abundance · diversity · loss

Succumbing.

11.5.18.pngI like it here, I whispered.  I didn’t want the neighbors to hear.

The doors to the front and back were open, the windows wide.  We were eating a massive and delectable breakfast he’d cooked after a five-mile run up in the hills near the house.  The cat was sitting on the threshold watching the cul-de-sac outside, kids speeding by on razor scooters, neighborhood folk tossing a tennis ball down the block for their shaggy, golden dogs to fetch.

It was the ultimate moment in suburban living.  And it was dreamy.

Both J and I have lived in cities our entire adult lives, with the kind of diversity, grit, grime, and evocative atmosphere a city will provide.

The population around us now fits almost squarely into monochromatic, heterosexual couples in various stages of raising their offspring.  We both would like a little more color, in several ways.  (J says, humorously, that he doesn’t want to lose his edge; I point out he’s listening to Fugazi while wearing khakis, but, you know!)

But while this homogeneity is not our ideal, with one black woman on line in the grocery store, one full-sleeved woman walking her dog, clearly there are advantages to living where we are now.

Moreover, this weekend, we went into San Francisco twice, once on Friday night for an impromptu sushi and Legion of Honor visit and on Saturday afternoon to visit a lingerie & corset shop and his preferred motorcycle shop.

So, we had our visit to the grit.  We parked next to the homeless man strewing his belongings vociferously on the sidewalk.  The Haight Street Santa-Cruz-esque bros lighting up the air with the scent of weed.  And also to the diverse: the same-sex couple walking with their kid, the fashion-conscious women not in yoga pants, and the wide variety of color that remind us we are only one crayon in the box of 64.

But, we’re bridge and tunnel people now.  We visit the grit and diverse, we aren’t hugged by it every day.  There is a loss in that.

Yet, too, we are not immune to the Siren song of crickets in the evening.

 

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abundance · gratitude · healing

Owning Abundance.

10.29.18.jpgOn Friday after work, I was taking down the garbage from the Marin house, where J lives and where I’m apparently moving into (!).  As I was descending the stairs, a woman a little older than me was parking her car outside and getting her small son out of the car.  Many people turn around or park in the cul-de-sac where we live, walking dogs, playing, passing through the pedestrian short-cut, so I didn’t consider it odd, but she kept observing me.

She walked up to the front gate and asked, “Do you live here?”

I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond—since the answer was “sort of”—but I replied, “Yes.”

She told me then that she and her family used to live here when it was a rental property of the former owner and asked if a package had been delivered for her.  As it turned out, I was supposed to drop a “return to sender” package we’d received at the post office, but hadn’t done it yet… so YES!  I had her package.

She was kind of dancing around the front gate, unsure of where to be while I retrieved it.  Her son said something that he meant to approximate, “We used to live here.”  I told him that as I was cleaning up the yard the other day, I found a green plastic stegosaurus — was it his?  Did he want it?

He said yes (of course), so I invited him and his mom into the backyard to get it from where I’d placed it on the fence post, a reminder of the families who’d lived here.

He snatched it out of my hand, his mom asked me a question about the house, commenting a little shyly on how different the backyard looked now (without any furniture!).  I wasn’t quite sure what to say.

I walked them out the front gate and off they drove.

I was struck by the fact that I felt embarrassed.  I felt embarrassed and almost ashamed that this woman and her family were kicked out of the home where I now live, where J now lives.

Clearly, that’s absurd, but it’s also how I felt.  That I was somehow to blame, as I was party to the choosing of this house, for her family having to vacate and move.  (The 2nd bedroom has those glow-in-the-dark stars still on the ceiling in real constellations from where they’d placed them.)

The “fault,” if there is one, clearly doesn’t lie with me.  It was a home that was being sold no matter what, and J happened to be the person to buy it.  The family was going to be asked to move no matter what.

But I felt embarrassed to tell this woman that I was party to owning this home.  That I do, in fact, live here.  That this abundance was mine.

This is the piece I’ve been sitting with for several days now: for years, I’ve been talking about abundance, wanting it, working toward it, “attracting” it, visioning it, vision-boarding it.

And now here it is and I feel toe-in-the-dirt shy to say I’m achieving some part of it.

A person could roll their eyes at the woe-is-her struggle to own abundance, but the truth is I think many of us struggle with owning our achievements or our successes or our overflows.

When I was living in San Francisco in a 1bedroom, I had social gatherings and parties regularly because I felt so fortunate with my abundant space that I wanted to and had to share it with others.  Those gatherings were one of the most joyful experiences about my time living there.

The wonderful thing about having abundance is getting to share it more widely.  If I eschew it, avoid it, don’t have it, or don’t embrace it, then I’m not really getting the full benefit of it at all — and would be better off back in a small life that I can feel embarrassed of for entirely different reasons!

“Owning abundance” was never something I foresaw would be a challenge, but having to shed the smallness and embarrassment that is arising in me will be a journey worthy to undertake.

How can we hold the excellent and wonderful things in our lives with equanimity?  How can we honor what we’ve worked for or have been given with gratitude, awe, and celebration?  And… are we allowed to?

 

abundance · meditation · receiving

“I choo choo choose you!”

10.12.18Today’s Deepak/Oprah meditation is entitled, Abundant Me, and our centering thought for the day is, “I choose abundance.”

The following is copied from my transcription of today’s guided work into my journal (I always write it down as I listen, since I “get” it best that way).  Frankly, I can’t put it better than they do and I’d rather re-write (and re-read) what it is they’ve said.  And until they flag me for copyright infringement, I’d love to share it with you!

What lights me up more fervently than anything else in my life?  Listen to whatever immediately comes to me — these are signs leading me to me true passion, my most heart-felt desire and, ultimately, to my destiny.

When I heed the call of my deepest desires, I fulfill my TRUE DESTINY!!  Live from a place of wonder, play, and delight. 

We’re often taught that we must abandon our natural passions as we cross the divide between childhood and adulthood.  And YET, passion is what drives me to be the very best individual I can be. !!

Today in meditation, I reconnect to my internal spark & begin to gently release my long-held stories about who I should be & become more intimately re-acquainted with who I really am.  Today, I’ll practice shining brightly as the person I was born to be, as I freely share my gifts with everyone I meet. 

Truth: what I focus on expands. 

When I do what I love, energy & prosperity flow in every way.  I may believe that living my passion & desires is out of my reach, that I’m not worthy or talented enough or brave enough to realize my dreams.  But, Oprah is here to tell me that it is my birthright (my inheritance) to receive INFINITE GIFTS from the Universe.  My desires forge the path that leads me DIRECTLY toward the fulfillment of that purpose.  Joy and abundance come effortlessly when I am paying attention to my life. 

When I pursue the moment that is lighting me up, I build one moment at a time a life filled with passion, intention, and fulfillment.  When I do what I love and give freely of myself, what I offer comes back to me in ways just FAR beyond my imagination. 

There are no limits to what I can share, or receive.  So let us open the door together to clear the way for an endless bounty of blessings.

Passion is the free-flow of energy that leads me toward the fulfillment of my dreams, desires, and purpose in life.  When I do anything with passion, I express every aspect of who I am. (wow)  Time seems to stand still as I engage in whatever activity fills me with inspiration, love, and joy. 

Without passion, life can feel flat or stale.  (mm hmm)  In the moments when I do what I love, I open the door to abundance and prosperity in all areas of my life.  It is that simple. 

As I grew up, I began to learn that what I wanted was unacceptable.  Or that it was wrong.  Or impractical.  Or selfish to go after my dreams.😦

I may feel powerless and think why bother having desires when they will never be fulfilled anyway.

As I listen to these words, what feelings come up? (sadness, low)  Do I feel connected to my passion? (No!)

When I wake up in the morning, am I usually excited about my projects and plans for the day, or do I feel lost, bored, or stuck?  If I’m not doing what I love, what thoughts or beliefs are holding me back?

Most have to do with money and worth.  Many people tell themselves I can’t make a living doing what I love😦 or That dream is simply out of reach, it is not really meant to be. 

When I hold some part of myself in reserve, I severely limit what life can bring to me, and what I can bring to life. (!)  Abundance flows when I am centered in the awareness that my true self is pure spirit, unbounded in time and place.  

Spirit does NOT PLACE LIMITS on my joy, prosperity, OR fulfillment.  It is the ego that creates limiting stories about why we cannot make enough money doing what we love.  Or that we are not worthy of prosperity.  

As I recognize that these stories are SIMPLY THOUGHTS, not the truth, I can gently let them go, and return to my natural state of

CREATIVITY

JOY and

ABUNDANCE.:)!

No matter how deeply I’ve buried my desires, they are a force of evolution and growth that can never be completely denied (addiction tries to).  I am here to fulfill a purpose in the world and my desires are clues that lead me directly to the expression of my destiny. 

As I live my Love and Purpose, I will be held in the arms of abundance (aw)

I was born to deeply receive the bounties that Spirit provides. (Oy)  All that is required of me is to say, Yes.  

Take a deep breath and receive.  Receive.  Receive. 

Approach today with certainty as I contemplate the centering thought:  I choose abundance. (mmm…)

I choose abundance. 

I choose abundance. 

 

 

abundance · scarcity · vision

Idyll

10-11-18.jpegAs I continue with my spiritual, self-progress work, I’ve been returning to the idea of “ideals.”  In some groups doing this work, we’re encouraged to write a sexual ideal (where the rub becomes, “Okay, now go become that yourself, little one.”), and in other groups, we’re encouraged to write job ideal.

Unbidden, lately I seem to be creating these lists in my head like a master paint mixer, taking a little from ex-boyfriend A, a dash of B, a dollop of C.  And then stirring in a few qualities none of them may have expressed but placed them in the “ex” category to begin with.

I’ve been coming across some of these old lists as I’ve been clearing out my shelves of files and writings and I’ve set them to the side, information for later.  Soon enough though, later will be now and I’ll have to/want to read them and see what is the same and what needs adjusting.  What qualities were important to me then that I’ve now learned are necessities?  What qualities can I release as they don’t align with my values of today?

Similarly, I’ve been inking over again and again in my head the ideal of a better commute.  Because my previous job had a 13-15 minute drive time and is now an unpredictable 45-90 minutes…each way…I am feeling a bit grim.  So, I’m looking at the numbers: what does it cost to move, do I want to move, is my home location or my workplace more important?

And then I take a breath and realize that I’m trying to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic.  The ultimate truth (for me!) is that I am running myself ragged for little benefit.  My return on investment here is not gleaning me very much, so whether I live in A or B or work at A or B really makes no difference.  I’m attempting to get some feeling from a circumstance it is impossible to get it from.

What I really need to do is to write a new set of ideals, with no holds barred, no scarcity Sirens singing me onto their rocks, telling me that’s not possible, eat your crumbs you ungrateful wretch, things are better than they were can’t you just stop here suck it up and eke it out til death?  Why look to the horizon beyond, that’s not for you, you were birthed in a harbor of hardship and must exist in a harbor of hardship like every other miserable wretch on this planet? What makes you any better or different or deserving?  Head down, row your oar, eat your soggy peas.

(I do wonder if this voice is familiar to you, Reader, too?)

What I really need to do is to unfetter my eyes and unbury my heart so that I may feel into what it is I’m being called to do next.

This may be a several year process (in fact, I imagine it will be… but then again, I must remind myself humbly of the unlimited power of Grace and that I always think things will be harder than they end up being!), but it doesn’t matter initially what the “timeline” is or what the destination is.  What matters now is that I simply(!) allow myself to look up from these teensy movements of pennies here to pennies there, and open to the wider vista that is calling to me.  To notice the kind friend ushering me laughingly to join her on this warm, nuanced, burgeoning adventure.

 

abundance · receiving · TEACHING

Reception.

10.4.18Today, I’ve been asked to be among the teachers presenting a poem during our weekly prayer service at school.  It’s to be about Rain, to invite in the rain now that it’s past Sukkot, the harvest holiday, and officially into the Fall and Winter months.

The idea of being receptive to abundance is what’s rattling around in my head.  The idea that we have built hardscapes that prevent any rain — or abundance — that’s already being offered us from actually reaching the depths where it will do the most good.

The idea of our shunning or turning away from this bounty feels relevant; of our not accepting the blessings being offered or seeing the good that exists, because they don’t look like we want or we don’t look like we want.

When do we get to say, “Yes, I allow myself to receive”?  “Yes, I am enough”?  When do we get to say that, yes, we have earned the right to the gorgeousness of life, simply for the fact of our being born into it?

There is no scorecard for abundance.  There is no number of duties or tasks that I’m to perform in order to be worthy.  I do not need to please a god to be worthy.

Nor a parent, nor friend, nor, frankly, even myself.

The only requirement for receiving abundance is to see it.  To look up, and to notice.  To see the real and metaphorical dew drops on pine needles, to see the real and metaphorical water cycle pumping its heart of new growth and saturating our entire earthen planet.

This noticing is my ticket to receiving.  The abundance is already there, like water puddled atop a slab of concrete — all I need do is break through it.

 

abundance · humility · wealth

Whatchu Got?

9.14.18.jpegAfter meeting with my new financial advisor this week, I was moved this morning to do a different kind of accounting: Gift certificates.

I carry around in my wallet: a punch card full and holding a $20 discount, a gift card for a free massage, a free entry to an SF museum, $70 to a local clothing store, $50 to a book shop, a $50 online gift card, and 5 free movie passes!

It’s all well (very well) and good to tally up my financial records, but if I’m not taking account of these bits, too, then I am not giving myself an accurate picture of my abundance.  I can look at my bank balance and see one number, but forget that I have over $200 in freebies IN MY WALLET.

May seem silly to warrant this a place in my daily blog, but when we stack up our assets and liabilities, are we being complete?  There are the obvious places to look for what is good and positive, but what about the forgotten heroes of our selves, and wallets?

Being where I am in my spiritual house-cleaning, I recognize the metaphor I’m playing out in real-time, collecting and tallying up the disparate assets of mine.  And I appreciate its showing up, because sometimes this self-/internal accounting can be written in red ink alone.

It takes courage, humility, honesty, and something like joy to allow myself to look at the assets written in black, the places where I have more abundance than I like to admit—whether that’s in my wallet, or in the mirror.

 

abundance · authenticity · deprivation

The Junk Man Cometh

6.17.18

When I moved into this apartment, I was a 28-year old, about-to-be-graduate student.  I came with a free-to-me mattress and boxspring that lived on the floor, and “night tables” that were actually cardboard boxes draped in colorful scarves.

The coffee table (dubbed the “Earthquake Table” for its seismic gyrations everytime you knock into it), the pull-out sofa (from craigslist with cat scratches down to the wood), and the kitchen table (with one sloping leaf) came with me.  Each piece was free.  They were “from the Universe,” they were “manifested”!  And they were junk.

Over the 8 years I’ve lived here, I’ve traded up a bit, but on the whole, much of the broken and battered that came with me is still here.

At one point while still in my SF apartment, a man/boy/living-on-the-floor-in-a-basement-literal-dumpster-diver (don’t ask) reflected as we ate dinner off my curb-find, chipped dishes: “I love how everything you own is in a state of decay.”

Good lord.  What am I doing with my life!?

The man/boy and the dishes had to go.

For a very long time, I’d identified with “Second-Hand Rose.”  I thrived on and cherished the idea that I was “getting away” with not spending money on what I could get for free!  (“The Universe is totally listening!”)  Or extremely cheap at a thrift store.  My thrift store plunges were always post-scripted with a breakdown to friends about how many pieces I got for such little cost!  I even made specific trips into San Francisco just to go to my favorite Good Will.

Now, believe me when I say that I still find nothing wrong with thrift, as an adjective or noun.  However, when a few years ago I was at my women’s new year’s retreat sharing about what my just-glued vision board meant to me, I began to well up at describing how I didn’t want to be Second-Hand Rose in Second-Hand Clothes anymore.  That yes, a core value of mine is still not to add more consumption to the machine, but did everything I own have to be in a state of decay??

It didn’t make me feel powerful or high on thrift anymore.  It made me feel less-than.  It made me feel like I didn’t value myself.  I wasn’t taking pride in the 5 dollar shirt anymore (with just one hole that no one could see).  I was feeling shame.  I was feeling like hiding.

While I am absolutely still a reusable item junkie (I just purchased organic cotton coffee filters that I can rinse & reuse when I’m in Amherst … as there will be NO COFFEE MAKER!  Cue song from How to Succeed.), I do not have to make a sacrifice for everything that I own, consume, or purchase.

Self-deprivation isn’t hot.  And I’m allowing the pendulum to swing a little closer to center, a little closer to balanced.  I can buy something that I’ll use for a long time.  I can buy at the trendier consignment (not thrift) shop.  I can sleep on a bed frame.  I can even continue to grab up street finds, though I am much more judicious in what comes into my home.

Every day I choose to make a purchase that aligns with my values — about the earth and about myself — I feel closer to who I truly am:  Not. A. Hider.