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.

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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.

Back to the Dark Side


Today started out wonderfully, I woke up early enough to begin my first of 21 consistent mornings of yoga before meditation.

Those were the two wonderful things. The rest of this day has been a bit of a struggle with familiar irritations, and reactions. My ego saying “yeah, I’m right, and I will obliterate you with it!”. I wrestled with these things, but as of this moment haven’t allowed my feelings to negatively affect my behavior. I’m pretty black and blue on the inside though. Ha, ha?

Health insurance rates doubling for my people at work, a variety of ridiculous crap to address  after taking a day off Friday, a rare headache, some personal sadness with co-workers, and then the super effort required to keep myself in line when I perceive  repeated attempts of others to brow beat, manipulate and control people I love. I am doing my level best to change my perception to “repeated cries for love, attention, and self-esteem boost”.

I’m not there yet. But I am behaving as if I am so I don’t have to regret anything I put into play before I gain some truth and settle back into my heart.

Everybody has the occasional off day, but it feels like a hair shirt to me after a long stretch of balance. Tomorrow is a new day, and I can forgive myself for my insides without having to apologize for my behavior outside. This will be a red-letter event for sure.

I used to think (and sometimes still do) that it takes stepping up in the face of, the courage to confront, willingness to wield the mighty sword of justice to kick butt and take names to truly be a person of strength.

Now I know how much strength it takes to stand firm, speak the truth with dignity and grace, and be willing to be kind and forgiving to myself and others.  Unfortunately for me today, I have a lifetime of the last paragraph, and these new perceptions are brand new. So quite honestly, I have seriously pulled muscles withholding that which I must not bestow on others.

I am building my character, and it is painful pulling back from the Dark Side, but it is worth it. It will be. Tomorrow.

 

Silent Rage vs. Meditation


I am uplifted, absolutely lit up, with the symbolism of the violin in my guided meditation this morning.  That the ability to create something beautiful requires “a balance between flexibility and measured tension, like the strings of a violin. If they are strung too tightly~they snap, but when the tuning is balanced, the violin can endure massive force, and produce the most powerful, and tender music. “.

This is an exquisite portrayal of the changes I feel inside since I’ve begun a committed practice of meditation. I was more frequently than not on the verge of snapping. Internally, within both heart and mind, and externally in reaction to people or situations. I didn’t realize how miserable I was in letting my thoughts and behavior be directed by circumstance. I didn’t  admit to myself that my ego was running me, that I allowed the moods of those around me to determine my own. I had become so high-strung that I could not help but notice it in myself. My internal anger at everything was growing faster than my ability to restrain my volatility.

I am so grateful for the relief, the quietness, the peace of mind that I have experienced since beginning this morning meditation practice. I have a sense of ease, acceptance, joy, and am even excited when I wake up knowing that I am changing from the inside out. Instead of a vision of endless monotony, I feel a sense of adventure in finding the guts to do something everyday to step toward my goal of  writing for a living~no matter how small my effort.

I have no idea how I tricked myself  into conforming to the status quo, to minimizing myself and my dreams into hobbies I didn’t have time to pursue.  I don’t know when or how I became so angry, resentful, and cold. I only know it was a god-awful feeling, and I am not going back there. Ever.

I will take care to respect myself and my gifts. I’ll become more flexible in my heart and in my thinking. I will honor differences between myself and others~in fact, I will celebrate them! I will encourage others, “give heart to” those who dare to do what they love, and I will encourage myself.

As I say every morning after meditation, I will honor the light in me, and recognize and honor the light in others, understanding it is the same Divine Light in all of us.

Life is awesome.

Soul Question: Who Am I?


This morning during my guided meditation, I was following my breath, sinking into the calm that has become so critical to my day, when something happened that I didn’t expect. My inner vision was guided down a long hallway to an elevator where I pushed the button and stepped inside when the doors opened for me. I was hurtled towards the roof at such high-speed that when the elevator stopped, my feet actually left the floor a little. When the door opened, I was on the roof top of the highest building on the highest mountain in the world. All I saw was a sign that asked “Who Are You?”.

It took a moment for me to realize that tears were just falling from my closed eyes and I was trying unsuccessfully to wipe them away repeatedly. Who am I? I have struggled so much with that question. Yes, I am a wife, daughter, mother, friend, sister. Those are only parts of me I extend into the world. Who am I? A lover of my family, animals, yoga, reading and beautiful jewelry. Those are my relationships, my hobbies, my activities, my responsibilities.  They are all descriptors of me at different times, but those things are not me.  My body, skinny or not so much, my hair, my abilities or lack of~none of these are Who I Am.

Several thoughts came to me over the next few moments. I am God’s poet. I am a unique creation of God, an expression of Love through the written word (in my case) so I can pass on the love, joy, light, hope and healing given to me.

I am not God any more than all those parts of who I am are really Who I Am. None of us ARE God, but each one of us are created to be a descriptor of  Who God Is.  We are God’s expressions of  musical, physical, artistic, written, philosophical, healing, and pure Spirit.

Just as I marvel at times when I read something I have written, and it has a pure note of truth in it, I imagine God looks at each of us at different times and marvels at the pure note of Truth in the Divine creation of us.

I am going to do my utmost to be that Expression, not waste the Divine Effort, and be the Pure Note of Truth I was created to be.  Even if I fail at times, won’t it be amazing what I’ll achieve? Won’t the effort and the journey itself be a wonderful adventure?

Who Am I? I trust the Divine Universe to give me the answer, to handle the details, all I have to do is the work.

A 21 Day Meditation Report


It is my perplexing discovery that the more time I spend every morning in the stillness of my body, and the quieting of my mind-the more of myself I become. That may not make sense to very many people, but this is my blog, and my thoughts will come out as they will.

I have been, until the past 30 days, one of “those people” who say they meditate but really mean they listen to meditations on their iPod while they put their make-up on and curl their hair. That’s right, I’ll admit it right here. The funny thing is that even that half-hearted effort at meditation made a significant difference in my daily attitude and behavior.

So, for some reason. I decided to actually DO a free 21 day meditation challenge offered by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. Just for kicks, to see if I would actually keep my word to myself.  After the first three days I was hooked. It only took 10-15 minutes of my morning, but when I was  ready for work I would sit in front of my window altar (that I have also used half-heartedly until now), ; light three candles and put my head phones on and sit in stillness until the steadying of the flames mirrored the quieting of my thoughts.

Some mornings I felt strong, some more tender, some just sweet and grateful. But the most important thing is that I felt peace. True, deep, resonating peace wove itself throughout every resulting state of mind. I appreciated the gift of my body more, my relationships strong or not, my breath, a moment, and always the split seconds of  total understanding that I wish I could hold onto, but takes so much practice to master (at least for me).

It gave me grace at work. I have become  a very volatile person  over the years, and I’ve been so tired of struggling with myself over this issue, that the relief I found due to my time spent meditating was immeasurable.  I am less angry, judgmental, and harsh. I am much calmer, kinder, and more efficient-to my surprise.  My evenings with my husband are more enjoyable, as is my time alone. Could that mean that I had reached the point where I couldn’t even stand myself? That is a distinct probability.

I urge everyone to give it a try. Just 21 days will make a difference to you. I promise. =)