finally found each other in the first place?  A series of intricate miracles.

I like to think that I have a relatively vivid imagination, but I don’t know if I can accurately imagine what that moment of choosing will be like.  As a woman, I have my own whimsical ideas of romance and what it might be like to be swept off my feet by someone who just “gets” me.  I’ve evolved through the stage of believing he’s supposed to be able to read my mind…buuuuttt I do anticipate that in all of those “miracles” of connecting that he would have learned those things that make me light up and have the most significance.  Conversely, I imagine that I’ll learn how to anticipate him and be confident in my own understanding of who we are and be able to pour back into our union what is needed and desired to maintain a healthy flow of who and what we are.

But specifically, I’m referring to making the conscious decision to focus on maintaining a garden of Love that nurtures and affirms our unique partnership.  Because, while there could have been (or even still be) the possibility of meeting other attractive aspects of ourselves in someone besides each other, that we would purposely close the door on any alternate reality (thereby no longer accepting it as an alternative) and intentionally choose to create a home and life with each other alone just baffles, bewilders, and overwhelms me in the best possible way.  But honestly, I think a part of me would panic.  The perfectionist myth that is a part of me would wonder if I’m “really” making the right decision.  And what if either one of us is missing some key information or understanding about the other?  What if as we continue to evolve we wind up at different places?  What if we are attracted to the “idea” of one another as we envision the other’s “potential” self to be, rather than the reality of who we really are AS we are…and that potential never materializes as we thought?

Call me a fool, but I think I’d rather take the risk.  Because I’m imagining under what circumstances I would actually consider taking such a conversation seriously and under just those circumstances alone, I would “know”.  At that point, it would be much less a mental processing and analysis and more a stripping down to the bare bones and skinny dipping in the natural flow of things…nothing to taint or color the decision.  Nothing to slow me down from saying “Yes!” emphatically and from a place of raw Truth and knowing.  And being prepared to live in such a way that confirms what I knew to be true in the first place…honoring myself in my partner, proud to know that where I am is exactly what I intended to create with him, and continuing to avail myself to the infinite possibilities that exist within our Universe together.

Pretty cool fantasy, huh?  I’m looking forward to finding out how it actually manifests.  Probably not this month.  Maybe not even this year.  But when it does, I’m sure it’ll blow my mind how it all came together.