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.

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cue the john mayer song…

I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but wasn’t sure how to put into words what I’ve been experiencing and where my mind has been. Every day is different. A few days ago I was sad. Then the next, discontent. Yesterday I wasn’t sure how I was feeling. And today, I’m peaceful. I must admit that my mind is all over the place (in part because of the coffee I normally don’t drink). So you must forgive me, if this post is all over the place.

I stumbled upon a beautiful quote today by E.E. Cummings: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” I paused to ponder its significance for a bit. I catch myself trying to be something I feel that others want me to be still. My shape is constantly morphing, yet I try to fit myself into a minuscule square box, unable to breathe. I tend to gravitate to folks who are quirky and very simply themselves. And they make me want to be my quirky and oddball self too! It’s much more peaceful and takes way less energy.

Perhaps it’s one of the reasons I don’t blog much. I worry too much how others will perceive my words. I worry too much about offending someone. I worry too much about being criticized. Because sharing pieces of my world and what goes on in this crazy head of mine, is vulnerable. I even worry about being judged for incorrect grammar. And all of this worry builds up into anxiety and then I’m able to convince myself not to say anything at all. Not only on this blog, but to people around me. I stop myself from saying how I really feel at times, in fear of how I’ll be judged. I stop myself from making connections with people, in fear that I’m unwanted and unworthy. I stop myself from fully being myself, in fear of…well, all of the above. And it’s so debilitating. And I’m pretty much done with it.

I wonder how many others feel the same way. Most everyone, probably. There’s so much fear in this world and we give it so much control. Fear itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when we give it the power to affect our lives in a negative way, we’re doing ourselves a huge disservice. I’ve always wanted to connect with people. People from all over the world, from all cultures, genders, races, religions, beliefs, ect. I love people and I love connecting and sharing thoughts and experiences. I love helping, which is especially why I love my new job (I’m working with children who have been through crazy and horrible things in their lives, in hopes that I can have some kind of positive effect on them. And also to show them love and that they’re worthy of big and beautiful things in life). And yet, in the midst of all of this, I let fear take hold of me and stop me from forming connections. It’s all a conundrum.

Life is hard and confusing and dynamic and crazy. Crazy and beautiful. And I love it. I love it all. And this gives me reason enough to go out and be me- the real me. To walk with fear, but not let it reign over me. To blog. To sing out loud, in public. To dance. To laugh, even when it’s raining. To be quirky. And to love.

I’ve probably already written a post very similar to this. But a lot of times, it takes people a bit to learn something; for a life lesson to really sink in and change things. And that’s okay. Because life isn’t meant to be perfect.

you don’t need someone else’s attention to validate your self-worth.

As I was journaling this morning, the wonderful sentence in the title went through my mind. It hit me that I still struggle to feel worthy of love and friendship. I seek attention from others in order to feel good about myself. And if I don’t get the attention I crave, then I feel horrible and unloved. And it makes completely no sense!

As I peel back the layers of myself in order to know myself better and heal, I’m always amazed by how much I blame outside sources on my pain. I’m constantly finding that the true source of my different issues always derive from something lacking in myself. The ironic thing about that is, I wouldn’t learn the things I learn, without the involvement of those around me. Each and every person who come into our lives have the gift of teaching us, especially the ones who hurt us. This fact really hit me hard today, when I realized that a recent struggle with a friend and some family, brought me to the latest lessons I’ve learned. I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me to continually grow and evolve.

I tend to be an introvert. I genuinely love having my own space and time to myself. I also tend to keep a certain amount of distance between other people and myself. I can be the greatest friend you could ever have, on one hand and the worst friend you could ever have, on another. I’m really just a mess. I say the worst friend, because I’ve been known to disappear. If I think someone is getting too close, I become Houdini and escape unfound. But also like an act Houdini was known for, I’m burying myself alive. The older I get, the more I’m seeing the importance of relationships. I wouldn’t be who I am right now, without other people’s influence. Yes, I like to be by myself, but I’m learning that there has to be balance. In the past, I would hold people at a distance in a form of self-defense. If they weren’t too close, they couldn’t hurt me, right? But by doing this, I hurt myself more.

In other words, I seek attention from others in order in validate my self-worth, yet I keep people at a distance and push them away if they get too close. And people wonder why I’m still single… 😉

I still have issues that need to be addressed and fixed. I’m learning to be forgiving and patient with myself though. I’m constantly going through lesson after lesson. And after each lesson, is test upon test. It’s like the universe doesn’t yet believe I’ve learned and is throwing things in my way to prove itself right (or perhaps, prove itself wrong). And during some tests, I find myself reverting back to old behavior. Usually when this happens, I tell myself I’m still the fucked up girl I’ve always been. And I think I’ll never heal. As if the more I try to heal, the more I discover how broken I really am. So then, what’s the point?

And then I tell myself to breathe. That it’s okay to fall, so long as I continue to get back up and trudge forward.

My latest lesson has taught me that it’s a waste of time to seek validation and approval from outside sources. I realize that I’m blind to the love that the world has to offer me, if I’m not first, loving myself. I understand the importance of having healthy and balanced relationships with other people and how selfish it is to keep others at a distance. I’m not perfect. I don’t always say the right thing or do the right thing. I often get off track and need the same lesson thrown at me a dozen times before I grasp what I’m suppose to learn from it. I’m learning, albeit, a little slower than I wish at times, but I’m learning all the same.

“Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one’s liberty.”Henri Frederic Amiel