Front Porch Therapy


Welcome to my front porch. Sacred ground. A place to share your pain, anger and silliness. It’s by invitation only because my first responsibility is to myself. If I’m not right, my porch is not the place for anyone to be.

My porch is Switzerland, baby. Neutral territory. No recognized extradition laws here.

Only the truth is spoken here, either in person or via phone or text. But I, at least, must be sitting right here for these laws to be in effect.

Your age, race, gender or faith of choice is rendered clear here. We talk, share, shout out, laugh hysterically and solve our issues. At the very least we part ways with new ideas to filter through our views of life.

It’s an awesome place to hang out when needed.

The Front Porch is a precious place to me. I’ve laughed here, cried plenty and healed to a wholeness I’ve never known before now. I’ve heart/soul talked with brothers, sisters, parents and friends who are my family.

I became real here. It will be hard for me to ever leave should I someday decide to.

My heart took its first free breath here with broken ribs, and a fierce joy.

Fierce.

Only those who have proven themselves soul-worthy have been welcomed here in person, or otherwise. It is non-negotiable to me.

One of my best friends says she’s not right if a week goes by without porch therapy. I get it. If your soul can’t speak out in a safe and accepting environment, it gets a little lonely.

We need each other. Don’t act like we don’t.

So my point is this, friends…find your “front porch”. Build it. Protect it fiercely. It will save you, and those in your inner circle who live in your heart.

Be the safe place. Open eyes, open heart, open mind…open arms…

Because hugs are a critical part of front porch therapy, even if they’re virtual.

You know who you are, you are welcome here, and I love you.

 

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Bully Beat Down


 

 

“Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.” ~Wikipedia

Just read that to yourselves a few times. Let that sink in. Open your eyes to what’s going on in your world and maybe even your own life. We seem to think abuse has to be a fist in the face resulting in a black eye or a few missing teeth. We go along with the idea that if there are no bruises to show then no injury could have been done. We think broken bones and fragile nerves and weepy frailness personifies those who are bullied by another. Those who allow themselves to be beat down figuratively because if it’s not literal it can’t possibly be real. We lie to ourselves.

The tricky thing about abusers, narcissists and bullies is that we expect them to look like their afflictions suggest. We picture ugly and cruel and scary looking. Unfortunately, that isn’t usually the case. We don’t always get that kind of visual “heads up”. A lot of the time these traits hide behind a handsome or pretty face, a noble reputation or a soft voice. Sometimes the face the public sees is not what we live with. We allow ourselves to be trapped in the delusion we build for ourselves to make our choice in life easier to swallow.

I will never forget the moment I realized that I had slowly built someone into something they were not so that I could live more easily with my choice to allow them into my life. I shamed, humiliated and embarrassed myself in front of my own soul. You don’t get any lower than that. But I digress.

There are times when those who are allowing themselves to suffer under these circumstances appear to the world as a pillar of strength. They seem strong and indomitable. They project strength, confidence and authority in all other aspects of their lives save the one that matters most. They stumble blindly behind the scenes of their own lives allowing themselves to be that quiet cowering thing that they themselves have no respect for. It’s a slow and insidious downward spiral into isolation.

They are often the champion of the weak around them. They are the vigilantes for justice for everyone but themselves. I promise you that they hate themselves for it. They stand and fight for others, all but the most aggressive bend before their will to prevail. But they do not stand for themselves. They do not draw or guard those lines of decency that must exist between one human being and another. The way they allow themselves to be treated makes a mockery of the rest of their lives by their own perception. It’s a losing game.

There are bullies everywhere. They are cleverly disguised as spouses, parents and friends. You know them by the way you feel “lesser than” when you’re with them. You will know them by the way you tone down your personality, dim your exuberance and let them be the winner in any situation. You will know them because you can’t breathe freely or smile genuinely or laugh from your gut when you’re with them. Lightning strike me now if I’m lying to you. You know it’s true. You know it.

I hate to tell you this, but this is what I know for sure. It is not enough to run away. It is not enough to save yourself by relocating to a new place where you are ready to be a victim again. You have to turn around and stand up to the one that scares you. You have to not allow them to bully you anymore. You have to look them in the eye and say “NO”.  You have to stand your ground, come what may. If you don’t, you’re just another might have been ready to be run into the ground by the next big show. Because that’s all it is darling. A great big dramatic show that you’ve bought into. You will continue to be that one in the movies that trips on the root and gets chopped to pieces by the psycho. Not to scare you or anything, just saying.

Walk away. Then run as fast and far as you can. Then take a deep breath and turn around to face the thing that scares you the most: your own weakness. You are not fucking weak, you have merely been uneducated to the quality of a real life. Once you get a taste of it, you’ll be more than willing to turn around and face what you have to. You’ll wrestle that bear and win the right to breathe freely and with all the joy you can stand.

I double dog dare you.

 

Masks We No Longer Need


What I most want to bring to the world today is…me. Just me without all the labels I’ve acquired over the years. I want a clean slate, a fresh start, a do over. So I’m going to have one, or maybe more. I’m going to do-over until every word I speak resonates with the kindest truth, every effort I make is done with the most genuine love for me/you/the world. I’m going to  grow stronger and more understanding~letting go of what no longer serves me, and situations where I am unable to serve at my highest level. I’m going to grow more courageous and leave behind all the “should”ing on myself I’ve become accustomed to punishing myself with.

I dwell in the midst of circumstances I find appalling until I feel like I’ve learned my lesson in that place. I don’t allow myself to cut and run when I want to, I wait, and ask myself…”what arrogant part of me has been buffed smooth by this”? I’ve taught myself to change the thought of hating something to accepting that it’s a step in the right direction, not my destination, so there is no room for hate~and no cause.

I was disappointed earlier this evening by learning that the cost of starting school for a wellness coach certification was just straight more than I could do right now with my family happenings. I let myself wallow in depression for about 20-30 minutes before it overwhelmed me so I hopped on the tread climber and burned away calories and sadness for an hour.

So many masks over the years, so many roles I play along with everyone else. This big ridiculous drama, that should be an adventure, this black and white silent film that should be in color with surround sound, is coming to a close. It’s time for me to take a bow and step up. I will find a way. I will start training no later than September of this year. I promise myself this. I pinky swear myself, and I know I’ve got to keep that shit.

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.

Breaking the Chains


Time is a factory

where everyone slaves away

earning enough love

to break their own chains.

~Hafiz

 

The funny/sad part of this is~the love we are working so hard to earn is our own. The respect we want is self-respect. The eyes we want so badly to smile at us, are our own. We want to be proud of us, to know that when all else fails, the love and integrity we are will carry us. We will be victorious, we will break our own chains.

The other funny/sad part of this is~we put ourselves in the chains we need freed from. We are the ones who set the limits on our achievements, dreams, and willingness to take risks. We are the ones that said, “NO! Do what you should, not what you desire.  Be responsible, punch the clock, take the crap, do the duties, dim the light, don’t be ridiculous, foolish, stupid, wrong.”  We did that to us, no one else even helped until we gave them permission, WHICH WE DID!

I can be who ever I want, and do what ever I want. So can you. I can be a writer, poet, healer, teacher of meditation, mother, wife, daughter, friend. I can be and do all of these things. I can be a chaser of dreams, a healer of hearts, a lover of beauty, a sharer of joy. I can be a guide to the heart, and an example of how to know if you have one to find! You can’t stop me, nobody can, except me.

We live so small, think so small, dream so small. When we begin to transform ourselves by asking the first questions of who am I? and what do I want? we step into a power so astounding that many step back out quickly and consider themselves lucky. I’m more like the character in Pleasantville who refused to give up the color she was starting to see in her gray tone world. I’m with you sister, I like living in color and I’m not going back.

What Does Not Kill…


Today made yesterday look like a trip to the Enchanted Kingdom. Yesterday was such a steady ongoing call to the Dark Side that by bedtime I felt like a champ for maintaining good behavior. Little did I know what was in store for me today. Today was a balls out challenge to everything my ego ever supported.  I was in a situation at work that so insulted me that in a flash of a moment, all the mean, righteous “smack down” I ever worked so hard to dissolve, rose up in a heartbeat like a great monster tsunami to gleefully obliterate the irritating fly in my ointment.

For a moment, I could actually feel the victory of leaving this person boiling in the humiliation I was so ready to drown them in. Seriously. Did you actually read the last three sentences I just wrote? Not only did I really write them, but today for several critical moments, I meant them with my whole being.

Once upon a time, I wouldn’t  have given any of this a second thought. But this is not a fairy tale, or an episode of Dexter. This is my constantly (I hope) evolving self, who at the moment of critical fail, chose not to use my well-known weapons of mass destruction. Fearing my lack of ability to speak with any kindness or wisdom at all, I put myself on momentary lock-down until my potential “begging to be a victim” escaped with his dignity intact.

I cannot express adequately the difficulty of this feat. My unfortunately legendary and much feared head-lopping abilities were appalled at being held back, and my ego begged to set things more than right. My mind kept telling me that letting this person get away with such a professional atrocity was not good for man-kind. Sometimes it is very important to smite someone most severely to teach them how not to behave. Seriously again. Can we re-read this paragraph?

I did the right and kind thing. Everyone lived happily ever after. Okay maybe not yet, but tomorrow after I calmly and kindly ensure that it is understood what will and will not be acceptable in the future, I will at least be at peace without losing the progress of my heart. But I will admit to you that IT IS KILLING ME. But that’s just the old ego talking.

What does not kill me, makes me strong. What does not kill me, makes me strong…

Pray for me. A lot. Thanks.

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.