Story time

Rarely is my life not in some state of upheaval. Thankfully, when my shit is on really straight and I’m not bitching about it, I thrive on change which means I’ve learned to make some damn fine lemonade. Lemonade aside, though, I’ve established a pattern of bitching more often than not (whether this takes place in my head or with my outside voice) and allowing the upheaval to dictate my life and schedule, not to mention temperament. I’ve resisted embracing the concept of thriving on change out of fear for sending out a message to the Universe to keep it comin’ and thereby never attaining a sense of stability. The thing is, when I deny parts of my Self (like thriving on change), the result is usually a hot mess. Through denying this particular part of my Self, I essentially get plowed by the wave of change and end up bruised and exhausted on the beach of whatever new space I was meant to be, sputtering up salt water, coughing, and wheezing because I chose to hide instead of ride that wave and see where it took me. Cause that translates to stability? So, since what I’ve been doing isn’t getting me to where I’d like to be, I’m going to try something different. I’m going to do my best to not hide from those waves, to not bitch about them, but to stare at them head-on and then ride them out with grace.

One of the things that I’ve allowed to lapse when those waves come rolling toward me is my writing, as is evidenced through the extreme inconsistency of posts here. I’d like that to be different. At the moment, we have one semi-functional car among myself and the two other adults with whom I share my life. My wife is working full-time, and her husband is working part-time. His boss provides transportation to the jobs they handle, so his lack of vehicular independence isn’t a problem. My role in our house and family, though, has dramatically changed from being the full-time employee and primary “bread-winner” to being the stay-at-home mom. I’m still adjusting. One of the beautiful things about this new situation, though, is that it provides me more time to be able to devote to writing.

I was reflecting on this the other day and a movie clip from my memory slid onto a projector in my mind. I am in my tenth grade biology class. We are, yet again, sitting at our desks and coloring in pictures of mitochondria. It seems we spend most of this year just coloring in pictures of cells. Mrs. S, our teacher, is at her desk with her head bent down doing who-knows-what-besides-ignoring-us. My lab partner, JW, asks me what movie I watched this weekend. We’re not really friends, JW and myself, but these times of coloring pictures have become story time for all of us and quiet anticipation breathes collectively as they all await my tale. It is not that I am popular or friends with all or even most of them. As soon as the bell rings, we will go about the rest of our day and probably ignore each other again. But right now, I am the story teller and they are my eager audience. I begin recounting the latest movie I saw, vividly painting the scenes with florid descriptions as our coloring pencils fill in the whites of the papers on our desks. There are occasional laughs, gasps, “No way!”s, and “Then what happened?!”s. Some times, someone will point out a part I missed or forgot – not antagonistically, but because they want me to go back and include it. I am in my element. It is not the attention that I seek – I’m more comfortable out of the spotlight than in it, struggling as I am with typical 15 year old insecurities – but it is the passion for the story and its telling that drives me and lifts me up into more of who I am than I am capable of achieving on my own at the time.

I’ve been meditating a lot over the course of the last year and, through meditation, have been holding discussions with my True Self. She is a story teller. After I learned that, it made much more sense as to why I have difficulty being concise. It also made much more sense as to why I feel so alive and just right within my own space when I am writing or telling stories. In an effort to step more into the space of my True Self, I am recommitting myself to this space and to writing. I don’t know how often I’ll be posting here, but I’ll aim for at least twice a week to start and see how that goes. Wherever you are in your journey, I wish you well.

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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?

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…

 

Adventures in becoming

I have been itching to get back here the past couple days, but between eating, sleeping, working, and just plain breathing, there hasn’t been the time. So, tonight, I’ve carved some out and voila! Here I be.

The past couple days, I have had moments where I’ve felt some of that old energy (remember – the crap piled on top of me stuff) try to sneak back in. It’s come, at varying times, like a slug doggedly trudging its way across the surface of my Self and leaving behind its toxic residue or like a big bucket of slime got dumped on my head and started seeping into my brain. Not a pleasant experience overall, I will say – either way. Each time, I did not have my Goddess amulet that represented my Future Self on my person. I’ve determined that it is like training wheels as I venture in this process (Momma made sure to point out to me the day I devoured my self that this was not an event, but a process).

Unlike the seemingly myriad times when I’ve attempted this before, the fact that it is a process is not frustrating to me now. It doesn’t lead me to grind my teeth until my jaw is sore or have me pitching fits like a 3 yr old who doesn’t want to take a nap. Instead, it’s more of a comfort. Like when you’re starting to learn something new and exciting that you’re passionate about, each and every little tidbit is a fabulous adventure – even when you fall down once in a while.

In my process of revolutionizing/extreme make-over-ing/transforming/transmuting/etc. my self/Self that I’m adventuring in at the moment, I’ve decided I am tired of all the music I’ve been listening to. I’ve never ventured out into this realm on my own to hunt down new and happy music – I’ve always told someone I’m looking for new material and somebody ends up delivering. This time, though, I wanted to explore this realm for myself; an activity equal parts act of independence and self-discovery. Like most of the juicy goodness life has to offer, I’m learning this is a time-consuming task; but, fortunately for me, it serves up some immediate gratification. I’d like to share one of my new discoveries with you that also is very apt for me at the moment!

Oh, and p.s. I. Love. Her. Hair.

Happy Wednesday

I am writing not really because I can think of anything in particular to say at the moment but because 1) it is a good idea to check in with myself/Self, 2) when I initially check in with myself I find I am feeling a little restless and writing is a good outlet for that, 3) my wife just yelled at (but, you know, not really) our 14 yr old because she hasn’t journaled, and if my wife/Teacher asks if I have journaled, Iwould like to be able to say, ‘yes!’ so I can avoid getting yelled at, and 4) this is a little secret that I have only shared with my immediate family but I am going to be brave and say it here – I want to write novels. Yes, plural, though, of course I’ll start with just one. But in order to do that, I need to find my voice, you know, the one that is unique to just me. And writing is good for that, too. So, here I am.

So, this restlessness I am feeling. It is, I believe, the hallmark of transitioning. I mentioned our 14 yr old, and it is funny to me because there is a part of me that feels adolescent in this moment. After all, it is one of the quintessential times of transition one goes through in life – regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, ethnic background, geography, ability, spiritual affiliation, etc. Everyone that has lived to, according to researchers at this point, 25 has completed this transition and everyone who has at least reached the age of 13 has begun to experience it.  And though it is true that currently my face is broken out (which I think should be illegal after one reaches 30), I don’t mean that kind of adolescence. I mean the kind where so much is going on below the surface, like billions of little tornadoes of development just whirling in a frenzy of creation and change inside. And, like I have just bought three different new outfits and a bunch of new makeup and can’t decide what to put on and go out to parade in or perhaps I just want to stay inside and change my clothes and eyeshadow a billion times. And like I have finally admitted to wanting a really amazing gift that I only just got the courage to ask for and now want so desperately that my skin sings with the longing for it AND I was told I could have it…soon, but I need to be patient. And if you’ve ever known an adolescent, you know that, on the whole, they are not the most patient lot.

And while transitions are frequently messy (creation, after all, is a messy process – look at the act of giving birth), there is such beauty in the process. And so, while I am restless, I am also joyful and giddy, even. I think I’ve been giddy before (my wife could probably attest to that), but it has been so long, that it is like a thrilling adventure into a foreign territory. I realize the varying string of analogies might induce a headache for some, but it is so exciting I don’t want to help it. Like an exquisite dish or wine or painting, there are so many flavors and colors and dimensions to describe that to stop wouldn’t do it justice. Ha! See, I did it again. Writing critics be damned, I’ll keep going, too. I am like a young woman awaiting a long-promised lover, except that this time, the lover is Me.

WRO wrote a beautiful post that had me cheering her on and applauding the wisdom she displayed (and that I have lacked when considering or venturing into relationships). See, the pattern I have engaged in with every single relationship is that I sacrifice my identity on the altar of it. Maybe that’s not entirely accurate, because, to be honest, I’m not convinced I ever had possession of my identity to begin with. But, that’s the gist of it. I make myself into who I perceive my partner to need or, in perhaps more often, into a replica of them. The historical result has been, of course, that the other person becomes worshipful or tired of this identity I’ve put on, both of which I grow to resent and a messy break-up has ensued. My wife has been the sole exception to these results. I’m not saying I haven’t made her crazy with my mimicking of her (which I’ve done and it has made her crazy, and she has told me about it) or that she hasn’t gotten tired of it (she most certainly has). Yet, as I said in my previous post, she has the patience of a saint, and she loves me unconditionally – both of which are testaments to her character and don’t have a damn thing to do with me. I just started reading Eat, Pray, Love, by the way, and was a little unnerved by the similarities between myself and Ms. Elizabeth Gilbert – I mean, even down to the speaking French and Russian background bit. Crazy. Anyway, when I read WRO’s post about “marrying her Self,” I was struck with that fabulous and foreign-to-me idea. Lovely!

And in keeping with some concepts from Eat, Pray, Love, I am not going to try to fix or get rid of my giddy, excited, joyful and agitated restlessness. I’m going to just be those things right now and be with them. Though, I think I’ll continue to do that in a bubble bath…