freedom · growth · success

Many drops in the bucket.

2.28.18.jpg

This morning, I completed the 21-day meditation challenge from Oprah and Deepak called, “Manifesting True Success,” and was struck deeply by this line:  Every path to success is a path to freedom.  This brought me pause and led me to write, and emphatically circle: What “freedom” am I seeking from this success?

What freedom am I seeking from becoming a tour pilot over Napa valley vineyards?  Well: competence, adventure, intellectual amplification, joy.

What freedom am I seeking from being a school teacher?  Freedom over my time (during the summers), intellectual & creative amplification, spontaneity.

What freedom from being in partnership? Stability, serenity, emotional growth.  From being a mother?  Joy, continuity, sharing my abundance. …

I can, and likely will, make a chart of each of my “Success –> Freedom” desires, because the magic piece is how to amplify each of these desired successes in my daily life as it is.  If I want to share the abundance of my heart, how can I do that today?  If I want to expand my intellectual engagement, how can I do that today?

How can I inject today with each of the freedoms/successes that I seek?

Every day I open the WordPress site, I must click a button labeled, “Write.”  And each morning I click it, I feel a hearty dollop of joy, competence, and esteem drip into my personal bucket.  I feel accomplishy, even if it’s the only thing I do this day (as it insinuates that I’ve already written Morning Pages and meditated, as I won’t blog without clearing my personal pathways first).

When I cross off “moisturize face and body” on my Habit Calendar, I feel competent, self-loving, and prosperous (as it implies I purchase and replenish my moisturizer).

Every morning I drink my coffee, it implies that I’ve set it up the night before, replenished and ground new beans when it was low, and desire to gift myself a physical pleasure.  Competence, stability, self-love, and prosperity.

In every morning, I can list a host of ways I feel successful before breakfast!  And that’s good, because lately in the afternoon when I continue to sit reading Game of Thrones for 3 hours… I start to feel less esteemable.

So it will be up to me to see if there is a “success” to be gleaned from 3 hours of sedentary imbibing of gore, and to parse out what it is I’m attempting to accomplish if there’s not.

What freedom am I seeking from this success?  And how can I own that freedom today?

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freedom · lent · purim

reLent

2.22.18 lent Purim_lion_in_Syna_3221317k.jpg

Last week, as we stood in the welcomed mild evening in an increasingly lengthening line for the next showing of Black Panther, I asked my boyfriend what he’d give up for Lent.

Now, yes, I’m Jewish by birth and by practice (though my father is a convert to Judaism), and my boyfriend is a relative agnostic with ancestral roots in Russian Orthodoxy… nonetheless! I felt influenced by the idea this year and thought it would be beneficial to consider a habit I’d like to curb.

He responded, “Worry.”

Ha!  That brought a much deeper aspect to the exercise!  (Although, truthfully, first he said, “Bread.”)

He specified, Worry about the Future.  I liked this understanding.  “I’ll give up worry about other people,” I proffered.

And so it is that we’re attempting to relinquish habits of mind that not only give us zero pleasure, but produce a wealth of ancillary negative thoughts, words, and actions.

(When I reported this resolution to a coworker, he began to laugh heartily.  A Jew giving up worry was apparently like an Italian giving up hand gestures.)

As I continued to reflect on this attemped habit of mind, I realized that Lent and Adar overlap.  Adar is the month in which the Jewish holiday of Purim falls and, in honor of the impending celebration (think “Jewish Halloween”), we are all to be as silly and joyful as possible in the weeks leading up to the day.

This struck me in two ways: Firstly, if Lent is represented by a hemming in of one’s vices (simplistic and naive as this interpretation is), then Adar’s hallmark is an intentional indulgence in said vices (ditto to above).  Lent is for suffering; Adar is for gladdening.

Secondly, maybe this “giving up worry for Lent” is exactly what the Jews had in mind!  Here is a people typified by anxious and neurotic haranguing of self and others — what would happen if we gave it up for a month?

So, unbeknownst to us, my boyfriend and I are now observing two religion’s practices —albeit in truly Adarian bastardization. 😉

anger · change · childhood · discovery · freedom · love · maturity · progress · recovery · sex · sexuality

Rage Against the Whatever’s Handy.

Last summer, before I started getting help around money, I
was in a bad way. I answered an ad for a company/house looking for dominatrixes
(dominatri?). I was desperate for money, and was almost willing to do anything
to make it.
So, I answered the ad, spoke with a woman on the phone,
looked at their website, and scheduled an interview.
Then, I emailed a friend of mine who’d been a dominatrix
once upon a time, and I asked her what her thoughts were around it. She replied
with an interesting thought. She said that it was a very low and base level
of energetic exchange.
Even though it sounds “woo-woo,” I knew what she meant. She
didn’t tell me yes or no, she just said, basically, that it felt icky. And that
she was heavily using drugs at the time.
A few days later, and before my interview, I called to let
them know I wouldn’t be coming in for my interview, that I’d like to cancel.
And that was the end of that.
However. I’m reminded of this now, about a “low” source of
energy, or power, because I’ve been experiencing the most wonderful (<–
sarcasm) feeling of free floating anger lately.
For those of you who know me, “angry” is likely the last
thing you’d associate with me – quirky, awkward, loving are most likely the top
layers, and indeed, the most core layers. But, in the middle of those is
everything that I’ve tried to put in between me and you. That includes sex, and
that includes anger.
Now that I’m in the process of extricating myself from any
sexual entanglements, grey areas, … dating sites…, I’m noticing that anger has
arisen where “sex” used to be.
When I was in junior high, and I came into school that one
Monday with contact lenses and makeup and suddenly I was visible, I rode that
high, and my anger that “you” only now noticed me, I rode that well into my
twenties.
I fed off of that energetic exchange. The power that a woman
(or man) holds via sexuality is more than palpable, it’s addictive. It’s
enlivening. It becomes what I’d come to believe was my only source of strength.
This was a “low” form of strength, and a false form. But oh
the many heads of it. I feel powerful (or visible, or valid) when you pay
attention to me. When you’re giving me what I think I need, when you’re eying
me, or flirting with me, or seeing what I know (or think I know) you’re seeing
when you see me.
So, now, I’m removing this source – I’m calling this well
toxic, and trying to walk away from it. Sex isn’t bad – but it can be a natural outcropping of feelings rather than
hormones.
I said yesterday to a friend that I feel like someone has pulled my
covers. That my defense mechanisms are being shorn away one by one, and so,
now, here I am with anger.
I am very aware that anger is just the other side of
vulnerability. I don’t want you to see how vulnerable I am, so I will put on my
angry armor and tell you to fuck off.
But, being aware of it doesn’t cancel it out.
I was reflecting this morning about the power of anger. I
realized that before there was the Power of Sex, there was the Power of Anger
in my life. It was modeled to me that if you were angry, you were powerful. If
you were angry, you were paid attention to (and left alone). I learned that
anger was an appropriate way to feel visible.
This, is a poor lesson. As frightened as I was when I was
younger, I began to learn to fight fire with fire. I learned this young too. I
was not really a pleasant kid, behind my shy exterior. The shy came after.
After I learned how to be angry, to yell back, to provoke, to antagonize, and
to defy. I learned that not everyone, especially in school, was going to put up
with that, and it sank inward, enclosed by the layer of “demure” and “shy.”
I’ll just disappear then. If I can’t have power via anger, then I apparently
don’t have any at all.
When I found sexuality, I found a “more acceptable” pathway
to visibility. And now, again, as that one’s being taken away from me – the
abuse of that power, rather – now, I’m falling backwards through my timeline
into anger.
Rage, really. I learned a lot about rage growing up – surely,
not as much as some, but more than Mr. Rogers would have wanted in his
neighborhood.
So, here I am at rage. One of my last defenses. I am sorry
to be here at it. And I also know that freedom from it will bring untold gifts.
But… I like it. And that’s the problem. The problem is that these sources of
power are still salivating. I still feed off them. I still feel powerful from
them, even “knowing” that they’re false.
I made someone angry yesterday, and I liked it. I felt
validated. If I’m able to make you mad, then that means that I’m alive, around,
meaningful. If I’m able to cause a reaction in you (previously, a sexual one;
now an angry one), then I have a purpose.
Yes, I “get” that these are totally fucked up thoughts. I
get that this has to be “gotten through” or it will continue to cause me pain.
And isolation.
But I felt that “low source of energy” when I was the
recipient of that anger yesterday. It’s like a “HA! See, you do care.”
It’s so Psych 101, it’s stupid – better negative attention
than no attention. But, it’s recorded in textbooks for a reason. It must be
prevalent enough and common enough to fall asleep to at your freshman college
desk.
So, that’s my thoughts for the day. Thoughts on feeling
vulnerable, and what I do to hide that. Thoughts on my reluctance to let go of
sex and rage as sources of “power” and validation. My thoughts on compassion
for myself, as I know this is hard. And a modicum of hope and self-validation
for choosing to move through this anyway. 
abundance · action · anger · change · faith · freedom · frustration · growth · progress · relationships · romance · self-care · spirituality · work

The Masculine Mystique

Firstly, I would like to quote an acquaintance of mine as
they responded once to my tirade on SF’s chilly weather – “Then Move.” Touche,
quite right. And I will, just not today.
Secondly, my morning pages were like something out of a
schizo’s notebook this morning, and I’m rather heartened than alarmed by it.
As I began to, again, write that I could paint, a sentence which was followed immediately in my head by the thought, “Yeah, right,” … my morning pages turned
on me, and began a near-two page rejoinder along the lines of Stop Fucking
Saying Yeah Right, and GO DO IT! I channeled the very pissed off and frustrated
voice/part inside me that is exceedingly
tired of the self-defeating, Eeyore-like part of me that crosses all my
interests with a “Yeah, but,” or a “How will I make any money?”
I was happy to see that this activated part was so adamant,
and demanded that I Just Fucking Do It, rather than what I’ve been doing for a
very long time, question, debate, lolly-gag, despair. This voice is the fuck despair
voice. It is the voice, one might say, of my inner masculine.
I’m a little hesitant to draw the dividing line between
feminine and masculine in this way; feminine as pondering and questioning;
masculine as action and fortitude. But, it sort of feels like that to me, and
it’s only my interpretation. There are
plenty of other ways to categorize, or not, these disparate voices and parts of
ourselves. But, for the sake of the argument, I’ll call it my masculine side.
And the truth is, it’s right. Whatever it is, or I call it.
Because this is the point in the job search where I get frustrated and think,
well, nothing will come of it anyway, so phooey, here’s another admin job. My
internal beings of all sorts are having a coup. Nuh, Uh. Time’s up. Off the
pity pot, lady. Get on it.
And further more, Yes, You Can. Furthermore,
to segue,
you/I have very recent experience in NOT behaving as you
would have in the past. You very
recently responded to a situation MUCH differently than factual evidence
had it before. This means … you’re different. You’ve changed. You can do things
now that you couldn’t before, and your mental register aligns with a much
healthier set of behavior and thinking now.
The case in point, is that I was asked to go to the theater
by a boy…man. There is nothing wrong with this person, except that a) I
accepted the extra ticket thinking he has a girlfriend, so I thought it was a friend thing (I found out later he does not), and b) he is new to
the not-drinking world.
Over the last 3 days, I have felt icky – like the princess
and the pea. I know from my own experience that the first few months of not
drinking and trying a whole new way of life – no, not first few months, first
few years (or year, AT LEAST), are so incredibly
formative, that I would be damned to throw a wrench into the wheel works of
someone else’s critical development. I know people who have gotten involved, and it’s
worked out marvelously, but I, surprisingly, was feeling way too uncomfortable
about it.
Sobriety, mine or someone else’s, was way more important to
me than a fucking non-date date. No matter how long it’s been, how intriguing
it is, how fun it could be. Not doing it.
So, through a series of phone calls to friends, and a
confirmation that it’s the respectful thing for us both, yesterday, I texted
the dude and said I’d rather stick to seeing him “around,” than go for coffee.
That I felt “murky” around it.
You know what he said?
“Okay. No worries!”
???!!!
All my f’ing belly aching, and heming and hawing, and “Okay,
No Worries”?? Wow, this honesty thing really f’ing works.
Through a series of circumstances, the timing was different
than he thought, so I get to go see the play by myself and also get to have a
clean, peer-like relationship with this dude. I don’t have to feel weird, or
avoid, or future-trip about it. The play is the bonus prize – the actual prize
is the relief of doing the right and honest thing for myself, and sticking to a
new way of being.
I know from direct experience that I haven’t always
responded that way to someone who was new to not drinking, and I experienced
the fallout of that, however brief it was. I, apparently, have learned from my
experience. And my internal alarm system is calibrated to this new way of
being.
I say all this to say, that my masculine side has a point.
All that writing this morning about Just Do It has a point. The point is that I’m not the person I used to be. I don’t have the same
reactions I used to, and so I don’t have to follow the same actions I used to.
This whole “new way of living” has made itself quite apparent in my life, and I
can allow the boon of that to propel me forward.
I don’t have to be afraid anymore. Afraid there isn’t
enough, or I’m not good enough, or I’ll never make it anyway, or that a
creative life is a stupid one.
In fact, I don’t have these fears anymore, really. They’re
just echoes. There’s nothing real to scare me. There’s no one stopping me, or
chiding me, or making fun of me.
And if there ever is, I apparently have a massive bully to
yell affirmations at them.