Pandora’s Box


Lately, I have moments when I scare myself.

Like that feeling you get when you give something a little push, and it starts a chain reaction that shifts everything in sight, or you open the closet door and everything falls out on you. Yeah, it causes a chaotic mess, but what’s left is clean and open.

When Pandora opened her box, she released all the evils into the world, and realizing what she had done~she slammed that lid down as fast as she could, but it was too late~there was no more containing the bad.

The worst part of the story to me, is the part no one ever tells. When she slammed the lid back on the jar (yes, it was really a jar, not a box) it was too late to keep the evils from the world, but still trapped in the bottom of the jar~the only thing left inside~was the Spirit of Hope.

Seriously, now, that is a bad BAD situation. That is where Pandora and I part company. When I opened my jar, and all the negative, evil, wicked, mean, bad and nasty stuff flew out I was RELIEVED. My whole jar was made of Hope, and I carry it with me everywhere.

The scary part is this~I know things now that I didn’t before. I know what I want. I know who and what I am. I know what I’m supposed to do. The OTHER regular old do the duty and quit your whining and be a Stepford Human  me is like “OMG DON’T YOU EVEN MAKE ONE MOVE. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT”. Me and myself are kind of eyeballing each other right now. You know~nobody move, nobody gets hurt. =)

So I compromise with me. I take a step at a time. I enroll in school, and send in my writing, and meditate. I tell myself the truth every day~I am becoming who I am meant to be. It’s the journey that’s important and exciting. The journey that is the adventure.  There will always be a new destination, because it’s all in the journey. I am JUST now figuring that out.

It is this new knowledge that keeps me sane, and holding on tightly to my jar of Hope. I tell myself that I can take being where I am and doing what I do because it is refining me for what’s next~it is setting me up for flat-out tears of joy gratitude when it’s time to step out. I do understand that who I am goes with me everywhere, so I have to work it out and grow. If I don’t, I’m just carrying the ugly with me in the jar.

Nope. No thank you. I’m collecting only good dreams and schemes for my jar of Hope. No uglies. Done with that.

So here’s to Pandora, and letting out the ugly, and holding onto Hope.

 

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.

You Deplete Me


You know who I’m talking about.

God forbid, sometimes we might BE that person. Let’s pray not. I hope never to return to that state of being.

The people with such powerful negative energy that you can feel your joy draining as you draw ever closer to them. The vampires of enthusiasm, the black holes of happiness, the terminators of positive re-enforcement.

The saying about the five people you hang around most? It only takes one. But there are many available to latch on to you during your downward spiral. You must be ever vigilant, especially around those growly bears you live with and love.

The key to living and/or loving growly bears is to consistently work on changing yourself only. NEVER attempt to change the growly bear. This only exhausts you, and causes resentment in the hearts of both parties concerned. Simply working to undo the damage you have done with your own attitude can be a fine example to others.

I used to think fighting fire with fire was the only way. Now I know that’s an excellent way to burn everything to the ground. Creating twice as much gloom and doom is not the answer. It erodes even the tiniest bit of peace I can find.

When I got tired of not having a haven to be happy, a refuge of peace and support, I began to look inside myself and build one. I had to start with me, and continue with me. Sometimes, I had to just walk away, then gently set a few boundaries of self-respect, and once in a while~ a little straight talk (very KIND straight talk).

Like every other practice, with repetition and re-enforcement, I am learning to deplete the negative forces in my life by removing my energy and focus from them. I focus on the good, the possibilities, the gratitude for the awesome that is right now. It is so true that what you feed is what grows.

Please don’t feed the growly bears.

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.

 

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.

Not So Fairy Tale


Today was awesome. I leapt out of my bed in a  single bound.  I listened to the problems of the United States, and in fact, the entire world while drinking a cup of coffee and not saying a word to protect myself. I held off great forces of negativity while still in my jammies, and evaded certain doom by escaping to the bathroom to clean up and don my super hero outfit before venturing out to confront the great Dragon of Baditude.  With great and powerful skill, I took the fire spewing from the dragon, formed it into a flaming sword and slew the Baditude-leaving only the dragon behind. Then I went shopping. It was an awesome day.

The End

Well, not really.  This is just a powerful victory story to someone who handles controversy by either not dealing at all, or by finally exploding into anger after holding it in for a LONG time. I can tell you that neither of these methods solve any problem, or facilitate positive communication. If you are familiar with these two methods of  “non-solving by avoidance or over reaction” (this is a very technical term I just made up), you will notice that you keep coming face to face with the same problem. Yes, you do. Usually over and over, just maybe wearing a different hat.

When you become aware of doing this, and you accept your part in the endless “groundhog day” in your relationships, you can choose to allow yourself a spine. One of the things I learned with my interaction with the Handel Group is that the very thing you do not talk about because you fear it will be the end of your relationship~is exactly what will be the death of it, if it remains unsaid.

Speaking the truth of how you feel with strength and grace is absolutely not the same as screaming it in a fit of angry retribution for an injury to the heart. Even if you use the exact words. It’s like a horrible sword fight, only instead of limbs being lost, it’s respect, and love, and hope, and trust.

Changing the way you communicate with the people in your story can start with the small things, and as your spine and heart and self-esteem grow stronger, you can take on bigger challenges with confidence.  You must beware the dangers that await you though, the usual “make you feel stupid” ploy, or someone using the “nut-job” phrase, or the even more popular “you’re the one with the problem” strategy. There are all sorts of avoidance tools and methods that have worked for years that will be brought forth as usual. If you do not engage, and you have your cloak of invincibility on, by remaining calm and non confrontational, you can leave the field having truly expressed yourself with respect, hope, love and trust intact (at least for the time being).

It is not easy at first. Maybe it never will be. What it is~is worth it. You’ll see the first time you actually resolve the first tiny little (20 year-long) relational issue. You will find you have super powers. You will face the dragon each time, knowing that you and the dragon will win by your doing so.

The most key thing to remember here is that you must be this same super hero when you are the one at fault on an issue. You must accept responsibility for your part, your behaviors, your tone, your careless wandering into a sensitive area that hurts another, or makes them defensive.  Heroes and Sheroes aren’t perfect, they are just growing and learning. So don’t be an ass about what you’ve taught yourself, be grateful for it, and kind, and forgiving. That which you would have another do for you.

Lastly, I leave you with the cloak of invincibility~pray, meditate, and know your heart so you can share it well. Only those who know their own infinite worth have the ability to wear the cloak, so begin by learning to hold yourself in high esteem so that you can teach the dragon how to do the same.

The End (really this time)