We Cannot Defeat Darkness with Darkness

Listen, I’m no expert at this life thing. I’m not. I’m not claiming any superpowers when it comes to understanding and diminishing the shadow inside of me. I’m just as flawed and wrecked as the next person. But, I can tell you one thing that I’ve learned:
We can not defeat darkness with darkness.

We can certainly fight darkness with darkness. We do that all of the time. We’re seeing lots of evidence of fighting darkness these days. We’re in a monumental battle on earth right now. Actually, many battles are taking place. Of course, I’m referring to the recent (horrifying and heartbreaking) terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and other places, but also the more personal wars we’re waging in our communities, families, and bodies. The (ever-futile) war on drugs comes to mind. The war on disease is another example.

Photo compliments of unsplash; www.unsplash.com

Photo compliments of unsplash; http://www.unsplash.com

Yes, mankind has always waged epic fights with darkness. We’ve written books, penned plays, and produced songs about our struggles. We glorify negativity when we feel it’s justified. We vilify evil behaviors on the part of others, but honor those same debased behaviors on the part of ourselves when it suits our particular viewpoint, religion, beliefs. But, the threats to humankind always remain. Every single threat to us remains despite our best efforts. Why? Well, I’ll tell ya: It’s due to our very consciousness. It’s due to where we place our focus as electromagnetic beings. it’s due to the fact that we create our realities in every detail. More on all of this in a minute.

Humans largely believe that to defeat darkness of any kind: terrorism, cancer, drug addiction, violence, war, greed, differing opinions, and so on, we must physically destroy the threat. We must eradicate all traces of the threat or at least, control the threat. But, the problem with this approach is it’s IMPOSSIBLE to destroy something without becoming the very thing that you are seeking to destroy. The act of thinking about and then destroying the threat makes more threat. It’s about where we place our attention.

The thoughts associated with war perpetuate war. The thoughts tied to “I hate cancer” make more cancer or other illness. It’s true. What we emanate brings more of that energy into the world and right back into our personal sphere, our bodies, our day-to-day existence. By design. It’s physics. What we push against always steps closer to us and oftentimes has aligned with other like energies in its travels back to us and comes back in bigger. Every.Single.Time. It’s because of our consciousness and where we place our attention. Don’t believe it?  This video provides a great grounding in quantum physics and helps explain how our consciousness creates reality.

The defeat of darkness cannot come from sanctions, confinement, condemnation, declarations of war, exclusion, terror, bloodshed, threats, or bombs. We cannot bomb the way out of our human condition, bad feelings, loss of control, or the scary (subconscious) shadow that lies at the core of each of us. We cannot completely kill or stop the darkness in the world, because it’s inside of us. The darkness (threat) is inside of our psyches, our minds, our human consciousness, our behaviors, our thoughts. We contain the very threat that we seek to destroy. In.Every.Case. 

You think the terrorists are bad, evil, wrong, bestial, or fill in the blank? They are human. They are all of us. We are all of them. Don’t believe it? In your life, have you ever been cruel to a child, a friend, a lover, your body? Yes, you have. Have you ever hurt another person? Yes, you have. Maybe you’ve even thought that bombing the sh*t out of the Middle East will “fix the problem”. Yes, many have. I even said something to that effect in a particularly vulnerable and anger-fueled (aka, fearful) moment. No, I’m not proud of it, but I did say it.

Well, news flash: that is a living example of the darkness, the darkness of fear. I’m afraid. We are afraid. We’re afraid that others have power over us. We’re afraid that other people can disrupt our lives, steal our precious iPads and iPhones, take our cars, our money, our women, and hurt our children. We believe these things and we argue for these beliefs because we see evidence of them in the world. We see the news reports. We see the killings, evil, and negativity all over the place. I’m not saying that these atrocities don’t exist in the world. They do. BUT, WE CREATE THEM FIRST IN THOUGHT and then we maintain them out of ignorance, lack of responsibility, and blame. We make these things bigger by believing that we are victims. It’s not true, but we believe it. We believe that we can’t control these things and because we each create reality, we then manifest more of these things in our personal experiences without realizing that we are maintaining these “negatives” and, in fact, making them bigger through our awareness of them.

We often make decisions from a place of fear. We steep in our fear. We justify our fear. We eat our fear. We run from our fear and then when we can’t run any more, we turn and blame other people (or circumstances) for the way we feel and the quality of our lives. We’re afraid. And, human beings who are afraid are dangerous. All of us. Welcome to the darkness, humanity. The darkness is inside of us and we’re largely running from our responsibility for creating darkness.

Listen, I get that there are lots of people in the world who want to “kill Americans”. I get the threat. I do. BUT, what I’m trying to convey is that the threat isn’t “out there”, it’s inside of you and me; it’s inside the house, inside the body, inside the psyche. It’s not external to you or me. The external is merely a very visible and compelling manifestation of the internal state of being, and in every single case. What you see in the world, you posses inside of you and that’s where the work lies for us.

If violence bothers you, it’s because there is violence inside of you and you feel afraid of it. You feel like you can’t control it. Work there. That’s your work. If poverty bothers you, it is inside of you. You believe in poverty and think that others can take stuff from you. You might think that other people with more means ought to pay for you, take care of you, help you. It’s not true. You are responsible for your life in every detail. You are responsible for your conditions, not other people. You are not a victim of others no matter how vehemently you believe it or argue for that viewpoint. It’s not true. YOU are responsible for your life, the happenings, the thoughts, the feelings, the circumstances, the quality, the behaviors. YOU. What you perceive in the world is your own creation. It’s physics. It’s proven. Dig around. There is proof available. Find it.

If you were not a vibratory match for ___________________________ (fill in the blank), you wouldn’t even notice it in the world. Does it mean that a particular evil or negative doesn’t exist? No, it exists for the people who align with it, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you. You can evolve. You can do the work. You can grow past the need for any particular negative manifestation. You are the pilot of your life in every single moment, in every single thought, and down to the tiniest detail. You can own this truth and change your conditions no matter what they are. You can fix it.  You can turn your mind toward that which pleases you instead of looking at that which displeases you and you can tune your physical vibration to align with health, happiness, wealth, love, and joy. We all can.

Did you know that there are some people on the planet who cannot see the violence on earth because they are not aligned with the vibration of violence? Not kidding you. There are people on the planet who have so elevated their energy stream that they cannot perceive or experience disease or lack or strife with others. We’ve had so many fine examples of this throughout history. Mother Theresa was famously quoted as saying: “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” She got it. She understood that conditions are a result of attention, thought, and awareness. She celebrated peace, not war. She tuned her vibration into what she wanted, a positive, not a negative.

If you have an anti-war rally, to what are you you paying attention? War. Violence. Bloodshed. Harm. Hurt. If you have a war on drugs, to what are you paying attention? Lack, harm, addiction, pestilence, bodily damage, and so on. If you have a peace rally, on the other hand, you are looking at peace, the light, man’s potential for greater positivity and happiness. You are looking at the good, not that bad. If you celebrate utter health and well-being and keep your mind largely on that, the negative that you see in the world, diminishes. You don’t notice it as much. You are no longer a match for its vibration. Period. It takes work. It takes honesty and courage and willingness to be responsible. It’s not easy, but it is very possible to do this work. Many have and many do.

Photo compliments of Unsplash; www.unsplash.com

Photo compliments of Unsplash; http://www.unsplash.com

Am I advocating that we all sit around in a circle braiding each other’s hair and singing Kumbaya? No, I’m not. But, I am advocating for man- and woman-kind to do more inner work. It’s really time for us to go inside and learn about ourselves. It would be a very good thing for us to get to the bottom of our thoughts and feelings, hold and honor our wounding, walk toward the pain instead of hiding it or running from it; it’s time for us to understand our role in creation, take ownership for our emanations, and heal. This is our work. We agreed to this work by coming back here and living again.

It’s not up to other people to change so that we feel better. It’s up to us to change ourselves so that we feel better (despite the world and external conditions). This is all an inside job. It’s time for us to grow up and value both the hard and happy lessons coming to and through us. It’s time to take responsibility for our darkness so we can diminish it and take our place in the light.

We CAN largely diminish darkness by standing in the light, living in the light, letting the light prevail inside of our own journey. You can only do that through recognizing and healing your wounds and consistently choosing honesty, responsibility, truth, and love.

Some ideas that might help:

  • Accept that your feelings are always right.
  • Accept that your feelings always lead back to thoughts that you’ve been thinking.
  • Identify your feelings.
    • This is anger. This is sorrow. This is relief. This is frustration. This is guilt, shame, happiness, etc. I feel these things. These are my feeling based on the thoughts I’ve been thinking. I accept my feelings.
    • Feelings (and their associated thoughts) are always based on our experiences, our beliefs, our stories. They are indicators of thoughts and thoughts are not always true.
    • Know that when you’re having feelings, you are being given a chance to identify the thoughts that you’ve been thinking and you have an opportunity to question if the thoughts are true.
  • Accept that you create your thoughts.
  • Identify the thoughts you are having and their associated feelings, and then question the hell out of those thoughts.
    • Why am I thinking this? From where does this thought come?
    • Is this thought true or is it a story that I have practiced based on past experience and beliefs?
    • Is this thought serving me to maintain? Can I change it?
    • What is the feeling associated with this thought? How does it feel when I simply sit here and hold the feelings?
  • Question as many of your thoughts as possible, especially when paired with strong feelings because usually, that points to a “story” you have adopted, which is not necessarily reality.
  • Accept that no one else makes you think or feel anything. Your thoughts and feelings are a choice. Always. Without exception. They are your creations and you are responsible for all of them and the conditions that result as a result of them. In every case. In every way.
  • Accept that you are responsible for your life in every detail.
  • Remind yourself often of what is working in the world, in your life, in your body, in your experience. This brings more of those things toward you and it brings you to gratitude. The more you can live in gratitude, the better your life will be.
  • Think about things you very much want and concentrate on those things, not on the lack of them or the fact that they haven’t shown up yet in your experience.

The more we work on our inner stuff, the stuff we actually can control, the better our lives get. Let’s work on revealing the darkness within, working with it, healing it, and then choosing otherwise so we can step into the light of healing. Defeating darkness in the world can only come by largely defeating it inside of ourselves first. Well, we won’t likely ever fully defeat darkness because it teaches us and we learn gobs from it and we agree to come back and experience it, but we can greatly improve our lives by doing inner work, taking ownership of our creations, and standing courageously inside of our own healing process as much as possible. It’s time. Join us.

Loving What Doesn’t Love Back

Hello, BigBodyBeautiful friends. It’s been a long time since we’ve connected by way of this bloggy, hasn’t it? I’ve missed you all so much. I’ve been working hard on my novel, which is coming along. But, I thought I’d give voice to some things that I’ve felt and processed in various relationships (and a post or two) from the past. I’ve been doing some “house cleaning” so to speak in therapy and it’s led me to a few little-opened rooms where some of my psychology hides away and gathers dust. This post deals with unrequited love (loving an addict, the unavailable). So many of us have experienced this with other people and ourselves. And, today, this asked to come out. I’m giving these feelings some space in the hopes that I can finally let it all leave my lovely body and breathe some fresh air into the rooms inside of me. I welcome your thoughts and reactions, as always, my friends.

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It’s clear. I need to let you go. You’re not healthy for me. I don’t think you are ready to show up for yourself, let alone, anyone else. It’s clear that you need to do this, take your ravaging journey through a dark and precarious land. A land of pleasure-seeking, distraction, and drink. A land that has no signposts or clear trails out. A land that very well might swallow you whole. Maybe, it already has (and I just haven’t been able to see it).

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Photo, compliments of E. Lies at Unsplash.com

At any rate, I can’t follow you, love. I’ve already been to that land (in other lives); it has nothing to offer me. It calls to me not one bit. I do not feel a pull toward the false baubles it holds in its skeletal hands, its lipstick stained, garish mouth, its heavily boozied breath, sodden, unwashed hair, and unkempt countenance. I refuse to follow you into the inky darkness. I can’t breathe there, babe. I will not follow, so I have to let you go forward into what you need to experience. I know. I do. And, I hate it.

I feel like I can’t quit you. I can’t turn my back on you, walk away, seek to protect only myself. I can’t be yet another person who turns away from your pain, doesn’t accept you, doesn’t come forward. I need to help you. You need me to help you. Somehow. But, babe. I’m not enough for both of us. You don’t give to me. And, then I realize (have I always known?), you do not really want me. You want what you’re doing now, which is what you’re doing. Now. You do not want to be with me. Because, you’re not. If you did, you’d be here. But, you’re not. And, you don’t.

I’m pretty sure that you don’t want the exposure of my light, the unwavering gaze of my soul that looks into you so clearly, pointedly, and consciously (but also softly and understandingly). You do not want deepest emotion, thought, truth, and exploration of the wounds in the psyche. It’s just too much. I’m just too much. And, you have other engagements, which are bigger than this thing that we’ve briefly co-created (together but apart). So, I have to let you go. To find your way. Or not. Either one is your choice. And, I have no choice but to honor it, whatever it is, however that looks or moves or slinks from sight. I have to hold myself up and move on.

I wish you wanted to take some time, any time, to get to know me. To go deeper with me. Maybe that would gently ease you from your painful path, your attraction for the darkness (that parades itself as neon-lit happiness). Maybe knowing how good it can be to awaken will bolster you, give you enough of yourself to see what I see (when I look at you), and maybe it would show you that you truly are worthy of the light. Maybe. But, then again. Maybe not.

You’ve never come forward with me. You’ve never let me behind your solid-rock walls. I’ve tapped at them again and again; I’ve bloodied my fingers on the door, but you have rained your molten Quasimodo silence over the edge at me. My skin burns over and over from lack. My heart scarring over and over by your reticence, your avid, unavoidable, suffocating silence.

Actually, worse is when you are nice to me and pretend to have feelings (like I do). That is way worse. Because, I let it fool me so often. I keep coming back for one more silver of happiness. Then, find myself standing in a dark room and wondering where the light switch is. Anyway. I have to own my part in it. I will and I do. I’m working on it. But, my heart hurts so much.

I.just.wish.you.could.come.over.here.with.me.just.once. Take the chance. Lift the lid on this thing and peer inside. If only you felt more for me than you do for the other things that turn your head, the other things that possess you. How different it might be with you stepping into the light. Me by your side. But, then again, maybe not. I have no way of knowing for sure. You might blossom or shrivel for all I know. You don’t try and I give too much.

When will I leave? I want to say never. I want to feel, never. But, that’s not realistic, is it? I’m running out of juice. I came in with alot, but everything has a life span, doesn’t it? Everything lives as long as it’s supposed to. I’m running out of glitter, babe. I’m low on stardust and paint. I’m dragging my halo around now and it’s scratched and tarnished. I’m thrust out of the pearly, shiny gate. I’m holding on, but eating just the air is getting pretty old. I need some sustenance. Some meat. I need to know that you know what I’m talking about. But, again, the silence seeps. It comes up around me. All I can hear is the slow katoosh of my very broken heart, my uneven breath, a honking car off in the distance.

Hugging a Cloud: Loving the Unavailable

I love a man. A man who is so “man”, he takes my breath away. Even when I so much as think about him, my insides do this instant-melty-butter thing. I lose all shape and form. I float away on a river of deliciousness. I love this man but he is not here in a body. Well, he is here, but he’s…um…in and out. He comes and goes. He’s here and not here at the same time. He’s both solidly man-ish and vapor-y illusion at the same time. I love this man deeply, wholly, and to the ends of my mitochondria. But.He.Is.A.Cloud. And, you all know what happens when you try to grab a cloud and hold on to it: You free-fall back to the dense and difficult earth. Everything in your body snaps. And, then: Nothing fits back into place. Ever. Again.

photo-unsplash_clouds2

I’m not complaining. It’s a common pattern for lots of people. And, before you go all “CSI” and try to figure out who the specific man is, let me appease your curiosity by telling you that it doesn’t matter. He’s an amalgamation of an energy pattern that lots of us project and are working on in our lives. Myself included. (Obviously) He’s the overarching signal of nearly every partner/parent/sibling/friend/lover/husband with whom I’ve interacted and co-created in this existence. He’s every man and no man. He’s a template, the “messenger” of a big self-realization that I had yesterday. That’s it.

Okay, back to the cloud man; He can be pondered and sometimes touched, but only in the barest (and quickest) of ways. I can gaze upon his veneer, which is really quite lovely, but I cannot hold him. I can’t fully “lock in” with him or truly ever know him. When I try, he wiggles free, a slick fish slipping from my hands, back to the dark safety of his lake; I get just a quick peek of silver-glinting skin beneath the green and murky waters and then he’s gone, swimming away from the penetrating sun of my presence, the skull-splitting light of my words, the piercing oxygen of my intensity.

He is unavailable. Totally. Utterly. Completely. And.I.Love.Him. Of course.

When I hold this man/no-man’s image inside of me, I see amazing eyes, his depth, his wonderful soul, his “foreverness”. I see a huge heart, how he could be available, forward, and present. I see the potential for true connection, a capacity for realness, intimacy, and co-creation with him, but that’s not what I physically have with this man (except on rare occasions). What I have is an approximation; it’s a pleasing, 2-D drawing on a piece of paper. I try to extract his essence, inhale him, tug him deep, and ride our combined energy. But, it’s useless. He’s pressed flat. Closed. Bound by the tight fibers of his page.

To be sure: He’s gorgeous. He’s fascinating. His mind is compelling and brilliant. There is some fascination inside of him for me, but at bottom, he doesn’t want to be held, understood, teased apart, or “seen”. He doesn’t want to be present with me or available to me. If he wanted to, he would be. He would take action. He would show up and stand in the unwavering sunlight of our soul- and body-connection, at least once. But, he doesn’t do that. He stays remote. He comes out for the briefest of exchanges, and then he runs. Can I blame him? No. I can’t. Why?photo-unsplash-clouds

Because…(and this is the HUGE self-realization that I just had, late yesterday): I AM UNAVAILABLE. Um. Yeah. Me. (Cue the music: dunh, dunh, dunh!)

Even with all of my words, all of the love that I beam out to others, all of my intensity and forwardness and passion and deep-feeling, I actually hold myself out, alot.  At my core. I hide. I also wriggle free and escape to the cooling, dark depths of my own lake whenever someone (anyone) gets too close or comes in too hot. I maintain a wide moat around myself that’s writhing with alligators and which no human being can penetrate, navigate, or cross. And, if they do get across, I can retreat to the castle and fire at them from behind my ancient, lichen-covered, stone facade.

True, I’m much more available than many people I know. I am often present. I can look at and process uncomfortable things with others. I can often be an adult in my relationships. I do show up. Frequently. But, what I’m talking about here is what happens deep inside of me…way down in the deepest depths of my body and psyche. I do not let people into my deepest places. I seem available (and to a point, I am), but ultimately, no one ever gets all the way in. No one gets past the dragon. No one ever makes it to my inner sanctum, which is protected by a bad-ass Viking who is so extravagantly powerful, even I cannot remove him. I’ve tried. (He thinks I’m a simpering idiot. He’s not going anywhere.)

So, this is my realization:

  • You draw what you are. In other words, we draw to us what we possess inside of us. We draw behaviors from others that we share with them.
  • We draw from others and the environment what we want to work on and either eliminate or elaborate.
  • What we experience in life matches an energy frequency that we ourselves emanate, period. It’s a signal.
  • What we send out, attracts like-energy from others and then we live our own creation.

I’m living my own creation. I draw unavailable people because at my core, I am unavailable. “Real” relationships get too much of my underbelly; they are too close, too damaging, and make me too vulnerable. I’ve been too hurt. This means that I don’t often take deeper risks with others. I stay safe. I don’t practice trusting. I don’t communicate effectively. I don’t speak my core truth. I don’t extend myself past a certain phase or point. When hurt by another, I curl inward and lick my wounds (for decades). I say nothing. I stop trying. And, if a relationship goes “south”, it’s no harm/no foul because I wasn’t fully there in the first place. I saunter away after a day or two of pain.

Up to now, it’s been easier to point to the other person and say: “Well, you are not coming forward” or “You are not present with me”, but it’s been much harder to realize that my projection actually comes from within me. It’s taken me a very long time to understand that the energy in my relationships originates with me. My reticence to be fully forward in relationship, to be completely honest in relationship, is drawing my present circumstances. There is no getting around this.

So, when faced with reluctance from others to step forward, spend time with me, and be in my company, this indicates my reluctance to step from the shadows and take risks and fully insert myself into my emotional connections with others. I now see that I am the God of this design. I am the creator of this template. I have crafted this pattern out of the horrible wounding from my past. And, I have maintained the pattern (subconsciously, of course) for my entire life.  I cannot complain about the way I’m treated if I’m offering the signal to which others are aligning and stepping forward to match. There it is. So, now. I want to own the signal. Own the responsibility.

In coming to this awareness, I realized something else. I want to heal my attachment disorder. I do. I want to be closer to other people. I want to take risks and live those risks and benefit/hurt from those risks, fully. I want to love to the ends of my cells whenever I can. I want to open my rib cage and let him in, even if it means he stomps my insides and I end up having to defend myself. I want to attract people who are ready for a solid, mesmerizing, all-encompassing journey with me into places that perhaps frighten us both, but by being there together, we become stronger individually and achieve our greatest, fastest expansion.

I want to live the intensity and fervor that I feel inside of my amazing body and let others live in my fervor, too. And, I want to feel and hold other people’s fervor. I want a real exchange. I want real truth. An honest exchange. A risky exchange. I want real people, not clouds. I’m talking about totally honest, unwavering, non-judgmental realness of two (or more) people who understand each other completely and accept each other regardless of what’s being felt and expressed.

I want to connect so deeply that no words are necessary but when we use them, they simply add to what we’re doing together. I want to look into his face and know that he owns his fear, that he’s comfortable with his fear, that he can express his fear and yet still show up for himself and still show up for me once in a while. I don’t want all of his time. I do not need to own his schedule, his soul, or even see him daily. I’m not asking for possession or servitude. I’m not asking for a forever commitment. I’m asking for an honest journey. I’m asking for someone who can process with me sometimes, traipse through the childhood darkness inside of himself sometimes, hold his own heart and mine, sometimes. But, above all, I’m asking for one who can be honest. Even if it’s ugly. Even if it hurts.

Lastly, (and few have any way of knowing this, but the following is a very BIG statement from me):  I want to drop my weapons, retire the Viking, leave the door open, wait there, and be soft for the first time in my life. I want you inside my inner sanctum. This means that I want you to conquer me, all of me, in love and light, in truth and expansion, in the delicious, rich, error-prone, full-feeling, and succulent physical. For the first time in my life, I’m ready to submit. I can’t believe it, but that’s the uncomfortable and scary truth. I’m ready. Meet me.

Trapped in a Big Fat Trap

Very recently, I’ve realized something that I have felt for a very long time. I’m in a trap. A trap that I’ve obviously constructed with great care and precision but haven’t been able to step out of no matter how hard I work on myself. I’ve articulated this through some tune-up therapy sessions with a remarkable psychologist here in Sedona and was able to express how big this is for me. In all of my many lifetimes, the collective experiences, exhaustive nuances of emotion, endless thoughts, and activities have created a near-constant sense of claustrophobia or “stuckness” inside of me. I feel trapped. Alot. And, like any trapped animal, hmmm…well, I fight it. In fact, I often feel like I’m chewing a leg off to get free, but free of what?

So, I’ve been drilling into what this idea of being trapped means and why it seems to be coming to a head in this life now. And, believe you me, it’s coming to a serious head right now. I’ve been looking at what these ideas mean for my lovely body. I’ve been asking myself why I often carry an underlying current of anxiety and unease that is closely tied to feeling stuck. I’ve been asking if I am in fact really stuck or is this such a common refrain with me that I’ve gotten used to it and believe that I am stuck. I’ve also been able to isolate that feeling trapped is a “theme”, in most (if not all) of my lives; this feeling is not new to me at all; it’s very familiar, though it feels like it hasn’t been so sharply outlined until now.

I’ll give you an example of one of my more recent lives where I felt so incredibly trapped, I invented a way out of that life at an early age, because I just couldn’t take the pressure, pain, and confinement anymore. In the mid 1800s, I was in a convent in England. Both of my parents had died. At age 12, I was shipped off to live with the nuns in the countryside. I was unruly, loud, restless (hmmm…sensing another life theme here, too?!), disobedient, and constantly punished by the nuns for being so wild and disruptive. Eventually, the nuns grew so tired of my outbursts and having to scold me all of the time that they sent me to live out in the barn with the goats and other animals, where a mute nun named, Mary took care of me and raised me alongside the goats. Mary and the goats were the highlight of that entire lifetime. Anyway, at age 15, I was “purchased” by an older wealthy man, a total stranger, and he moved me to France where he then proceeded to rape me as soon as the carriage pulled up in front of the house. He impregnated me immediately and at age 16, I died horrifically in childbirth.

This is just one of many examples from my past of being confined, stuck, powerless, and abused. And, lest you think what happens in our past lives does not influence the present-day life, think again. It’s all in there, recorded inside of our souls, and it’s all exerting influence whether you believe in this stuff or not. It comes out. It finds a way.  And, oh, mama, is it ever coming out in my life now. In this particular life, I’ve felt:

  • Trapped in a family of angry, dysfunctional people
  • Trapped by poverty and circumstance
  • Trapped in my jobs
  • Trapped by workaholism
  • Trapped in a body that hasn’t been my ideal (until the last 20 years or so)
  • Trapped in relationship
  • Trapped by my own thoughts, feelings, and need for expression
  • Trapped by my ego
  • Trapped by my desires
  • Trapped in an existence that has long-ceased being fun
  • Trapped by societal rules, regulations, gender definitions, and codifications for behavior
  • Trapped by friendships and other people’s expectations of me
  • Trapped by my rampant anxiety
  • Trapped by religion
  • Trapped by a psychic ability that scares the livin’ crap out of me and which I greatly stifle

On and on and on….

In this life, I’ve felt huge resistance to being in yet another body, being in yet another difficult and painful incarnation. I’ve often felt chained to my psychology, bound by my emotional struggles, glued-in-place by yet another abysmal childhood, and suffocated by my intensity. Many times in this life, I’ve turned my eyes heavenward and pleaded with Source/Creator/All-That-Is to release me from this earthly trap. I’m still here. Healthy as a horse. Yes, even with over 20 lung embolisms (in both lungs) in 2012 and a clot the size of Kansas in my right leg, plus six surgeries in three weeks to treat the effects of the clots, I’m still friggen’ here. Trapped. Always caged. Always bound to the earth plane. Always suffering. And, the worst (best?) part of it: always painfully aware, awake, full-feeling, and unavoidably sober. I cannot escape this. I cannot go back to numbing myself (like in past lives). I cannot take the edges off. I cannot get relief except by walking through the fire and burning in it. And, oh, how I burn.

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So, why this realization and revelation now? Why is this such a strong sense in me now? What does it mean for my beautiful, long-suffering body now? What can I do about it? What does this situation need from me to shift it? How do I shift this? As you can see, my questions are copulating like bunnies and making even more questions. Maybe it’s partly due to my age. I’m 49 and rabidly menopausal. So, maybe some of these feelings are just what “women do at this time in their lives”. But, what does it all mean? Dunno yet. However, I can tell you that I have an urgency inside right now that is really strong. And, I feel trapped in my work/life situation.

The trapped thoughts/feelings are stemming from confining myself psychically, mentally, and physically. I’ve worked myself into a stupor for 30 years. I’m talking about 80+-hour weeks for 30 straight years. I’ve let life speed past me while I sat at a keyboard tapping out words for corporations and making them gobs of money while allowing myself to remain chained to their success instead of my own. I’ve not rested or relaxed or sat still. I’ve take only one formal vacation in my life (in 2010) where I left the country, but what did I do for most of the vacation? I worked in my hotel room. Work is my addiction, my distraction, my drug. Choosing “paying work” keeps me from doing my deeper self-work. It has distracted me from living in the deepest depths where I want (and don’t want) to be. It has kept me from drilling down on my “sensitivity”, my psychic ability.

Sure, I’ve gotten a crap-load of stuff done. I’m not a total slug. I have more energy than most and I have made tremendous strides on myself despite my work addiction. I’ve come a very long way, but right now, I’m feeling so, so stuck because of these commitments that I’ve made and “must see through”. Seriously, a very large part of me wants to move to a huge mountain, live in a tiny cabin, chop wood, grow vegetables, ride my Harley, work only when absolutely necessary, write my books, meditate, do yoga, and breathe. That’s it. I want to check out. I want to feel the earth, listen to the earth, be fully awake on the earth, and rest for my last 27-odd years here.

So, this week, I processed these thoughts/feelings with my awesome psychologist and he gently reminded me that “being trapped” is a thought that I am attaching to; it’s a “story” that I am identifying as reality, but it is not reality. I’ve been believing my thoughts about being trapped. So, the thoughts are the trap. Isn’t that interesting? But, the reality is: I am not trapped. I am free. I can walk away. I can change my circumstances. I can come and go. I can move. I can fly anywhere in the world, if I really want to, and I can do anything I want. What’s important is the feeling attached to the thought of being trapped. It’s what’s below the stories that I tell myself that is most important to trace and then understand. What’s the feeling? What’s below it? What’s causing the pain? Pause…pause…pause…

Sitting with it, I learned this: I feel HUGE fear and pain below the story of “being trapped”. Fear of taking true responsibility for myself, of standing up for myself, and speaking my truth. Why? Okay…go deeper…deeper…yep…right there…got it. When I stood up for myself in childhood, my mom physically and emotionally abused me. She routinely tried to destroy me over the twelve years that I lived with her and she tried in multiple ways. Other people in the past have done similar stuff to me, too. Feeling trapped is tied to this core of fear, pain, and mistrust. People sometimes hurt me when I stand up and tell them what I think, when I reveal my tender underbelly, when I get vulnerable. People have maligned and shamed my expression. People sometimes use my words against me later. People often judge and criticize me for my feelings. I’ve been hugely damaged when getting real and trusting others.

And, as an aside, like many people do, I’ve “shielded” with my body. I’ve used my body to keep people at bay, keep the world away from me, to keep people out of my tender core. My body has dutifully guarded my innards by being larger and denser. She’s been my “protector”. She’s been my insulator all of these years, my padding against the weapons people have waved at me and used on me. How I love my body for protecting me and doing exactly what I needed from her and couldn’t even openly articulate. I have the best body on this planet. I know it. She’s the best one.

Anyway, on the outside, I know that I want to stand up for myself because it means greater clarity and greater expansion as a consciousness, but when I do stand up for myself, I get stomped. So, inside is a huge feeling of being unable to stand up (trapped) to clear the way for my expansion because that comes with huge pain, familiar pain, unwanted pain. There. That’s it. This is all a natural reaction to past experiences and damage. I can identify with the thoughts that are a lie or I can go deeper and unearth what’s below the thoughts, which is the truth. The feelings are the truth. My feelings are here for a very good reason; they make perfect sense. The feelings never lie.The feelings are the path through the darkness.

Now, my real work comes. What to do with all of this? How to “act” in integrity and clarity around this revelation? How to invite understanding and communication with myself and others on this. How to heal this? I’m going to continue looking at it and going below the surface of the thoughts. For now, that is enough. When I can, I’m going to speak my truth to others and regardless of their reactions, I’m going to know that it’s enough for me to have spoken my truth. They do not have to accept me or my expression. They do not have to validate me. I do. I’m opening the trap and stepping from it. I’m walking into the unknown, into the soft air, into the arms of the mountain. I’m freeing myself.

Death Really Messes Me Up

Today, I learned that a wonderful, sweet, funny, and amazing friend of mine, Matt, passed away several days ago. I found out by way of a Facebook post, which is super weird. Like, that’s how we all communicate now. That’s how you find out good and bad news. That’s how you learn of events in people’s lives. No one calls anyone any more. We post to Facebook.

When I saw the message, it was like something unseen came up and punched me right in the heart chakra. It literally took my breath away. I held my phone, staring at the screen, re-reading the words, with an open mouth, and then hot, huge tears blasted out of me. I’m in shock. My heart hurts so badly right now. My body is shaking. I’m anxious, cold to the bone, and so, so utterly sad. Matt is gone.

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Travis and Matt

I believe that Matt had a plan, that he followed the plan, and left when he was done with this incarnation. He was done. He left planet. Even though he and his partner Travis had just gotten married in Hawaii. Even though he regularly gifted the world with the biggest laugh, the biggest heart, and the deepest warmth that I have ever experienced from another human being. Even though he was divinely happy with his life, lived it to the hilt, traveled with his husband all over the world, drank fine wine, ate awesome food, and lived like none other. He left. YOUNG.

I believe that we choose our day and time of death. I believe that our souls are eternal. I believe that you never kill energy, and at the core of it, we are energy beings in bodies for but a short time. I believe in an afterlife. I believe that we live many, many times. I find no conflict inside of me for holding these beliefs and imbuing them with loads of thought and emotion despite not really knowing.

Yes, at bottom, I’m agnostic, but I love believing what I believe. I love imagining that there is a God/Goddess (or many of them) and that they care about humanity and our expansion. I love feeling how my beliefs feel inside of my mind and body. I love searching for answers to things that have no answers.

ocean_unsplashBut, no matter how much I read, study, delve into, and process my beliefs, no matter how comfy I get myself in any given moment with death, it truly makes no sense to me at all. I cannot fathom that a body lays down and is animated no more, the spirit leaves, the body decays. I cannot wrap my mind around it. I have meditated on death, read about it, felt it inside of me, held little birds in my hands that crashed into my windows, and watched them take their last breath despite the high frequency energy I was offering to them. I have devoted hours of satsang to death in order to fully arrive at the truth of it and accept it. But, I cannot. I cannot accept death. Death is unknowable, untraceable, and unacceptable. 

Well, I accept that it happens. But what effs with me is why now? Why do we leave when we leave? Why did Matt leave when everything was right and well and good in his life? Why now? Why didn’t I get to see him or hug him one last time? Why did he leave Travis like this? Why, why, why, why, why? Maybe it’s my ginormous ego that refuses to really look at death and open to it. Probably. I dunno.

Matt, if you’re reading this, feeling this, hearing my heart, know how much you added to my life just by being here, by being my friend, by living so fully and richly when you were here. mattKnow how much love and joy you radiated, how much like the sun you were in others’ lives. For, you, my dear friend, were so bright, so warm, and so healing to others. You touched many, many people in your line of work and travels, people who are now pouring their love out to you and Travis by way of their posts on Facebook, people who are thinking about you, crying over the loss of you, and remembering you. I want to believe that you know all of this and are taking in just how lovely you were in this life and reveling in the mark that you made on this world. Honey, there will never be another one like you. My heart is so full of love for the journey that you let all of us share in and experience with you. I love you, Matt. See you around, my friend. I hope.

Step Away from the Body!

Sometimes…you just have to get away. Peel out of there like a shot. Bail. Abandon ship.

There are moments when it’s nearly impossible to be in the body, to stay with the body. I’ve found that this usually occurs in times of intense feeling, trauma, anxiety, or fatigue. If you’re anything like me, your feelings are massive, earth-shaking, and, well, bigger than the universe. Feelings are messy, deranged, reckless, momentous, and impossible to contain. Our feelings are so big that we’re often afraid of them and sometimes so raw that it feels like they’ll choke us (or at least, do tissue damage). Damn emotions.😉

Whenever something gets too close, hurts too much, or feels too big or confusing, I bail on my body. This is called disassociation; it’s pretty common in people who have been abused. I do it subconsciously, of course, and it happens so fast that I can’t stop it. Most of us disassociate to some degree. When you daydream, that’s disassociation. When you drum, you enter a disassociated state. When we trance while listening to music, deeply relax, or even when some of us do yoga, that’s a type of disassociation. But, some of us disassociate dozens of times per day (or more) to avoid feelings. Some of us live more “out” than “in”. I lived more out of my body than in my body for decades.

For the longest time, I didn’t know that I was employing this type of coping mechanism. I didn’t even know what it was until I went through therapy. Analysis revealed to me that when the sh*t goes down, I leave my body effortlessly and instantly. My spirit vacates. Again, for years, I did this without realizing it. And, it was a real process to identify my penchant for disassociation.

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Unsplash art is free and fabulous; check ’em; http://www.unsplash.com

I was in my second year of high school and going crazy. Years of living with abusive parents (four of them between both sides of the fam) and siblings (two of them between both sides), plus gobs of other physical and emotional trauma, had literally brought me to the edge of sanity. I was a complete and utter wreck. I was anorexic/bulimic and torridly addicted to cigarettes (1.5 packs) and caffeine (1200 milligrams) per day. I ate one meal per week. My life was imploding all of the time, but, hey, I looked competent. I acted brave. I was thin and beautiful. People thought I was well.

At the end of my Sophomore year in HS, I was trying to move out of my dad’s insane household and struggling to pay for food, school supplies, clothes, and the bare essentials. I was working under-the table at a video store and putting in as many hours as I could get, in addition to going to school. So, there was intense pressure in my life, intense pain, and heaps of childhood damage that I was doing my best to hold down and avoid. It was a truly awful time. And, being in high school, with all of its pressures and torment, was the last thing I needed or wanted. But, of course, I went to school every day, because if I hadn’t, my dad, (read: bad-ass cop/investigator), would find me and drag me back into the hell from which I had escaped. He warned me that he would. I knew he would. So I toed the line, stayed in school, did my time.

“Doing my time” included a stint of living in my car, which was preferable to actually going back and living with the damn-family. Yep, it was pretty bad. But, my ego had me convinced that I was fine. What other 16-year-old lives on their own? I didn’t need any help. I just needed to stay away from my crazy family and work harder, that was all. This was the stuff my ego was routinely telling me and since I was rarely ever in my body, it was easy to believe my ego, easy to believe that I had things under control.

In talking with an older friend of mine one day (who was a regular at the video store where I worked), I let some of the “crazy” out. I admitted that my childhood had been pretty abysmal and I was often so depressed that I had trouble getting out of bed. He suggested that I call a therapist with whom he had worked and gotten some help.  At first, I balked because “everyone has families like mine, right?” He assured me that no, what I suffered through was actually far worse than what many people go through; it had damaged me; I clearly needed help. His words burned me. They did. I felt them pinging somewhere deep inside of my body as he spoke them, and I knew he was right.

I called the shrink soon after, made an appointment, and in the consult with the doctor, I begged her to help me. I offered to pay her $10 per week for our sessions, because it was all I had. I ended up going to her for three years. And, despite the fact that my therapist tried really hard to turn me into a Christian (a story for another post), the therapeutic process actually saved my life. In my sessions, I finally caught up with the damage that had been done to me. I saw and re-experienced, in garish detail, the abuse, the trauma, the heartbreak, the devastation, the agony. I crawled through the dark woods of myself over and over and got lost inside of those woods many times and sometimes for days on end.

I learned about disassociation and how I had used it exclusively to avoid my feelings. I learned when I do it, how to catch myself doing it, and how to stay in my body (or at least, how to return to it faster and catch some of the feelings that I was trying to avoid). And, while therapy made me feel like sh*t, often, it also began to work in subtle ways, ways that I couldn’t articulate until much later. I learned how to descend into the body and hold the feelings that I was running away from. This work was harrowing, painful, awful, and at the same time, illuminating and beautiful. Analysis helped me so much. I loved and hated it. But, I did the work. I kept going.

Truthfully, even now, it’s a daily struggle to stay present and descend into the depths of my body versus pop out and retreat to my mind or somewhere “out there”. Sometimes, it’s such a chore to dig in on my feelings, trace them to the thoughts I was thinking, ask questions, wait for the answers, and not run away from my emotions. Sometimes, I just can’t do it. I have to leave. And, I’ll be honest, I like bailing. I like being “out there”. It’s safer. There are fewer feelings “out there”. But, I’ve learned that it’s not always helpful to bail.

While disassociation is a coping mechanism that serves a purpose, is necessary, and even arguably “natural” for human beings, when we do it too much, it can keep us from healing our inner wounds and fully living. It also cements a less-than-healthy relationship to the body because you’re not fully feeling the body or living in the nuances of experience from the body. You know what I mean. We all struggle with body image issues. We all reject our bodies sometimes. I had to learn how to dig in versus bail out and I had to learn how to  walk into my wounds. When I did that regularly, when I did the work, huge transformation happened for me.

So, tell me about your experience. Do you disassociate? How does that feel for you? What is your journey with it? Have you come up with some ways to manage your departures? Tell me about it in your comments. Let’s talk.

This Exquisite Madness

People often say to me: “Lizzy, how can you possibly feel all of the stuff that you write about? Where does it come from? You can’t possibly process this much, channel this much, can you?” I smile. I look into their eyes and ask them in my mind: “What do you think? Do you not feel the worlds of movement in my writing? Do you not see the soul peering back at you when you catch my eye? Do you not grasp the immense, unfathomable, endless infinity of experience, emotion, and thought when you stand beside me?

But, here’s the secret: all of that is exactly what I feel when I look at you, when I stand next to you, when I peer into the soul of you. This exquisite madness, this thing that we’re all doing here together, as in, expanding mankind’s consciousness, is the only raison d’etre any of us really need and it’s our only important work. We are doing it together. It is happening.

So, yes. I really do feel everything that I write about. I came here “on” and there is no holding back, no tapping out, no turning this off. Admittedly, this madness scares people, people who are not ready for someone who is so awake. I’m not bragging when I say this, guys. This is simply the case. I’m awake. It’s acutely painful at times. It’s lonely at times. But, it’s worth it. And, you do this, too. You’ve gotten to your own version of “here”. Your exquisite madness is more lovely than mine, I venture.

So, for those of you wondering how it feels…

When I eat food, explosions of emotion erupt inside of me. I can feel the soul of the food entering my cells. I can feel the essence of how the food was grown, how it was handled, packaged, and shipped. I can sense the atoms of sunlight bursting on my tongue. I can hear the messages from the food, the acid in the soil, the alkalinity of the water that fell on the plants. I can feel my consciousness changing shape when I consume food, when I feed my lovely body. The plants hold ideas for us. I decipher them with my senses. I close my eyes when I eat often because the feelings are so full, so big, so voluminous. And, I’m giving myself over to the experience. I’m fully receiving the experience.

When I listen to music, the notes expand inside of my body, shake feelings from the deepest recesses, spin my head with such dizzying movement and joy. I cry alot when I listen to music but not from sadness, from fullness. The lyrics burst through me, become me, live inside of me: glowing, radiant, energized, and precise. Music stretches me out on my back, opens my limbs, changes the structure of my cells. I love laying on my yoga mat, blasting house music, and widening my entire body to it, my psyche taking off like a shot through the universe.

When I’m writing, words shake me at my desk, the phonemes strangle me with energy; it’s a ravishing experience to be taken like that, to yield to it, to let go. Words are not just words. Words are life essence. Words are the conveyance system for me. They are so important. You want me to fall in love with you? Use your words. Tell me what you feel inside; go there, find the emotion, locate it inside of you, tell me where it is. Tell me how it is to be in your body, to stand on a mountain, to be seeing creation, to be pulling life through you. I’ll love you forever. And ever.

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Lovely art, compliments of lovely unsplash; check ’em: https://unsplash.com/

When I touch his hand, my body opens, drops, undulates like a flag in high winds, receiving, pulling in, and emptying out. I feel his energy crossing, entering my veins, filling my insides, living inside of me, in all parts of me. When I look into his eyes, my whole body vanishes and I’m suspended there for a millisecond, floating out to edges of the universe, holding the beam of energy between us, riding that wave, feeling that spark, that atomic connection crossing the distances between us, over and over. When I merely think of him, my cells jump up and dilate, tasting all of the moments that have transpired between us, the words, the sentences, the laughter, the love, reliving everything, drawing it all in, holding it, teasing apart the meanings. And, there is sooooo much meaning between us.

Yes, this is real, people. This is what it means to be fully awake. This is how it feels to accept what comes, to enter the garden of the self, to know that all of my experiences have been drawn to me, by me, for a reason. Each moment, whether positive or negative, holding a gift in its hands for me. To live life fully awake, means, at bottom, to demonstrate a willingness to be vulnerable, a willingness to search for personal answers, to open your rib cage and let life trifle with your innards, to look inside of the psyche, hold what’s there, ponder the self, and above all, to be honest about the self, regardless of how messy or real or uncomfortable.

It takes courage to do this work, to lower one’s defenses, to head out toward an unknown horizon, and stay this open, but in the process, we see colors, feel feelings, have thoughts, and taste experiences that we would not have otherwise had and we grow profusely in the process. Yes, it’s acutely unnerving at times; it’s scary at times. I have been punished, rejected, ridiculed, hurt, and misunderstood in life because of my open, full-feeling nature, but it hasn’t stopped me; no one has dimmed my light and no one ever will. This is how it feels to channel the madness of sages and saints and shamans. This is how it feels to be “on”. Come with me. You know this road. You’ve stood on this bridge. You built this tower. Come stand beside me.