my greatest love is named Stone Boy…

and he likes blue m&m’s. We met in the dark, surrounded by hot stones, water and my soul family. I was drenched in sweat, my heart beating in time with the drums playing around me. I found my voice singing words I’d never heard before, my lungs working overtime from the steam coming from the stones. My eyes seemed to be playing tricks on me, sparks of light igniting every few minutes. Now and then I would lay my hand on the ground below me to remind myself of where I was: my first Inipi. Home.

I had prayed to meet my soul family for years and there I was, praying with them. My mind was at peace, my heart happy. And then Stone Boy spoke, and I felt a love that is so encompassing and unconditional, yet simple. I had met my greatest teacher to date: a beautiful spirit who loves to laugh, dance and sing with us.

I am at my most vulnerable each time I’m in lodge (aka, Inipi). It’s a spiritual ceremony that brings me both peace and chaos. I’ve never had anyone call me on my shit as much as Stone Boy has. And I’ve never known anyone to show me as much acceptance and support and love, either.

I’ve had such an odd life thus far. I’ve experienced things that many people my age have not experienced. And I’ve yet to experience things that many people my age have experienced. It’s hard finding folks whom I feel get me. I want to say it’s hard finding folks that I fully trust as well, but it’s hitting me how selfish that sounds– how victimizing it sounds. It’s easy to make yourself a victim when you’ve been hurt. It’s easy to focus on yourself and neglect to remember that everyone has been hurt, that everyone has a heart that can be broken. This realization hit me hard yesterday.

This year has found me on a path riddled with healing, lessons and lots of forgiveness. My learnings this year have been immense and I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the copious amounts of change, that I often turn to my bed for reprieve.

The spiritual path isn’t an easy one. I admit that I’ve taken many “breaks” from my relationship with spirit lately, exhausted from the lessons being thrown at me so rapidly. Exhausted from all the ties I’ve had to cut that were detrimental to my well-being. I haven’t been to lodge in a few weeks and I’ve become so cerebral that I’m unaware of the reality of my surroundings half the time. The world got a little too loud for me and I reverted back to old behaviors and disappeared into a little cocoon.

Meditation is what’s kept me sane. It brings me back to reality and helps me breathe better. There’s just something about sitting quietly and getting centered that brings about all sorts of wonderful knowledge and awareness. Lodge does this for me as well, but in a more direct way.

Something Stone Boy brought up in the last lodge I attended is weaved into my mind. He spoke about change and how it’s important to grow and change now. He then asked for the person who didn’t quite grasp what he meant, to say so, and that it was okay to not understand. Of course, I was that person, but I was too afraid of being judged that I held back from speaking. Change what?

Later, one of my sisters spoke about an instant in lodge where she had been too afraid to share a thought, in fear of being judged. It’d been eating at her heart and she just had to share it then. And I felt a connection. I then spoke up and shared how I didn’t understand what Stone Boy meant, but that I trusted I would understand at the right time. And now, I believe, is the right time.

quoteIt hit me during meditation this morning, that I’m still playing victim. I’m still living in the past. I label myself (despite the fact that I claim to despise labels) as being a runner, a self-sabotage extraordinaire, a loner. I negate the healing and growth I’ve done in the past few years by continuing to identify with these words. Rather than seeing what’s presently in front of me, my eyes are trained on a rearview mirror. My mind is saying I’m still all of those things, but my heart and soul are saying I’ve moved on. It’s as if my soul has grown and matured, but my mind is still playing catchup.

And what part of me relates to those words? The victim, aka, the past, aka, fear. I’ve stumbled upon this particular quote from Marianne Williamson many times the last few years, but its significance hasn’t fully sunk in until now:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

That’s all it comes down to. And so this is one of the things I need to change. Now. I use to tell myself I was too broken and fucked up to be worthy of feeling anything other than alone and powerless. I led a secluded life until my path intersected with the paths of my life confidants; Stone Boy being the tour guide. I’m not alone anymore. I’m not a victim. I’m like a bamboo stick who’s resiliency knows no bounds. I’m not all together yet, but I’m getting there.

gratitude and meditation

As I was imagining how to decorate the apartment this year for Christmas, I was contemplating the past year and what I’ve been blessed with and continue to be blessed with daily.

It’s been an insane year, especially the past few months. So many wonderful changes sprinkled with a few not so wonderful, but they were all definitely awesome learning experiences, none the less. I’ve made big shifts in my life the past couple of months and I’m anxious to see how things unfold in the next year. A new job, new friendships, new outlook, new…everything.

I took up meditating a couple of months ago and have fallen in love with it. There’s such a stigma surrounding the word ‘meditation’, so many assumptions. It took me a while to warm up to the idea, but once I did, I kicked myself for not starting sooner. Meditation allows me to see things in ways I normally wouldn’t– to see the uniqueness in the mundane and beauty in the weird. I get inspiration in the oddest of ways now. I’m also a hell of a lot calmer than I use to be.

While meditating this morning, so much love was blasted to me. Love and gratitude. I was instantly thankful for everyone in my life, especially the ones who have hurt me. I found it easy to forgive them and be grateful to have crossed paths, because they helped me learn things I wouldn’t have learned otherwise (even my lovely ex-coworkers). As sappy and cliche as this may be sounding, life really is too short to hold grudges, to hold onto negative remnants from the past. Forgive (because it benefits yourself more than the other person), find the golden lessons, then apply them and let go. Move on. I’m learning now to let go of the past and move on, because the past shouldn’t take precedence over the present. All we have is right now, so why waste it by focusing on things that are no longer taking place?

So today (and every day), I’m thankful for every single person I come in contact with. I’m thankful for every lesson (good and bad), that I’ve learned thus far. I’m thankful for my health and peace of mind. I’m thankful for the food I eat and the air I breathe…I could sit here for days typing out every little thing I’m grateful to have, and even then, I’d run out of typing space. So for this very moment, I’m thankful for my beautiful Christmas tree and the eyes to see it.