Little did I know…

Life is a series of cycles – an ever-changing, hopefully evolving, dynamic process. In my previous post I wrote about the key to happiness. In that post I touched on some myths of that all-too-often seemingly elusive experience and its pursuit. I haven’t been writing for the last little bit because I’ve been busy learning something else. It’s something that to some, perhaps, might seem obvious. Perhaps it was my naivete or idealism (or maybe just laziness) that kept me from being able to see it for myself before. Regardless, here it is: Happiness is not static. It is not a destination. It is as dynamic as balance, as peace. Here’s the other little tidbit I’ve been experiencing: That first taste of happiness – and, oh, is it delectable – is like an amuse-bouche. It is a teaser of things to come in a multi-course, exquisite, rock-your-senses-and-change-your-whole-world dining experience of Life. And it needs to be that amazing, that evocative, that ecstatic because it provides the motivation to get you through what comes next:

An interactive demonstration of everything in your life and your world that keeps you from being able to live in and from that dynamic space.

That first taste of true happiness is the honeymoon that precedes the work of marriage.

The name for that work is healing. The drive to do that work and achieve the happiness that is wholeness is desire.

Now, frequently when we hear the word ‘desire’ what comes to mind is of a romantic or sexual nature. It makes sense to me that this came to be in our lexicon because sex is the greatest act of creation one can experience and participate in. It is sacred in its nature because, in addition to what I just poinetd out, it is union. All of our relationships (platonic, romantic, etc.) teach us how to be in relationship with the Divine. Sex and sexual union is the most powerful analogy we can come up with for the ecstasy that is union with Divinity, with Source. Healing, re-membering, uncovering, and returning to our Essence is how we achieve long-lasting union with the Divine while in a physical body.  

One of my favorite music artists is P!nk. I just have a lot of admiration for her commitment to living her life as she sees fit and not being apologetic about it, about the choices (both wise and poor) that she makes, and taking those experiences and turning them into medicine. When I heard and saw the video for one of her new singles “Try,” though it seems written as a discussion of a romantic relationship, when I applied my filters of the above discussion of desire and healing, the chorus, at least, has elevated substance and meaning for me. As I’ve said a million times, healing is hard, messy, painful work. It is a beyond-intimate process with the Divine of being re-broken and re-made into Wholeness. And it is a decision that needs to be made sometimes every moment, every day.

So if you’ve experienced happiness and then had everything blow up around you or fall to pieces shortly thereafter and are now wandering lost and wondering if you just hallucinated or made it all up, don’t fret. It’s all a part of the process, and (perhaps counterintuitively) it means you’re probably on the right track. Just get back up and try.

 

 

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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.

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.

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.

Exes and Ohs

I had a dream last night that my ex was in. Not just any ex. You know, the ex. I think most of us have (usually) one of these. Whether it was the one who broke your heart the most, the one who made you the craziest, the one who got away, etc., (or perhaps some combination of all of the above). When I was talking to my wife about my dream and my ex’s resurfacing in my subconscious this morning (he has a habit of doing that every once in a while, and I have yet to concretely figure out why), our fourteen year old came and sat down with us. As we were trying to explain why this particular ex was a bigger deal than any of my other exes, my wife seemed to sum it up perfectly.

“He’s like her heroine,” she told our daughter. I’ve talked about this ex -we’ll just call him J here – with my wife in great detail, so she knew exactly what the dream had stirred up for me and a good idea of where my thoughts were wandering.

I sat with that idea for a few minutes and decided it was probably pretty accurate. While it’s true that my “relationship” with J ended almost a decade ago and I like to think I’ve gotten smarter since then, I got stupid around him, just like people do on heroine. Heroine is not one of those drugs that you can try once and only do occasionally. Smart people check themselves into rehab after doing heroine once.  I was not smart then. It took me a long time to get smart.  One look from him, and I would be gone. I had melted into a puddle on the floor.  I paid for witnessing and sharing in the infrequent bursts of brilliance when his true self emerged by letting him play me and treat me poorly. He broke my heart more times than I remember, and I willingly submitted to it until I decided not to anymore. I used to say that he would be amazing if not for that small personality flaw of being an arrogant asshole. Those moments of brilliance were pretty incredible. It took me a little while to realize I was completely in love with him and then it took me even longer to quit him cold turkey. Even after I had, I would know when he was near or in town. I would know shortly before he tried to contact me (which he did several times, despite my having said I never wanted to hear from him again). The connection I had with him was one for which I have few words. And I knew him. I realized years later after I began studying Witchcraft and Paganism that I have known him life times upon life times before. I’m not sure what lessons we were meant to teach each other and help each other learn this time around, but it feels like we still have unfinished business. I will forever be grateful to him for helping me to find my Fire – because it took a shit ton of it for me to be able to leave him and cut myself off.

So when I woke this morning from the dream with visions of his dark, shoulder length wavy hair, turquoise and hazel eyes, broad shoulders, chiseled cheek bones, and heart-shaped lips in my mind, I just shook my head and chuckled. This was an atypical reaction for me. When I’ve dreamt about him in the past, I’ve woken up angry or frustrated or sad (and, of course, horny). But this morning was different. As I sat with the difference, I realized that, Oh, despite all of the shit he’d piled on top of who he truly was and how much he had hurt me, I was still in love with him. And not the “in love with him to the point where I would allow myself to get stupid again” kind because that is not love. It can get tangled up with love, but it’s not the same thing. And I certainly was not, nor am I now, in love with the shit piled on top of his essence. It’s his essence that I will probably always be in love with.  And the packaging for that essence this time around just flat does it for me. I’m a total sucker for dark hair and light eyes to begin with but add in the broad shoulders, put some wave in the hair, and toss in some sculpted cheekbones, and I’m done. And in that moment of realization, probably for the first time, I did not try to fight being in love with him. I just accepted it. Accepting didn’t mean I had to contact him, to try to rebuild or recreate some kind of relationship with him on any level. I just sat with it and acknowledged that it was.

After I’d gotten myself coffee, I looked him up on facebook for the first time without feeling guilty or like I was betraying myself. He doesn’t look very different. I did not message him or friend request him, much to the disappointment of our 14 yr old. I don’t remember what I told her when she asked why – that might have been when my wife pointed out he was my heroine. As I drove to work, though, I thought about it. The only reason at the moment I would have for contacting him would be an ambiguous curiosity, and while flirting with the idea of doing so in my head is one thing (and mildly entertaining), I’ve decided without clearer intention than that, the only possible thing I could create from doing so would be a hot mess. I certainly don’t need any of those right now. So instead, I will enjoy this knowing that I am still in love and that I can simply accept it. And I will marvel that I can indeed be in love with two people at once (I hadn’t been sure this was entirely possible for me). And I will enjoy this reignited spark of my sexuality that visions of J stirred up. 😉