Healing ambivalent attachment

It’s not my first time here

The scent of inattention

rises, detritus of stars

forgotten

fills my lungs with

tired cries, how long my time

had they besought?

Now with my presence

darkness threatens,

wordless lamentations scream

Grief so pure now

long-fermented flows

from cracks

beneath my feet.

But I have not

come here unarmored, unprepared

or unaware

I reach for Source

now unencumbered

to the Darkness,

I declare

“I have come to shed,

to share

Light

on that which was neglected

No more will you

need to seek

outside this space

your worth’s reflection.”

In a breath, the waters still

in murky, troubled

incandescence

swollen tongues

taste my Truth,

and sigh in

reverent obeisance.

 

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It’s getting to be that time of year

We just celebrated Litha here at our house, and as a precursor to the celebration, I asked my wife/Teacher to have a review with me so we could go over together all the lessons that I’ve been focusing on (or not, as it was in some areas) since our last Samhain. I don’t know what it’s like for other Witches (and if you’re a practicing Witch reading this, feel free to chime in here and tell me about your experience because I really am curious), but for the Witches in our house, if we haven’t worked through our individual life/spiritual lessons enough throughout the year the result is that October sucks. A lot. What happens is that the Universe dredges up all those lessons and shoves them in our faces all at once to give us 30 days to work on them, move through them, and complete them all before the end of the year.

If it’s hard for you to imagine what that might be like, you can think of it like this: Imagine that you’ve only straightened up your house all year long. You haven’t ever really cleaned it. So that first day of October, then, all the dirt, grime, crap, dust, moldy-refrigerator science projects that never got thrown away, etc. rains down from above to cover everything and everyone. And you have 30 days to clean up 335 days of putrid and disgusting crap and get it to a sparkling shine.  To put it in perhaps even more understandably concrete terms, think about this: Have you ever had one of those days where everything that could go wrong seems to do just that? But you also happen to be super hormonal and you have the flu and food poisoning. Oh, and just to keep things interesting, you still have to keep living your life per usual. No calling in sick. That’s what October is like around here if we haven’t worked on our shit. That’s what October has been like for me for the past few years. And in the event that we can’t get it all cleaned up by the end of those thirty days, the mess not only stays but more gets added to it so that the crappiness of October stretches out for, well, it’s been known to stretch out for the entire next year.

Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about all that with the intention of throwing a glorified pity party. As far as I specifically (meaning my personal shit) am concerned, it’s been my own damn fault for slacking and no one is responsible for that but me. Thankfully, I’d like to think I’ve gotten rather smarter this year. Hence the requested review.

I am happy and grateful to report that there are some areas where I’ve made considerable progress. Unfortunately, there are also some areas that I’ve either completely or at least mostly neglected. One of those is the area of self-discipline (Who – me? Ms. I-write-on-my-blog-once-every-few-months? Yup. My bad). To remedy this situation, I am (yet again) creating a schedule for myself. Schedules are great for improving self-discipline – especially if you’re like me and take immense joy from getting to cross things off to-do lists. Especially when you really don’t feel like doing them (I like to think those times get double points in the self-discipline column).

Among my list of daily activities I will be completing (see – positive thinking – I have grown!) I have included writing. Whether it’s journaling, writing here, or working on my book I am determined to write for an hour a day. Today is day 2 of my adopting this new practice. So, I intend for this to translate into an increasing number of posts here.

Wherever you are in your own journey and lessons, I hope this finds you well. Blessed be.

Re-translated and re-membered

It’s been too damn long since I’ve written. Anything. Unfortunately, my computer troubles I had been having are still unresolved – at the moment the hard drive of my previous laptop is in a sort of limbo state where it’s still fully intact, yet I am unable to access or open any of the files. Including the book on which I was working. I don’t know if that’s some sort of message from the Universe that I need to chuck it and start over; that I need to work harder and because I hadn’t been it, I can’t have it until I’m ready to work harder (and therefore I need to go about 1) being dedicated and disciplined enough to do so, and then 2) start proving that I am; or, if it’s just some fluke that has no meaning at all and I’m just overthinking things (who me? Surely, you gest). Regardless, I do recognize that thinking about it too much just makes my brain hurt.

I recently reread one of my favorite series ever – the House of Night books. I. Adore. Them. They’re just plain fun. And in re-reading them, I’ve found I want to write again. Unfortunately, my desire to write wasn’t the only thing that rekindled.  The smoldering ashes of my fears and doubts that I tried to deny before burst back into flame. I had previously attempted to at least dismiss their importance while still working toward my goal: “I’m not a good enough writer to write a book,” “I’ve researched writing seminars and workshops in my area and haven’t even found any so how can I even improve my writing so that I could eventually write a book?” “I don’t know enough (period – as in, about anything) to write,” “I probably average maybe 3 people visiting my blog on a daily basis – obviously what I have to say is 1) at best not very attention-grabbing and interesting for other people or 2) at worst, so poorly written (in addition to being uninteresting) that even the people who do come here don’t make a point to return,” “And what about that whole idea of finishing my damn post-Masters degree – how does that fit in to wanting to write a book?” etc. Blah, blah, blah. Ad nauseum. You get the gist. There they all were, huddled together, burning as brightly as ever (and making a great deal of noise) in the front of my mind. The discouragement I felt at not having my laptop and my hard drive thus suddenly had annoyingly frustrating company.

In the midst of the blah-ness I had been feeling during the semi-forced/semi-voluntary hiatus I’d taken, I was barely even checking my emails. So the other day I finally went through my inbox and deleted a ridiculous amount of crap. During said pruning, my eye caught on some post notifications from a couple of the blogs I follow. One in particular drew my attention. I hopped on over to Courage 2 Create and began reading Ollin’s post. I was as stunned as Ollin, I imagine, when I read about the quote from the Tao te Ching having been mistranslated. The quote is probably one you’ve heard before, except here it is with the accurate translation: “A journey of a thousand miles begins beneath the feet” (not “…with a single step”). Huh. Now, it’s not the whole individuality, self-reliance thing Ollin describes that I’ve typically gotten caught up on when previously reading the mistranslation. It’s the pressure Ollin writes of regarding that first step that resonates in my belly. That potential (and not kinetic) energy waiting and pushing on my insides, warring with feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the what/where/how/etc. of the step itself. Not to mention desperately needing to NOT misstep (I really hate making mistakes). So, the correct translation of the quote seems to be advocating not doing as the first part of this thousand mile journey but being. Ah, hell.

Thus do I recognize another lesson that has spiraled back around. Be. Don’t Do. Or perhaps more accurately, be before you do. This has been a difficult lesson for me to breathe in and internalize to the point where I know it all the way deep down in the center of my bones. I’m much more comfortable doing. Probably because I recognize that being has long been a weakness of mine, wrapped up in that whole knowledge of and intimacy with self/identity.

I’m (like, I imagine, most other people) not a fan of psychological or spiritual pain. When I’ve spent any time withbeingbefore, I’ve ended up drowning in a stagnant, dishwatery hot mess of gross and fearful emotions. The other night was the first time I’d ever been able to put some words to this historical emotional experience. You know those little grow-your-own pots of herbs of flowers that come with the dirt and seeds all their in a neat little package? In the analogy I worked up, it’s like those little pots are people’s identities and the different herb or flower seeds in them are the different pieces of our identities. What it’s felt like for me is that my little pot didn’t come with seeds. Like somebody got sleepy on the job and just forgot to put them in there. And all around me I see all these pots with seeds that have created beautiful and strong and healthy herbs and plants and flowers. And I just have dirt. So I’ve cut flowers or herbs from around me and stuck them in my pot so that it looks like I’m just like everyone else. Except that whatever I take eventually dies and I’m left with only dirt once more.

At this point, I’ve historically gotten completely discouraged and felt so utterly defective that I’ve just turned to do something else to distract myself. But the other night after reading the quote from the Tao te Ching on Ollin’s blog, I forced myself to continue sitting and being.  And then something pretty awesome happened. I re-membered that I have the power to create my Self each and every moment. I (and I believe all of us) have the power todecidewhat seeds I want to plant within me. Just like a mail-order catalogue, I can simply ask Momma and Papa (or the Universe/Goddess/God/Divinity/Whatever language you want to use – insert here)  for whatever seeds I want, plant them, and then work to cultivate them and help them grow.

So let’s say maybe you haven’t ever felt like what I have, but maybe you’ve struggled with or don’t like some of the seeds you were given. The beauty of all this is that you have not just the freedom, but the amazing opportunity to determine for yourself that perhaps you don’t want to grow chives, for example, anymore. Maybe you feel like growing mint or hibiscus or calla lillies or catnip. Awesome! Dig up those suckers up, chuck them in the Universal compost pile, and go get you some new seeds.

We just celebrated Beltane here at our house – a time of supreme and Divine fertility and also the halfway point through the year. Each year, I usuallly procrastinate and wait until October 1st to begin really working on my shit in those last 30 some days before Samhain and the end of the year. I’m going to try something different this year. Instead of putting all that work off (which makes for a miserable October, by the way), I’m going to commit to stop being a lazy Witch and start doing that work now. Litha (the summer solstice) is a little over a month away, a time of fullness and abundance and blooms. Let’s see if I can get some of these new seeds I’ve ordered to show some of their glorious colors by then!

What blooms are you working on coaxing to life and fullness? Do you have some seeds or plants you’d like to exchange? What’s stopping you?

Stripped & Unburdened part II: Perspective, compassion, and connectedness

This is the second part of what would have been a lengthy post – if you haven’t read the first part yet, you might want to do so here.

After more time had passed, though, I started to consider that maybe I could want and have friends again, but I told myself it wasn’t safe. I lied to myself saying that my world was too catastrophic and chaotic and anyone who came near me would just get hurt. It was (and is) all bull shit, of course, but I was still too afraid to acknowledge that the reason I wasn’t reaching out was because I was focused on all the differences between me and everyone else and was terrified of facing rejection and shame.

In psychological research (and, really, in most forms of research), there is an ethical danger called ‘congruence bias.’ It exists outside of research as well, and in every day cognition. It means that you find what you’re looking for simply because you’re looking for it; or, conversely, you don’t find what you’re looking for because the idea you have in mind is too specific. The thing is, it backfires both ways: 1) Frequently, we have very specific ideas as to what we’re looking for, and when we don’t find exactly that, we conclude that whatever “it” is, isn’t there. For example, let’s say you were looking for a screwdriver and it happened to have a red handle. You pull out the tool/junk drawer and start tossing things every which a way, and you cannot find the screwdriver. Then someone else comes along, opens the same drawer, and says that the screwdriver is right there, handing you one with a black handle. You would probably swear up and down that there was no screwdriver in that drawer 30 seconds ago – because you were looking for the red one. 2) Similarly, if you’re looking for and expecting people to behave a certain way, you’ll interpret all their behavior to match your thinking. Let’s say you think that everybody doesn’t like you. So when you walk into a group of people and someone happens to leave at the same time, you conclude they left because they didn’t like you even though that wasn’t necessarily the situation at all. Maybe they’d had to pee for the past hour but one of the other people in the group kept running their mouth and Mr. I-need-a-potty-break-NOW! was only able to escape because your arrival caught Ms. Mouthy’s attention and she shut up for a half a second giving Mr. Potty-break the escape he needed.  Make sense?

I don’t remember when I realized I had been doing this with my life exactly, but at some point in the last month and a half, I did. The Universe had been sending me little signs – showing me people who I would never think had seen and experienced the same kinds of things I had (not necessarily in the specifics, but general themes anyway), but they did. I’d been so focused on finding the differences between me and everyone that I encountered that I could not see the ways in which we were alike, the things we had in common, how we were connected. On a drive from (or to – doesn’t really matter) work, it coalesced in my space. What connects us (all) is ultimately more powerful than anything that can divide us. It is simply a matter of perspective.

Does this mean that the possibility of my being rejected by anyone who I decide to trust with some choice pieces of my history and experience has suddenly diminished? Maybe, but not necessarily. Maybe because of the new perspective I intend to take, I will draw people to me who would be accepting. And maybe not, but it doesn’t matter either. It certainly wouldn’t shock me. I recognize that a lot about me is a bit “out there” for most people, and that’s okay. What matters is that I breathe in the Truth of the power of our connection and live in that space. Whether others choose to see that or not is not my responsibility. We all behave from who we are, not at or to anyone around us. If someone I encounter is in such a place that they cannot recognize what I have recently discovered, I have a choice. Because I was in that space so very recently I remember distinctly how absolutely miserable it made me, I can choose to have compassion for them.

Thus, when I read of one of my new favorite blogger’s recent experience with discrimination, I was not surprised. Sadly, “A” has not yet come to learn what I recently have. I have been, at earlier times in my life (and still occasionally, though I try not to be), judgmental or intolerant in some way. And I’ve learned that I make my life and myself the poorer for it when I am. So while I empathize with Ollin, having experienced similar discrimination, I also have compassion for “A” because she probably has no idea of the internal consequences of her decision in her own space, not to mention that her blog will be all the poorer for the contribution she denied Ollin the opportunity to make. And I have compassion for her because of that loss of which she might not even be aware. What I found interesting was that when I was reading through all the comments Ollin’s readers made to his post in which he recounted this experience, I noticed that the comments that I interpreted as a little snarky toward “A” had me shaking my head in compassion for those individuals as much as hearing of “A’s” own action did. Perhaps its simplistic (not to mention unpopular) to think so, but at its root, I think the energy of those kinds of comments is as divisive as “A’s” action was.

I finally finished reading Eat, Pray, Love the other day, by the way. I had set it down for a while and it just seemed time to pick it up again. I’m sure that all this embracing of compassion has everything to do with what I’ve taken away from that book. I’m interested to see what else I’ve garnered from it, to watch it unfold in my space and my mind. The father of a mentor of mine used to finish every workshop he did by telling us that we were taking away and had received far more from our time together than we understood in that moment. I think the same is true for this book for me.

Moving forward, I realize that I have allowed the experience of these crises to result in an extreme and negative change for and in me thus far. I’m done with that now. From this point on, I intend to strip myself like a shameless menopausal woman in the midst of a personal summer of this fear and pain that I have been harboring and, instead, continue cultivating this new perspective on connectedness and compassion.

Stripped & Unburdened part I: Hiding behind fear and pain

After writing this post and realizing how long it was, I decided to split it into two parts to make for more easily digestable reading 🙂

When I was in grad school, I took a class on crisis intervention. Ironically, while I was taking it, my family and I were actually in crisis. I’m going to pause here for a moment because ‘crisis’ is one of those words like ‘depressed’ that has reached a point in our vernacular where it has been overused to the extent that its definition has gotten lost. Kind of like how socks manage to vanish between the washer and the dryer. In order for us all to be on the same page, then, I’ll share with you the definition I’m using which is the working definition in the shrink world: when you’ve reached a point where your perceived demands of your environment overwhelm and exceed your perceived coping mechanisms. In plain English, that means that the stress you’re experiencing with whatever it is going on in your world is so great, so vast that you literally cannot deal with it. You are drowning in an ocean when you’ve only ever learned to doggy paddle and your stamina is quickly running out.

Crisis is a strange thing. It’s strange when you’re experiencing it, and it inevitably changes you. Due to its extreme nature, the change it brings about is also generally extreme, though the individual experiencing it is the only one who can determine which way that goes. In crisis, it typically feels as though nothing is stable, nothing is solid, very little is safe. It is a time not just designed for tending those most basic of needs on Maslow’s hierarchy (e.g., food, shelter, water, sleep, etc.), but it is a time when there is no room for anything else.

 I don’t know and won’t speak to or for anyone else’s experience of crisis, as we all process things differently. For me, I had no idea how to “appropriately” invite, ask, or accept support from others. The crises I experienced spread across a range of topics that are all in some way taboo in one form or another. Finances and homelessness, spirituality, incest. It didn’t help that my family lives on a different planet from orthodoxy and my greatest fear of someone pointing a finger at any of the things that make us ‘different’ as the reason for what we were experiencing was too great a fear to conquer in the midst of chaos. It haunted me every day.

And so I withdrew. I stopped talking to my family of origin completely. I kept my eyes averted when I was in class. I stopped calling friends. The world had become a desolate and coldly unpredictable place. It seemed every time I turned around, something else had exploded. I want to clarify a moment here – it wasn’t that I didn’t receive support from others throughout this time. I did. In many forms. But it was as though I had lost my knowledge and ability to interact with others. Because focus has to shift to all those primitive needs, interactions with others become more, well, primal. Thus, there is no sugarcoating, no easing your way around things. A starving person will simply snatch food out of your hand if you hold it out. There is no thinking about manners and politesse. That’s just not the space they’re in.

When you’re in a crisis, though, other people don’t know that unless you tell them, so they still expect you to behave like a “normal” human being. This adds a degree of stress in and of itself. I would find myself wondering, How many times should I say ‘thank you’ so that they would know how grateful I was? How could I infuse those words with enough emotion that I sounded as genuine as I was especially when I was doing my best to not even glance at my emotions because if/when I did, I’d fall apart? How many times should I apologize for burdening them until they believed me? How cliched did I sound when I asked my best friend to borrow money? Again? How should I explain to my professors that, I’m sorry, I can’t come to class today because my family and I just spent our last $2 on egg noodles from the dollar store so we could eat today and therefore we don’t have the $4 I need to get a subway ticket to get to class and home again? Who could I possibly talk to and share what I was going through with and not have a concern that they’d call DFCS on us and tear my whole family apart? So I hid behind my fear and my pain. And I kept my mouth shut.*

After we moved here and things had settled a bit, I found that I still kept my eyes averted. I wouldn’t tell anyone I met much about myself or my family or the circumstances that surrounded our arrival in this new state. I was still hiding. But while I was hiding, my thoughts were as venomous as the mouth and belly of a kimono dragon. Internalizing my fear and pain was destroying me, so at least in my head, I began to direct that poison outward.  I alternated between using that fear and pain as a shield and as a weapon. I clung to my sense of wounded entitlement and became resentful of everyone who wasn’t me. When I looked at the people with whom I worked and the people I served at my job, the people I saw in the grocery store or on the street, all I saw were the differences between us. Differences to which I took personal offense. (Before all of those crises took place, believe it or not, I had liked people in general. While I wasn’t ever one of those super outgoing, extreme extrovert types, I found people fascinating and loved learning about them, hearing their stories.) Now, there were few people who could provoke even a kind look from me. And while I realized this wasn’t me – wasn’t who I was – at the time, I had no interest in changing it, let alone any idea how to do so even if I did.

(continue on to part II here)

*If you know or are close to someone who is experiencing or has recently experienced a crisis, I hope that what I share in these two posts might help you to understand what they may be feeling and going through. I encourage you to keep reaching out with compassion, understanding, and patience while they move through the dark night they’re facing.

I’ve missed you!

Oh my goodness I have missed this space. My apologies for having been absent for almost a month – eek! My laptop had wine spilled on it and is still out of commission for the moment (though I am hoping said moment’s termination will occur in the next day or two). There happen to be four other computers in my house belonging to the people with whom I live my life. Why didn’t I just use one of their computers this whole time? Valid question. My response seems, I can recognize, a bit childish without further explanation: because none of those are mine.

Here’s the thing. While a Buddhist might look at that response and shake his/her head at my apparent attachment to a conglomeration of metal, plastic, wires, and electrical circuits, there’s a deeper meaning for me in it. I have spent the majority of my life adopting the beliefs, values, ideas, thoughts, emotions, behaviors, etc. of others instead of truly cultivating and committing to the creation and maintenance of my own. I have been a chameleon and a ventriloquist, and it has taken me a long-ass time to work to break that pattern (which, truly I am only at the beginning of doing and still stumble. A lot). For me, my own laptop became an extension of my voice. Frequently, when we first start something, we need some kind of crutch, some kind of tangible assistance – training wheels of some sort – until we can learn enough and become strong enough to not need those things. This is what my laptop has been for me in many ways. And while, yes, the aforementioned hypothetical Buddhist has a valid point, some times when we are striving for balance, it is necessary to go from one extreme to another. Some times that is balance. Writing from another’s computer has felt to me a little like borrowing someone else’s underwear. That they’ve already worn. It just feels icky.

However, my jaw has been aching for weeks. For the most part, I have not been conscious of clenching it, though I have been (clenching, that is). A great deal of the clenching takes place in my sleep. When I mentioned it to my wife last week, she said it was because I was swallowing my voice, which has to do with not having been writing but also with some relationship things I’ve been dealing with among members of my family that I hadn’t been doing with very clean energy. After our talk, I became more aware of when I was clenching my jaw during my waking hours and would also wake up in the middle of the night realizing I was a mess of tension in my face. And so today, I decided that I needed to push past the ickiness and frustration of not having my own computer with which to write and just do it. It’s not comfortable – writing here at this other computer. But not being able to open my mouth wide enough to take a bite out of a sandwich and not be in pain is more uncomfortable, so here I am.

I have a post I intend to write in the next few days. It is something that has been simmering on the back burner of my life for a while now, reducing like a good sauce and geting denser and more substantial. I am hoping that it’s time to bring it forward and give it more attentionnow, that it has reduced enough at this point that all the unnecesary stuff has evaporated from it and we can proceed to the next steps of its creation and embodiment. The Universe has been sending me little signs recently, like spices, seeming to tell me that yes, it is time. So, I hope to publish that post and promise to you that I will do my best not to be an uber perfectionist as far as the writing is concerned, thereby delaying its publication simply because it feels really important (when I do that, those posts tend to not ever get published).

I hope to find you well as you read this. And I hope that today is a day that you can feel the sun shining down on you, even if there are clouds overhead, and know that you are loved and that your very existence on this planet matters far more than you will ever comprehend.

Wait: A nasty, four-letter word

For years I have yearned for a place that was “home enough” and that had a yard where I could grow some kind of garden. Being a sensual person to begin with, I have great appreciation for flowers that simply smell yummy and/or look pretty – I’d love to grow peonies and dahlias in particular for those purposes. But what really drives me is the desire to use the things I grow – and for more than just decoration.  Magic food, mojo bags, infusions, salves – you name it. I dream of basil and rosemary, mint and jasmine, bell peppers and nasturtiums, calendula and meadowsweet and goldenseal. And a whole host of others.

We’ve got an ever-expanding cabinet of dried herbs that we use for various magical and medicinal purposes, but to grow our own to supplement our current supplies! Oh! How fabulous it would be. Of all the Witches in our house, I’m the  Witch who spends the most time in the kitchen and seriously, I will probably cry when I harvest the first of the herbs I hope to grow. You should have seen me at the Old Drug Store in St. Augustine wandering through their collection and meeting SkullCap, Motherwort, Linden, and Crampbark for the first time in person. I got all choked up – no joke.

And while we live on a wooded lot (well, really, it’s not that we have a lot of trees on our lot but our neighbors do which translates into lots of shade and ridiculous amounts of fallen leaves in our yard), I’m choosing to be optimistic. I’m especially excited about gardening because it’s something that my wife and I will be doing together. It will be our project.

The other night we were chatting and I’d recounted wandering through some of the gardening aisles of Walmart. My wife – ever the patient one – told me it was still too early to start when she spotted me eyeing up the manual tiller hanging on the wall of our garage. Not even tilling? Nope. No tilling yet. The Earth is still chilly and she is not ready yet. If we till her now when she is still cold and wet and has told us it’s not time yet, she won’t trust us and won’t grow happy things for us. Hmmm…You’re sure? I am – I had a little chat with her the other day. *sigh* Okay.

I’ve come along way in the patience department over the last few years, but my nature is do! do! do! Not wait. And usually I start out wanting to tackle step 5 and ignore steps 1-4 which generally does not lead to success. So I’ve had to learn to pull the reins in on myself. I’ve made improvements in that area by having conversations with myself (literally) about what I want. Then, I inevitably have to tell myself that that cannot happen overnight (no jumping to step 5), so what would a first step in that direction be? As soon as I can figure out that first step, I’m usually all right because it gives me something to do. Somewhere to focus all my energy.

After my conversation with my wife, I thought about what I could do now while I waited for the earth to be ready for me to play with her. It’s been rainy and overcast here the past several days, so trying to determine more specifically where in our yard we get sun and where good locations for growing herby and plant people might be was not an option. However, the obstacle of shade and sun still sat in front of me, and while I know little about gardening at the moment, I know enough to know that’s important. So I went to the library. I have to pull the reins in here, too, because my first instinct is to get an overwhelming amount of books which usually leads to me not reading any of them. And while I am a rather voracious reader when something really captures my attention, I’ve learned to limit myself now to two or three. The two I checked out include Making the Most of Shade and a Beginner’s Guide to Herb Gardening.
Meanwhile, in the rest of my life, lots is going on and I’m far from bored. For what might be the first time (possibly ever), I’m not the one whose shit is all over the place. It’s quite nice here (temperate, easier to breathe), and I’m enjoying it a lot. Historically, though, how Momma and Papa have communicated to me in the past that I’ve got shit to work on is usually through some physical means. All Witches process energy through their bodies. Nine times out of ten when a Witch is sick, the root of the issue is NOT physical in nature. It’s typically related to some spiritual or life lesson. So, for me, when my shit crops up, I’ve gotten some kind of sick, I gotten a cold, etc. For a while toward the beginning I used to break out in mini hives along my arms (very unpleasant), etc. Recently (as in for the past year or so), it’s been a cough. It’s a cough that won’t ever completely go away – it just gets worse some times more than others. An annoyance, really, but an alert system that’s very functional. However, I was recently explaining to our newest Witchlet how that worked and saying I would very much like to get smarter and be able to become aware of those issues another way so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the cough or any other physical ailment like that anymore.  

As I began writing this and was thinking about how fiercely the idea of gardening has grabbed me and the ensuing conversation with my wife, I had a moment. As soon as the concept of ‘patience’ came up, multi-colored flags flew up, alarm bells started jangling, etc. (This is the exciting part!) Brief caveat: I learn by making connections and associations among things. I take the new information with which I’m presented and weave it in to my existing knowledge base by connecting it to something. So in my moment, the following thoughts occured to me: Where else in my life is this concept appearing? Can I draw parallels and connections and associations? Does this hold some other lesson for me that I have been refusing to see? Well, yeah. This sounds so simple that I’m a little embarrassed to be writing it, but what if I used the way I learn (making connections) to figure out what shit I need to deal with based on seemingly mundane things going on in my life that grab my attention? No more coughing!

So, how does gardening and having to be patient and wait play into issues/lessons I’m dealing with at the moment? I’m having trouble with being patient with some of the people in my world. A variety of them of have created monstrous messes for themselves (which affect me indirectly, because, you know, I’m in relationship with them and actually live with them), and my perception is that they’re not really doing much to fix their messes. Don’t get me wrong – I love these people. Ridiculously. At the moment, I don’t like one of them. One of the get-out-of-almost-any-mess-free card that we whip out around our house is the “I’m sorry – I was being dumb” card. We all have moments when our brain just kind of falls out and we behave like idiots. The thing is, when you whip out that card, you have to actually own that you were being dumb and acknowledge that you’re done with that now. This particular person is being really dumb.

However, I have also been dumb. A lot. Like, for the past four years until several months ago. Almost, if not, the whole time. What can I say? I don’t like to admit it, but some times, I’m a bit slow.  My wife, Goddess bless her, is an inordinately patient woman, and throughout the past four years, sowed the seeds I could receive (and a bunch I couldn’t at the time but that took root once I was ready). And waited. Eventually, I stopped being dumb.

So the wise and best-version-of-me-possible thing to do here is to wait. And be patient. And keep loving these people and sow what seeds Momma and Papa tell me to sow when/if They tell me to sow them. And to remember that I was really dumb before for a while, too.

The art of getting lost

Whenever I move to, or perhaps just visit, a new place, I will at some point relatively early on set out with the intention of getting lost. I’ll take some precautions. Usually. I’ll make sure I have enough gas, some money, maybe some snacks. But I’ve found that it’s a great way to get to know a place and to discover treasures off the beaten path that I might not otherwise have come across. Things and sights that won’t be found on any citysearch website or in the pages of a tourist book.

I’m beginning to come to the realization that I do the same thing with my life, except not always intentionally. Okay, most of the time it’s not intentional, but rather it’s a result of setting out to find something. I just tend to get a little ahead of myself and take off with no map, no supplies, and the only thing in my pack being my sheer will, my ability to actively cope with pretty much anything, and a compass a little like Captain Jack Sparrow’s, except mine seems to be a little less reliable. Hard to believe I used to be a major planner, huh? Perhaps it’s something in my hardwiring – I have no idea. In keeping with the whole Pirates of the Caribbean movie connection I’ve got going here, it reminds me of the second movie. You know, when Captain Barbosa says, ‘You have to be well and truly lost to find a place that cannot be found.’ Or something. I’m paraphrasing. My point being that most of the things I set out to find are not straightforward, concrete, tangible objects.

In a conversation with my wife and L recently, my wife remarked that I was lost. I was working on getting un-lost, but there I was. I hadn’t confessed this to myself in those exact words yet, but the idea was present enough in my space to the point that when she said it, it wasn’t even a light bulb moment for me. Not one of those – Aha! That’s what’s going on! No wonder I feel/think/seem *fill in the blank here*. It was just a, Yup. I am. Again. Sigh.

I have a rough idea as to what this round of being lost centers around. The last major time of being lost was about finding my Self. I made some serious progress in that regard, and I can say that, while it’s certainly a process that continues to unfold, I know my Self better at the moment than I ever have before. In general, I am more managed and have the rest of my shit more together than it’s ever been before (no, really – you can ask my wife). That is certainly something I am celebrating and am grateful for. What I’ve set out to find in this most recent endeavor is my career. Like, the career that harmonizes beautifully with who I am. Because I’m stubborn and a bit idealistic and can’t imagine settling for less. In the mean time, sure, I’ll wait tables, but it’s simply a means to an end and is definitely not my career.

So, here I am. Lost.  My wife reminded me early on in our relationship that what you do when you get lost is sit down and stay in the same place and wait for your Momma to come and rescue you. Thus, am I staying in this place, and asking Momma to come find me (again) and please bring my Career with Her when She does. I’m slightly frustrated with myself about the being lost again part, but not blaming anyone else for it and nonetheless am determined to make the best of it while I wait for Momma to hunt me down. For instance, I asked my wife to teach me sign language. In the past 3-5 days or so I’ve established about 100 word vocabulary. Do I think I’ll actively do anything with sign language or that it’ll be integrated somehow into my career? Nope. But I love to learn – especially languages – and it’s something I’ll be able to share with my wife. Just one of those little scenic side routes along my journey.

I respect those who do not need to pursue their life’s path the way I have mine and some times am a little envious of those individuals. Perhaps my life would be easier or smoother in some way if I moved through it differently, but then I wouldn’t be being me. And that is something I have learned (the hard way) to never do. 😉 Wherever your journey takes you, may it bless you beyond your imagination. And remember, if you ever get lost, just wait for your Momma to come and find you.

As for me, I’ll be…

 

Courting Anger, Courting Truth

I have a draft for a post I’ve been working on for about a week now (it’s not this post, btw, and I will get to finishing and then publishing it. At some point). When writing it, I stumbled upon some pivotal ‘ness’ that I’ve been fumbling around for I don’t even know how long and was just about to break through that last screen of fog that separated me from Truth, from insight, from a new level of growth. Then some shit hit the fan, and like following a thin, sliver of barely-there-thread I lost my grip on it in the wind from the fan. I find it incredibly frustrating when that happens, don’t you? So now there’s all this shit everywhere and, somewhere in all this mess, is that lost thread. I’ll find it. I know I will. Because I’m a persistent and stubborn bitch at times, and because I have a gift. That gift is that I cannot ever give up. Literally. Like, ever. Like, I am driven deep down in my marrow to keep going. I might cry, whine, and pitch fits the whole time, but I’ll keep on truckin’ on. I don’t know how the rest of the world deals with all the shit that gets thrown at them without this little gem. I’ve been near homeless with my family in tatters, a handful of change and a mountain of debt to my name, my beloved suicidal and barely hanging on, living on Ramen, etc. And I walked through it. Not very gracefully the entire time, mind you, but I’m still here. So find that thread I will, but in the mean time, there’s some stuff that needs to get cleaned up. And so this shit that the proverbial fan has showered all over at the moment is just one more thing to walk through. The space that I find myself in right now is not unsurprising, I would think.

Do you remember that ’80s (maybe early ’90s) dating show called The Love Connection? In my mind right now is the set of that cheesy show, and I am determining who I want to date. Anger. Or Truth. Oh, and let me tell you, I am having a rough time of it. There sits Anger, all dark and smoldering, his eyes beckoning to me to come and play. Sensuous fingertips gliding a promise away from my skin and steam rising in the ghost of the trail along my arm. And when I look up into her eyes (because Anger is both masculine and feminine), flames dance within them, hypnotizing me with a pledge of sharing power. Nails dig into my flesh for just a moment in a dance between pleasure and pain. I want to play. But then a cool wind whispers across my face, drawing my attention to Truth.

At first glance, Truth seems simple, plain even, and not especially enticing. Yet, there’s something there that has me waiting, holding my breath because I have a feeling there’s something below the surface. Even as I’m looking, my eyes slowly climb up the bodice of a white, silver, and gold gown that has instantly become translucent, and my breath rushes out of my lungs in an attempt to simply be closer to her. My eyes lock with his (Truth is also feminine and  masculine) and my whole body trembles with the imaginings of a union between us. There is a spark in his eye that I want to hold in my hands and pull close to my belly. But when I look again, that same spark cuts through me and the pain I feel is beyond measure. I am undone. I am caught between the two. (And these are not two that would work together in a polyamorous relationship.) I must choose. Fuck.

Anger and I have a longer history together. I am not, historically, one to kowtow to niceties and politesse when someone has pissed me off. I am unafraid of confrontation to a point of, at times, a serious lack of wisdom. I’m the person who wants to hash it all out. Right. The. Fuck. Now. Unfortunately, that’s not always what’s best, and it certainly doesn’t always pave the way to resolution. My anger exists on multiple levels at the moment – at an individual, at the situation, at the idea that, really? things had just started to settle down and improve and now this?! All of that lends itself to the internal struggle of this disturbed love triangle I’m in (with Anger and Truth). What I want is to give a verbal flogging to a certain individual until they are bloody with sincere and soul-felt apologies and crying for mercy and promising to undergo a personality transplant and be completely transformed into a more decent, considerate, and empathic human being. But, don’t fret. Though our relationship is younger, I’ve spent enough time with Truth to know that’s not who I am, so I won’t do it.

The other part of me simply seeks resolution. That part of me is wiser. It is a part that can let go of what’s past and simply look toward creating a new future. At the moment these two parts are engaged in a heated debate inside my mind and attempting (well, really, it’s that first, vengeful and angry part that’s doing most of the talking) negotiations. But, can’t we please just yell a little? Okay, not even yell, but just forcefully respond/interject/communicate? That part is a significantly disappointed that the resolution-seeking part isn’t overjoyed at the promise of not only no physical violence happening but not even a verbal assault taking place, and why isn’t it getting a huge pat on the back right now? Why isn’t that goody-goody, wise part giving in to all other demands, damnit?!

Here is what I know. All anger is rooted in fear. Fear of something. The fear can have many faces, but the most recognizable face on the surface is Anger. It’s a smoke screen. Next time you’re angry or feeling angry, take a step back and a deep breath and peel back that first layer to find what’s underneath. I guarantee you’ll find some sort of fear. The fear I’m feeling at the moment is the loss of my family’s heart, the inability for us to all heal, that one person’s refusal tobedifferent than who they are at the moment will continue and we will never be able to move beyond, that – at the least – some piece of my beloved is dead now and will not ever resurrect. Here’s the shitty part. Some (or all) of these fears might be legitimate. And, at least from where I’m sitting this moment, there might not be much I can do about any of it. Yet, I am compelled to keep going. I can’t not.  

So here’s the other thing I know. I glance over at Truth, breath shaking in my chest and from my lips, and I see Strength. I see Compassion. I see Love. I see Divinity. I spare a moment to look back at Anger. The smoky hot facade falls away in ash as I stare. What remains is a whimpering, distorted, deformed, twisted and ugly thing that can only breed further destruction. I’ve already thought about what I want, but what do I need? Not that. That stands no chance against thwarting any of those fears in becoming realities. There has to be some way. I turn back to Truth who has come to stand in front of me. I gracelessly spill out of my chair to kneel at her bare feet, my body already seizing and spasming as her eyes pierce through me, cutting away all that does not reflect her.

As the pain subsides, he pulls me deftly up to embrace him in a dance as old as the sunrise. He twirls me in his strong arms. Arms that will protect me – not from pain or from hurt, but from inflicting further damage upon myself. Stay with me, his breath whispers in moist heat along my neck to my pulse. How can I not? But then she turns me so my back leans against her chest and, running her silken hands down my arms, shows me a reel of past choices I have made. When I have strayed. My belly clutches and my heart sinks as I watch. She hugs my body to hers from behind, then turns me. I plead to her with my eyes, how do I not do that? How do I move forward, with you? What do I do with the anger that I know is still churning in my belly?

Her response: Shake it out.

Gardening of the soul

Oh, today is a good day!  I heard from one of my dear, fellow blogging friends informing me she had created for herself a new home out there in cyberspace. So, of course, I immediately skipped on over there and my heart leapt as I read her most recent post. She wrote of the need to feel rooted and also thriving on change, and somewhere deep within me came a cry, in orgiastic agreement, “Yes!” Yes, that epitomizes a huge part of who I am and how I want to dance through my life.

I’ve been craving something recently. It’s a something that I’m not quite sure I have words for. Part of it is soul-ful friendships, connections, and community. In “real life” but also here in blogland. The kind I can sink my teeth into. The kind that have depth. The kind that challenge me to grow beyond what I know of myself in this moment. Part of it is doing that work myself. Part of it is realizing the potential that lives within me that, until very recently, I have not been ready to connect with. And I’m not sure what else there is there, but there’s more.

I’ve known for a long time now that like attracts like. That’s not hard math. If I want to develop new friendships like the ones I mentioned above, then I need to be that kind of person, that kind of friend. I cannot sit here in my little corner of cyberspace and expect those kind of friendships to just happen. I need to open myself to them but then get the fuck out there and interact! So, when I went to Miss Janece’s new home to celebrate with her and welcome her there, I visited some of the blogs of people who had come to do the same thing I had for my friend. And what wonderful places and people I found in the process! I had no doubt ever that there were amazing people out there. Kindred spirits. Yeah! 

We just had Imbolc here at our house. Imbolc signals the end of winter, the very beginning of spring. The time of year where it’s time to start seriously thinking about what I want to plant in my life and myself this year. What do I wish to grow? I find my head spinning a bit because there are so many things buzzing around up here that it’s a little dizzy-making. And just like when planting a garden (which I’d love to do at some point), this is the time of year for tilling and prepping the soil. For turning it over, clearing the space, and getting rid of the debris and weeds that have shown up over the course of the winter.

There are some things I can feel in my belly that need attention. Some weeds that I have turned a blind eye to that I need to make decisions about. Do I want to continue to feed energy into finishing my post-Masters degree? Do I even want to pursue a career in the mental health profession? If I’m not so inclined, am I not inclined because of the obstacles I perceive as being in my way? Is this one more thing that I’m not going to complete because I’m better at starting things than finishing them? Is that statement accurate? Does my behavior reflect that pattern? Is it a sour grapes kind of situation or is it a reflection of my Truth? As you can see, I’ve got some work to do!

If you are so inclined to be doing similar work, then I wish you fruitful tilling and encourage you to uncover and follow your Truth, trusting that you and your path are unfolding as they should. Remember – nothing conquers fear like love and gratitude 🙂