I was in the middle of a week where I was supposed to be focusing on communication, creativity, and speaking my truth. I am taking a course studying the Chakra system and last week was focused on the Throat Chakra.
I feel like I have so much to say that it has all damned up against my throat to the point I couldn’t let it out if I tried. Like a hoard of mad shoppers trying to shove through one small door to get to the sale rack. Or, it’s my brain getting in the way under the guise of “rational thought” that holds my voice captive with the fear that what I want to say may not be valid...or even true.
Either way, ineffective for expressing myself. I didn’t know how to combat this other than (for lack of a better way to put it) to just open my mouth and start flinging shit at the wall. As I was sorting through my thoughts, I got a message from a friend (because who doesn’t constantly have Facebook up while working on other things?) She was asking me to take part in a storytelling event.
If there is one thing that has consistently had my jaw on the floor, it’s how quickly the Universe seems to respond to things once you put them out there. My energy was screaming “help me speak” and I instantly received a message asking me to do just that.
I called my friend to discuss details and also, to speak with someone in person to snap me out of the mental fog I’d gotten lost in. Over the course of our conversation it became apparent to me that this may not be the exact platform that I need at this current moment. She said something to me that made me check where I was coming from. It was along the lines of “don’t speak from inside the pain, wait until it healed a little”. She was the second person to give me this sort of advice recently.
Historically, I feel like that has always been how I’ve operated. It’s safer in a lot of ways. It gives you time to process what you are putting out into the world. To control the level of crazy (humanity?) that you allow to be associated with you. I think I really cared about that for a long time. On some level, probably still do. But something is different now.
The way the world is moving I don’t feel like there is time or space to hide our authenticity anymore. We are all experiencing so much. As a whole and individually. I don’t believe it is serving us anymore to put on any sort of show. I don’t know that it ever really did.
The truth is, when I talk to people we are all suffering from so many of the same things. Even a lot of the things we’ve conditioned ourselves to equate with happiness and success are starting to feel empty. We are standing on the edge of a whole new world and I believe that it can only be magnificent if we are able to stop hiding our true selves. If we can find love and compassion for ourselves and others to express what we are feeling. If we can take responsibility for the realities that we create every day and have the space to face our hand in creating them.
Our society seems to be built on judgment and a sort of “us and them” mentality that I don’t see any room for anymore. Aren’t we all just we. Us. One. Reflections of each other running around an insanely intricate funhouse with no supervision. And somehow we have decided that the images in these mirrors need to be categorized, labeled, destroyed or glorified. What would it look like if all parts could just be? If we didn’t label insecurity or pain as “bad” or something to be ashamed of, and allowed it to just move, could it process in a way that never hardened into something that gets expressed as violence?
Maybe this is an oversimplified way to be looking at things. Maybe it’s a long winded way to distract myself from the “shit flinging” I thought this was going to be. Maybe this is exactly what I needed to hear.
This stream of thought has made me see how much of what I am holding back may be coming from a place of pain, insecurity, judgment. To the point that it could come out in a way I would regret. I am reminded of the Buddhist teaching on speaking…”Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? ...right time?
It is interesting to sit with these concepts when every inch of your body is screaming to be heard. Maybe the idea is to put consideration into how you express what needs to be said. Any feeling we have is a truth to be acknowledged, at least to ourselves. This acknowledgment is debatably necessary to allow the emotion to move through us and not take up residence somewhere in our physical bodies. And with some thought, anything can be expressed from a place of kindness.
Hm. With some thought. This may be what my friend was referring to. If you speak from inside the most intense part of any situation it is near impossible to be truthful to how you are feeling and monitor how it is being expressed. So maybe I won’t fling shit at the wall. But I will continue to seek out ways to be authentic every day. Because it is my truth, so it is necessary, and I will commit to the pursuit of kindness above all.
This morning as I was sitting with the idea of risk, I was struck by the gravity of a concept I thought I’d understood for years, transmuting into something that I could actually feel inside my body.
I have spent the past few years obsessed with the idea that I need to find myself. Not necessarily in the spiritual sense (partly that too), but in the way that a person closes their eyes and can be alone. For as long as I can remember, anytime I have found silence, my thoughts and energy were immediately holding someone else. Right up to my face so that even when looking in a mirror all I could see was the reflection of another person.
I’d lay down at night to sleep and my mind would wander, with visions of other people living their dreams. My dreams. Sometimes I would make an appearance but always as a supporting character. The story was theirs.
I’m sure this happens to all of us for different reasons at one time or another. I am not sure if it’s codependence or avoidance of something. Or neither. Sometimes it feels like obsession or an addiction depending on the person and who they are to me at the time. Either way, it never felt “right”.
As I was reflecting on what risk may mean today, at this moment in my life, I instantly assumed that it had to do with a current relationship and how certain actions may affect the trajectory it may or may not be on. Through this relationship specifically, I have been trying to consciously take back some of my energy. Find myself in all the noise of the “others” in my heart and mind.
I felt heavy imagining the different ways to take risks here and the potential outcomes. Trying to predict what I was supposed to do to get what I wanted out of this. And then questioning if I even truly had the capacity to know what I wanted while in this state of being so far removed from myself.
Slowly it started to feel like someone was pulling a sheet off of my head. My body felt a tingly energizing pull upward and I suddenly felt like I could see again. There was no risk in this relationship. This one, and so many others in my life where I was focusing my energy, were just distractions.
The real risk, as I see it, is putting this energy and focus into myself. In asking for what I want. In taking it. In leaving behind the things that do not serve my truth and in letting the people remove themselves from my life that need to serve theirs. There is no risk in taking an action to get a certain response/behavior from another person. In considering how best to behave to get the reaction I think I want, I have already “lost”. Lost my authenticity, my truth, my sense of self.
To speak my truth, acknowledge my inner strength and move towards what I want my life to look like. To put my energy, self worth and validation into myself, and know that I am responsible for my happiness, fulfillment. Hm. This feels like the riskiest thing I could do. There is no one else to “blame” for anything. Nowhere else to deflect my uncomfortable energy. No way to disassociate from any perceived “failure”. I didn’t think I believed in failure. I don’t. Which should make it a little easier for me to take each step on this new path of risk.
I am risking the comfort of pain that isn’t mine. I am risking the loss of people and things that do not serve my higher self. I am risking what I have seen as safety for the pursuit of the most volatile bliss that anyone could ever know. I am risking to be myself. Fully.
I am developing a minor obsession with trying to find some understanding of what love means. To me at least. I know what I’ve been told. Shown. Grown to believe that it feels like. And I know that I have a conscious and unconscious aversion to all of these incarnations.
What I’ve been told was love, has left me feeling a lot of things. But ultimately, that I am not free to fully explore myself. My truth, within the confines of “love”. I think a lot of us are taught as children that love is a reason to let adults tell you who to be, how to feel, or worse, give you physical “affection” you may not want. It’s because we love you.
Because of all of this I have spent a good number of years telling myself that I don’t want love. Especially in the romantic sense. I have created a pretty fucking believable story that love will keep me from doing the work my soul is here to do. That I can’t grow the way I need to if someone else needs me to be anything (other than what I am) for them.
What parts of yourself do you give up when you love someone? You always hear about sacrifices and compromise. Are they really as detrimental to our “purpose” or growth as I have lead myself to believe. Where is the line between “I really never wanted to paint that wall green, but it makes him happy” and “my dream has been to travel and live multiple places, but my partner will never leave Oregon, so we stay here”.
Obviously one has a bigger impact on you living the life you want, but where, how and when do you draw the line? Maybe these are easy/clear decisions for a lot of people. I have some deeply ingrained belief that I can’t have what I want if it infringes on anyone else in any way. Writing this it sounds silly, but I am trying to have a little compassion for myself and work through it. Is it fear of losing the other person? Actually, I think it has more to do with losing (or finding?) myself.
I am sure a lot of “pleasers” can relate to this. I learned how to get a lot of positive attention as a child by keeping people happy. Doing what my mom wanted even though it did mute a big part of the “me” trying to grow. It becomes a skill as we go through life. It feels good to be liked, teacher’s pet, someone everyone wants to be friends with. But what happens to our inner life when we spend our outer filling everyone else’s holes.
I think this is my true fear of “love”. And why I have such a strong desire to not be involved in it. I want to figure out who I am. What I like, what I don’t, what are the things that I feel so strongly about that I don’t care if someone thinks I’m stupid for doing them. At this point in my life I feel like I am not strong enough to clarify these things for myself if I am anywhere near the sphere of someone else’s needs. It’s like a self induced addiction. I am so intoxicated by the feeling of… for lack of a better way to put it, solving other people’s problems, that I will completely abandon my own.
I wanted to find a better way to word that because this way, it looks like I am trying to fix people, or take care of them in a way that may or may not be beneficial to either of us. Which immediately makes me question any grandiosity or reward I’ve associated with this feeling. Which may be a good realization to have. Isn’t there some cliche about how the best thing you can be for other people is to be yourself as authentically as possible. Which brings me back to the journey of learning to love myself. Which may be best set out on alone. At least for now.
A lot of my feelings surrounding love seem to be based in codependency. I do need to find that place inside myself that is not reliant on another person to feel validated. I'm sure there is some beautiful balance to be found between hearts. Where you can hold without crushing, share without emptying yourself and witness without any sense of your own identity being carried away.
I do long for love. Platonic and romantic. True love, in the sense that neither one of us are holding back any part of our truth. I’ve actually been able to start saying “I love you” to people without it feeling forced or manipulative. Because I think it is true. I do fucking love everyone. I am scared shitless to fully love and accept myself because once I start moving with my own rhythm, I may lose certain (perceived) connections with a few people that have obviously been built on a facade anyway.
I am ready to journey with and to myself. I am okay if people fall away because I am not giving away parts of myself that they really never asked for anyway. It’s funny how much energy we put into things that don’t serve us. But ask us to actually try for something we desire… that’s really fucking risky. We make excuses. Safe choices. What is a life full of safe choices? I am ready to risk. I would much rather be racked with the temporary pain of losing something I wanted and tried like hell for, than to spend the next 50 years sitting in the safety of something that is just uncomfortable enough that I can still “live” through it.
I say this like I am suddenly brave as hell and never going to make another safe decision. I’m sure this will be a journey. Full of ups and downs. But I do know I want love. I want to love myself and I want to truly love other people for being themselves. I spent some time recently playing with ideas of what I thought love was, hoping to redefine how the idea sits in my heart.
Here is what I came up with:
I feel like it is bigger than we have the capacity to understand-or define. I guess I feel like it is a bunch of things. And to try to lump them all together into one fucking word takes something from all of them.
It is the desire to see someone happy.
It is the absence of feeling any lack in any part of yourself if that happiness has nothing to do with you, or is caused by something you wanted for yourself.
It is the desire to see that person for exactly who they are and not feel like any part of them needs to change to make any part of you more comfortable.
And no part of you, for them.
But if they do want to change, being there to support them through it.
And them you.
Love is honesty, absent of pride or motive.
It is feeling the freedom to be 100% yourself.
It is reciprocal and reflective. As all of this needs to be flowing inward and out.
None of this I feel should be separate from the concept of romantic love.
Which confuses it for me.
Love is fucking love...why is it different for 1 person?
Why can we “love” that one person and want them to grow in every way possible...except exploring their full potential to “love” other people (may be easier in theory than practice).
Love, by nature, is unconditional.
A few months ago I started pulling an angel card for myself every morning. You know, those little cards with words on them like “Peace”, “Surrender”, “Play”. Whether a person believes there to be any power or meaning behind the random draws you pluck out of the pile or not, I have enjoyed the little reminder to focus on something specific each day.
More often than not, I immediately know exactly where in my life this little slip of paper is guiding me to direct some attention. Even on the days I am totally unconnected to the card I draw, by the end of the day, it all seems to make sense. There are some days where I am so connected to this little pile that I swear a part of me feels the presence of the word before it is turned over in my hand.
In my short journey with these cards it has been amusing to me how I seem to cycle through certain ones. There are quite a few I still have never drawn. There are some I am more excited to see and some that leave me feeling like maybe the Universe isn’t really seeing me that day.
I’ve recently had an interesting run with the word “Flexibility”. It isn’t a card I’d ever drawn before but apparently it was something I really needed to spend some time with. A friend drew it for me twice in the same day. A day later it showed up in my morning pull. Then she drew it for herself, and two days later, it came to me again. I felt like it was teasing me...or really trying to beat something into my consciousness.
Obviously, the idea of flexibility can be applied to just about any task, plan, interaction or thought pattern we have. What’s been amusing to me is the amount of time I’ve spent trying to figure out what flexibility is trying to teach me. Then it hit me. Perhaps the take away from its repeated appearance is that I need to stop trying to make sense of it, to “get” it. Maybe to be truly flexible in your heart and mind is to not need things to be defined or make sense. Just to accept that they are, and because of that, they should be.
I was feeling pretty enlightened by my new understanding until it landed on me that it was pretty much a fucking contradiction of itself. A principle whose basic tenant is that principles don’t really mean anything in this crazy, ever-changing world. This made me smile. It was the same feeling I got as a child when I tried to grasp the idea that the universe goes on FOREVER. I kept trying to contain it in my brain and then realizing that no, it went on past even that. Or the feeling I had when I tried to be fully present, in the “now”. I ended up giggling to myself more with each passing moment as I realized that “now” literally changed as each nano second went by. There was no way to hold onto it. It just kept escaping, with whatever fleeting experience was contained within it.
In the case of flexibility, I felt like there was nothing to do but accept that it is what it is and to just let it be. With the card, with whatever “lesson” I was supposed to get out of it, and with every damn thing I was worrying about or spending precious time trying to control. It all just is what it is. And I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but I am truly more content, when I am able to just let it be.
The next day I drew “Celebration”. I chose to interpret this as the Universe encouraging me to have a little victory in my earned reprieve from the ironically consistent presence of “Flexibility”. I felt like we had reached a little understanding...in my acceptance of the fact that most of the time there will be none. And that, to me, felt like a reason to celebrate.
I have recently discovered (or been willing to look at) the fact that I fear the light way more than the dark. In the dark you can hide parts of yourself that you don’t want seen. That you aren’t ready to even admit exist sometimes. How many of us go through years hiding in shadows we’ve created ourselves? Because it is more “comfortable” than whatever may be revealed if we stepped out into the light? Our light. Our truth. This makes me want to question what we as a society have to come to accept as “comfortable”, on so many levels, but I’ll save that for another day.
For me there are a few reasons I hide. Without a full on psychological analysis, I think they all can be reduced to fear and shame. I am wondering if even the shame can be further stripped down to fear. I think it can, so we’ll move with that. Maybe fear is the first thing I need to take the match to. When you burn something it creates light, right?...as well as hopefully clears whatever you ignited from your path.
I’m sure a lot of us grew up with the feeling that we needed to be something specific, to fit in with our family’s views on things like religion, school performance, extra curricular activities. A lot of us are able to sort of “become our own person” in these areas as we grow into adulthood. On some level we do just that.
We become a graphic designer when our parents wanted us to be a lawyer, we end up not having children like we were “supposed” to, we pierce our nipples and make sure everyone at Christmas dinner knows that there are two shiny little balls of defiance hiding underneath our ugly green and red sweater.
Through conversations with my adult friends I am constantly amazed by (and find a small reassurance in) the fact that so many of us are still dealing with issues that stemmed from not being in alignment with what we were told we “should” be.
For me it manifests as hiding the parts of myself that I fear could make someone else feel a certain way about themselves, or judge or treat me differently. I’m afraid that if I set boundaries I could lose relationships or be seen as difficult at work. I’m afraid that if I speak my mind (especially in print or on social media) that it could later be used to tell me that I caused some sort of negative reflection on someone that is immediately associated with me, like a parent, partner, or someone I am professionally associated with. I am even afraid that if I take time to celebrate things I am proud of, that there is someone out there that will be hurt because they want what I have...or even worse, start to think of me as someone seeking attention.
The fun part is that all of these anticipated outcomes are completely out of my control. Even more fun, is the fact that people may end up feeling these things about me whether I speak my truth or not. We are all on our own journeys and doing anything to hide our authenticity only dims the universal light that flows through and connects us all...I say to remind myself as much as in the hope that it resonates with someone else.
The other place I hide--have hidden (my intent is to change this)--is desire. This was the one I originally attributed to shame, but do feel it is ultimately more fear. Of judgment as well as rejection.
Until probably literally (can something be both probably and literal?) about 5 months ago my true desire for anything had not seen any light for nearly 35 years. Sure, I could say something like “oh I would love to have those shoes”. Material things are easy. They can’t really judge you or willingly choose to not have you in their lives. What I couldn’t say are things that revealed too much of me.
I couldn’t say I really wanted that part in a play because I feared that I might not get it. Guess what you won’t get anyway if you don’t voice your wanting of it? I couldn’t say that I loved someone (on any level), for fear of being seen as weak or creepy, or worse yet, being rejected. For as much “comfort” as I got from not having those conversations, parts of me were still in turmoil for not letting the words out of my mouth. I truly believe that the weight of keeping something in will outlast the fleeting discomfort of letting it out. Kind of like gas really...how many minutes can feel like hours trying to avoid just passing it? And how much relief do you feel after the briefly disturbing moment you actually do?
The final area I have avoided expressing anything real in, under the shame/fear blanket is sex. To admit that I want it...want it with someone specific...or want it done in specific ways, is not a conversation I have even been willing to have with myself. Until recently.
I cannot be alone in this. The thing I am trying to remind (convince?) myself of is that there is no shame in feelings. Wants, desires, sadness, jealousy, fuck even excitement, happiness...these are not things to feel ashamed of or hide. You don’t have to react in exactly the way some of them may compel you to, but also, on some level they should all be voiced and celebrated. They are authentic moments in this existence. These are the things that make life real, connects us to something bigger than us.
Today I am taking a step. Committing to myself to take a match to fear each time it arises (cuz let’s be honest, it’s a damn phoenix that will rise again). In the glow of the flame that swallows my fear, my truth will be illuminated. I won’t send it back to the dark. I will acknowledge it, maybe just to myself in the beginning, but my hope is that with practice, all parts of me will move into the light. For that is the place that they will work their magic.