inside out-the flight of the fallen


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She had wings, but it hurt to use them. Even the movement of the air against her skin was an agony that caused her to remain perched where she was, totally still. She held them as close as she could without touching her body and lifted her face to the moon, letting tears slide from the sides of her eyes and into her hair.

It had taken her a lifetime to reach this place. They called it The Turning Point, almost impossible to get to, jutting fiercely into the heavens as if daring God himself to lean down and look the adventurer in the eye. Her journey had been a hard one; the path excruciating. Traveling the road she’d chosen, she had been mauled by the righteous, judged, mocked and ground into insignificance.

Every challenge she survived had left its mark on her. The battered dreams, the falls from grace, the ridicule and attempts to bind had eventually torn the skin from her body and left every nerve exposed. She learned not to touch, or lean, or draw attention to herself. She clung to the shadows in an effort to remain unharmed, and after a while, the shadows consumed her. She became insubstantial, and worse…

She could not remember what joy felt like.

She had stopped flying long ago when it became too painful, thus her way had become slower and more difficult.She watched as those she passed seemed to lead lives of monotonous activity, all ignoring the bloody stubs where their wings used to be. She knew if she let them take her wings, her skin would grow back and she’d quit hurting. She could be like them, and live like them, and never have to be alone.

They weren’t taking her fucking wings.

So here she was, crouching at the very edge of the precipice, watching the Stubs moving like ants far below in the moonlight. Her desperation was so intense that for a moment she considered just letting herself fall to put an end to the torment of living inside out in a world of numbness. Or she could go back down, give up her wings, and become numb herself. Either would be easier than the feeling of not being at all. Never again being alive enough to feel love or joy.

She stood carefully, legs trembling with fatigue, and stared back down the rocky path. She turned, gingerly keeping her wings from touching her and stared down into the darkness and moving lights below. She waited one heartbeat, then two, and stepped to the very edge. Her head bowed for a moment in acceptance of what had to be, and she flung herself out over the edge.

Her wings glinted silver in the moonlight as she plummeted, the wind screaming against her exposed skin, and as she fell-her heart lit with joy at the freedom of this last flight.

No!

In the blink of an eye, she knew what to do. It was worth every risk to experience it all. She was stronger than her fears, stronger than her pain, and she would no longer be kept down. Her wings snapped open, strong and beautiful as she soared above those staring up at her in awe and wonder.

And the pain of flying was glorious.

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Eye of the Beholder


I began meditating consistently two years ago to protect myself from the possibility of prison due to involuntary manslaughter…or maybe even justifiable homicide. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a vigilante ~ or perhaps more (like the commercial) The Fist of Goodness, balancing the scales of Truth, Justice, and the American Way It Oughta Be.

For some reason, while I didn’t do very well at standing up for myself, I was awesome at championing others. This would frequently lead to my desire to verbally level the playing field, with my actions following closely behind my desire. I was a super hero for the underdog, but sometimes (probably wanting a noble purpose for my temper) I jumped in too soon, and on the wrong side of goodness, breaking my own heart in disappointment when I realized I’d been duped.

I went from a job two years ago that was so pleasant, and not at all taxing, back into the management arena I’d hoped to never experience again. Being not at all the same person I’d been my first trip through, I had somehow lost my tolerance for what I considered stupidity, poor planning, lack of leadership, and my most frequent thought was:

“Oh. My. God. , are you SHITTING me?”.

I went from La La Stepford happiness into my version of Children of the Corn, or Silent Rage, or hey~Linda Blair spitting pea soup all over the place.

Kids, it was not pretty. I knew I was making myself sick; I was letting circumstances poison and rot my thinking, and in desperation signed up for a 21 day online meditation course. I began to meditate like medicine, the nitro pill that kept the heart attack from killing me, the counselor that helped me begin the day calm enough not to blow by the end of it…usually, and somewhere along the way I was able to see myself before I reacted to circumstances around me.

I began writing again as an outlet for survival purposes, and yoga kept me from twisting heads off in my mind.

I had accidentally created a momentary pause button between my first thought of what needed to happen~and what I actually chose to do. It was amazing.

I realized I wasn’t the evil twin sister I appeared to be, neither was I the white robed bodhisattva I yearned to be. I was a multi-faceted blend of all the parts it took for me to be me. I was the watcher of my ego, anger, and angst. I was the witness to my level of integrity high or low, my compassion or lack of, my judgment or acceptance of myself or whatever existed in my world at any given time.

I was the Beholder, and in the eye of the Beholder, all parts of me were valid, vibrant, and vital. All sides of me, no matter how it looked through the mirror darkly, were to be held, loved and listened to. All of me has something to say, something to share, something to teach.

I learned through the silence of meditation, and the momentary pause of the Beholder, that my Shadow is just as important as my Shine. If I let go of the reactivity and see what the triggers have to show me, then they become gifts of wisdom, yes? And if I hold my anger close like a beloved child and listen to what it says, in what wondrous ways will I change?

Do I still have moments I want to be the Fist of Goodness? Yes, yes I do. But if I throw in the Bodhisattva and a pinch of Jester, I just may have a winner~in the Eye of the Beholder.

Behold your own magnificent self.

Broken Open


Protect yourself, toughen up, live in the real world, don’t be so sensitive. I’ve told myself this so many times. Be the same, blend in, don’t rock the boat, you expect too much, life isn’t a love story, or an adventure, or full of magic or miracles. I’ve heard this from others and replayed it plenty over the years. So I did that thing you never want to do and I listened to all of it, and I did a great job of making myself what I finally became: numb.

The good thing is, when my heart finally hardened enough, nothing hurt me anymore. “I don’t care” was my mantra to myself in a never-ending loop. When faced with negligence, judgment, hostility, hate-spewing, whining, subtle slams of criticism, or being severely under valued~I felt no pain. Moving right along with my “I don’t care” mantra, I breezed through mediocrity and monotony with expressionless grace. I quit writing, because I had to feel to do so, and I had nothing I wanted to say anymore.

Enter the truth. I noticed that I couldn’t feel the good things either. My joy in anything at all was missing. I saw nothing in full color, and felt nothing that truly touched me. I forgot how to love, and how to let myself be loved, with very few exceptions, and it frightened me.

I sat down one day after finding an old MAPP assessment I received, years ago, when I was unsure of what direction I should take, the results of which I disregarded as I tried to turn myself into Super Woman. After page three, I realized to my dismay that I was crying. Silent tears just falling as I read about the young woman I almost remembered being. I also realized with no doubt at all in my mind that I LIKED that girl. I missed her. I wanted to be her, and I should have been.

So here I am. Trying to open this bear trap of a heart with a crowbar. Reading, writing poetry, listening to music that makes me dance, practicing yoga, and meditation. I am working on softening my heart every moment of every day that I can. It’s not easy when the life that I let shut me down is still happening every day. But I am getting somewhere. I’m thinking for myself, and asking questions of myself too long ignored. I’m re-calibrating my soul in a way. I’m leaving my assessment out for frequent reading as a map to the new world, a way of finding joy, adventure, and miracles again.

I want to keep trying, crying, and loving until I’m broken open~and when it happens, my world may not be the same as I thought it should be, but what I am, and what I have will be real. The love I feel, and have, will be worth it. Both for the giver and receiver.

I want to be the open-hearted girl, the lion-hearted girl, the “too much” girl. I want to be that girl who cares too much, cries too much, gives too much, writes too much, and laughs too long and too loud. Come home girl, I miss you.

Confessions of a Shadow


I didn’t used to be a shadow, you know. I was me. I was all of me. I ran the show because I was all there was…I thought. I learned everything I knew at the time from what I thought was an entire world full of people willing to bury me beneath the weight of their own wants and needs. My luck was poorer than, my circumstances harder than, my sadness greater than, and my anger and defensiveness so huge it could only be matched by my ego. My ego was an awesome trainer when it was just me (before I became a shadow). It helped me fight to be right, no matter what. I think I actually became a black belt in the hair-raising “Oh. No. You. Didn’t.” but I never really tested out to say for certain.

I think I must have become a shadow when I grew too tired to care who was right. When I realized, that if you have to ask someone to make room for you, then you really don’t need to be there~that spot is not for you. I noticed that I built walls to prevent myself from the hurt that comes from trying to build a bridge when the other person couldn’t care less if you succeed. Again, forcing something that shouldn’t be. Why is living and loving and caring for each other so difficult? Because we make it so. Okay, I won’t speak for you, because I make it so.

I was so exhausted, and began to long for peace. Not the fake stuff where I could walk around like “lalala” and the whole world was rainbows and butterflies and little birds helped me dress in the morning. (although that would be killer) No. I wanted the kind that no matter what happened all around me, there was a safe place I could hold myself steady through it all.

The more my heart cracked under the weight of the ridiculous perceptions I carried, the more light seeped in.  The more misguided notions I tossed aside, the more light poured in~and BAM~here I am, shadow extraordinaire.

It took me awhile to understand that all parts of us have something to teach us. Shadows are the powerful part of you that have much to teach you about what you need more of, or less of, in your life.  Shadows rise up to warn you, not to take over, so don’t let it happen. If I get into a repetitive  situation of negativity, and shadow rises up quickly to burn the perpetrator with the flame-thrower of self-righteousness, I pause. No kidding.  I’ve had to learn to hug it quickly to my heart, welcome its warning, pat it on the back and with a big smile say “step aside hon, overkill not needed, I have a spine now”. I may not create what people do to me, but I allow that to continue to exist or not.

There is no shadow without light, so I’m glad to know I exist now. I know my purpose is to speak the clear voice of truth as a warning, and a gauge of what is at this moment, so that who I am as a whole can maneuver the potholes and obstacles and correct the wrong turns on the path to peace.

Be smart. Don’t ignore your shadow as signs of being a bad or mean person. If you listen to her, she’ll calm down, and you’ll hear clearly what you need to attend to for your own well-being.

Because the shadow knows. (sorry couldn’t help it)

Heart of Stone


This last year or so has been an epic quest for me to find my heart. My adventure started in a dull and dimly lit place, where no one could hurt my feelings or ego, because I didn’t care enough to be hurt. No one could ever stomp on my dreams, because I packed them away, and rendered them unimportant . It was a safe, colorless, monotonous place of emotional paralysis. For a lot of years, I preferred it that way.

On the flip side of that, when I wasn’t busy not caring about life, I was borderline rage/confrontational. I wasn’t going to take any crap off of anyone.

I’m not sure exactly when I realized that I couldn’t feel anything wonderful either. I couldn’t turn off the painful stuff if I wanted to feel the good, and I couldn’t feel any quality of emotion when I was shut down to protect myself.

What a dilemma, and how exhausting it was. I finally became fed up with being unhappy about my little diatribes, and my attitudes, so I began to give myself instruction toward peaceful living.

Please understand that when I first stepped out of my dimly lit and lifeless room of monotony, I had no clue how to move toward peace. I only knew I had to find it. Somewhere out in the great unknown.

I began by acting peaceful. This first step was awesome for the rest of the world, but for me, not so much. There were many times I was certain that I would implode from the pressure of my self-control holding in my anger, or explode from my failure to do so. I read, studied, read, studied, meditated, yoga, read.

I became my own patchwork guru of survival and thrival (I know, I did just make up a word). I didn’t want to LOOK peaceful, or ACT peaceful. I realized at some point I needed to BE  peace, and it was buried beneath all this ridiculous garbage of life I carry with me every day. I mean, it IS my garbage, so why would I just dump it?

I found a yoga teacher, who became a sister/friend to me. I was able to say to another human being how hard and locked up I felt inside, that I felt I needed to bust my heart open. The constriction of it was no longer acceptable to me. I wanted to be the me I vaguely remembered who was unafraid of joy, or risk, or honesty of emotion. The fearless girl. Mendy was amazing. I really don’t know how she came to be my gift at that time, because I didn’t have anyone I felt safe enough to be honest with about what I dreamed or wanted. I felt and heard her genuine acceptance and belief in me and what I would achieve, and it has given me confidence to continue on.

I have learned to decide, when I become angry, whether to address the cause at the time~or accept it’s not worth my attention and let it go. I’ve learned to expect to be treated differently, that I get to decide who I am and what I do. Absolutely no one else has that power or authority over me. I’ve learned people are the most important thing, and that I am one of them. I’ve learned to be kind to me, to listen to my intuition, to hug my inner brat for wanting to lop off heads and just let it go. Let it go.

I am learning that my excitement doesn’t need to be contained or watered down so people are comfortable with it. Isn’t that what led me to my locked up sad place? Yes it is. I can be brave and try things other people won’t. I can be fearless and give up things that no longer serve me. I can dream as big as I want and know that what the Universe has for me is even bigger than what I can imagine for myself. I don’t have to stay where I am and be who I’ve been. I can keep changing every day until I run out of days, and I’m excited to see what version of me I’ll become next.

I am softening my heart, doing the work to open up to life so I may actually live it. I will open my heart, unafraid, so I have the ability and the desire to love my family and friends, and be involved in a community of like-minded individuals because we’re really all a part of each other anyway.

I will be strong enough within me, to accept you as you, and not the potential clone of  me that I want to turn you into. I won’t change myself, I’ll just uncover me by dumping my garbage where it belongs, and admiring you for doing the same when you’re ready.

Let’s crack it wide open, let the Light in.