Life lessons in linguistics

A few months ago I began studying Italian via Rosetta Stone software. For the most part I love the software. Languages come pretty easily to me to begin with (for which I am hugely grateful because I love learning them), and the intuitive nature of the software is, for the most part, convenient and meshes well with how I learn. Being a stay-at-home mom, my schedule is erratic and time to myself is pretty minimal, so I haven’t exactly been able to work with it in as disciplined of a fashion as I’d like. Shortly after beginning Italian, I started to miss speaking French (the second language I learned). I studied it throughout high school, college, and then lived in the country for just under two years, but have lost a lot since my return. So when the computer that the Italian software was on crashed, I took the opportunity to start working with an intermediate/advanced French grammar and vocab book I checked out of the library. Earlier today, I went through and completed all the exercises in the first chapter of the book – a somewhat frustrating experience as I struggled to remember words, proper spelling, grammatical structure, etc. After I finished (and had made flash cards for verbs I’d forgotten, good little student that I am) and several hours passed, one word keeps coming up in my brain. I hear it spoken in my mind at random intervals. The word is céder, to yield.

Because, in my experience, the things that crop up like that are not typically coincidental, I sat with that a minute. Yield. A number of things come up. Synonyms, foremost being ‘surrender’ (a lesson whose levels I’ve been working on – and will probably continue to work on – for a long time).  Questions – to whom (duh – Momma and Papa)? Yield what (probably another duh – uh, me, everything)? In English, ‘yield’ sounds like such a harsh, forceful word. The beginning of it requiring a push from the back of the throat to get it out; the “ee” sound that follows invoking a sense of nervousness, tension, apprehension, anxiety; and, the awkward combination of the consonants ‘l’ and ‘d’ at the end requiring great linguistic intention to annunciate fully. I find that pronouncing the word in English parallels my own experience in moving through the lesson of Surrender with the Divine – challenging, full of tension and anxiety, awkward. And yet, complete surrender, and, therefore, Oneness with the Divine IS our natural state. So why has my experience with it been fraught with such negativity?

The French, on the other hand, is a totally different story. Céder. Despite being one syllable longer than its English translation, the first part of the word flows off the tongue like water or a sigh, its phonetic pronunciation of “se” (like the English word ‘set’ without the ‘t’). The second syllable, ‘dae’ with its ‘d’ firm – yet not harsh – followed by the long ‘a’ vowel sound, cushioned with a gentle, open finish (like the ‘a’ in ‘ate’, but without the ‘t’ at the end), is like a mother’s solid but gentle hand around her child. When I hear it, it carries the softness of a whisper with reserves upon reserves of strength. Céder. I want to curl up in it, feel it wrap around me because that kind of gentle, wise strength could only create the most comforting safety. And there we have it. What it both takes to surrender to the Divine (some crazy ass strength, an owning of our own will and the gentle yet firm release and relinquishing of it) as well as what is offered in the surrender itself (Divine and Supreme Care and Safety, the likes of which exist nowhere else). The English word ‘cede’ is similar, and that makes me think of its homonym, seed. A seed is not forceful or dictatorial. Yet, it contains within it enormous potential (for instance, just think of a redwood tree).

I got curious about the etymology of the word ‘yield’ and looked it up online, English being such a hodge-podge language that it is. Among the root words from which it is speculated to come is the Old Norse gjaldo, meaning “to repay, return.” And isn’t that what surrender is? A return? Return to Source, to Divinity? A reunion, but one that is, ideally, lived every day? Chosen every moment?

I’ve had a hard time thinking of it and conceptualizing it like that – because a return and reunion with Source lived with each breath of my body sounds downright blissful – and perhaps part of my problem has been the language in which I’ve considered the lesson. Yield, as previously discussed, but even surrender. The latter brings to my mind images of war and/or a half-life in captivity or shame, capitulation, failure. Perhaps at this point, you may think that I’m overthinking this whole thing. And though that may be partially true (it is a tendency of mine, after all), we throw words around in our society to the extent that they lose their power on the surface. But not in our internal world. Our internal world – the one to which we’re more often than not oblivious – retains the memory of the essence of those words. And the language we use to make sense of and give meaning to the world around us and our interactions with it has great power. Like gravity, we don’t need to believe in it or know exactly how it works for it to be very real and effective.

One of the things I’ve learned over the last few years is that so much of life is simply about perspective, how we choose to view things or think about them. I’ve been blessed with a gift for learning languages and the opportunities through which I am able to use that gift. Perhaps if I can look at this lesson with which I’ve struggled through new eyes and with new language (céder) that bears completely different connotations for me, my movement through it will be smoother.

In France, the street sign equivalent to the American ‘yield’ sign is sometimes just the familiar upside down red and white triangle , but often, it also reads “Cedez le passage.” Most interpreters advise against direct translation and that’s a general good rule of thumb; but, sometimes direct translations provide insights we would otherwise miss. Cedez le passage, translated directly means ‘Yield the passage, or way.’ What if I stopped trying to force my own way or passage onto or on my life and just took a side step? What amazing things could grow from my having ceded, and therefore, seeded the way?

What about you?

 

Advertisements

Why, What, How – huh?

Up until probably the last two years or so, I was a big supporter of the question, “Why?” I asked it all the time and about pretty much everything. I was convinced that the answers held the keys to everything I thought I needed and wanted. I first began to be broken of this habit during an extreme financial and family crisis. When you consistently wonder, for a prolonged period of time (i.e., months at least), if you’re going to end up homeless or how to possibly feed a family of 6 on about $10, you stop asking, “Why?” There is no more time for why. Why becomes wholly irrelevant. Facing any major crisis is like being on fire. It isn’t helpful to wonder why you caught on fire because if you do then you’re spending energy there instead of just putting the damn fire out. The important questions then become, “How?” or “What?” as in, “How can I put this fire out?” and “What can I use to accomplish that most quickly?” etc.

On a spiritual level, “Why?” is completely incongruent with the practice of surrender, of trust, and faith. Just like when you’re a little kid, even the most ideal parents will train you to just follow directions some times. My wife and her husband trained our girls like that because, God and Goddess forbid that in any dangerous situation they would hesitate when given directions instead of immediately following them without question (obviously, this practice could be and is abused by bad parents but we’ll leave that discussion for another time). I’m convinced the Divine operates the same way.

I don’t know if it’s because we have averted most of the crises facing us or they’re at least not raging fires but little piles of smoldering ash now, but at some point over the last several months I started asking Momma and Papa that question again. Like an obnoxious 4 year old, I would rattle on and on, “Why aren’t You telling me what my career is supposed to be?” “Why have You stopped me so many times in the middle of pursuing a career?” “Why do I have such a hard time with selfishness? “Why is it such work for me to have to remember the needs and wants of other people and focus on them instead of just my own?” “Why couldn’t I be one of those people that just knows what they want to do with their life with such conviction and goes after it?” “Why have I had and why am I still having such a hard time figuring out who I am?” Ugh. On and on and on and on. Interspersed in there, of course, was a lot of, “What am I supposed to be doing right now?” “What am I supposed to be doing long-term?” “What is my purpose?” Thank goodness that Momma and Papa are Patience because when I started piecing this all together yesterday, even I wanted to smack me upside the head. But then the craziest thing happened, and it began slowly some time last week. They started giving me answers. And here’s the part that’s even more astonishingly crazy: having the answers to all those questions didn’t do a damn thing other than lead to me feeling stupid, guilty, and overwhelmed. It fixed nothing. And, of course, as soon as I began to get the answers, my questions shifted to “What” and “How?” and I found myself saying, “WHY isn’t helping me!!!” Oh, hey! *Lightbulb moment*

Now, I don’t know about you, but I had to sit with that for a while (that’s what happens some times when you’re hardheaded like I am). And as I sat in that space, Momma explained – and not because I asked! – that it was the only way I was going to learn that ‘Why’ is, for the most part, a waste of time. And energy. Then I saw a pattern. When They gave me what I told Them I wanted, I wanted something else. Back when I was working full time, I complained about having to do the work of figuring out who I am and all the other stuff that goes with that at the same time, and wouldn’t it be nice to not have to work and have more time to devote to working simply on me? And I saw that as soon as I had that (now and since we moved), I’ve been complaining about not knowing what path my career should be heading down, and why can’t I just get on with that? It’s the same thing with the Why’s. I’d been asking Why (instead of What or How), and They’d been telling me the What and How. Then when They started to tell me the Why’s (totally unhelpful, but exactly what I’d been bugging Them about), I’d shifted to the What and Hows. Kind of a grass being greener type thing which stems from a lack of gratitude, but also a lack of trust.

So, in light of all of that, I am committing myself to surrender, to trust, and sticking with the Whats and Hows. I hope to report super happy fabulousness shortly on this new venture!

The Key to Happiness

If you’ve spent any time anywhere (whether online or in bookstores, etc.) looking at self-help material, you no doubt encountered probably dozens of titles about the ‘secret to happiness.’ It is something that we, as a society, endlessly struggle to try to find, spending probably millions of dollars on everything from books, CDs/mp3s, retreats, gurus, diets, exercise programs or personal trainers, spa treatments, clothes, drugs – you name it. In an amazon search I just did simply typing in “secret to happiness”, there were just over 6,000 results. I had no idea happiness was such a profitable market. And if you’ve spent any time here in blogland, you’ll find tons of New Agers promising that certain crystals or meditations or whatnot will get you there or an explanation of the achievement of happiness that reads like a doctoral thesis on quantum physics. If quantum physics is happy at you, fabulous! But I promise you don’t need to learn it if you don’t already study it to be happy.Now, in spite of being a joy-filled person by nature (for which I am enormously grateful), I still have a tendency to get in my own way. I still get cranky and moody and irritable and bitchy and just, well, lost. And while I have learned a lot – particularly over the course of the last 5+ years – one of the things I’ve learned is that I know very little. And I’ve reached a point where I am pretty okay with that. I’m happy to marvel at the mystery of the Universe and enjoy the part I play in it. There are, though, two things that I Know that I Know – the key to happiness being one of them – and it is my great joy to share them with you here today. In plain English. For free!

Are you ready?

Are you sure?

courtesy of stock.xchng

1) What you focus on grows.

2) Gratitude is the key to happiness.

 

Yup. It’s that simple. It just figures that something so seemingly elusive is so simple to find. Now, note that I said simple – not easy. There’s a difference. Simple means uncomplicated. It is not the antonym for difficult.

 

As for the first one – the phrase ‘law of attraction’ probably springs to mind. I haven’t read any of Abraham Hicks material and I may be one of the few Pagans out there in the world who has not read “The Secret” – mostly because I’d already learned the principle from my Teacher. If you haven’t read either of these yourself, you don’t really need to if you just remember #1 up there (I know I personally have a hard time taking anyone who uses the word ‘vortex’ seriously, so if that’s you, too, you’re not alone). That’s the gist of it. Of course, if you want to do some reading, feel free! The bottom line is that the fundamental principle of ‘what you focus on grows’ is NOT froo-froo, New Age fluff. No, that part’s for real. I imagine if you take a hard look through your life and be painfully honest with yourself, you will find it to be true.

 

As for the second one – the expression of genuine gratitude is the fastest way to shift any negative or purely destructive energy and bring it into balance. Balance is our Natural, dynamic state. Everyone’s. When you connect with your Natural way of Being, happiness follows. When I express genuine gratitude, I direct my commentary to my particular conceptualization of the Divine (Momma and Papa), but don’t worry – we’re not going to leave the Atheists out there in the cold. Simply stating, “I am grateful for *fill in the blank*” totally works, as long as you’re genuine. And these don’t need to be earth-shaking sentiments. In fact, it’s being grateful for the little things that I’ve found just amps it up. Blue skies. Flowers that smell yummy. Coffee. Indoor plumbing. Stinky French cheese (I don’t have any in my fridge at the moment, but I’m grateful it exists in the world). Cigarettes. Hot water. African black face soap (it is the shit for combination skin). How it smells right after it rains. Coffee. Body glitter. Baby giggles (if you don’t know any babies, go to youtube). Youtube. Kittens. Deep, belly laughs. The internet. The color magenta. Picnics. Sleeping in. Really awesome sex. Traffic lights turning green right as I approach an intersection. Have I mentioned coffee?  Just try it. For two weeks, write down a minimum of 20 things you’re grateful for every day. Every day, no exceptions. And you need to be genuinely grateful for each and every thing you write down. If you have a hard time with that part, take a moment for each one and imagine what the world (or your world) would be like if that didn’t exist. I’d like to take a moment to remind you that I said this was simple, not easy.

 

If you manage your two weeks having been genuinely expressing gratitude for at least 20 things every day, I think you’ll find that at the end of your two weeks, you’ll be a hell of a lot happier than you are right now. And if you’re pretty happy now, imagine how much happier you’ll be incorporating this practice into your routine! And it’s cumulative! It just keeps building. Perhaps you’re remembering a part in the beginning of my post where I said I still get bitchy and cranky, etc. and wondering why you should buy into this stuff I’m saying if I still experience moments where I’m lacking happiness. Have you ever gone to a gym after either having never been to one or there being a pretty long lapse of time between visits? You head over to the free weights, pick up the 10, 20, or 50 lb-ers (some weight that you think would be manageable) and start doing reps. But your muscles aren’t accustomed to working that hard. They tire. Pretty quickly. And, by the way, you’re wearing a weighted suit when you do all this. You can only build that muscle so fast without your body shaking and collapsing in protest. It’s the same king of thing here. The weighted suit you’re wearing is all of the shit piled on top of who you really are, your True Self. The more you “work out,” the closer you come to Balance, the more you start to shed pieces of that suit which, in turn, makes working out easier, which then means you shed more of that suit, and it’s an amazing and magical cycle. It’ll kick your ass 100 ways to Sunday – I won’t lie about that – but if you persevere, you’ll get to where it is you want to be. And you can start it with the simple expression of genuine gratitude.

How did I get on this carpet?

Life is such an amazing and beautiful thing. Ceaselessly astonishing and surprising to me. The mystery of it all continues to amaze me each and every day. Experiencing and interacting with the Divine and the Divine’s sense of humor has, often simultaneously, brought me to my knees in gut-wrenching sobs while feeling the embrace of Love and Compassion as I sit there crumpled up in a ball of snotting, overwhelming emotion and awareness of Truth and how far from and close to it I am, sometimes all at once.

Every time I experience an opportunity for some significant jump in growth and dedicate myself to pursuing that jump, to embracing it before and around me, to unfold and become more of my True Self Momma and Papa inevitably call me to the carpet about it – usually within a 24 hr period. That call typically manifests in the form of some challenge. The Divine is ALWAYS listening, and while I imagine They hoot and holler and cheer for us when we make such declarations of dedication to change and healing and are ready and willing to coach us and walk through the whole sticky, messy, and some times painful process of it with us, They are compassionate enough to test us first, to provide us an ‘out’, to make sure we really mean it. My challenge after taking up the mantle of Love and Gratitude on my crusade of anti-negativity showed up in the form of our almost 21 year old son behaving like a complete douche and, well, a typical 21 yr old male with a history of trauma who has only just begun the healing process.

The incident itself is less important than was my response to it. Now, perhaps it’s my Irish ancestry at work, but I am a temperamental being who also happens to be, among other things, relentless, willful and headstrong. It’s a delicious combination of traits (I’m not being sarcastic – really, it is marvelous), and one of the mysteries is that just those four traits can comingle in myriad different measures to produce an astounding number of different reactions and responses. Some healing and creative, some…well, not so much. On this particular occasion, they coalesced and manufactured a river of lava, a veritable flow of fury that simmered below the surface and threatened to geiser at the slightest misstep or lack of adequate contrition on our son’s part. I spent the whole of yesterday walking around in restless agitation, justifying my emotional state by reminding myself of our son’s inappropriate demanding, ungrateful, disrespectful, and bitchy behavior. Replaying the scene of our argument on a movie reel in my mind with extra attention and encore performances of the part where he called my wife (his mother) a “crazy lady.” Like a school yard bully, I aimed a steely eyeball at him (when I deigned to look upon his face) throughout the day, my ears on high alert like a cat’s ready to pounce at the smallest nuance of attitude. I didn’t try to move past the mad. I reveled in it, keeping it barely managed.

By 11pm last night, I was exhausted.  I’d already taken an hour and a half nap earlier in the day, confused as to why I was so tired. It wasn’t until just before bef time that I remembered how tiring being angry was. My wife and I were sitting on the back patio, and she asked me what was up because I seemed not okay. I replied saying I was still angry. She then inquired as to why I hadn’t been able to let go of my mad. The conversation that ensued entailed my wife, as ambassador for the Goddess and God, calling me to the carpet and reminding me of my crusade as well as poignantly asking how I was doing with that right now? Oh, a Divine touche! Well, hell. I was gloriously sucking at it. Hahaha!  How marvelous!  What a wonderful opportunity to grow! Throughout our conversation, I reaffirmed several important tenets I have promised to uphold: 1) I will always love our kids more than I will be mad at them, 2) I will ensure they are firm in this knowledge, and 3) the goal is to heal the person, not to simply change the behavior. I was still a little grumpy even at the end of the conversation, but it was a different kind of mad. It was the, ‘well, damn, I fucked that up and my emotions are not yet in perfect congruence with my goals and doesn’t that suck’ kind of grumpy. Yup, I fell off the Love and Gratitude wagon before I was even settled on to it. Good thing I’m relentless 😉

Today, as I think about yesterday, I simply find myself chuckling to and at myself. Oh, Jess, did you really think it was going to be easy? Of course I have to instill Love and Gratitude in myself before I can begin trying to create it around me. So today, I am dusting myself off from that little wagon stumbling incident yesterday and damned if I’m not going to get back on that wagon again!

Wherever you are in the beautiful process and journey that is your life, I hope for you the ability to chuckle at yourself when you fall – to not take it all so seriously as to discourage you from continuing on when you get those scrapes and bruises on your knees and shins from falling off whatever wagon you were trying to get or stay on. I hope for you a touch of relentlessness to urge you to keep trying in those times because truly, nothing ever gets better if you just give up.

Expansions in the name of Love and Gratitude

At some point during the other day, I had a moment of clarity the likes of which I have only experienced a handful of times in my life. I had been listening to the short people in my house and L throughout the day and something was building up within me without my awareness. Like the sky parting after a long and tumultuous storm to reveal blueness so vivid that one swears the sky had never donned this vibrant shade before, it coalesced in my mind in words: negativity. Everywhere around me, the people I love and whose lives I am so honored to share and witness were a teaming bundle of complaints, whining, sniping, and irritability. I noticed it not only in them, but also in myself – either right before I would utter something or immediately after I thought or said it. As pervasive and present as noxious gas, it was everywhere I turned, in everything I heard. Knowing that complaining and negativity is the opposite of gratitude, and only serves to attract more of the same, I became angry; of course, only to realize minutes later that my anger only fed the negativity around me and wouldn’t help to heal these amazing people in asshole’s clothing or the situation so that wasn’t an option. The next part of the revelation occured when I began to pay closer attention to their behavior, to what they said and how they said it. And I found one common underlying theme to all of it: Fear.

I have learned that there are two (I guess technically three, but two are partners and on the “same side”) primary sources whose roots we can trace all of our decisions, thoughts, emotions and behaviors back to: 1) Fear, or its opposite 2) Love and Gratitude. Everything  (and I do mean everything) – from what you decide to wear each day to why you chose the career track you did to how you function and interact in relationship – comes back to one of these two concepts. Now, to be clear, I’m not saying all fear is “bad.” Fear, in its true form and not the hyped up anxiety we often mistake it for today, is a survival mechanism. It is one of the managers of the limbic system and the driver behind the flight/fight/or freeze response. But most stress management experts will tell you that our physiology hasn’t caught up with our modern environment. Rarely, unless one works in a dangerous and high-risk profession, is the fear that drives us today based on our immediate survival. It’s leftover from the days when it served that purpose but except in those rare occasions, its roots aren’t planted in survival. They’re planted in selfishness. AA brilliantly acknowledges this root of self- and other destruction in the famous Big Book and its 12-step program. It’s one of the main reasons why there is such a focus on service in the program and why, after one has reached a somewhat stable level of sobriety, one’s next step is to be a sponsor to someone else struggling. As a side note, the Big Book is brilliant in and of itself and I think everyone on the planet would benefit from reading it and walking through the 12 steps as well as learning the 12 traditions. For those of us without substance issues, there are any number of addictions we can substitute, if not the addiction to selfishness as a whole.

For the past several days, when I’m not herding children or cats or trying to figure out some way to not let the people I love make me crazy I’ve been reading a biography about a Franciscan priest who was a chaplain for the FDNY and died during the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11. I’m less than halfway through the book, and I can affirm to you that this man whom I never met in person has already dramatically changed my life in ways I am sure will continue to unfold for years to come. It’s called The Book of Mychal if you’re interested. Perhaps it’s the Christians I knew growing up or the one my parents attempted to groom me into becoming or my lack of experience with Christians who seem to truly LIVE their faith that makes the story of Father Mychal’s life that much more moving and awe-inspiring. But more than the type of Christian he was, the book (and he) is incredible because it describes the person he was. (A witchy parenthesis – it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if this man actually was Saint Francis reincarnated. That was a damn cool dude that particular time around to begin with.) He was a man of unfathomable love, devotion, compassion, and service.

So it is Father Mychal I think about when I look around my home and see the state of the people I love embroiled in negativity, weighted down in fear. And again, like a few other times so far in this life, I feel an expansion within myself. If I have the capacity to recognize the state of things, then I wholeheartedly believe that I have the capacity to heal them and make them better for us all. And perhaps that might mean expanding even more, but I fully believe I’m capable of that as well and that the opportunity would not be presented to me if it were otherwise.

 

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.

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…

 

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 🙂

Happy writing!

I have finally buckled down, put on my writing cap (not literally, though if I did have a literal writing cap, I think I would want it to be in a magenta, silver, and gold plaid newsboy style), and got back to working on my book which I’ve, admittedly, been neglecting. I have finished the first draft of my first chapter, and I find I am filled with all sorts of bubbly and excited energy. It doesn’t matter that I know I’ll revise it probably a billion times before the whole book is done, it doesn’t matter that I know I need to improve my writing in and of itself, it doesn’t matter that I have a zillion and one ideas as to where I want it to go from here and (at the moment at least) I don’t know how it will unfold, it doesn’t matter that I want a huge part of it to take place in South Carolina and that I’ve never spent any time in South Carolina and so don’t really know what it’s like there and wouldn’t it be awesome if I could take a road trip and spend time there, but we definitely don’t have the funds for that right now, etc. See, bubbly. What does matter is that I decided I needed to take time to write and I did. What does matter is that I am following Momma and Papa’s directions and working on it. What does matter is that I commit myself to continue this work and to improve and to communicate what Momma and Papa tell me is needed so that this book can be both entertaining and healing for those who will one day read it. I trust that everything will unfold and fall into place as it’s time. Speaking of time, at the moment, I need to get some help from some other writers and readers that I trust to provide me with some good, solid, constructive feedback. 🙂

Exes: An Update

Well, I couldn’t write that last post about J and not update you when there’s updating to be done!

He stuck in my head. Since I had the dream, I just kept thinking about him. I’m sure it helped that my wife has just begun a secondary relationship and so there was (and is) New Relationship Energy (NRE) floating around the house like crazy (you know, that exciting and bubbling mix of energy when you begin a new relationship that’s like a bright and effervescent prosecco?  In poly circles, we call that NRE). And in our house this year, Papa’s return since Yule has manifested in an abundance of sexual energy that has us giggling while we shake our heads and remind each other that no, it’s really not Beltane, despite the fact that it feels like it on an energetic level. That probably contributed also.

So, on my birthday (the 26th), I decided to check in with my new pendulum (an adorable little sunshiney carnelian) about responding to the last message he’d sent me on linked in (in 2008). It practically screamed ‘yes’ to me, and my insides erupted in a frenzy of fluttering like a handful of faeries hyped up on jolt cola. After I managed to calm myself down a bit, I set to work forming a short and concise (hard to imagine, but yes, I am capable of this when necessary and with great effort) attempt at reaching out and clicked ‘send.’

I’m going to pause here to inform you, in case you hadn’t figured it out yet, that I am a girly girl. Not to great extremes (I don’t get manicures and pedicures, I don’t have an innate sense that enables me to distinguish between Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana and the various seasons and years of their lines, I don’t keep up with celeb gossip, etc.), but I am girly, and I know it. Unfortunately, the combination of girliness and having to wait for a response from an old flame makes for a potentially diabolical combination. Thus was I spinning in circles in my head wondering if he would make me wait three years before responding like I had or fantasizing about his immediate response asking me where I was so that he could catch the first flight here and make passionate and crazy love to me as soon as was humanly possible or wondering if he was married or if he still wore that badge of arrogant asshole on his sleeve proudly or what our babies would look like or if he still used his linked in account and what if he didn’t and didn’t get my message or what if I wasn’t meant to reconnect with him since he was my heroine and could I handle it better this time than a decade ago, etc., etc. You see?  Crazy.

He responded I think a day and a half (or so) later. Believe it or not, I had not been profusely checking my email over the course of that time. I had vowed to myself that I would not let myself become that consumed because it would be imbalanced. When I saw the bold letters forming his name on my gmail inbox screen, everything within me hitched for half a moment. Exhaling, I tentatively laid my hand over my mouse and clicked. Within the first five sentences, I was reassured that he had ripped off the arrogant asshole badge. As I moved on to the second paragraph, though, my feet figuratively flew out from underneath me. He was married. I summoned my strength, swallowed, and managed to finish reading the remainder of the message. When I had gotten to the last word and his salutation, I felt like a forgotten balloon three days after a party. Three-quarters of the way deflated, I quietly called for my wife, and she read over my shoulder.

Now, my wife is not girly. Whether it’s because she’s old as dirt (on a soul-level), is a healer, or whatever, she simply doesn’t have girl friends. Most of the relationships she begins with other woman (of the platonic variety), typically end up with her being their healer and them not knowing how to maintain multiple-role relationships and still be a friend. So my wife has never had girl friends. What’s interesting (and highly amusing to me) is that since my wife has begun this secondary relationship, she has started to become girly. Yet, because this is totally foreign territory to her, she doesn’t know how to do the “girl friend thing” in situations such as the one in which I found myself. I am incredibly blessed that my wife is who she is and that our relationship is what it is because she was, in the midst of confessing she had no idea how to help me or what to do as I stared numbly at the screen, promising me everything from cursing him till he was dead or making his penis fall off to getting me ice cream to just squishing me to…etc. And when she wasn’t saying that, she was simply repeating these words, “comforting words, hug-hug, squish-squish, lick-lick-thrust-thrust, comforting words.” It was adorable.

I did finally break down and start crying and snotting a little while later. In the end, I determined I needed to shop (see, girly), and so we went to Target and spent my gift card from my parents on an adorable new shir, skirt, and some awesome body lotion. A few days later, I determined that it seemed as though J had accomplished what I had always hoped for him: to strip away all the bull shit and be the amazing person I knew was buried under there somewhere that I had caught occasional glimpses of. I comprised a response that I think managed to be authentic in its joy for him and confirm for him that he was accurate in that I had departed very far from the space I was in when he knew me last without verbally vomitting any of the details of that departure for him (I mean, come on, how would you react if the ex of yours came out and said that their sexual orientation had changed, that they were in a totally unconventional relationship, and that they were a practicing Witch?  It’s a little overwhelming even for the most open-minded of people and hard to communicate all at once without seeming aggressive).

I haven’t received any further communication from him, and I actually feel okay about that. If there still is unfinished business between us, we’ll either tend to it at some point before either of us die or just try again in another life. One thing that this whole situation did help me to realize is that I am not interested at this point in my life in relationships that don’t have that soul-level connection and substance to them. Romantic, platonic, whatever. This is something of a break-through for me, and one that I’m glad I’ve made because now that I know that, I can clearly communicate this desire to the Universe and Momma and Papa.